All Mowers - Testing Your Build


Before running the mower it is recommended to test the major components of the mower are working correctly.


There are a lot of wires in the end and anyone can make a simple mistake switching a Pin on the Arduino or whatever.  

To debug wiring you will need some basic multi meter skills.  The basics can be found on many you tube videos.

1. know how to test if a wire is connected (continuity check)

2. Test voltage on the wire.


The test programs are integrated into the Mower software. Make sure that all the mower code is uploaded to the respective boards as described in the Arduino section.

These test programs will help you identify what needs attention and what's working just fine.  It will save you a lot of headaches if you run each test at least once.

The test sketches use the exact same code as in the full mower program, just they are cut down to test out specific components.  If the components work in the test sketches they will absolutely work using the full code



In the TFT Menu Go to the Setup Menu then scroll to the Tests menu


(As of Mower 6.8 code)

1. Wire Test

This tests the functionality of the wire sensor.  To run this test you will need to have the perimeter wire transmitter finished and switched on.  You will also need to have at least 30m of steel perimeter cable attached to the transmitter.

The test shows the signal strength the wire sensor is receiving.  The values should be negative (-700 to -1000) when inside the wire (on the lawn) and positive (+500 ish) when outside the wire (in the area not to be mowed).  If your not getting these values then check the wiring.

If your positive and negative values are switched then no problem, just swap the perimeter wires going to the transmitter and try again.

If the values you receive are too low, check that the adjustment screw on the amplifier module is turned to the max.


2. Relay Test

Tests that the relay is switching on and off.  If this doesn't work correctly you wont/shouldn't have any 12V power to the wheel motors or blade motor.  If the relay switching is backwards (ON instead of OFF) ensure you have the No and NC correctly wired.  Also ensure you have the   bool PCB   = 1;  correctly selected in the mower settings (if you are using a PCB board or not  1= PCB   0 = None PCB).  The PCB relay has a different switching than the none PCB method.


3. Wheel Test

Tests the wheels are correctly wired (left wheel/right wheel) and that they are working.  If the wrong wheel spins then change the wires going to the motor driver.  If the wheel spins in the wrong direction, change the polarity of the wires going to the motor driver (swap positive and negative) .If the relay is not switching on (you will hear a click) then there will be no power to the motors and this test wont mean anything.  Ensure the relay is working first.

4. Blade Motor Test

Really please..!!!  remove all the blades.  This will test the connection between the MEGA, mower motor controller and mower motor.  The mower motor will spin up in this test!

5. Sonar Test

A sonar module which is not working correctly will significantly increase the loop time of the Arduino.  This can result in slow responses to wire detection etc.  Make sure all the sonar modules are sensing correctly and have no loose wiring.  By putting an object in front of the sonar module you should see the distance registered on the LCD screen.  If this is not happening something is incorrect on that sonar module.  Check the wiring (ECHO TRIG is connected to the MEGA correctly) and that 5V is present at the sonar module (voltage test between VCC and GND)


6. Turn Test

Experimental to help me develop the parallel mowing - This helps align the 90degree turns.  (I think the GPS once developed will help here)


7. Volt Amp Test

Tests the communication with the NANO and that volts and amps values are being transferred to the MEGA.  If a charge current is applied to the 2 charge pins the C will indicate that a charge is detected and the AMPs will show the value measured.  If not check the wiring of the volt sensor and amp sensor.  Also check the RX and TX are correctly wired to the MEGA from the NANO.

If the volts displayed don't match the volts you expect to see from the battery please adjust the R1 and R2 values for the volt divider.

This can be found in the 'AmpsVolts' tab in the MEGA_VX.X Code.  First lower raise the R2 value until the volts read match the battery voltage.


8. Compass Test

Shows the heading and degrees the compass is sensing.  Move the mower around manually and make sure the value is changing.  If you know where North is this helps to check the readings are correct.  (North is 0 degrees).

(Ensure the compass is enabled in the settings menu)


9. Go Home Test.

This tests the "Go Home" feature of the mower.  If "Docking station" and "Compass" are enabled in the settings menu the mower will simulate a return to the docking station.  (Perimeter wire sender needs to be on).  This test should only be ran once your wire sensor is working and the motors are turning correctly. 

Also make sure the tracking direction, compass home heading & wire find fwd/back (TRACKING Settings) are correctly setup.

Adjustments to the PID may be necessary if your mower is wiggling too much when tracking the wire or "jittering" and not moving forwards on the wire.

Use this test to perfect the Go Home function and find the correct settings for your garden.  The default settings will give you a good starting point to work from.


10. Bumper Bar Test.

If you have the bumper bar installed this test can used.  Pressing the bumper bar should activate a "BUMP" message on the LCD screen.  (code V7.1 onwards)