Solaris Cordless Electric Lawn Mower Review: Three Years Later

2009 Solaris 3 Years Later34 150x150 Solaris Cordless Electric Lawn Mower Review: Three Years LaterBack in 2009 we received a brand new Solaris cordless electric self-propelled lawn mower to review from Linamar Consumer Products.

You can read our series of articles reviewing the  lawn mower including this one comparing the 2009 to the 2008 Solaris cordless electric lawn mower.

The bottom line was that we liked it a lot for many reasons, especially because of its:

  • Terra Phase brushless motor which was supposed to require absolutely no maintenance
  • Optional solar charging station

Here is a picture of the 2009 Solaris cordless electric lawn mower when we first received it back in May 2009:

2009 Solaris Cordless Electric Lawn Mower With Grass Catcher Solaris Cordless Electric Lawn Mower Review: Three Years Later

And what I want to you to notice is how lush and thick our lawn was at that time and ow tall the uncut crass was to the lower left area of the picture. I’ll get back to this aspect a little later.

Earlier this week, DailyHomeRenoTips received a comment from Teresa M. to our one article this year about any changes in 2011 for the Solaris electric cordless lawn mower stating she would like us to write about our experience with this electric lawn mower now into its third year of operation.

So we will.

Regrettably, it is not good.

Solaris Mower Replacement Batteries Had To Be Purchased

The documentation which accompanies the Solaris (and also the Utopia and Epic) cordless electric lawn mowers indicates the batteries will loose approximately 20% of their charge each year.

Well, when I first received and started to use the Solaris I was able to cut the front lawn, back lawn and side lawn on a single charge including using the self propelled feature around 40% of the time.

Now, at the start of year #3 I was not able to complete mowing my lawn on a single charge. Even when I did not use the self propelled feature, which used more of the batteries’ charge, I could not even finish the front or the back lawn.

Yes, we have had a lot of rain and yes the lawn was initially very thick and long. Yet, still needing three charges to finish just the front or just the back yard lawn was ridiculous.

Now, to be fair, I did not leave in the batteries all the time in the charger plugged into the wall during the winter. Instead I plugged them in about once a month until the green light on the charger was on and then unplugged the unit.

I was told by Linamar customer support that this is what caused the significant reduction in the available charge in the batteries. If they are right, don’t you do this! Leave them with the charger plugged into the wall all the time.

Yet, for such a degradation of battery charge seemed excessive to me. Yet, I am not an engineer or scientist so I have no choice but to rely on Linamar in this regard.

Solaris Replacement Batteries Solaris Cordless Electric Lawn Mower Review: Three Years Later

So, I purchased a new pair for around $123 including shipping.

Replacement Solaris Baatteries Charging Solaris Cordless Electric Lawn Mower Review: Three Years Later

As soon as I received the replacement pair of batteries for my Solaris cordless electric lawn mower I placed it in the charging station.

Yet, the other batteries still have a little use left. However how can I re-charge them if I am supposed to leave the replacement pair always and forever without exception in the charging station?

The replacement pair did not come with the cap on the top into which the charging transformer is connected. Why is this important to me?

Solaris Solar Charging Station Awaying Deployment Solaris Cordless Electric Lawn Mower Review: Three Years Later

Remember, I have the optional solar charging station which you can see here in our article discussing our improved setup of the Solaris optional solar charging station last year; that is one of the reasons I purchased the original Solaris back in 2008 in its first year of mass production. I could have one pair plugged into the wall and the other pair plugged into the solar charging station. Yet I cannot if I have only one cap. I guess I should have known but I also think the Solaris customer support person should have asked; they would have been able to seen it on my order history would they not?

Anyway, Wally at Linamar said he would have one sent to me for my troubles even though it is a separately priced component. Thank you, Wally.

Replacement Batteries For Solaris Lawn Mower Not As Good As Initial Pair

After receiving and charging the new pair of batteries for 5 days I used them to today.

They worked, but barely; when I say barely, I mean I was barely able to finish mowing the front, side and back lawns in one charge.

And, that was without using the self propelled feature at all!

I was and am very disappointed.

I called Linamar Consumer Products customer support again and they gave me the expected ‘well we have had a lot of rain lately, ….yada yada yada’. Look at the picture below of my front lawn with the replacement batteries from earlier today.

2009 Solaris 3 Years Later20 Solaris Cordless Electric Lawn Mower Review: Three Years Later

Now compare that picture to the first one in this long article. The grass is not nearly as thick now for my lawn as it was when I first received the Solaris lawn mower, brand new back in 2009 when the batteries lasted for the full lawn and that was with using the self propelled feature a lot.

Very disappointing.

The Solaris, Epic and Utopia Batteries Have No Manufactured or Expiration Date

The reason for the reduced performance of the replacement batteries cannot be due to the motor being now into its 3rd year. It is a brushless motor which requires zero maintenance. I confirmed this with both Linamar Consumer Products customer support as well as subsequently Wally who works in their sales / marketing department.

So, why the reduced battery life of the supposedly new batteries?

They could not tell me. After comparing the two pictures above you can see that if anything the batteries I received this week should have lasted longer because the grass is not as thick or long as when I first used the mower two years ago.

Question for all your Solaris cordless electric lawn mower owners: what is the manufactured or expiration date on your batteries?

Solaris Replacement Batteries Solaris Cordless Electric Lawn Mower Review: Three Years Later

Answer: you cannot tell. There is no manufactured date or expiration date on the batteries!

Therefore, without any such date, how can I as the consumer be sure that I am receiving an actual new pair of batteries and not ones which are one or two years old?

I cannot.

Neither can you, even when you purchase a brand new Solaris, Epic or Utopia lawn mower.

If you cannot tell when the batteries were manufactured or what their expiration date might be, how do you know for sure you are purchasing a new and fully usable product?

You cannot.

This is very disappointing.

Since nothing else could account for the reduced performance between the original pair of batteries and the replacement pair, and with less thick grass, the only conclusion I can come to is that I received an old or defective pair of replacement batteries.

I do not have a battery charge measuring device.

Yes, Linamar will not do anything.

This is very disappointing.

Apparently I am the first one to ever mention this lack of manufactured date or expiration date or such indication on the batteries.

Solaris Electric Lawn Mower Grass Clippings Excessively Long

Lastly, I use the mulching feature of the Solaris cordless electric lawn mower. Yes, I have noticed that the grass clippings were a little noticeable  when the grass was allowed (yes, by me) to be a little excessive.

However, take a look at the picture below taken from when I tried for the first time the replacement pair of batteries earlier today:

2009 Solaris 3 Years Later23 Solaris Cordless Electric Lawn Mower Review: Three Years Later

Can you see the grass clippings on top of the cut grass in the lower portion of the picture left by the mower? And, as you can see the grass being cut is not excessively long.

This excessively long grass clippings will cause thatch to be created on top of the soil which is not good long term for the lawn.

So, in sum, my experience into year three of the Solaris cordless electric lawn mower is disappointing.

For those of you who have a Solaris, Epic or Utopia electric lawn mower, what is your experience so far? Am I alone in these experiences into the third year of this otherwise good product?

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Comments

  1. Mary F says:

    I have been unable to use my Solaris all summer as I awaited new batteries. Just charged and placed them in the mower – and it still doesn’t work. Linvatec while pleasant on the phone – is completely useless in terms of getting my mower to work. the bottom line is that they don’t support the product through a network of after sales service. While initially very happy with my purchase I have become completely disillusioned and would NEVER buy anything from them again. If I don’t get any satisfaction from them this week – the new batteries will be going back and the mower to the dump.

  2. Eric Longchamp says:

    I’ve read your article and don’t understand. My 2009 solaris mower seems to work quite well going into it’s 3rd year. I believe there is a small amount of power loss to my batteries. I can still finish my lawn in one charge, mind you my lawn seems much smaller than the one in the picture above. The past two winters I brought my batteries indoors with a full charge and allowed them to sit unplugged. In anycase I’m still satisfied with my Solaris we’ll see how the battery performance does throughout this summer.

  3. Dan says:

    Hi Eric,
    What part of the article is it that you do not understand?

    Is it the part where the batteries do not have a manufactured or expiry date? How do you know the age of batteries for any battery operated appliance if they do not have either of these two dates? You could be receiving a 2 or 3 year old battery with your new mower and such batteries will not last as long as one manufactured say within the past 6 months.

    Is the part that you do not understand about the long grass clippings?

    Let me know what part you do not understand and I’ll do my best to clarify.

    Thanks,
    Dan

    • Dennis says:

      I bought our Solaris – not self propelled – April 09 and today the mower only would cut 3 rows of grass before quitting. The batteries are plugged in between uses (not over the winter) and as of today it will last only 5 minutes or so. For the price of the mower and trying to be environmentally friendly, I’m very disappointed with the mower. The price of batteries is about the price of a low end gas mower which I will probably do now rather than push this heavy mower around and have to buy batteries every 2-3 years. When I was looking at the mower at Home Depot, it was easy to move about, that was because it didn’t have the batteries in it and I was only moving plastic around. These are HEAVY BATTERIES and had I know that, I would not have purchased it.

      • Willie says:

        I too am having the same problem. I can only mow for about 2 minutes. It is like the mower is over heating. I plan on taking the damn thing a part. I will let you all know how it goes. As for the batteries. I only charge them when they are dead. I do not bring them in for the winter, and before the mower started surging and then cutting out, the batteries were working out wonderfully. They still keep a great charge. I might mention that I purchased my mower in the summer of 09.

        • Charles says:

          I do not have this lawn mower (and now is the first time I have heard of it) however, I do have a Black and Decker cordless lawn mower with a lead-acid battery (Black and Decker, sadly, has stil not begun to put Lithium Ion batteries in their mowers). The reason I am telling you is because a lead acid battery is NOT to be fully discharged, ever. If you do then the life is greatly shortened. Also, whether you like it or not (or agree) the battery (again, if lead acid) must be left on charge AT ALL TIMES when you are not using the lawn mower.

          • bill says:

            lead acid batteries can be fully discharged, provided they were manufactured as a “deep cycle battery”. regular car lead acid batteries will die if discharged more than a few times. I wonder if there is another battery manufacturer that makes a lithium battery that would fit the solaris?. I too purchased in 2009, non self propelled haven’t had battery problems yet , but my lawns are big and i always did the front one day and the back the next, thinking of getting a ride’m, and a beer helmut.

    • jason benick says:

      What about your blade? is it sharp?

  4. John A says:

    I’ve only had my mower for 6 months but very happy so far. The batteries are simple lead-acid and a 3 year service life is not unexpected for this application.

    Battery life depends on several factors,
    - high heat will degrade them
    - freezing temps (cold but not freezing is ok)
    - the lower the depth of discharge the longer they will last. So for example, if you have the option to mow the front one day and the back the next after recharge, instead of both on a single charge, this will significantly extend the battery life

    Also remember that over time the blade will lose its sharpness and this could significantly increase the power requirements, so this could possibly explain your experience this year in terms of run time and longer clippings.

    A battery tester is probably a good idea. When I got my mower one of the two batteries had a low voltage after a charge and I asked for a replacement. Based on that info they not only sent a free replacement, but sent me a pair!

  5. Johnson says:

    I have had a similar negative experience with the Linamar Solaris. Mine lasted for about 18-24 moderate mows before the battery began to waste away – and went abruptly down to 5-7 minutes of operation. I am glad if some people had a better experience but this product doesn’t have a good enough batting average. Any environmental positives here are quickly eliminated because of the early disposal of the unit and its batteries.

    • Dennis says:

      I received a reply from Linamar Customer Support as I advised them of my problem plus the fact that Home Depot doesn’t sell their mower in the stores anymore. Further, Home Depot floor sales told me they don’t bring in batteries, you have to go to Home Depot.com. Linamar advised me to order batteries from them at $99 plus shipping. Do you know what these batteries weigh? – The cost of shipping would be a “killer”. I’m in the process of checking on a “battery place” that rebuilds batteries etc.

      • Dan says:

        Hi Dennis,
        Linamar charged me $10 for the shipping; in total, including taxes and shipping the replacement pair cost me $121 IIFC.

        I agree with you; I also feared the shipping charge initially because of the batteries’ weight.

        Dan

        • Dennis says:

          Dan – was the purchase and shipping all done within the USA? I live in British Columbia and if the batteries come from the USA I may be looking at other import duties especially if FED EX or UPS bring them across through a broker. If Home Depot in Washington State carry these, I can swing down there and get them or have them shipped to an address in Washington to a friend that might be cheaper to bring across.

          • Dan says:

            Hi Dennis,

            Nope………I’m up in the Great White North, eh! :)

            Now, if you are in BC it might cost more shipping as I am only a couple of hours from Guelph, Ontario.

            I suggest you call them back and ask. They had no issue giving me the ‘all in’ price over the phone.

            Let me know how it turns out for you.
            Dan

    • Mike Tallman says:

      I bought my Epic about 18 months ago and, because my yard is pretty big, I immediately ordered an extra pair of batteries. My experience has been good and the batteries do not seem weaker this summer than last summer. But there are oddities to report.

      The two pairs of batteries have different personalities (don’t know which pair is the original): according to the LEDs on the mower controller, one pair slowly dissipates while mowing (as expected), while the other pair indicates that it’s fully charged until it quickly declines over the final 10 minutes of its charge. Their outputs are similar, each pair running about 40 minutes.

      Apparently, per John, I’ve been doing things wrong by fully discharging the batteries before recharging (ala the old nicad memory avoidance technique). I will discontinue this practice on one pair of batteries and see whether I can detect any difference in performance.

      One final observation: after winter storage (fully charged but not charging, in my warm basement), the batteries needed a few charging cycles to return to their previous year’s performance.

      So far, I seem to be luckier than most on this board. Hope this info is useful to someone.

      • Dan says:

        Hi Mike,
        Thanks for the feedback. Interesting difference between the two pairs of batteries.

        Do note that Linamar (and others) indicate you should always keep both pairs of batteries fully plugged in when ever not in use, including the winter for longer battery life. I used to only plug mine in once a month during the winter but I was subsequently told that this lead to their premature demise.

        Dan

    • ep says:

      Mine completely died after two years = wouldn’t even start in the spring of year three. Batteries always kept in charger inside attached garage as well as mower. I’m looking at the new Greenworks 40 volt 20″ dual blade cordless as a replacement – saw it on sale at Cdn Tire for $499. Anybody have any experience with it?

  6. Dennis says:

    Hi Dan. Batteries shipped with tax to me will be $137.50 but they are back ordered by 4 weeks (or more-who knows?). Can’t wait so I bought a Sears self propelled electric start eco friendly gas mower on sale. Buying batteries every 2 or 3 years will pay for this mower. I tried !!
    Dennis

  7. Larry says:

    Dan. This is my third year with the Solaris Self Propelled. I did ask Linamar about the age being stamped on the batteries. They seemed surprised that I would ask. You are very right that age of your batteries is very critical to how long they last. My new mover right out of the box had battery issues. I have a meter and tested each…0V and 24V. They sent me a new battery. The two others lasted just over one year…1 year 2 months. Linamar paid with my complaining 50% of cost and I had to pay shipping too! This last pair of batteries is doing ok. My lawn uses 2 charges to mow. Once during the week the other overnite for the next day. It’s been my experience that batteries of this type should last 3 to 5 years. So 3 years they should be replaced.
    My other major issue was with the molex connector that connects the electronics to the motor. Poorly constructed, I had to figure out how to make it work. Strange that the rest of the mower seems well constructed. Mower kept shutting itself off. Fun! Linamar technical support fair at best.
    Linamar was in luck in my case…as I really wanted to be green if at all possible. I did eventually resolve all the issues and mind you most customers would not…they would be asking for their money back. So this is the third year and yes my mower is working fine. It uses very little electric to charge and I am happy for the most part on how it works.

    • Dan says:

      Hi Larry,
      Thank you for your experience details with the Solaris Self Propelled.

      I wonder if the batteries of other battery operated electric lawn mowers have a manufactured or expiration date stamp on them?

      If anyone knows, please let us know (if for no other reason other than my own curiosity).

      Da

  8. Diane says:

    I hate this lawn mower. It first it was a dream but don’t be fooled like I was. I was all about being environmentally friendly but I’m just into my 3rd year and it won’t hold a charge. I have a corner lot and I’m embarrassed when I it takes me 3 days to cut my grass only because the lawn mower dies after 3 passes and needs 3 hours to recharge. I’ve also gone to Home Depot, Batteries Plus, etc. to try to find a solution but bottom line, this dog won’t hunt! $137 for an extra set of batteries that may or may not hold a charge? No, thank you! I’m following Dennis above, cutting my losses (no pun intended, of course) and heading to Sears for a solid electric start lawn mower. Home Depot/Solaris is useless.

    • Brenda says:

      This is exactly my experience. In addition to the battery charge problem, the self-propeller is incredibly noisy, and far from being powerful, it craps out if you have the temerity to try to run it over a dandelion, even on the higher possible wheel settings. No way will I be forking over any more money to keep this piece of crap going. Cutting my losses, if not my lawn.

  9. ed says:

    After experiencing the same problems as others have, I’m wondering about the possibility of simply removing the plastic battery support component and strapping down a plain old car battery.

  10. paul says:

    hi dan, i wish i had waited for this review. we bought a solaris at home depot in spring of 09 for $450. a month later they were $400. and they gave me a $50. credit. a month later they were $350. and they would not give me another credit. a month later, they were not carrying them anymore. now they have ryobi and black and decker.
    the first year, it mowed our whole lawn, although my wife found it heavy and awkward compared to our toro gas mower. last year, it just barely mowed the lawn and sometimes would not. this year, it would only run about ten minutes and after dealing with linemar’s poor excuse for customer service, i gave up and am back to the toro gas. i always kept the battery on charge in my garage where it gets cold and they said i should have brought them inside which i don’t understand because i have had many lead/acid batteries outside all winter and it never affected them if i kept them charged.

    • Dan says:

      Hi Paul,

      I’m this || close to buying a replacement myself this fall when the end of season deals come out.

      Yesterday I tried to mow our lawn after missing 1 week. Yes in spots the grass was long but not in others (we have had a dry July out here). The ‘new’ (‘new’ in quotes because the batteries do not have a manufactured date on them) replacement batteries I bought did not even finish the front lawn. the 3 year old batteries which don’t hold much of a charge (hence the purchase of the ‘new’ replacement batteries earlier this year) only barely finished the rest of the front lawn.

      I wonder (but I am no engineer) if the issue is partly with the design of the mower base; i.e. the part in which the blade circulates. It is always catching grass. I have always mulched my grass in this and prior mowers. And I take no better / worse care of the Solaris mower than others in the past. Yet, this is the first mower in which the blade can stop because it is not cutting the long blades quickly enough and they bunch up at the ends of the blades.

      This is really starting to get disappointing.

      Dan

  11. Richard Stewart says:

    My experience was the same, other than for one thing. We kept our lawnmower plugged in year-round, even though that would undoubtedly use up more electricity than necessary. And still, the batteries in year three were almost useless, to the point where we’re off to the store to buy a new electric lawnmower as backup for this two-year-old expensive lawnmower.
    I’ll order another set of batteries from Solaris for this lawnmower, but I’ll insist on batteries with an expiry date. And I’ll tell all my friends to avoid Solaris products.

  12. Carol Kaz says:

    Now you have me worried. We are on year 3 and today the batteries gave up the ghost. Of course, it has been unusually hot here this year. Will be batteries behave better after it cools off? We keep the batteries plugged in all the time but in the garage (not air conditioned) so it get plenty hot out there. I’m thinking about ordering new batteries from HomeDepot, but you are not encouraging here!

  13. Marco says:

    Just learnt that Linamar has shut down production of their cordless lawn mowers for some undisclosed supply problems (batteries maybe ?) and are not sure they will resume it again. Unfortunately I’ve gone through exactly the same experience as other readers, I’m only in my 2nd year (in total not more than 20-30 mows) with the mower and my batteries (kept inside during the winter but not under charge) will not last for more that 8-10 minutes and with so little power that my grass doesn’t even look mowed at all…customer service is useless and my mower will soon end up in the garbage…it should have been a high tech state-of-the-art product but it was a real lemon !!!!!! I really think we’ve been taken for a ride with a poorly designed and built piece of junk.

  14. Tyler says:

    Has anyone attempted to just abandon the manufacturers battery and go to a battery speciality store and buy replacements? It looks like the posts are the only thing that is unique to their batteries…the specs aren’t all that special.

    I found one of these brand new on CraigsList for $175 with no batteries, my intial reaction was to go to Batteries Plus and get creative. Has anyone tried this route?

    • Dan says:

      Hi Tyler,

      I have not tried this.

      Do be very careful, however, as you might void the manufacturer’s warranty on the mower if you modify it in any way or use a battery other than the one they sell.

      You might first want to see if they will sell you a pair or two of their batteries before making the Craigs List purchase for the mower.

      Dan

      • John A says:

        I wouldn’t worry. Sealed Lead-Acid batteries are a known quantity and changing brands isn’t going to disrupt the electronics. They all have the same voltage and charging characteristics.

        You do want to make sure the replacement has at least as much capacity (amp-hours) as the originals; more is better as the batteries won’t have to work as hard.

        And, you’ll want batteries that are rated for “high cycle use”; these are the kind of batteries used in electric scooters, mowers, etc…

        I plan on replacing mine with aftermarket when necessary. This way you can make sure ot get a brand with a good reputation.

        CSB is one of those, and their EVX12200 battery looks to be a straightforward replacement. (I’d have to doulbe-check the dimensions) Fabricating some terminals or connectors should be fairly straightforward. I imagine if I try to go much higher in capacity I will have to make other modifications to get larger batteries to fit and of course the mower would get heavier.

        I wouldn’t be too concerned with a date stamp; I don’t think these are common on small SLA batteries. Their service life is much more dependent on the number of and nature of charge/discharge cycles they’ve been through, and the charging regimen than whether it sat 6 months or 9 months prior to retail.

        • Brad R says:

          John,

          Did you try the EXH 12200 batteries? The height of the terminal base looks like it might be higher than the originals. I am close to buying these on ebay and making terminals from some Brass round stock.
          Brad

        • karen says:

          Hi,
          Just wondering if the EVX12200 worked for you?
          Thanks for your post!
          All the best!

          • Dan says:

            Hi Karen,
            No I have not. I did use the Solaris for the first time this season last week and it completed mowing my front and back lawn with a tad of energy to spare. This was the replacement set of batteries I obtained last year and had them, as recommended, plugged in all winter.

            Dan

  15. kelley gamber says:

    Hello Dan, I am SOOO glad that I found your commentaries re: Solaris. I was just about to “Go Green” and buy a mower from Linamar, when I discovered you online. I thought about removing the terminals on the batteries and putting them onto more reliable ones, but I had visions of electrocution “dancing in my head.” Would love to know what IS the penultimate mower? Have you discovered a great replacement yet for your “dud” Solaris? I had polio and have a good bit of weakness on my left side, so I am needing something that is not a “gravedigger” for me. I bought a push walk behind thinking that it would be good exercise, but turns out this is not exercise, it is torture on the variant gradations of lawn. Please advise! Now your faithful reader… Mil gracias por todos!! Kelley

  16. kelley gamber says:

    P.S. I called LInamar to find out if they planned any changes in their chassis or batteries for the 2011-2012 season and their reply was that nothing is planned. Guess that they are copacetic with sub-standard quality.

  17. Peter says:

    The solution to all you guys’ worries and soulsearching is quite simple. We had a battery powered mower about 9 years ago. Batteries died after year 2. Even though I’m an engineer and work in an industry using tens of thousands of similar batteries, it was just uneconomical to change, even though I could get industry batteries at cost price. So the mower and its heavily polluting batteries went to the tip. We bought a much cheaper, lighter cord electrical mower. It was guaranteed 3 years, lasted 7 years, and cut the lawn no-nonsense, no wasted time, no noise, on every occasion, however long the grass was, however long it had to run. Mulched or not ! No leaving batteries on charge all winter (what an incredible waste of utilility power and electricity bills !!!) Ok must admit to having accidentally cut the cord once, but that didn’t take long to repair. As the motor has just burned out (7 years hard labour !) we ordered a new one with no hesitation.
    If you’re environmentally sensible, don’t buy battery-powered products such as lawn mowers, power tools, etc. ! Lead – acid – nickel -cadmium – and whatever all going to our waste tips ! They are a disaster for the planet. You cannot believe how the manufacturers (mostly Chinese) disdain the environment and pollute their country without a care. It may be the other side of the world, but it’s our planet.
    Take care. Be sensible.

  18. Kevin says:

    Does anyone know how to get the cap off the battery? I have a loose + terminal and can`t reach it even after removing the 2 top screws holding the plug on. The plastic cap releases on the side don’t make any sense. The manual evens says if you have a loose connection to remove the lid and tighten it. Brilliant but they made the cap impossible to come off. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    FYI. Mine is the first incarnation Solaris that has the 2 batteries laying flat beside each other on top of the drive. This is my 4th summer with it and I got my second pair of batteries last fall as my first set tanked bang on 3 years of use. I kept my batteries in a cold porch(+15C) in the winter unplugged beside all my other unplugged batteries because my charger was bolted to the wall in the garage. After this set dies the whole rig goes to the landfill(not the batteries. they will go to a recycler) Nice Green Environmental company Linamar sounds like.

  19. Joe says:

    Dan – thanks for the article. I purchased my Solaris lawn mower (no self propelling) in April of 2009. I am experiencing the same thing as you are in it’s third year. I too was highly impressed by the mower when I first got it but it now is just not getting the job done.

    I used to be able to mow my back lawn and front lawn and then some. I now cannot even get through my back lawn. Linamar is feeding you a load of bull about the reason for your battery degradation.

    I ALWAYS keep my batter plugged in and charging all year round and they have still degraded. I’m actually not surprised though considering they are lead acid batteries and I almost completely discharge them every time I mow. However, for the money I paid for this mower I would expect more.

    I was planning on purchasing a replacement set of batteries pretty soon but based on what you have said in your article I’m now thinking twice.

    • Ron says:

      My initial set of batteries now last only 5 minutes, the second set run for about 20-25 minutes. I have had the mower for almost 3 years, I love the mower but their batteries really suck. I have not brought my batteries in from the garage during the winter (Michigan) so perhaps they may not survive freezing temps. I am on the fence as to purchase another set of batts…

      I just emailed CSB battery to get their opinion on what they may have to offer as a replacement battery.

      CSB BATTERY TECHNOLOGIES INC. (U.S.A)
      2901, White Settlement Rd. Ft. Worth, TX 76107. U.S.A
      Tel : +1-817-244-7777 / 1-(800)3-CSB-USA(272872)
      Fax : +1-817-244-4445
      mail : csb@csb-battery.com

      I will post their reply as soon as I get it.

      • Joe says:

        I finally bit the bullet and got a replacement set. It took a week for them to arrive from Home Depot. They just arrived today and since my lawn is out of control I went to replace the old with the new. As soon as I unplugged the old batteries the charger fried in a billowing cloud of smoke. Great! Now my lawn will grow another week without being mowed. I went looking online for a replacement charger and there is none. They don’t exist anywhere!

        Solaris has a one page diatribe about how terrible for the environment gas powered mowers are. Before I bought this POS I probably would have agreed. Now I think this lawn mower is probably the worst lawn mower in existence for the environment since you have to throw the whole thing in the trash less than 3 years after you bought it.

        I’ll be going down to the hardware store this weekend to buy a gas mower after this experience. What a waste!

  20. Circe says:

    I’m not sure if it’s just that people go online searching when they start having problems and end up here or what the case is, but my families experience with these mowers is better than this.
    We have three of these (Well one Utopia and 2 Solaris) two of which are in their 4th year, and the other is in it’s third year.

    We have all noticed a decline in the run time, but I’m the only one to run out of power, but was trying to cut both front and back yards which I just barely managed when the mower was new (large yard too oddly shaped for a riding mower)

    On the subject of support, one of the Solaris units suddenly went from being able to cut everything to only a couple rows in it’s second year, since we had access to the other mowers we swapped the batteries and it made no difference, a call to Linamar explaining this and they sent a replacement motor (no charge which was a surprise) and that fixed the problem.

    As for the environment, we all realize this is NOT a green solution, batteries are nasty, but that wasn’t the reason for the purchases. I hate messing with gasoline for mowing, and dealing with a 200 foot cord was as bad or worse. This was the only self propelled non-gasoline solution I could find. When the batteries need replacement (and they will) I’ll be heading to a local company that rebuilds batteries to see what they can do.

  21. Thomas says:

    As a battery discharges, a layer of “sulphate” builds up on the lead plates in the

    battery. If a battery is discharged and then sits in a discharged state for a long

    period, the sulphate hardens to such a degree that it won’t dissolve during the next

    charging cycle. At that time, the battery is permanently damaged. There are methods

    to dissolve the hardened sulphate, but I have not used them. Click the link in my

    name for a Google search on sulphated batteries.

    Some lead-acid batteries lose their charge rapidly. If one leaves the batteries off

    of the charger for several months, the Linamar batteries probably lose their charge

    then become hopelessly sulphated.

    I think that Linamar needs to design a better charger for long term storage.

    Our batteries did not even make it into the third season before failing. When I

    purchased this mower, I had already planned to replace the batteries every four or

    five years.

    The short lifespan of the batteries makes a darn good case *not* to buy a second set

    of batteries. One would have to be buying $200 per three our five year cycle.

    If the Solaris mower is discontinued, I think that I could run it from 20 Amp*hour

    batteries from another source. I would have to make different connections to the

    existing terminals and I would charge the batteries on another charger.
    ***
    Per Circe’s comment: Lead acid batteries are recyclable. There is an existing

    infrastructure for recycling lead from automobile batteries, so Linamar can state

    that their product is “environmentally friendly”.

    Further, electricity sources are cleaner than little lawnmower engines.
    ***
    Google: “sulphated battery”

  22. heather smith says:

    I bought an Epic lawn mower last summer. The Sales person and Home Hardware in Gananoque ON had great things to say about it. I was thrilled with his comments. Not only has it never worked – they claim they have no record of my purchase so it can’t be returned. what a waste of money

  23. Lauri says:

    My third summer with “Utopia” mower.
    Generally happy with the product. The batteries can no longer do the whole lawn, but require one recharge.
    Kept the batteries in the charger in the basement during the winter. Unplugged and re-plugged once a month. BTW see the manual of new Utopia mower in case of two sets of batteries: Linamar recommends rotating batteries during the winter once a month. Thus, based on this the batteries do not need to be charged all the time.
    My criticism would be about lack of power in thick grass and long clippings.

  24. Ken says:

    I got the middle light when trying to start the motor (how appropriate…feels like I’m getting the middle finger). This indicates an internal motor fault. It happened right after I hit a twig with the mower. How many times have you hit a twig with a gas mower and have the motor die? So, my warning to all you Solaris owners out there: BE VERY CAREFUL TO AVOID HITTING ANYTHING THAT’S NOT GRASS WITH THE BLADE!!!!!!!

    I bought the Solaris (Model S21HB) on 3/20/2009 so I am not in the 2 year warranty period. While customer service is very polite and helpful, they were unwilling to give me a break on the motor. It costs $99 for the motor plus about $25 shipping which will take 7 days to arrive. By the time the motor arrives, the mower won’t be able to cut the grass; I am considering cancelling the order and going to Home Depot for a 22 inch self-propelled Toro for $265.

    Batteries work great for me but I baby the batteries. They are inside in the winter getting charged (never exposed to extreme heat or cold) and never allowed to discharge more than the Solaris allows (which I believe prevents deep discharge). I also have the solar panel which I believe (but can’t prove) puts a better charge on the batteries than the wall charger.

    It is painful trying to do the right thing environmentally but I will probably just stick it out with Solaris for a while longer. From what I can tell, it is still the only 21 inch cordless electric mower in the world (I know…there may a good reason for that…like the motor is underpowered but a properly powered motor would be too heavy with batteries+motor which is why they are all 20 inch or less).

  25. Steve says:

    Hey Dan,

    See that small engraved number on the top of the battery between the posts? That’s the date of manufacture. I can see it in the photo you’ve posted above. I’ve never seen a commercially produced battery without one.

    • Dan says:

      Hi,
      That number between the posts on one of them is:

      “090225DC”.

      So, how does that translate into a manufacturing date?

      Thanks,
      Dan

      • Nancy says:

        I have the same problem. I could not even finish cutting my yard in one day because of the battery. Did you find any solution? It is so unfair for the customers to carry this frustration/ Is there any way we can do to fight for our right?

        Nancy

  26. Nicholas Louque says:

    Almost 3 years and my Solaris is DEAD!
    I too noticed a major decrease in the original batteries after the first year. I have some what of a small front and back yard and I could mow both and still have 3 lights left the first year. My second year I could only mow the front and about 25% of the back yard before having to re-charge. I then bought a new set of batteries and I was able to cut all of my grass but when finished only had 1 light left. The second set of batteries did not run the mower as long as the original ones. Well about half way into my second season the original set stop taking a charge for some reason so another $99 for a third set of batteries. The third set where just like the second as when I finished cutting all of my grass just 1 light was left. Fast foward to 2012 season and after using the mower for about a month and a half it’s dead. I contacted what Linamar calls “customer service” at their 866 phone number and spoke to
    Andrew Czenki. I explained my problem to him and he asked me for my email address so he could send my a list of Self Diagnostics
    procedures to see if anything helped. I spoke to Andrew Czenki around 9am my time and 4 hours later I received his email. It took about 20 minutes to check what he wanted me to check and I had no luck with the mower. I emailed Andrew Czenki back to tell him and within one hour he responded saying it sounded like I will need a new motor and wanting the serial number and a copy of the receipt. I emailed him the info telling him that I was out of the two year warranty and to just give me a price for the new motor so I could see if I wanted to purchase it and stay with solaris.I did some research online before contacting Linamar to see if I had a local solaris mower repair shop – NO, There are none and could I buy replacement parts online – NO (except through Lanamar only) I even went as far as to search for a brand new mower to buy and use this one for parts and I could not find anyone selling these mowers! Home Depot still has them on their website but it’s in store only, none of my home depot’s 7 total in the area have them anymore.
    It’s been six days since I’ve sent my last email to Andrew Czenki asking how much to BUY a new motor with NO reply. Meanwhile my grass is 8″ high and growing by the minute with the rain we’ve been having. In the past 3 years I’ve invested over $700 on my solaris and it looks like the smart thing to do is stay away from Lanamar products completely! I’ll be looking at a 36 volt 19″ mower that actually has customer servive and repair parts.

  27. Ken says:

    After reading Nicholas’ comments, I thought I should provide an update. I ended up giving up on Solaris; it is sitting in my garage waiting for me to decide what to do with it. I got a self-propelled Toro with 22 inch blade at Home Depot. Wow. I was really torturing myself with the Solaris. No more worrying about wet grass and bagging to extend life of batteries (and the annoying thin line of grass that never gets cut…I hated that). Single pull starting too. Also, no more complaining from my son who has most of the lawn mowing duties these days.

    The clincher for me was when a representative at Solaris told me they aren’t going to be making the mowers anymore. I was hoping they could help me with the price of a new motor but they didn’t. When I saw how much mower I could get for about the price of two Solaris motors ($99 plus shipping), my decision was made. I called Solaris to cancel my motor order. The gas mower will last a lot longer than 3 years (which seems to be about the life of the Solaris motor).

    It ain’t easy being green…

    The Home Depot person who helped me load the Toro into my car told me Ryobi is coming out with a new electric mower. I am hoping by the time this Toro dies (about 10 years) we’ll have some awesome options for electrics.

  28. Doug says:

    I purchased a Solaris lawnmower from Home Depot June 10, 2010.

    The original batteries will now only last about 1/4 of the time. I had to purchase new batteries (June 1, 2012) from Home Depot for $142.30.

    I did some research with one of our tech guys at my place of work and he stated that for the type of battery, it did not seem to last very long. I was on the Solaris website to confirm and it states, “The batteries if used/stored properly have a rating of 5 years or more.”

    My lawn is 7,500 sq feet. I mow it at least once per week (sometimes twice) and it takes about 45 to 60 minutes. The growing season is about May to end of October for a total of 6 months or 24 weeks. Over those 2 summers, that is somewhere between 50 to 60 hours of run time on the original batteries.

    I stored the batteries in my heated basement on charge when not in use, this includes during the winter – these are the instructions on the batteries.

    I have emailed the company asking for a reimbursement of the new batteries.

  29. rob says:

    Fairly happy with my 3 year old Solaris SP. Still using original batteries and have not seen a huge drop off in performance. Just moved into a bigger home with a smaller lawn so the aging batteries are not being stressed.
    I have one BIG problem. I recently lost the AC wall charger and I’m trying to source one locally but no luck so far. Anyone here have an extra one I could buy???

  30. John says:

    I had owned two Black and Decker mowers for many years. They were both worn out after great use. The new black and decker was not yet available. I bought the Solaris, as I have previously reviewed, is heavy, but powers through thicker grass than the black and Decker. My batteries then went to 5 minutes duration despite all lights lit after charge. I purchased new batteries from Home Depot. They never charged past the one red light. Home depot took them in return for store credit at the local store so no shipping charges. I ordered second set and this one charged to middle light. It ran a reasonable time on very thick spring grass. Repeat charge then to only one red light. I am wondering if charger is problem and not batteries, but solar charger also did not charge batteries well. While batteries having issue I then bought black and Decker latest battery mower. Not cut as thick of grass as Solaris but better in most other ways. No battery issues and so much lighter and longer cut duration.

  31. Johanna says:

    We also bought a Solaris in 2009 and were initially thrilled with it. We have a good size lawn so invested in 4 batteries so we were sure to complete the lawn in one session. The batteries have significantly lost their charge this year, and we did keep them charged over the winter. Tonight our lawn was particularly dry and I thought it would be a good night to mow. I was doing well until I changed out the second battery and the connection in the battery unit broke from the battery casing. When we went to change the battery the lawn mower ceased working completely. The tech support in the past has been poor at best. They continually shipped us the wrong part when the piece that starts the mower wasn’t working properly. At this moment my husband is in the garage swearing at the mower because, it appears, the connections had come loose and weren’t installed properly to begin with. So now we’ve invested over $500 on this lawn mower to reduce our carbon footprint and will most likely need to invest in a new mower. Ironically, I just mowed my mother’s lawn with the mower she and my father bought close to 30 years ago. It’s been a very frustrating experience and I would discourage any purchases of this lawnmower.

  32. John A. says:

    Our Solaris is still doing ok. The batteries are now 1 1/2 years old. I’d guess another year or so before I need to look at replacement. Probably I will get some Panasonic AGM batteries as they are more durable. Might mess about with some LiFePO batteries if I get ambitious.

    I am still loving the quietness of the machine, fumeless operation and not having to haul and muck with gasoline and oil changes. In fact I liked the electric mowing experience so much I got a (corded) electric weed trimmer, and an electric car!

  33. Ken says:

    If anyone is interested in parts for Solaris (4 batteries, controller, blade, etc; motor broken) please check out my posting on craigslist.com. Just search Solaris Cordless Mulching Lawn Mower, for parts.

    I noticed there is a working Solaris for $180 but my offer includes 4 batteries and I’ll even throw in the solar panel.

  34. Ron says:

    My Solaris EPIC has apparently died, no lights on the panel, no sound, no nothing. My son said a little smoke came from the mower, I smelled a faint burnt electronics smell. Just a few days short of its 4th year in service. I think I’ll be going for a 36V Worx mower next, I just like the convenience of the electric vs gas.

    I wish it had lasted longer, but it did save me considerable money over the past 4 years vs the lawn guy @ 25/week, so I’m not too bothered about it.

  35. Eric says:

    Had this mower for 3 summers with mostly positive reviews. I bought it used with 1 year already on it. Would cut a decent sized lot on a single charge no problem. The issue I had was last year it would suddenly cut out sometimes even though the battery was fully charged. The issue was the electrical connection to the batteries inside the plastic casing was loose and whenever the battery moved it would lose power. The battery clips also needed a little TLC.

    With a little re wiring you could buy any standard 20-24Ahr battery for this mower and be guaranteed on it’s manufacture date and quality. To the DIYer, this mower is much more efficient in the long run, but for the regular consumer, it has some design flaws when it comes to the battery. You think you’ll be able to find those expensive Li-Ion replacement batteries in 5-10 years for other units?

    I believe a lot of these claimed battery issues, even with newly bought units, are caused by bad connections.

    • Jerry says:

      Hi Eric,

      My batteries died recently on the Solaries and I am looking to replace them.

      Can you elaborate on the changes to the wiring of the standard batteries 20-24Ah and also where can I get them.

      Are these bateries fitting in the slot alocated of the mower?

      Regards
      Jerry

  36. Julia says:

    I’m in my 4th summer using the Solaris and have required purchasing batteries every two years. But I do keep it charged at all times when NOT in use. This mower replaced a 4 hp self-propelled Craftsman, but can not fully pull itself up my steep WV hills, draining the batteries. So I divide my yard in 1/2 – requiring two separate days of mowing. Even so, my yard always has individuals commenting how well it appears using a battery mower. As a female senior and asthmatic, I’m very pleased with the product and do not regret the purchase and performance.

  37. Dilshad Farrkh says:

    I have had this lawnmower for two years, was working fine a week ago.
    This time around it would not start at all…had batteries checked..they are holding the charge fine ane are good…Why would it not start, when used last week no trouble at all…Can the motor die, just sitting there, even not being used and why?.

  38. Dilshad Farrukh says:

    Having good batteries, why would it not start when it worked fine just last week….Had battries checked by the battery depot…Holding the charge
    really good at present….

  39. ed says:

    Same battery problem. I’m on my second set. Got the same bull from Linamar about leaving battery on charger all winter. So I did. In the first season of the new batteries I could not completely cut my 5000 sq ft lawn. Whether it is that the batteries are old (and, as you point out) undated, or some other problem Linamar has a bad product for which you pay dearly and for which others are continuing to pay dearly thinking they are doing the right thing for the environment. BAD PRODUCT. BAD COMPANY to pull such a scam.

  40. PJ says:

    I’ve had this electric push mower for at least 3 years. It never gave me trouble; I don’t have a huge lawn, maybe 1/3 acre tops, so I would always be able to do the front half on one charge, sometimes have enough left to finish the back. Over the years the charge diminished a bit but still was able to do the entire front and side on one charge, then charge up overnight and do the back half the next day. Piece of cake. Oh and I never kept the batteries charged when not in use. I always thought that was bad for battery life in general. Never had a problem.

    Today for the first time ever I mow the front half. Started the back half. Got this godawful sound that I never heard before come from the mower. Kind of starting high-pitched and then nose-dive down like airplanes in the cartoons. The mower didn’t start, the blade didn’t move, nothing was stuck as far as I could tell. The batteries were fully charged, and just to be sure, I charged them again. That was not the problem. God I’m hoping this machine is not finished, and whatever it is is reparable. I was hoping to get at least ten years out of this thing.

    Has anyone else had this problem? Any idea what it could be? Who services these machines?

  41. PJ says:

    By the way, I agree with the commenters above who complained about the customer service; it is horrid and it is clear the people on the other end of the line couldn’t care less about satisfying a customer.
    The last time I contacted someone they told me the name of the company had changed; also they are no longer selling the solar powered charger (which was the reason I called). There really is no accountability with this company. I wrote them an e-mail asking for help for my current problem (see previous post) and we’ll see if they respond. My guess is they won’t and I’ll be stuck with an expensive but dead electric mower. Which is too bad because up until now I’ve been fairly pleased with the mower, and had to fend off all the naysayers who thought I was crazy buying an electric mower. I guess they were right all along.

  42. Aaron says:

    I, like many others here, bought my self-propelled Solaris in June, 2009. I’ve replaced the batteries once (6/2011) with the factory type replacements from Home Depot online, and I paid $99+tax with free shipping. This was after the 2nd season when the original batteries started to run for a very short time. I have about 3200 square feet of lawn to mow in 3 sections, so I didn’t think it unreasonable for the mower to keep a charge through all of it. When it was new, it would mow the whole lawn (barely). The second year on the original batteries, it would mow the large section, then crap out in the middle of either of the other 2 sections… so I started mowing over 2 days, doing the large part in one day, and the other 2 smaller sections on the other day.

    In June, 2011, I found I wasn’t even able to get one small section done on a charge, so I opted (after reading numerous postings on sites like this) to pay for another set of batteries. I was back in business, but started researching my options for next time I knew I’d have to buy batteries. I was hoping the company would work on offering a NiMh or LiFePo battery replacement for their heavy & short-lived SLA batteries, but it appears they’ve completely stopped supporting these mowers. I kept my batteries on the charger in the mower (green light on the charger after the initial charge) all winter during the off-season. This did not help their longevity. For reference, I live in Yuba City, CA, where the summers get over 100*F, winters down to 30*F. The batteries were kept charged in the mower in the garage all the time.

    Now, in the summer of 2014, I had started my research again, and I’d found a couple battery companies that made LiFePo batteries that would fit & offered the required (claimed) amp-hours of 20Ah or better. These were the Shorai & Deltran (Battery Tender brand) lithium iron phosphate batteries. I emailed Deltran & they did not recommend using their batteries in my mower due to the high-usage cycle. They stated:

    “Thank you for your interest in Battery Tender Lithium batteries! Unfortunately, our batteries will not be a very good fit for your application. Our Lithium batteries are designed for an engine start application where they will accept a heavy in-rush current to turn over a motor, then be recovered by an alternator or some charging source. They do not have a great amount of reserve capacity which is what you need for running an electric motor.

    Good luck in your search!

    Chase Clarke
    Manager of Special Markets
    Deltran Corporation
    386-736-7900 x251
    http://www.batterytender.com

    Since I’m not yet inclined to spend the kind of money these batteries cost (about $250 each), I decided to purchase these SLA batteries & figure out how to attach them to my mower’s terminal clamps so I can use these lead acid batteries for another couple seasons until prices drop on the lithium options (or the motor dies & I end up buying one of the new LiFePo pack powered mowers). http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001G8FY38/ref=oh_details_o02_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    I’ll post up some pics and links when I get the new batteries & let people know how they work & how they last down the road. I’m not as into “being green” as I am into not having to rebuild the carb on my Briggs & Stratton mower engine every year because of the horrible ethanol they put in our fuel here (and yes, I put stabilizer in the fuel ALL THE TIME, not just over the winter).

    I did add a high-lift blade to pull the grass blades up for better cutting, as well as effectively blowing the cut grass into the bag. I don’t usually mulch, but I might start doing that if it will make my lawn stay greener – at which point I’ll probably swap back to the original blade. I have sharpened the blades (all of them) using my bench grinder, then balanced them to be sure they’re not going to bend the motor’s main shaft.

    Thanks, Dan, for giving some of us a place to find some info & vent about our experiences. Hopefully, I’ll have some better news for those of you wanting a cheaper option to continue using your cordless mowers until a better battery option comes along.

  43. Lance Iverson says:

    This is an example of a company that supports the auto industry trying to give electric technology a bad name. The product is excellent, only the batteries are substandard. Are you trying to tell me that the biggest manufacturer of auto parts in Canada cannot make a decent lead acid battery, a technology tnat has been around for a hundred years? They obviously want the technology to fail, so that you will all go back to gas mowers. If you do that you will be playing right into their hands, Don;t give up on electric.

  44. Aaron says:

    Here’s the battery “upgrade” I made after going through a couple sets of batteries on this mower. https://www.flickr.com/photos/we3pollards/sets/72157644604934792/

    I was tired of spending $100 every 2 years or so on new sealed lead acid batteries since the factory 20 Ah batteries don’t hold up like they should. I’m hoping these 22 Ah SLA batteries last longer than 2 years of lawn mowing, as they should hold up to at least a couple hundred recharge cycles. I used an angle grinder to cut off the posts from the OEM batteries, then drilled them & made 90-degree brackets to attach the terminals to these universal batteries. For reference, I ordered them through Amazon, but I had bad luck with 2 vendors there, as the first set of 2 batteries arrived thinly packed in USPS boxes, one of the batteries cracked & leaking. The replacement battery from the same vendor arrived packaged the same way & cracked, as well. I tried another vendor, and they sent the battery the same way – packed thinly & via USPS – and it arrived cracked and unusable. I finally went with another vendor & received a good battery, so I am in business now. Here’s the link to the ones I bought: http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B001G8FY38/ref=dp_olp_new?ie=UTF8&condition=new Got the properly-packaged one from the vendor named New Web Sales.

    I’ll post again when I find how they perform after a year or 2 of use.

    • Matt says:

      Thanks a lot, Aaron. I was wondering if there was a way to get new batteries to be compatible with this mower, and your solution has all the elements I’m looking for – simple and straightforward.

      My experience – I’ve had mine since early 2010 (wife bought it, maybe late ’09) and it held up well for 4 years. No issues with the mower, and the battery performance, while declining, was still enough to do our entire lawn in one charge (say 30-40 min, not using the self-drive function).

      Batteries died this year – with all the testimonies I guess I should be glad they lasted this long. Did not keep them on the charger at all, but I also doubt I ran them to empty before charging (never had it die on me during a mow). Still, just from anecdotal evidence the ones who charged 24/7 seemed to have them die faster than those who didn’t.

      I’m glad I found this site – I’ve been having a hell of a time getting HomeDepot.com to send me a replacement pair (live in Canada, HomeDepot.ca no longer has them), but now I’d assume I’d likely end up with a set made in ’09 with a quarter charge left. Again, anecdotally it sounds like all replacement batteries don’t perform well, or at best it’s a crapshoot if you get a decent set.

      I’m going to try the retrofit – hoping a store sells them because the lawn is already out of control and waiting a couple of weeks isn’t a good option (or I’ll go door-to-door and borrow a neighbor’s mower to tide me over).

      • Aaron says:

        Matt – if you can find a local store that has them for the price I paid, that would be ideal. I called my local Batteries Plus & they wanted over $80 each, while I paid about $45 each for them online. My solution works if you’re handy & have a drill, angle grinder with a cutoff wheel, and a bench grinder & tin snips helps (unless you buy some 90 degree shelf brackets instead of cutting a 1/2″ EMT strap in half & bending it into a usable bracket). I originally had bought a couple sets of short red & black battery leads (advertised for riding mowers or golf carts) and some screw-in battery terminals that turned out to be too big to fit in the terminal clips/sockets on the mower. That’s when I decided to just cut the terminals off the old batteries & drill them.

        I mowed the largest section of my lawn & the 10 x 60′ section along the side the other day. The new 22Ah batteries kept up the pace and didn’t die before I finished mowing. I should have timed it, but I’m pretty sure it was around 40-45 min – I’ll time it next time & post up. I used the self-propelled feature about 75% of the time, as that is specifically why I bought this mower and not a different battery powered mower. If I wanted to push this heavy thing around with no self-propelled usage, I could have probably found a lighter non-propelled model at the time.

        Currently, there are many manufacturers getting in on the game of battery powered mowers, many of which use lithium polymer batteries that are much lighter than SLA’s & charge much faster. None that I’ve found, though, are self-propelled. If someone made a self-propelled mower that’s at least 20″ wide, used lightweight lithium polymer battery packs that charged quickly & could be rotated throughout a longer mowing cycle for a larger lawn, I’d probably buy one & try to sell the Solaris. At least for now, I have a solution that works. If these batteries only last 2-3 years, as well, I’ll probably just buy another set & swap the fabricated terminals to the new batteries – unless someone comes out with a better mower in the next 2-3 years.

    • Robert says:

      Aaron — thanks so much for posting this information, the pictures, and the links. I’m dealing with the same battery life issue that all the other folks post here are dealing with and was on the verge of going rogue, buying a couple of 12-volt batteries, and doing something will alligator clips, but your solution is a heck of a lot more elegant. I don’t have an angle grinder, but maybe the hacksaw or the dremel will get it done. In any case, really appreciate your taking the time to document what you’ve done.

      I think we all bought into battery mowers too early, by the way. The new stuff looks to me like it’s a lot better thought out.

  45. chris says:

    my solaris non self propelled mower motor died and my batteries are still not too bad

  46. Mick Abraham says:

    I’m hunting for a used self propelled version Solaris mower. I would like to get it without the batteries so I don’t have to ship those to my location in SW Colorado. (Lead batteries can be turned in for proper recycling in almost any town.) If the charger is missing or broken that’s OK, too…since I’m sort of a battery nerd. It would be nice to get a machine with low miles on it and of course would be nice if it worked OK except for the battery problems. Send email to: mick@abrahamsolar.com Thanks & Jolliness!

  47. Mike says:

    Hello Dan,

    First 2 yrs of owning my self-propelled Solaris 2010 model was great and I’d thought I’d made the right choice for many reasons. 3rd year degradation of the batteries only allowed me to cut 3/4 of the lawn. Now, in it’s 4th year, the batteries have been replaced and worked great but now I’m noticing a motor issue where the motor stops when the lawn mower is tilted/turned in any direction. This further developed into an issue where I didn’t even have to make a tilt/turn anymore but just move it forward and the motor just quits. At first, when the motor stopped working, when I tilted mower to change directions, it almost seemed like there was a level sensor issue? However, now, the motor just randomly stops when moving forward (distance varies) or tilting to move in different direction. Just wondering if anyone else are experiencing these symptoms?

    So, after almost 4 yrs of use, it looks like I’m going to have to replace this lawn mower which cost about $600(taxes in) another $150(taxes in) to replace batteries. And trying to find tech bulletins for these mowers have turned out to be a negative experience, along with support from linamar.

    I’m a frustrated consumer because I’m trying to do the right thing for our environment and I read about the savings on gas (not to add the plus for not emitting carbon m. into our environment). and yet who’s saving any money here? Not me!

    Thanks for the informative posts, it’s definitely helped knowing I’m not alone with battery issues. I would really be interested in knowing if anyone is experiencing motor problems that I mentioned above?

    Mike

  48. Marsha Thompson says:

    Just found your comments and had to add mine. I have had my Solaris lawnmower for 6 years. The battery life has decreased about 20-25%. I have never had a problem with it. It was on sale for $300 when I bought it so even when I have to replace it I have gotten my money’s worth. It was one of very few impulse purchases I have made – I usually research things till I’m exhausted – and it was a very good decision. Sorry to hear of others’ problems. For once I didn’t get the lemon.

  49. Dan says:

    I’ve had two Linamowers. An Epic and a Utopia. Both purchased 2nd hand. The motors quit in both of them. Batteries are good. It will make a half a rotation, then stall. I suspect the issue is with the brushless motor controller. Essentially, the brain of the motor that tells it when to switch poles. Im going to try my luck with a replacement motor ($100).

  50. Tom says:

    I am having problems with my Solairis Model SP21HB. As I read these comments, I am beginning to understand the problem is with the batteries. The scary part is if you try to contact the manufacturer, either by email or phone (1-519-515-1000) you get no response. I love the mower. When it works, it is great. As stated by other owners, the batteries will not allow a full cut. The unit will stop about half way through. It might start up once but that is it. Take it back and charge up the batteries and finish the job the next day. I am at a point now where the mower will not start up at all. This is after 3 days on the charger. Does anyone know if Solaris is still in business. I see that Home Depot (where I purchased the unit) does not carry them anymore nor does Lowe’s.

    • Dan says:

      Hi Tom,

      I believe they went out of business a few years ago. I would have liked to have seen them try lithium batteries, yet with all the well publicized issues that those ‘hoverboard’ things had last Christmas, I’m not sure what ‘electric’ technology is safe and usable.

      Dan

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