As mentioned in a recent TurfPro blog, Green Is The Colour, a few weeks ago, EGO Power Plus have sent me their latest STX3800 Strimmer with RTX2300 Rotocut head and battery backpack to test.
EGO say the STX3800 is their answer to taming and maintaining rough ground. This cordless tool is equipped with a manual wind bump feed head fitted with dual nylon line which gives a 38cm cutting width. It is also supplied with a 30cm three-tooth brush cutter blade. The company claim the light, yet strong carbon fibre shaft won't bend or lose its shape over time, keeping vibration levels to a minimum.
They also gave me the use of their commercial BAX1500 backpack battery that is compatible for their whole range of power tools with the exception of mowers. The battery includes a power level gauge to help with planning the day’s activities.
Featuring the company’s 56V Arc lithium-ion technology, the new 10Ah battery is the latest addition to a range that already includes 2.5, 5.0 and 7.5AH batteries. The new battery features a standard charge time of just over three hours, or 70 minutes on rapid charge.
This battery is compatible with all EGO power tools including the new 42cm mower as well as trimmers, blowers and chainsaws.
I have now trialled this equipment several times and have become quite competent in its use, learning a lot about how to get the most out of it. I have used it on several of my customers’ gardens, cutting long grass, brambles and bracken.
I was also very keen to see how the EGO Professional -X RotoCut blade would perform.
Changing from one cutting head to another is fairly straightforward, however you require an allen key (supplied) to undo the studs that hold it in place. You also must change the protective guards, depending on which cutting head you use.
As we all know, traditional strimmer cord continually wears out and needs replacing during use, whereas the benefit from using the steel headed RotoCut blade means that you can keep cutting without having to stop.
With two sets of specially designed counter-rotating blades spinning, the technique of cutting is very different from using a typical strimmer cord machine. There is definitely a difference in weight – it is much heavier when you are using the RotoCut head.
Developed to meet the demands of the commercial market, EGO boast the new RotoCut attachment has dual sharpened blades made of high strength alloy steel and a cutting width of 23cm. Combined with an integrated guard, it is designed to cut close to the ground, quickly and safely in areas where scattering debris could be damaging.
I certainly required a different strimming technique when using the RotoCut head. Again depending what you are cutting, I tended to sweep in one direct action to move cut material to one side. It certainly made light work of brambles and heavy vegetation. However, you will need to use and set up the shoulder strap to help balance and take the weight of the strimmer off your arms.
The backpack battery system is light and comfortable to wear, giving you a long working time and it recharges in just over the hour. However, make sure you fully insert the power lead into the strimmer until it clicks to make a good contact. If you do not connect properly it may run, but soon as you put in under load, it stops. That happened to me a couple of times until I realised the problem.
As for recharging the 7.5 amp battery, it is a very easy operation. A quick release button discharges the battery from the harness and then it’s simply a case of sliding it onto the charging unit and switching on the mains power. There are five green charging indicator lights. When all are fully lit the battery is fully charged. On average it takes about 70 minutes to fully charge the battery.
It was then time to try the strimmer head. Considering you have to unscrew a few bolts with an Allen key, changing over from the RTX2300 Rotocut blade to the cord stimmer head was simple and fairly quick. You also need to make sure you have fully inserted the strimmer head onto the internal spline shaft. If you do not, it will not operate.
Perhaps on future models there might be a quick release system fitted to save having to carry around a set of allen keys. I also had to change the guard as you need more protection from the strimming head.
It was then a case of getting used to how the strimmer head performs in terms of accuracy. It took a while for me to get used to how close I could strim near the edge of the lawn without scalping it.
All in all, I was fairly impressed with the overall concept of this product. However, I did find the rotary blade a bit heavy and slower to use than the conventional strimmer cord head.
I really liked the power pack and harness system. It was easy to put on and did not weigh too heavy. A fully charged battery gave me about three hours continuous use, which would accommodate most working situations. Recharge times were good, taking just over the hour to fully recharge the battery.
Hand vibration and noise levels when in operation were minimised, which is one of the selling points of battery powered equipment.
Battery powered products are seemingly getting better by the day. Their clean efficiency and much improved performance and running times are starting to give petrol powered products a run for their money. Yes, they may be a tad more expensive at present, but prices are generally coming down and as we all know, fossil fuelled products will be phased out in the coming years.
EGO have produced the chart above to show the efficiency of battery powered products compared to petrol powered machinery.
In the professional marketplace there may be still end users who currently prefer petrol powered products, but the way battery technology is growing, I believe there soon will be a major switch to the cleaner, safer way of working.
I would like to thank EGO for giving me the opportunity to try out this equipment. It is always good to compare and try out new products. I look forward to trying some more of their products in the near future.