Renewable Energy Experiment Kit For Kids.

Too bad I never had this when I was a kid. This Renewable Energy Experiment Kit has a wind turbine, solar cell, electrolytic cells, and a hand-operated dynamo which generate electricity that is stored in a rechargeable battery. The stored energy can then be distributed through the integrated circuit board to power a motor, LEDs, and buzzer using wiring terminated with alligator clips. This is way better than that awful chemistry set I had back in the 1970s. (Yes, I realize this dates me, but oh well) The kits sourcebook explains different methods for reducing energy costs at home while providing a primer about the worlds energy sources. Maybe this will help to create more adults interested in working in the renewable energy sector!

New Lehr Propane Eco Trimmer Test and Review

Being a green blogger can be good, and I was excited to be doing this test and review for Lehr. The unit arrived in a well designed, green, cardboard box with almost everything you need to know about this particular model, printed on the outside. Of course the main selling feature is the fact that it is powered by Propane instead of gasoline, so I thought the Twist n Go! logo was rather ingenious.

According to the box 17 million gallons of gasoline are spilled every season, using lawn and garden equipment. This is a staggering amount of spillage, but I believe it because I have probably spilled quite a few gallons myself over the course of my life. You know that nervous feeling you get when you have to refill a hot hot mower or trimmer that has run out of gas half way through the job? That half worried feeling of getting gas on the hot engine, and having the thing catch fire, is a thing of the past.

The packaging was nicely done, with just enough but not too much cardboard to hold everything together during shipping. (The cardboard went straight into the recycling bin, of course) One of the things that I was happy to see was that the unit came with nylon trimmer line, already installed. Too often, you have to buy line separately. I was a little disappointed that the trimmer did not come with a free can of propane, but then I thought about the implications and laws surrounding shipping of propane and contents under pressure and realized why they wouldnt include one. Fortunately, Im a camper and I had a six pack of them in my shed.

Out of the box, the unit is pretty straight forward and comes with a carrying sling, engine with drive shaft, curved bottom shaft, carrying handle and trimmer guard. The drive shaft is capable of receiving different types of bottom shafts, such as edgers, extend-able tree trimmers and other such devices.

The placement of the large plastic carrying handle in the center of the shaft is a nice touch. Its big and thick and clamps down to the shaft with heavy screws and spring washers. It feels good in your hand and fills your palm up without being overly awkward.

On the right hand side of the trimmer head, you see the propane cage. There is an internal ring, that once the propane bottle is inserted, snaps down to hold the bottle tight inside the cage. Toward the bottom of the cage, you can see the propane  line coupling.

This angle shows the propane cage and hose coupling. The engine ships dry and included in the packing is a small bottle of oil. The oil reservoir is at a strange angle, but I was able to fill it with the contents of the oil bottle without spilling.

The operating end of the unit is a standard spool and synthetic line setup that works with the bump button feature. When the synthetic line gets too short to work effectively, tapping the button on the bottom of the unit against a hard surface such as a sidewalk, spools more line out.

The literature said that the unit should start with one to two pulls of the pull cord, unless it is the first time using it, in which case it could take up to six. This was the case when I started it, and it started on the sixth pull.

Once started, I was surprised as how quite it was.  (compared to every gas trimmer Ive ever owned) Another thing that I immediately noticed was that it had a steady stream of consistent power, unlike a lot of gas trimmers that stutter and cycle up and down or stall after starting and before warming up.

The Lehr Eco Trimmer does an incredible job doing what its made to do, trimming weeds. There is no hesitation when when engaging the trigger to spin the trimmer head. The curved shaft lends towards a natural feel and places the trimmer head exactly where you want it.

Pros:

  • 95% less released pollutants
  • Consistent, solid power
  • Easy to use and load with propane bottles
  • Solid and well made construction
  • 4 stroke engine means it can handle tall grass and weeds
  • Has the ability to interchange different lawn-care attachments

Cons:

  • Propane bottles are not re-fillable or recyclable
  • Unit is a bit heavier than the average home duty trimmer

UPDATE: I have since found out that propane canisters are recyclable. Coleman has the green key program which allows you to empty the canister completely so it can be recycled.  It is both possible and legal to refill the containers but the manufacturer would prefer that you dont.

The Lehr Eco Trimmer retails for about about $219.00 and could work as well as a commercial trimmer as a home trimmer. I found the trimmer to be very well made, clean, rather quite and powerfull enough to cut cleanly and efficiently through tall grass. The trimmer will run for 2 hours on one bottle of propane and 16 oz. propane tanks can be bought in packs of six for about $9.00. Depending on the size of your lawn, the average owner should easily be able to utilize this trimmer on a weekly basis for less than $10.00 for a full season.

Eco Tech Daily gives the Lear Eco Trimmer, a thumbs up!