Category Archives: DIY – Do It Yourself

The Ryobi RY40620 24″ 40 Volt Hedge Trimmer Is Excellent – Seriously Portable Cutting Power

I told you about my very positive experiences so far with the Ryobi RY40230 String Trimmer in my last post. I bought a RY40620 24″ 40 volt hedge trimmer at the same time because it made a lot of sense to me to buy the whole hedge trimmer kit from Home Depot for $169 vs. spending $129-149 for a spare battery alone.

The box arrived beat up with the battery missing. The unit was undamaged and when I called Home Depot’s customer support number they shipped me a replacement battery right away. I don’t know what happened but I used the battery from the string trimmer and ran the unit without any problem. I was impressed by their customer service – they could have run me in circles but instead moved quickly to do what I asked of them which was to simply send me the correct battery that was missing. No hassle at all. I appreciated that.

I also bought the unit because we previously had a Black & Decker Hedge Hog that did a great job but required an extension cord to work and I wanted to get out to our hedge rows to trim them vs. just the bushes by our house. I also wanted plenty of power because a lot of the branches were 1/2-3/4″ thick.

My experience with the 40 volt Ryobi unit is very good. It came fully assembled and has a ton of power. It’s a tad heavier due to the battery but is well balanced. It will chew through 1″ and even slight larger branches no problem.

One feature is that it can rotate the battery relative to the blade 90 degrees either left or right. I have not needed that feature but it does give you some additional clearance.
I should have taken before and after photos. I am largely done here. The unit made very short work of this hedge. All of the branches were well under a 1/2″. When doing trimmer work, I have not drained a battery yet.
You can see part of the far hedge row. If I could get a branch into a 1″ cutter slot, the hedge trimmer would cut it. It was pretty amazing. I used to do this manually with pruning snips and it took forever. With the Ryobi, I walked along while swinging the unit up and down in arcs and quickly cut back a ton of brush.
This side too. You can’t tell all the brush I cut back here. This isn’t a traditional hedge – more like an overgrown part of our property between us and neighbors,

So, I’ve now used the unit probably 4-5 times to trim parts of the property and probably use it for about a 1/2 hour at a time. No problems – I do lubricate the bar with a spray dry Teflon lubricant just to help it out. Ryobi does not say this is required but I do it anyways.

I’m very impressed by this hedge trimmer and have no reservations recommending it.

If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.

The Ryobi 40 Volt RY40230 Brushless String Trimmer and RYTIL66 Cultivator Are Amazing

Getting ready for this season’s outdoor chores on our 1.5 acre property, I had some decisions to make. For the last two years I had been trying to live with an anemic 18 volt string trimmer that was way, way underpowered for what I needed. I bought it after an old Homelite my father-in-law bought be in 1998 finally gave up the ghost after years of repairs.

The 18 volt Ryobi trimmer simply lacks the power for big lawns where you need to trim around lots of trees, tough to cut areas, etc. It has a single line and you have to make real slow thin cuts to get the work done. With my old Homelite,I had about 30 minutes of work to do on average and living with the old 18 volt Ryobi, it took closer to an hours and two batteries. It did have two things going for it – it was quiet and I didn’t have to mess with 2-cycle gas. So with this current season fast approaching, I started reading up on what to get and it really amounted to my wanting a far more powerful electric trimmer.

Enter The Ryobi 40 Volt RY40230 Line Trimmer

I did quite a bit of reading and opted for the Ryobi RY40230 line trimmer for a number of reasons:

  1. It was 40 volts and the motor had far more power based on all reviews
  2. It was brushless meaning the motor design did not require spring loaded brushes to transfer electricity that wear out and brushless designs tend to have a lot of torque.
  3. It was a Ryobi and it came with a 5 year warranty. Folks, I’ve had good luck with Ryobi battery operated tools.
  4. It used 0.80 line with two strings protruding
  5. Reviews were very favorable
  6. For $199 it came with the trimmer, a 3.0AH battery and a charger
  7. It was expandable – if you look at the Ryobi series of 18 volt and 40 volt tools, they are expanding rapidly. I needed a hedge trimmer also – they had one. I also wanted a light cultivator – they had an attachment that would swap right onto the base trummer.

I took a leap and bought both the edge trimmer and the hedge trimmer. I bought the hedge trimmer because it came with a 40volt battery and charger also. I knew I needed a second battery so rather than just buy a spare battery ($129-149 depending on the capacity) , I bought the whole hedge trimmer kit made way more financial sense (it was $169 with a 4.0Ah battery).

Here are the major parts from the string trimmer. Assembly went very smoothly. The first thing you should do is pull out the charger and start the battery charging while you assemble the rest.
Here it is ready to go, It comes with line already installed in the head plus they give you some additional pre-cut pieces and a winding handle for loading the bobbin.
Here’s a closer look at the business end.

The Test Bed

We have a small garden area that is fenced it. Cutting the grass in there just would kill the 18v Ryobi. This was my first test with the 40v model and as you can see – the grass was about 4-6″ high.

The 40v model would either cut this to my satisfaction or get returned.
Boy, it kicked butt. I saw no power difference between the 40v Ryobi and my old Homelite from years ago. For all I could tell, it was just as strong or stronger. I could cut right into the tall grass and a nice regular pace. I was happy. This also meant buying the cultivator head was worth doing to tackle the old overgrown planting bed on the left.

Folks, this brushless trimmer is dong a great job. I’ve now used it for half the summer and have cut a ton of grass with it. I’d say I get 30-45 minutes from one battery but that depends on how thick the grass is and it’s a best guess also since I cut and move, cut and move, etc. I’m glad I have two batteries as I run one until it is drained and swap it for the other.

Next, let’s talk about the cultivator attachment they offer for it.

The Ryobi RYTIL66 Cultivator String Trimmer Attachment

A few weeks passed before I ordered the cultivator attachment from Home Depot. The string trimmer was doing great on our property so when it came time to tackle that garden bed, I drove over to Home Depot and picked the RYTIL66 attachment up. They do sell a dedicated 40 volt cultivator but since I already had the powerful brushless motor unit, it made more sense to just get the attachment.

When I first opened the box I thought assembly would take a lot longer than it actually did.

It looks daunting but the four steel tines (the wheels that cut into the earth) slide right on and are held in place with supplied cotters keys. The replacemnet handle goes in place of the plastic original. I like that handle so much I just leave it on the unit even when not cultivating.
There is some kind of synthetic felt washer that goes between the tines. Note the holes in the axle, you can run 2 tines, 4 tines or whatever you want. I started with all four.
All four tines installed.
To change heads, loosen the grey locking wing nut and push the silver detebt in. The head pulls right off. Put the new one on and tighten it down – done.
I’m getting started. The head uses a ton of power. I went through about one and a half 4.0ah batteries to do the area that was about 4’x18′ long and I tilled down about 3-4″
Here’s what it looked like after about 30 minutes of work. It did the deepest tilling when I pulled the untit backward. I then went through and removed all the roots that it dug up with a rake. We now have tomatoes planted in there.
Other than losing some paint on the tines, which is totally to be expected, the head and the motor held up just fine.
I liked the handle so much that I use it when trimming too.

The cultivator rocks. Growing up my dad had a big heavy one from Simplicity. Due to its weight, it could really sink down in and tear up the soil. The Ryboi unit is relatively heavy but you still need to do some pushing and pulling to get it to work. It really did a good job given its weight, portability and that it attached to the existing line trimmer shaft and motor. I feel it was worth it and am glad I bought it.

The Bottom Line

The 40 volt string trimmer is totally worth it. The brushless model is considerably more expensive but it ought to last a lot longer and be more powerful. Now that I have used it for half the summer I can say it does a great job. I used the cultivator the one time but I used it hard for half an hour – even my wife was impressed. It’s stored in the shop for the next project.

I’ll post about the hedge trimmer next. It’s also done a very good job and held up well.

If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.

Videos: How to Diagnose Faulty 2008 Toyota Highlander Hood Latch Switch Causing Intermittent Alarm Problems Plus Replacing the Micro Switch

Okay, while researching what to do with my 2008 Toyota Highlander’s flaky alarm, I ran across some good videos you can watch on how to diagnose the switch and even how to replace the microswitch. As for me, I wrote up how I bypassed the sensor by creating a loopback plug from the old sensor’s wire. My approach still allows the rest of the alarm system to work just fine and can be done in less than an hour with little to no cost. With that said, let’s take a look at these really well done videos that helped me think out my approach – especially the first one on diagnosing the switch.

Diagnosing the Switch

The following is the best video I found on diagnosing the problem and he even disassembles the latch to show you what is going on in detail – it’s very well done. This video helped me figure out my approach and kudos to Ozzstar for making it:

If You Want To Replace the Microswitch

This next video is really well done and is specific to the 2008 Highlander. He ordered the same Panasonic automotive grade micro switch that Toyota used: ABS1413409 from Digikey.

I hope this helps you out.

If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.

Easy & Cheap Solution for 2008 Toyota Highland Hood Latch Sensor Switch Causing Faulty Alarms: Make A Loopback Plug

We recently became the new owners of a 2008 Toyota Highlander. It was in great shape and I thought we got a pretty good deal on it. The previous owner disclosed to us that the hood alarm switch was flaky and the car alarm would go off randomly.

After we bought the Highlander and returned home I did some research that night. There is in integral microswitch in the hood latch assembly that detects if the hood is open or closed. The alarm system will not arm if it detects that the hood is open and it will sound an alarm if someone tries to open the hood. Uhm… ok. My first thought was “you can only open it from the inside lever that is protected by the door alarms so why have this one?”

Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your perspective, the switch is a known problem. It’s also one of the rare times where I will say Toyota did a bad design. Putting a basic microswitch in the front of a car where it will get wet all the time and corrode, not to mention the impacts and grease/oil from the latch itself, is not really that good of an idea — at least not to me.

After reading and watching videos, it seemed like there were three options:

  • Replace the whole hood latch assembly that includes the sensor. Third party, these latch assemblies were about $56 on Amazon and $50-60 on eBay. Original Toyota would be higher, of course. Pro: It is pretty easy to remove the assembly and install this one. Con: It’s a relatively expensive and will fail sooner or later unless someone fixed the switch design and sealed it better.
  • Replace just the microswitch. You can get the unit real cheap from Digikey and other suppliers plus there are Youtube videos that show you what to do. The previous owner did this and it worked for about two years he said. Pro: Real cheap (under $10 including shipping). Cons: Takes time and will not last without figuring out some better way to seal the original design.
  • Simply bypass the switch. As mentioned earlier – you can’t open the hood from the outside so what are the odds that someone will successfully break into the car and then open the hood without setting off the alarm? The risk is real low – low enough for me to go with this option. Pro: Easiest of all and is a permanent solution. Con: The hood alarm sensor will no longer work. This is the one I went with.

I’d like to point out that just unplugging the sensor is not an option. Doing that will make the computer think the hood is open and the car alarm will not arm at all. This means you must pick one of the three options listed above. I opted for the last one – I bypassed the sensor by creating a loopback plug – a fancy term meaning I joined the input and output wires together thus making it look like the switch was always closed so the computer would think the hood was closed regardless of whether it was or not.

If you’d like to learn more about diagnosing the problem, seeing how to remove the latch and/or how to replace the microswitch, click here.

What I want to do next is walk you through what I did. If you are not comfortable with basic wiring, I’d recommend against your trying this just to be up front. Always ask yourself if you can reverse what you are about to do or can you recover if something goes wrong – if the answer is “no”, then don’t do it. For example, don’t cut wires off right next to a fitting – leave yourself some pigtails in case you need to reconnect them.

One last comment – these directions are just based on my 2008 Highlander. Different years and models may not be like this. Research your vehicle before doing anything like this.

Bypassing the Sensor

So, to bypass the sensor we just need to create a circuit that normally exists when the switch is closed. First, I needed to get a better look at the location of the wiring so the cover needed to come off.

The plastic cover between the grill and the frame needs to come off. It is held in place by Toyota push-type retaining clips and two 10mm screws. The screws are to the front on the left and right sides. Note that two of the clips on the right side are bigger than the others – this will help you with reassembly later.
I use a small flat screw driver to pop the middle part up. You then grab hold of that, lift up and the clip comes right out.
Just remove the clips and then the plastic cover simply lifts off. I found one more that anchors the grille in the middle of the grille vertically and I removed it. That gave me ample room to work and I did not need to remove the grille given what I planned to do.

I did not take as many photos as I should have so let me explain. With the plastic cover off and the middle anchor clip removed, I had plenty of access to the switch and wiring to see what to do. The wire assembly runs from the hood latch – and there is only one wire – do not pick the hood cable used to open the hood. The wire runs from a small switch in the latch assembly and then plugs into a connector shortly below it.

I inserted a small blade screw driver to release the plug from the socket. To be safe, make sure you confirm the wires that you plan to cut lead up to the sensor and are *not* the wires going to the harness / wiring loom.

Why care? Because if you cut the wires on the sensor side and connect them together, you can easily replace the hood latch assembly and go back to having a sensor if you want. However, if you cut the wiring loom, it’s gone. You can manually splice in but it simply is not an elegant approach.

Note I am saying wires and when you look at the plug it looks like just one black wire. What you are seeing is the insulation tube that is black. Inside are two thin green wires that run from the plug to the sensor switch.

I’ll not get awards for artwork but hopefully this will give you an idea. When I faced my the front of my Highlander, the wiring from the sensor was on the right hand side. You need to confirm this just in case. It is the wire to the sensor switch wire that you want to cut and not the wiring from the harness. On my 2008 Highlander, the harness wiring was on the left.

Once I was certain which wire to cut, I reached in with some snips and cut the wire leaving a couple of inches to work with. DO NOT CUT THE WIRES FLUSH TO THE PLUG!! You need a short length of the wires to connect together to make the circuit loop back.

To make work easier, I took the short wire with the plug on it and worked at a bench where everything was handy, I stripped a bit off the end of each wire, twisted the bare wires together, soldered them, bent them over the small wire pigtail and then used heat shrink tubing and electrical tape to secure everything. Total overkill but I never wanted to bother with this again.

Here’s the finished result. The front of the car is to the left. Part of the hood latch spring is to the upper right and we are looking down at the newly made loopback plug. As far as the alarm system is concerned, the hood is closed. The red color is the heat shrink tube I had on hand. I folded the heat shrink tubing over at the end and then applied electrical tape to seal it.

I installed the newly created loopback plug back into the socket. I then tested the system by turning the alarm on with the key fob, putting the key fob out of signal range in the garage and waited for the system arm. Once the alarm indicator light went solid on the dash, I simply reached in through the open window and tried to open the door from the inside and the alarm went off. Yeah, I had to run back to that fob to shut it off 🙂

If the system thought the hood was open, it would never have armed by the way. That’s why you can’t just unplug the switch. I then reinstalled the plastic cover by installing the clips and then pushing the middle piece down to lock it in place. By the way, remember that the right two clips are bigger than the others. The two 10mm screws went back in with a dab of non-seize on each just in case they ever need to come out again.

That was it – the alarm is happily armed and protecting the Highlander as I write this and not one single false alarm since. I hope this helps you out.

9/3/2019 Update: This has worked great for me. Not one single problem since.

If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.