Most Clicked OPEI SmartBrief Stories

1. How to safely use stand-on mowers on slopes

OPEI SmartBrief | Jul 29, 2015

Stand-on mowers are increasing in popularity, and manufacturers offer a variety of safety tips for using them on slopes. For example, Wright Manufacturing cautions that if a stand-on mower loses traction on a slope, the operator should jump off to the high side of the mower. Equipment owners should also ensure the tires are in good condition by keeping them properly inflated and replacing any worn-out tires. (07/27)

2. Vision-based navigation system for robotic mowers would not need wires

OPEI SmartBrief | Jul 28, 2015

A university student and professors are working on an omnidirectional, vision-based navigation system to help guide autonomous robotic mowers. The team has partnered with John Deere and hopes the technology will help the manufacturer bring its robotic mowers to the U.S. market. Using the system, a mower would be able to detect and avoid obstacles and humans, in addition to staying within the boundaries of a yard without using wires. Daily Illini (University of Illinois) (07/27)

3. Man converts Cub Cadet mower to run on lithium polymer batteries

OPEI SmartBrief | Jul 27, 2015 (07/26)

4. Alternative fuel could be answer to ethanol problems

OPEI SmartBrief | Jul 31, 2015

An alternative blend of fuel that uses isobutanol instead of ethanol could help prevent damage to carburetors and other components in small engines. Isobutanol fuel is more expensive, and its availability is currently limited to a few Texas locations, but it may be the solution for lower emissions without ethanol usage. "One huge thing is it's not hygroscopic like ethanol, so you don't have the problems with moisture and phase separation," said Jess Hewitt of Gulf Racing Fuels. Houston Chronicle (tiered subscription model) (07/25)

5. Consumer Reports gives tips on mowers, common lawn problems

OPEI SmartBrief | Jul 27, 2015

Mowing the lawn between 3½ to 4 inches can help control crab grass during its growing season, according to this Consumer Reports guide on common lawn problems. It also recommends a variety of self-propelled mowers such as the Honda HRR2169VLA, Toro Super Recycler 20381 and Troy-Bilt TB-280ES 12AGA26G. For push mowers, it recommends models including the Yard Machines 11A-B96N and Black & Decker SPCM1936. (07/24)

6. Safe generator use requires proper placement, precautions

OPEI SmartBrief | Jul 27, 2015

Generator users should ensure safety by only using them outdoors with the exhaust facing away from buildings, the Massachusetts departments of fire safety and public safety say. Users should also make sure any nearby properties have working carbon monoxide alarms. Other tips include allowing the generator to cool prior to refueling and plugging appliances directly into the generator or into a heavy-duty, outdoor-rated extension cord. (07/26)

7. Early treatment is key in preventing crabgrass

OPEI SmartBrief | Jul 31, 2015

Good turf maintenance, including mowing high and watering weekly, is the best way to prevent crabgrass. Granular pre-emergence herbicides that contain bensulide, dithiopyr, oxadiazon or trifluralin are also effective at blocking the weed. (07/17)

8. Turf removal isn't solution to drought, says OPEI president

OPEI SmartBrief | Jul 29, 2015

Outdoor Power Equipment Institute President Kris Kiser warns that removal of turf to reduce water consumption is a bad idea due to long-term consequences for carbon absorption. In Southern California, property owners plan to remove more than 170 million square feet of turf, according to data from the region's Metropolitan Water District. But in Sacramento and L.A., "you guys have an ocean of asphalt and concrete, and grass helps cool the air," Kiser said. "And frankly, it's a fire block." (07/24)

9. How does a car thief stay alive? Guile and a case of mistaken identity

OPEI SmartBrief | Jul 31, 2015

Dan Ott is one of northeastern Ohio's most notorious car thieves, with multiple prison stints during decades of criminal activity. His stories include stealing a cow on a whim and claiming to have stolen Elizabeth Taylor's car -- and her dog. But Ott is able to brag about his crimes, in part, because a hit man in 2006 killed an innocent man with the same name who also lived in Ohio. Cleveland Scene (07/29)

10. How to end your presentations on a high note

OPEI SmartBrief | Jul 31, 2015

Great presentations and speeches can be undone with a weak or dull ending, writes Michelle Mazur. "When you nail your speech, your audience becomes your advocates and wants to spread and talk about your message. The last words you utter on that stage should enable them to do that with ease," she writes. Communication Rebel blog (07/28)

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