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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I recently bought this "new to me" blower and thought I'd do a little show and tell review of it!

This all started while I was filling in for the public works director last month at the small town that I work while he was on vacation. The town had recently bought a brand new Stihl BR600 blower that hadn't been used yet all of which you could say, I had the enjoyment of breaking in. I have had some hands on experience with these particular blowers when I worked at a John Deere dealer as a teen and used to set them up straight out of the box, however never actually used one as they were intended for so this was a real treat. The thing had POWER, so much in fact that when you hit the throttle, it made it hard to even walk forward or stand as soon as the tube came anywhere near the ground. Comparing this real blower to my puny Homelite backpacker was no comparison at all. It was like you could just stand in one spot almost and blow whatever you wanted anywhere. I was sold.

I have had two Homelite blowers, one a backpack and the other a hand held which I've had for many many years that's had a ton of usage and amazingly won't die. The backpack which I got a few years ago as a gift was a nice blower, but it would refuse to start anytime it was cold and it recently just lost spark completely for some reason. The carburetor was one of those non-adjustable EPA mandated types, so not much could be done to help correct cold starting matter either. Since I was sold on the idea of a commercial grade blower but didn't want to spend $600 on a brand new one, I through a few searches out there on Ebay and CL for fun and noticed that a lot of them were selling the same or cheaper than what it would cost to buy a brand new home owner type blower that is a lot less powerful. However, the majority of the used ones obviously came out of landscaping companies and had seen a lot of use and abuse. I figured that it wasn't too much to lose and would be fun to own one of these big commercial grade units if I could find one in decent shape.

Experiment?

This brought up the opportunity, or experiment if you will, of how a used commercial grade blower that's in fair condition would hold up for homeowner use compared to a new residential, box store type.

I'm Through With the Homelite

Well, I decided I was done with my cheap Homelite backpacker so I listed it for 'parts or fix' and ended up selling it for a decent profit to a gardener who said he could repair it, thus put the cash towards a different one. I ended up coming across an Echo PB-755, the most powerful model they offered a few years ago, that an Ebayer had taken some good photos of which appeared to be in fairly decent condition and not held together by duct tape. I did a little research on the particular model and there didn't seem to be a lot of major problems or complaints with it, so after a couple of bids I ended up winning the auction. Had I been smart and planned a little further ahead, I would have purchased one of these earlier in the year when they aren't so much in demand and probably could have saved a little more.

The Machine Itself

Cosmetically, it's in pretty good shape considering what it is, but there's no doubt that it's had seen its fair share of use. The seller boxed it up well, so it luckily arrived undamaged with no cracked or broken parts. Haha, I was really surprised while I was lifting it out of the box to see about a half a tank of gas sloshing around in it! Doesn't it go something like "are there any fragile, hazardous or perishable items inside?" when you're at the post office? Well…..

Anyway, It started easily and seems to have quite a bit of compression, I'm able to lift the whole blower off the ground just by lifting the pull cord and it takes a good yank to get her to spin up. It runs out well, seems to have a lot life in the motor and is even surprisingly quieter than I imagined it to be. During the first 5 minutes or so of use it had decent haze of smoke rolling out of back, but then slowly cleared all the way up. Maybe it hadn't been used in a while or something.

Was It Worth It?

Only time will tell. Overall, I'm pretty happy with it. It doesn't quite have the knock you off your feet thrust the Stihl has, but it is no comparison to my previous backpack and will easily cut the wet leaf blowing time in half than before I'm sure.
Here is the video portion along with the photos below.





Tune-Up and Missing Tube

It was missing the last tube extension, so I had to purchase one of those separately. While I was at it, I also picked up a tune up kit while as the air cleaner needed replacing and the fuel filter and spark plug probably hadn't of ever been replaced either. Cheap parts fortunately, so still within budget.

















 

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That's a nice blower! Sounds like you have it running well too in the video. :cool:

Sure beats my cheap Craftsman handheld all to heck. It's really little more then the cordless version of my old Weed Eater electric as far as airflow. ;)
 

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That sure is a nice blower!

I've never used a backpack blower before, but I'm sure I would not get a sore arm like I do with my Tanaka handheld blower.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sounds like you have it running well too in the video. :cool:
She runs pretty good! :)

I've never used a backpack blower before, but I'm sure I would not get a sore arm like I do with my Tanaka handheld blower.
Yeah, they're nice if you're going to be blowing for a long period of time because they alleviate a sore arm as you describe.

The handhelds are nice for small jobs when you're not going to be blowing a whole lot. It beats slingling something on and off your back.
I like my small handheld for blowing off the sport court or to blow out the garage real quick. :)
 

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I mostly use my handhelds for cleaning the drive and walks. Also works decent on light powdery snow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You got neat stuff Austen. Hey, maybe if you put a second nozzle on it you could make it work like one of those experimental jet pack things the Army tried back in the 60s or so.:p

HowStuffWorks "Barriers to Jet Pack Development"
Haha,

Yeah that jet pack almost looks like backpack blower from a distance doesn't it.

I'm sure if you were somehow able to attach a couple of these to your back, point the tubes at the ground and give 'em wot that you would feel a fair amount of up force.
 

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You got neat stuff Austen. Hey, maybe if you put a second nozzle on it you could make it work like one of those experimental jet pack things the Army tried back in the 60s or so.:p

HowStuffWorks "Barriers to Jet Pack Development"
;) Funny you mention that. I was going to suggest to Austen a pair of roller skates while using it on the pavement for some added fun. :D
 

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;) Funny you mention that. I was going to suggest to Austen a pair of roller skates while using it on the pavement for some added fun. :D
Well lookie here! As they're always saying on television..."Folks, don't try this at home!"


But again, you got cool stuff Austen. Both old school and new, and you sure take good care of it all. Keep us posted on how it works for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Well lookie here! As they're always saying on television..."Folks, don't try this at home!"

Power Skating - YouTube

But again, you got cool stuff Austen. Both old school and new, and you sure take good care of it all. Keep us posted on how it works for you.
Wow, what an idea there! :D That is pretty funny too watch, I'm sure that she gets some looks going down the street like that.

Thanks Bruce, I try and do my best with it. You've got a great collection yourself! I always enjoy reading about your machines and hope to hear more about them!

Hey, nice review, Austen! Good photos and nice descriptions. A person could really tell from reading your review if this was a machine of their liking.

Thanks!
Thanks Brad! I always enjoy making them.
 

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AUSTIN,

I did not see the price you paid for your Echo blower but if it is working properly you have a quality unit. I have an Echo PB255 which is their top of line hand held, but not quite as nice as a backpack. I use mine up to 7-8 times a day 5 days a week on properties. I purchased it used from a local lawnmower service shop for $100 & he included a 90 warranty on it. it's goes new for $200. I've used it around 60 days now without a problem. A little trick I've learned is to use Seafoam additive to the gas. It keeps the 2 strokes running well by clearing out all the carbon buildup. 2 strokes can be temperamental so we need all the help we can get. Getting commercial gear is key for longevity & dependability as long as it is maintained. You don't have to break the bank either if you are a bargain hunter, as I am, lol. I've recently purchased the used blower, a Husky 326 string trimmer & a Poulan Pro 21" mower with a Honda engine all used for a $100 a piece. Being patient, doing your homework, shopping Craigslist & calling lawn mower shops for used gear is where I've gotten lucky.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks Yardude, those are some great tips. It sounds like you have scored some great deals out there!

I agree how commercial equipment is quite suited more for durability and longevity over homeowner equipment. Like you said, maintenance is key when it comes to longevity. Hopefully this machine hasn't had too much hard abuse that it still has some decent life left in it. :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Fall Update:

Well, all the leaves have finally fallen and been cleaned up for the year so I thought I'd do a follow up on how this blower worked out over this season.

One word, excellent! It hasn't skipped a beat and has been working flawlessly. Over the past couple of weeks on an off, I used it quite a bit so I've been able to really get to know it even better and find some more things I like about it as well as really pin point the negative aspects as well.

Compared to my previous backpack blower, there is truely no comparison. This thing is a no doubt a tool designed for one purpose and one purpose only: To blow a lot of stuff, no matter how big or small, fast in a short amount of time. With the old one I would sometimes even have to work the leaves with the tube to get them move but with this, no matter how big or deep the pile seemed, I could just stand there and move them where ever I wanted to. I felt like I was almost mowing the lawn as I would make stripe after stripe by blowing the leaves to the very back making a large pile, then blow them all into the garden to break down. It is also a very smooth machine as well and you don't feel hardly any vibrations on your back and zero through the handle which is pretty impressive for something like this. I love the sound of letting off the gas because it remsembles a turbo and kind makes a *woosh* sound from the large induction like it's spooling down.

Like I said, I was able to put some decent time into it over the past couple of weeks which allowed me to find the some of the quibbles. The first being that is just big and heavy, especially with a full tank of fuel. After about 15 minutes of useage, it starts to get heavy to the point where you want to take it off and rest your back. Getting it on and off your back isn't the easiest thing in the word to do either because of the weight and size of the machine. It is a little cumbersome. The second thing is not such a big deal to me because I'm not a landscaper and using it daily where I would be having to fill it up constantly, but fuel consumption is worse than you would expect it be. The tank size is large, at least over 1/2 a gallon, probably 3/4 of a gallon and it goes through it a good bit quicker than you would anticipate. There's nothing wrong with the blower, it runs great and had a tune-up, but I think because of the larger engine size and all, that's what you get. More power = more fuel consumption.

So to recap:

Positives:

-POWER

-Smooth

-Excellent reliablility so far

-Did I mention, POWER? :D

Negatives:

-Heavy: Starts to get heavy after a while on your back

-Cumbersome to take on and off

-Fuel consumption

All in all, I'm really glad that I got it (even more so than before) because it is a totally different animal than my previous one even though it may be quite a bit heavier. It makes fall clean up and average blowing a peace of cake and so far, it hasn't skipped a beat. :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Fall 2012 Update

Well, now that its been a full year since the purchase of the used Ebay blower, I thought that I would do an update on it after it has once again made fall clean-up and general use a super easy task.

So, after one year of useage, how is it holding up? Great! Similar to last years' fall update, it has been performing flawlessly. I normally use it at about ten minutes at a time two or three times a month, but it has seen a few whole tankful useages in one blowing that were at a continuous full throttle setting. It has had zero problems. I run it a little richer than the called 50:1 setting as I do with similar machines with no ill effects. One of its characteristics that I think is kind of cool is the sound of the induction which resembles somewhat of a turbo. Releasing the throttle quickly after a WOT stint results a nice, slow, spiral down of what you'd almost guess is a small turbocharger spooling down.

I only have one complaint about this blower. It's that it is HEAVY. The worst part by far is simply having to move it around by hand when it's not on your back. What a chore. After filling it up with a full tank and then mounting it onto your back is not fun either. Oddly enough I don't really notice the weight once its been on my back for a while and I don't have pain after using it either which is good. This where the top of the line Stihl BR series backpack blowers really excel over this one in my opinion.
 

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Thanks for the update. Looks like you had a few leaves there to test it with. :D

I spent over an hour with my cheap Craftsman handheld today and it took another four hours for my hands to quit vibrating. :rolleyes:
 

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Looks like a little beast! Surprised it doesn't have a shoulder strap or does it?
I was going to start looking for one myself, preferably an ECHO or STIHL but just yesterday I stopped at a garage sale and found a little Homelite which looked barely used for $20. I started it right up and cleaned the owners sidewalk off for him and bought it. Its small and light weight and I figured if it lasts me a season or two, hey, it was only $20! Or if it blows up..hey, it was only $20 :ROFL
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
It has the two shoulder straps in the front like a normal backpack, but that's it in terms of support.

I think you made a good purchase on your Homelite! I have a Homelite handheld blower that I've had for over a decade now and I can't believe that it still runs after all that its been through, lol. Kind of like the Energizer bunny that just keeps going and going and going. It's a great machine for uses such as what you described and I mainly use it as an alternative to the big guy for small jobs when I want to blow off the sport court real quick.
 
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