Choke mode on a Honda mower

Hi,
Before I start, I just want to say that I know next to nothing about engines.
I have an Australian model Honda HRU196D push mower with a GXV160 engine. The throttle has three positions: low, high and choke.
The first time I started the engine while on choke, a lot of fumes came out, which I believe is normal. Once the engine was started, I switched it to "high" and it ran nicely without the smoke. The second time I used the mower, I put it on choke again and started the engine but there was almost no smoke, even when the engine was left in choke mode. When I switched it back to "high", the RPM dropped and it sounded as though the mower was running on "low" and making less noise than when it was on choke.
A couple of questions:
1. Does it sound like the cable that connects the throttle may have come loose, meaning I'm actually unable to get to "choke" mode? In other words, when the throttle appears to be on "high", I'm in fact really only on "low"? 2. If the cable hasn't actually come loose, and I am, in fact, running the mower while on choke all the time, will there be any damage to the engine? 3. Should the RPM be the same when running on choke and when running on "high"?
Thanks,
Han.
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Hi Han, The smoke you saw initially could have come from oil which was put in the cylinders when the engine was layed up last season. This will burn off and cause no problems for future usage. It sounds like you may need a carburator adjustment, if the engine runs faster in choke mode. Depending on the outside temperature, an engine may run faster in choke mode, but once it warms up, it should run better without the choke. Running with the choke on all the time will probably carbon up your plugs, and is not advised. Most carburators are set with the choke off and adjusted to the point of highest rpm with a slight back off to the leaner position just below that. If after the engine warms up and you still need the choke to get it to run at a reasonable rpm, again you probably need an adjustment of the air/fuel ratio on your carb.
Sherwin Dubren
Han Chung wrote:

It could be a cable problem. Does the engine shut off when you put it in the 'off' position? If so, I don't suspect the cable. If you couldn't get to the choke mode, you would have a tough time starting the engine when it is cold.

If in choke all the time, yes.

No. When the engine is cold, the choke should make it run faster. After the engine warms up, the choke usually makes the engine run slower (assuming the air/fuel is set properly).

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Hi Sherwin,
Thanks for the tips!

I forgot to mention that this is a brand new mower. The first time I started it, the throttle was in the highest position and there was some smoke that was coming out until I eased it back a little. Every other time I've used it now (3 times), it starts from that same position first go, but there is no smoke at all and I can mow my whole lawn in that position. If I ease it back to "high" mode, it sounds as though the engine is running much slower. So I'm not really sure if the cable just came a bit loose on my first mow and just needs adjusting.
How can I figure out if I am actually running it in choke mode all the time? Would there be more smoke than normal coming out? Would the engine be noisier?

The engine shuts off properly when put in the "off" position. Come to think of it, it even shuts off in the "low" position, even though the throttle can go beyond "low".
Han.
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