Precision Agriculture is the use of electronics to manage your fields, crops & equipment more consistently and efficiently. It brings a new level of sophistication to the industry. Farmers can use controllers + software + GPS systems to apply products only where needed and at the correct rate. Reduced labor and product expense, accurate tracking of applications and lessening of over or under application are some of the benefits. If you have spent the money, get the most from your equipment by using it to its fullest potential.
- Controller: What does it do?
A computer based console senses ground speed, active boom width (swath) and material flow rate. When a change in ground speed or boom width is detected, the controller changes the material flow rate to maintain a constant, pre-selected application rate. High speed microprocessors and high resolution sensors are used which allow the control of application rate precisely. While that sounds really technical, don’t be intimidated! The controllers of today are designed for easy setup and compatibility with a wide range of electronic add-ons. Raven & TeeJet are the industry leaders.
Raven makes several SCS (spray Control System) models. The SCS system is a console, speed sensor, burbine type flow meter and a motorized control valve. The SCS console works for a single product – liquid or dry.
The console mounts directly in the vehicle cab. The radar speed sensor is mounted to the frame of the vehicle or the GPS speed sensor. The motorized control valve & flow meter mount to the framework supporting the boom. The operator sets a target volume per area to be sprayed and the SCS automatically maintains the flow regardless of vehicle speed or gear selection within the range of the tips.
These systems are reliable & easy to operate BUT they require setup. NCI representatives have made it simple for you. View these documents for step by step instructions on how to set up your systems. Raven SCS 660 Programming Raven SCS 450 Programming Raven SCS 440 Programming
TeeJet ARC6000 has stood the test of time in terms of dependability and ease of use. If you want good results, start with correct setup. NCI has made up a pictorial guide to step-by-step programming for your ARC 6000 in the dry mode. It includes a “cheat sheet” of steps that must be performed to program your ARC6000. Click here to get the NCI instructions.
Click here to additional information from Mid-Tech explaining the variables in your system.
1) Can the ARC6000 be used for both liquid and dry equipment? YES!! A single console can be used on a spreader, removed and used on a sprayer. Even better, calibration constants that have been set in the granular or liquid program will stay in memory, even if the corresponding constants are changed in the other program.
Example: you program the ARC 6000 for your dry spreader and apply your fertilizer to your field. Later you need to spray, so you move the console to your sprayer, program the console and spray your field.When you move the console back to your spreader you do not have to reprogram the console if your constants have not changed, just change the program selection from liquid to granular.
2) Do I have to reprogram the equipment each time I start a job? NO!! Calibration constants set in either program will stay in memory even if the console is turned off. There are certain items you should verify each time, but you will not lose your data.
3) How difficult is it to adjust application rate in the ARC6000? Very easy. The console allows the operator to command the entire system “on the go” from the operator’s seat. The rate can even be altered while the unit is applying.
TeeJet TASC6100 is a single product controller for liquid or granular applications. It is similar to the ARC6000 but the TASC is Variable Rate ready and can link with the Datalink for VRT-GPS-GIS applications. Here are 2 short tips on this product: Mid-Tech – TASC 6100 Chain does not turn on or off Mid-Tech – TASC 6100 Console Does Not Turn On
- Controller: Electronic Components Turn On or Off Randomly
Precision ag electronics are really computers. There can be a whole range of problems. You must systematically try various fixes. Keep a log of what you do, what the results were. That way if you must call for technical support, you won’t waste your time repeating steps you have already tried.
The most obvious question: Is your machine set up properly? Read the manufacturer’s instructions. Yes, they are boring and sometimes confusing, but the manufacturer knows best and you must have proper setup to get the best results. You want great results? READ the instructions.
Cables damaged by crimping between spreader & tractor
Your setup is correct, your operating procedure is correct, but you are still having problems.
Verify all connections are snug. Vibration can work them loose. Even more, check all your cables. If a cable has become crimped or stretched, you may have a short that appears randomly. Once again, the vibration from traveling through the field will make it go on, go off, drive you crazy. Are you blowing fuses? This can be a short. And never, I mean NEVER, replace a fuse with a larger size fuse just so you won’t have to replace the fuse again! If your instructions say use 15 amp fuse, that is the largest size you must ever use!!! A customer replaced his fuses with a larger size. He blew 2 consoles. He had a crimped cable. The cable replacement would have been much cheaper than replacing 2 consoles.
- Field Computers
A field computer is equipped with specialized software. The operator enters selections into the console for required information including liquid or dry, rate of spread or spray, speed, width of booms or swath, etc.
As with all computers, you have some information that you must enter to get the desired results. NCI wrote our own simplified instructions for Viper setup. Don’t let the length of these documents scare you. You’ll need every action packed page to get your settings correct.
NCI loves the Viper and has all sorts of great documentation on this equipment. If you have a Viper, you need to read them all.
Click to view instruction on initial set up for the Raven Viper
Once you have data, you need to download it. Viper RX file download
There are 2 basic ways to start a new dry spreading job on the Viper RX:
- Click to view checklist instruction on Starting a Raven RX Job From File
Click to view a detailed instruction on Starting a New Job on Viper RX
Click to view a checklist instruction on Starting a New Job on Viper RX
- GuidanceThere are many compelling reasons – time, money, ease of use – to switch your farm from using foam to using electronic guidance. Please view the presentation to see why NCI believes you should make the switch. Familiarize yourself with two of NCI’s best sellers of electronic guidance: Raven Cruizer and TeeJet Matrix
- Raven Cruizer has an entire series of videos. Go to Learn More on the main menu, Click Precision & Guidance Videos to view the series video of Raven Cruizer II setup
TeeJet Matrix has a video made here at NCI by Brian Mathis of TeeJet. Brian is THE industry expert and this video has been viewed over 15,000 times! video of TeeJet Matrix
- Slot Sensors / Encoder /Rate SensorA slot sensor (also called an encoder or rate sensor) is an electronic device that is used in granular product application. When coupled to a conveyor shaft that is rotating, it sends flow rate signals to the console. NCI uses 3 types primarily with various systems from Raven and TeeJet.
For a complete discussion of slot sensors including the types of valves they work with, photos, etc. click here.
- Spreader ConstantsSpreader constants are used with dry truck spreaders that have a Mid-Tech or Raven controller. These numbers are used to set your controller for spreading the correct pounds per acre (lbs/ac). The spreader constant is a number of sensor pulses divided by per cubic foot of material discharged per revolution (CFR). The constant is different for different gate settings, conveyor widths & drives. Was that more than you wanted to know? Well this document gives you even more detail: photos, charts, technical language. If you have made an investment in precision ag components, get your equipment setup correct!(or you won’t get the desired results!!) Click here for a more complete explanation.