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Monday, February 7, 2011

GPS and computers and trying to see where I'm going

I try to drive straight when I plant. Straight rows seem to really be important to most farmers. Skips are just not allowed.
So I have a foam marker which lays down a line of foam to show me where I've been. I have a mechanical marker that puts a trench down the middle of the next pass. I have lots of extra lights and I have a GPS.
The foamer quits all the time or it runs out of water and it draws too much current for anything but my 2-155 with a 120 amp alternator. The mechanical markers dig in too much in wet ground and not enough in hard ground. The GPS is something I put together myself and is not accurate to 7.5 inches. I don't have the lights or the alternator to run late with my 2-135.
Saturday evening I got lost. I was planting at an angle to the fescue rows and somehow I got off the row. The GPS was close but I was a foot or so off. Most of the problem was due to the bright screen of the GPS computer and the dim tractor lights.
I have an iTronix ix320 rugged tablet. It cost someone (probably a government agency) well over $2,500 new. You would think that for $3,000 you could put a stinking brightness control on the case. It has six buttons on the front and I'm sure some combination will dim the screen but I don't know which. How about two dedicated buttons? Or how about downloadable instructions on the company website. If I buy a Ruger gun at a yard sale I can write to the company and they will send me an instruction book and there are not that many Rugers at BiMart selling for over $2,500.
I see that FarmerGPS has an upgrade that gives you a 3-D view. Perhaps I'll spring for the upgrade.
I wonder if it connects to my micro-trak better? I think it is pretty cool that the rate controller will tell the GPS to stop recording when the fertilizer boom is shut off.


  1. Sounds like progress to me..can remember a guy who sold off his Clydsdales and used a 1948 Hudson
    for his field work. Doubt his rows
    were much, but stuff grew....

  2. I can just imagine getting lost on a stranger's fields. I can even have problems on my own fields I've worked for years. In the dark after winding around so many sloughs and bushes I sometimes don't know what direction I'm going or where I'm headed. The EZ guide can be a help. Plus, it has a brightness control (if I can remember where to find it)

  3. I love the country, but sometimes, I'm truly thankful not to be a farmer.

  4. BB-that is amazing. The stuff folks built on their own is amazing.

    Ralph, I got to the field today and the farmer had flagged where I got lost and left strips. I just laughed if off. He thought it was too wet to plant today and he was right. This is turning out to be interesting.

    Gorges, It is only as complicated as you make it.


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