Tech Tips: Before You Hit The Fields

Updates Check. Before you head to the field, go to the manufacturer’s web site and make sure that your field computer has the latest software in it. “We continually make changes and improve it, so to take advantage of these improvements you need to have the latest software loaded.” And be sure to check for updates to ALL the equipment, including the GPS receiver, steering equipment, and lightbars — updates usually are released independent of each other, says Duncan.

Also, some manufacturers offer hardware updates. “If they offer assisted steering, or automatic boom shutoff or leveling, they may have made some improvements to the hardware that they are allowing their customer to upgrade to for a fee,” says Duncan, “allowing you to move up to a more advanced product.”

Freshen Your Knowledge. Go through your notes from last year to remind yourself of problems. And give yourself a refresher course on the equipment. “Manufacturers often have a demo program that you can run on an office computer to re-familiarize yourself with the buttons and features, so when it comes to crunch time you aren’t fumbling around trying to remember where everything is,” says Duncan.

Neat Workspace. Keep the cab clean to avoid any contamination to the electronic connections. If the manufacturer recommends it, use dielectric grease to help keep the connections free of dirt,” adds Duncan.

Test Run. Calibrate the application rig, do a flow test to ensure that your nozzles are working properly and are not worn out. Run in lot or open area and make sure system is functioning before crunch time.

Check Battery and Connections. Are they clean? Does everything have good batteries? “Also, keep in mind that a good ground is critical, especially with a CAN-based system,” notes Duncan. “A dirty connection is going to introduce noise, which will compromise performance.”

Subscribe To eMail Alerts. No one needs more email, but alerts can help to keep you informed. Software updates are common, but addendums to manuals, or entirely new manuals, may be sent via email, which should be downloaded and printed for reference. To minimize the email, only subscribe to alerts for very specific products.

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