It started out as a very simple project. I was working late with the tractor several nights in a row, and I was getting back to the garage after dusk. Each time, it was too dark to back into the garage. I had to get off the tractor, turn on a light in the garage, then get back on the tractor and back it in. A backup light would sure be nice.
So I obtained a couple of LED lights and started planning their installation. Then, I thought it might be nice to have some work lights. Sometimes when you work into dusk, you run out of light with just a little work left. With these, I could finish what I had started.
While still pondering this growing project, I had a close call plowing on our main road. The tractor needs more visibility, especially when working perpendicular to the traffic flow. When you are turned sideways in the road to clean out a driveway, none of the standard lighting or reflectors are visible. So I added 4 high intensity LED strobe lights at strategic locations. These lights could also double as marker lights if the strobe wasn’t necessary.
Then I had a day with a lot of backing, and ended up with a sore neck. I have a harder time twisting around as I age, and I’ve worried about missing something behind me. So a backup camera system made its way into the project.
The plan is shown in the attached photo and pdf. I’ve now implemented the vast majority of it.
The backup lights are triggered by the 1025R’s internal switch on the “reverse” pedal. Initially, they flash for a couple seconds in a unique pattern to warn of the reverse motion, then go on solid. There is also a switch to turn on the backup lights to use as secondary rear work lights.
The work lights turn on from their own switch; they are not linked to the other lighting on the tractor. Both the work lights switch and the “rear” lights switch are located on the right side console where they can be reached from either seating position.
The “strobe” switch is on the front console along with a programming button to change the pattern on the strobe lights.
The camera system was challenging. I wanted a camera mounted up high so that I had a bird’s eye view behind the tractor. I’m pleased with this capability and I’ve been using it in recent projects. And I think I’ve satisfied the big challenge of finding a place for a monitor on an open station tractor that is clearly visible without blocking any critical views.
I will begin posting photos and more details about each aspect of this project over the next few weeks. I’ve been doing some real world testing to make sure everything is solid. There were times I regretted the ongoing expansion of the project, but now that it’s close to completion I’m glad I did it all. I have a few minor issues to resolve that emerged during final testing and actual use. I’m getting to those as quickly as I can. Yes, more ACTION is still necessary. A project this big is tough to complete when you use your tractor regularly. Laying in all the new wiring harnesses is time consuming and really disables the tractor while it is being completed.