Green Tractor Talk banner
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
144 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 4044R has been an awesome tractor, but the “bucket level indicator” missed the mark IMO. It has very limited functionality as it only gives a relative position of the bucket to the loader arm and it is difficult to see. I decided to design and build a Loader absolute position indicator (API) that would provide the angle of the bucket relative to the boom and the angle of the boom relative to the tractor. This is very beneficial when cutting on grade with a bucket, raking with a grapple, or maintaining level with pallet forks, etc…. Keep in mind, I have operated tractors and heavy equipment my entire life, and I can perform these tasks without an indicator. This was just something that I felt compelled to take on…..lol.

I evaluated several different options ranging from simple/economical to complicated/expensive: 1) Mechanical Linkages with rotary indicator/s, 2) Control cables with rotary indicator/s, 3) small hydraulic cylinders with cylindrical vented reservoirs, 4) LDVT sensors for bucket angle and boom angle with electric gauges, 4) Tri axis angle sensors with PLC/HMI. I settled on option 1, “keep it stupid simple”. Option 4 was tempting, but I could not justify the expense, and I would have needed a little assistance with programming PLC. One thing to keep in mind with option 4 though, I was going to use (3) tri axis sensors: bucket, boom, and tractor which would allow compensation of tractor operating on slope. I mapped out control theory and even sketched out the HMI, both are very similar to the new 5R tractors…..

I started out my 3D modeling the loader to rough in the linkages/kinematics. My original intention was to have a single rotary indication with linkages to the bucket and to the loader mounting frame. This is doable, but it was complex. I settled on a rotary indicator for the bucket and a second rotary indicator for the boom. Each having dual scales for different attachments. When both indicators are on the desired mark, you are at the desired position.
Leg Gesture Elbow Slope Font


Motor vehicle Green Plant Automotive tire Vehicle


Motor vehicle Green Automotive tire Engineering Machine


Motor vehicle Vehicle Automotive tire Green Hood

The boom rotary indicator pivots relative to the boom pin. The inboard side of the pin is already tapped for M8. The indicator has a hole in the center and is bolted to the tapped hole in the pin. The bolt is bottomed out in the pin leaving sufficient clearance so the indicator can rotate freely on the bolt. A second hole in the indicator is used for mounting a linkage to the loader frame. As the loader booms up/down, the indicator rotates. The pointer is fixed to the loader frame. The indicator is a 4” PVC pipe cap that was trimmed to allow for clearance for the linkages and provides enough area to mount (2) scales. I bead blasted the pvc and primed and painted it. To my surprise, the paint has held up great.
Hood Automotive tire Motor vehicle Green Automotive design



The Bucket level indicator is mounted to a bracket with standoffs (bolt with spacer) on the loader arm. I drilled a hole in the arm (I was hesitant to do this but it is in an area that is not be heavily stressed). NOTE: if you drill holes, make sure you don’t hit the hoses right behind it….., lol. I nicked one in the process. Also in hind sight, I could have epoxied the bolts considering the linkages move freely and are not under load. The indicator is almost identical to the boom indicator. It rotates on the center bolt, and has a second bolt which attaches to the linkage.
Tire Wheel Automotive tire Hood Helmet


The mid pivot linkage was needed to clear the cross tube of the loader and also provided a means of fine tuning the movement. The pivot arm has two holes for the rear linkage and front linkage. The radius is different for each and can be adjusted by drilling an addition hole. The front linkage is bent slightly to miss the cross tube. Both had an adjustable rod ends. Linkages are 3/8” rods. Keep in mind, adjusting the length of the linkage changes the end points of the indicator, adjusting the radius of the pivot changes how much it will rotate.
Green Bicycle frame Bicycle tire Motor vehicle Bicycle fork



The front link attaches to the loader link using a bracket. I had to drill and tap the link as the bolts cannot stick thru this link. The inboard link on the 440R is plate, the outboard link is cast. I would hesitate to drill/tap in the cast link, but I did not see any issue drilling into plate link. I have not had any issues up to date and I was willing to take that risk.
Green Automotive tire Terrestrial plant Fender Bicycle tire


All pivots have plastic washers and nylock nuts. I use blue Loctite in tapped holes. The indicators have dual dials made of adhesive measuring tape (with the numbers cut off). I use the outboard dial for my bucket, and the inboard dial for my grapple. All of the ticks were made from cutting up standard reflective tape from NAPA (for trailers). The red ticks are my bucket on grade, the yellow ticks are my grapple raking on grade. I parked my tractor on a level cement slab with the bucket on grade, and then jumped in the cab and placed the tick marks in the correct position on the dials. Repeated same with the Grapple. The reflective tape is very durable and works great at night. I covered the pointers with aluminum duct tape (HVAC).

The end product was cost effective and it has been very reliable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,457 Posts
Interesting. Nice build. I probably would not have been able to resist option 4 (electronic) but for that project there's no need for a standalone PLC. I'd have just used one of those combo units like Unitronics has, it's an HMI with integrated I/O so you just wire your sensors to it, develop your code and graphics and you're done.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,316 Posts
@Greenbayouboy you have some mad fabrication skills. That is fantastic engineering work.
 
  • Like
Reactions: shyoung1

·
Registered
Joined
·
144 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
@dixie460, if I had more free time I would have pursued option 4 too. My day job and family take up most of my time, which forces me to stick to what I know. I am very experienced with hi level over site of automation, just do not have expertise in the trenches. I plan on taking this on once time permits.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
2021 John Deere 4066R Cab
Joined
·
32 Posts
Nice work.
Thanks for sharing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,290 Posts
Or you can put a camera on it like I did. That is some nice work and quite a bit of it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: PJR832

·
Registered
Joined
·
144 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I thought about the camera as well and may end up installing one, but for different reason. I have a hard time seeing pallet forks when the forks are set at the width of the carrier, which is the width of a typical pallet. I can see them when wider or narrower. I don’t use them often so I just get one of my boys to help as a spotter.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
2021 John Deere 4066R Cab
Joined
·
32 Posts
@Greenbayouboy
Looking at the pix with the 4 in. pipe caps, I'm wondering how much of the diameter you cut away to provide clearance for the linkage? If you have a chance, would you mind taking a picture showing the detail of the cut away side of the pipe cap?

Thanks!
 

·
Registered
2021 John Deere 4066R Cab
Joined
·
32 Posts
Awesome!
Thanks for all the helpful info. As soon as the weather warms up I'm going to give the bucket level indicator a try on my machine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
144 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Bumping this older thread. One of my reflectors on indicator fell off. This was for the grapple on grade in the raking position. Figured I would post pics to this thread showing details.

Grapple is the RH dial. When both Silver markers on dial are aligned with pointers, you are dead on.






Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top