Don’t forget your Insurance!

This morning I have been working on making sure that all of our GPS equipment is insured. This is a tricky situation and a lot of people don’t know how you need to insure all of your GPS equipment. There are a few things you need to be aware of.  If you have anything with a Serial Number you had better make sure that you have it insured.  And just because you have your monitor insured it does not mean that your activations in that monitor are insured.  A lot of companies will not replace activations that they can not get taken off of the monitor, either by software or sending the hardware to them.  John Deere is a real stickler on this, as I’m sure others are.  Usually the activations are the biggest cost out of the entire purchase.

Here is how I breakdown everything for the insurance.

  • Displays
  • Receivers
  • Activations
  • RTK Equipment (radio, modem)
  • Steering Equipment (ATU, Ez-Steer, etc;)
  • Application Equipment (Rate Controllers, Ez-Boom)

Anything with a serial number should be listed separately with their own individual values.  It is very unlikely that if you group every thing together as one piece that it will all actually be on that same piece of equipment at the same time.

Don’t include the activations in the value of the display.  This is where a lot of people go wrong and say well I have my monitor insured so the activations are insured.  Insurance is likely going to only pay for hardware cost, not what you might say is on the display, unless you list them out individually and tell them what piece of equipment the activation is on.  What I am sending to my agent has the activations listed with the serial number of the display/receiver the activation is currently on.  I am sure there are ways you can prove this after the fact, but I for one do not want to get into a paper battle with Insurance.

Its not hard to have $15000 wrapped up in a single display and that could be financially hard to replace without insurance.  We all know anything can happen at any time.  Fire, theft, accidents.  It is a good safety net to have all of this stuff insured in case something does happen.


Precision #AgTech Chat

I’ve been doing a lot work on Ag Leader SMS lately. Mainly just cleaning everything up from planting and harvest. Realizing that, while at working my past AMS consultant job, I had let things get way out of hand on our software end. It has been 4 whole days of mouse clicking and I’m still not done. I’ve done everything from separating fields where they forgot to change the field they were in to fixing boundaries and variety issues. I have vowed to make 2012 go much smoother for me on the software end starting with the first monitor turning on. But that is another post.

While I’ve been doing this I often start wondering how other people handle this. How do they handle extrapolating data out of their software? What kind of metrics do they use? Then I expanded it to our monitors and equipment. Wandering the same types of questions. While I was an AMS Consultant I didn’t really get to ask these questions. They were always asking me how I would do it, and in most cases if I would just do it for them.

I started thinking about how I could ask these questions and get good interaction. After lurking in some #AgChat sessions it looks like Twitter could do the job. I sent a message to Aaron Bobeck to see if he thought it would work and to help me run it. He did some searching and found where it had already been started once. Here. I messaged Brandon to see if it was still running and if not, could we run it again. Brandon said it hasn’t been done in a while so we are going to revive it using the same hashtag they did. #AgTech.

We are going to run the first (new) #AgTech chat on Monday Feb. 13 at 8 PM. We will use the #AgTech hashtag. If you have not used Twitter before and would like to join you can read this how-to and sign up here. The topic for the chat is still under discussion. Any topics and question suggestions can be sent to me on twitter @precisionnerd or Aaron Bobeck @aaronbobeck. Looking forward to hearing from everyone.

[Update]: The topic for the first #AgTech chat will be on mapping software.

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Understanding Which Signal Level Is Right For You

There are a lot of questions and arguments floating about which signal level you should be on for your operations.  In general, there are 3 signal levels.  Free(WAAS, SF1) +/- 8″ Pass to Pass, Paid Subscription Via Satellite(SF2, OmniStar, Excludes Trimble RTx) +/-2″ or 4″ Pass to Pass, and RTK <1″ all the time. Now, there are multiple different ways to get RTK corrections but it should all represent close to the same accuracy.  Everyone is the same, I want the most bang for my buck.  But, can you really save money by staying with the Free service when you should really have the Paid Subscription? Continue reading


The “How do I ______?” Challenge

I went out on an AMS service call the other day.  The customer was not one of my regular customers so I didn’t know him very well.  The night before one of our techs was out working on his combine. The tech was telling me that he was having a problem with the map flipping on his 2600.  I told him to let the customer know I’d be out in the morning to put an update in the 2600, iTC, and ATU.  When I got there, I was sincerely surprised.  The customer told me that he went and downloaded the update last night and updated it himself.  The only problem he had was when he updated it the ATU had lost its activation code.  A quick call to Greenstar Activations and he was up and running again. Continue reading


Hidden Gem in your Greenstar Monitor

There is a little used (but very powerful) tool included with your Greenstar displays. It is usually hidden in plain sight but most people look over it and go directly to the cell phone when they have a problem. Any where you have a setup issue you are likely to find this button. Most notably you will find it next to the Autotrac pie if you only have one piece of the pie. It is the icon of the book with the wrench on it, or as we know it the Service Book/Diagnostics. Continue reading

Deere, Display

Finally! We can steer it!

This could get filed in the “Its about damn time!” category.  We all know Deere has been lacking in the 3rd party integration department.  If you didn’t have a factory AccuGuide Ready Case Magnum you could not run integrated Deere Autotrac on other color machines.  Heck, they didn’t even have integrated kits for some of their 6000 and 7000 series tractors.  It looks like they have got their feet underneath them and are going to elbowing their way into the 3rd party integration business.  It only makes sense to get in there.  So many off color tractors pulling Deere planters that they need a single Precision Ag solution instead needing to have either an ATU or a second monitor to run the tractor guidance. So to kick that off Deere will be releasing a brand new Autotrac Controller toward the end of this year.  To go along with that new Autotrac Controller will be new integrated kits for quite a few models out the gate. Continue reading

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2600 is losing ground fast to 2630

The 2630 has only been out for a little over 6 months now and it’s features and updates are already making the usefulness of the 2600 to the high-end user look bleak.  On top of the 11-2 Software bundle release in July,  Intro showed that Deere is moving on and not wasting much time on 5 year old technology. Continue reading


Implement Detection

Getting tired of having to measure your implement every time you hook up to it?  If you are saying “Mike, it already has my measurements auto loaded in there so I don’t bother to measure every time I hook up” you might want to check out my post on Swath Control Settings and see why that was a bad idea.  Now, enter Implement Detection. Continue reading


Swath Control Settings

I have started noticing that there is a lot of confusion about adjustments of swath control settings on the Greenstar displays.  For simplicity sake I’m going to discuss planters, but the principals here should be used across all platforms.  A lot of people are changing the turn ON/OFF time to adjust where their seed placement is.  This is wrong for a couple of reasons. Continue reading

Deere, Swath Control

Importing Shapefile Rx maps into 2600/2630

I realized I haven’t done a tutorial on here yet, so here goes the first.  I just answered a question like this on NAT and thought this might be a good one to do with the planting season coming up. Continue reading