TopAgrar extensively tested the FieldBee steering system in 2020 and now focuses on the latest iteration, the FieldBee PowerSteer. The magazine reviews its features and performance. (*original translated from German)

Fieldbee further innovates autosteering guidance system

“We extensively tested the Field-Bee steering system in 2020 (Issue 12/2020). Now, the manufacturer eFarmer has introduced the next generation of the system. We took a closer look at the FieldBee PowerSteer at a press event.

The FieldBee PowerSteer is a retrofit steering system. In the basic and premium versions, a steering wheel motor is used. There is also a hydraulic steering valve. In contrast to its predecessor, the new system requires fewer components. FieldBee has integrated the previous separate controller into the receiver. The receiver now has a tilt sensor in addition to the control unit. Unlike before, the receiver is not attached with magnets but with a bayonet lock. eFarmer provides a mounting plate that can be positioned on the tractor with double-sided tape. Currently, FieldBee still recommends placing the receiver on the hood because the software for the tilt sensor is not yet ready. The inaccuracies are lower on the hood than on the cabin roof. FieldBee plans to release an update in about three months.

The receiver is connected to the battery and the steering wheel motor via a wiring harness. eFarmer developed the steering wheel motor entirely on its own. There are various adapters to mount the motor on the steering column of well-known tractor manufacturers. In addition, stops must be adapted to the dashboard on site to secure the motor from twisting. We noticed that the required force is now lower with the steering system deactivated than with the previous steering wheel with a toothed rim. However, if the tractor is used only for front loader work for some time, the steering wheel must still be removed with a nut and the normal steering wheel must be reattached.

There is a main switch on the wiring harness itself that activates the steering system. The operation is carried out with a smartphone or tablet using the “FieldBee GPS Navigation” app. Due to its size, FieldBee recommends a tablet, which is included in the premium version’s price (€4,900 excluding VAT) with a charging holder. The tablet is only connected to the receiver via Bluetooth and WLAN and requires an internet connection. Previously, two apps were required for calibration and navigation, but now only one app is sufficient – nice. The initial installation takes one to four hours, depending on the care taken. Proper cable harness routing takes time, in particular. Once the cable harness is integrated and the system is calibrated, the conversion of the main components takes less than half an hour.

The operation of the app has hardly changed since our test. For the version with different steering tracks, you have to pay €119 per year. Only one track can be saved for each area. Unfortunately, the tracks cannot be easily moved, as with other steering systems. FieldBee still has room for improvement here. The steering in the field was still quite jerky. There are no adjustment parameters for this yet. FieldBee promises to address this issue with the next free updates. In the future, the Ukrainians with a headquarters in the Netherlands also want to release an update with automatic turning at the headland and ISOBUS functionality. We remain excited, we’re looking forward to it..”

To order FieldBee PowerSteer

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