Automatic Steering with Fieldbee PowersteerFoto’s en video. Jacco van Erkelei
Fieldbee, an electronics manufacturer, introduces a new automatic steering system: Powersteer. With this affordable electric option, you can drive your tractor with a precision of 2.5 centimeters. TREKKER examines the Fieldbee Powersteer.
Fieldbee recently presented Powersteer as the successor to the MDU (mechanical drive unit). The MDU automatic steering system can be recognized by the large gear that clamps to the steering wheel. A separate steering motor drives the steering through this gear to follow a line. The Powersteer, on the other hand, is different: it replaces the entire steering wheel with a small steering wheel equipped with a motor from Fieldbee. With a starting price of €4,200, this set is quite interesting.
First impression: the installation is easy to perform, and the system is user-friendly. It's particularly suitable for smaller agricultural companies or those hesitant about the entry prices of many other steering systems.
- Accuracy: 2.5 cm with RTK correction signal
- Satellites: Galileo, Glonass, GPS, Beidou
- Correction signal: RTK-Fix, MOVE RTK, CNH, own base station with NTRIP signal
- Current driving speed: up to 7 km/h. After receiver installation on the roof: 0.1 km/h (with dual antenna) up to 20 km/h
- Suitable for tractors and self-propelled vehicles
- (Isobus) machine control is not yet compatible, but expected in the future
- Price for the basic version without a tablet: €4,200. Complete version: €4,900. Additional wiring harness: €460. Base station correction signal: €1,765
Easily Transferring GPS Receiver to Another Tractor
The GPS receiver is currently mounted on the front of the tractor. The ECU (the system's brain) and the tilt sensor have recently been integrated into the receiver. The advantage of this integration is that fewer separate components need to be moved when transferring the steering automation to another tractor. Eventually, the GPS receiver will be relocated to the roof.
During our visit, the tilt sensor was not functioning optimally, requiring it to be positioned as low to the ground as possible for better accuracy. Fieldbee is working on optimizing the software and adjusting the algorithm to enable placement on the roof as soon as possible. This will significantly enhance the system's accuracy. The receiver clicks onto an adapter plate using a quick-release system, which can then be attached to the roof.
Fieldbee has temporarily positioned the receiver on the front of the tractor. However, after optimizing the software and making necessary adjustments, it will eventually be moved to the roof in the future. This design allows for easy transfer of the unit to another tractor.
Same Height as Standard Steering Wheel
Inside the cabin, we find the Fieldbee Powersteer Complete steering kit. The steering wheel, with its modern double three-spoke design, looks sleek. The steering motor is located beneath it. The entire setup is not significantly higher than a standard steering wheel. This is because a standard tractor steering wheel typically has a bowl-like shape, while the Fieldbee steering wheel is flat.
The complete set includes an electric steering motor with a steering wheel, wiring harness, tablet, a RAM mount for the tablet with a built-in drop charger, and an anti-rotation kit that allows the steering motor to secure against the dashboard. Choosing the Powersteer Basic option can save you €700 if you already have a tablet. In that case, you must provide your own Android tablet, tablet mount, and charger.
Correction Signal via MoveRTK or Base Station
The set we are examining utilizes the correction signal from a Fieldbee base station. You can receive the correction signal through MoveRTK (€750 per year or €500 as a member of LT0/CumeIa/Fedecom) or the base station. The base station is purchased once for €1,765 and is placed at a fixed point, such as on the roof of the farm. All that is required is a strong 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi signal and a power cable.
The base station has a range of up to 20 kilometers and can provide a correction signal to an unlimited number of systems simultaneously. Additionally, the Trimble XCNJ 050 RV55 modem and Claas S Telematics can process the NTRIP signal.
Precise driving with 2.5 centimetre accuracy
The functionality is still limited; however, you can do more than you think. It is now possible to drive with a precision of 2.5 centimeters, record AB lines, and curve lines, and save operations and lines. You can also keep track of cultivation registration in the Fieldbee app, save your machine and tractor settings, and map fields.
Currently, it is not yet possible to apply machine control, such as section switching. Fieldbee is working on this, though. In the future, it can be used as a software extension for existing and new systems.
Clear operation with dust- and waterproof Android tablet
We are impressed with the precise operation of the dust- and waterproof Android tablet. It is easy and intuitive to use. We need to include some small, practical details. For example, the steering system does not turn off when you jerk the steering wheel. This means that you have to disable the guidance on the screen manually. The tablet has a large button for this purpose, but we prefer a light touch on the steering wheel to deactivate the automatic steering. Additionally, it is currently impossible to place separate buttons in the cabin to enable and disable the guidance.
Entry model for €4,200
The Fieldbee is very interesting for smaller companies or farmers who want to use GPS but are hesitant about the prices charged by competitors. You can order the simple electric Fieldbee Powersteer Basic for €4,200 from Doorpond. The more extensive Complete version costs an additional €700. To save recorded lines and fields, you will need a Fieldbee subscription, which costs €120 annually. Furthermore, you need to remove the steering wheel from the tractor before purchasing. Measure the diameter of the steering shaft, count the number of splines, and note the nut size that secures the steering wheel. Provide these details, along with the brand and model of the tractor. You will then receive the appropriate spline adapter for fitting the steering motor to the tractor. If you want to transfer the set to another tractor, you must also repeat these steps for the other tractors.
If the cables through the cabin don't bother you, the Powersteer kit can be installed within an hour, and you can drive away for those who want to conceal everything neatly, set aside half a day.
Self-assembly Steering Kit
After ordering and providing the necessary details, you will receive the steering kit at home and can assemble it yourself. If you don't need to conceal the cables under the trim, this can be done within an hour, and you can start driving. If you want to minimize the visibility of cables, concealing them behind the trim will take more time. Expect half a day of work. If you want to prepare multiple tractors for the system, additional wiring harnesses are available at €460 each.
Read the original article “AUTOMATISCH STUREN MET FIELDBEE POWERSTEER VOOR € 4.200” on the Trekker website!