Getting your Precision Ag Equipment Ready for Spring

Now that spring is nearly here it’s a good idea to go over some technology reminders before we get rolling in the next couple of weeks.

The famous “it worked when I put it away” line gets quoted far too often.

Here are a few tips:


It’s always a good idea to clean up your display before you begin.  An often overlooked item is physically.  Carefully use a damp cloth and clean up any dust and grime from the outer case.  Use compressed air sparingly preferably not at all.  A common place for concern is the screen.  Use a microfibre cloth (same as eyeglasses) to clean the screen.  Sometimes dust can build up on the bottom edges and corners of the touch screen bezels – carefully use a business card to clean out this dust, ensuring that you do not force the card in too deep.

In the screen – it’s a good idea to dump out any data that you don’t need.  Rename fields with proper spelling or delete duplicates.  Before you delete anything, talk to us first about how the data might be used.  After you make this consideration, then delete old coverage maps that you don’t require.  Delete saved A-B lines that are duplicates or made in error, that kind of stuff.  Move A-B lines between displays as needed.  While it might be nice to have 5 years of history on your monitor, it does bog them down and slow up their reaction times.

Firmware updates on Displays.  Generally, it is best practice to upgrade to the latest firmware on your monitors.  They often include important updates and bug fixes.  That said, sometimes “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” also applies.  With each firmware update, release notes are included.  Prior to updating, read these release notes as they will tell you what is being changed.  Sometimes you can skip and update or two and get along just fine.  And sometimes, some screens won’t work until the software update is done.  The only rule is:  Do not do software updates on the day you intend to head to the field!

Lastly, keep your cab clean and tidy.  Get rid of the dirt and dust as this enables dampness in the cab which destroys electronics.  When tidying up cables, ensure that you are not kinking coaxial antenna or RTK cables as you will destroy them.  A nice, small loop is the best.  Other cabling can be tied up tighter, just watch that you are not putting 90 degree bends near the plugs which stretches the connectors.

Autosteer Systems

Ensure that your autosteer systems are functioning.  Do some tests in your yard.  Do the foam wheels on your EZ steer need to be replaced?  EZ Pilot’s have rubber grommets on the antirotation pins that can get worn and sloppy.  Check the tightness of your mounting brackets, especially on any wheel angle sensors.  Firmware updates on steering systems often contain great improvements in performance and are recommended to be installed, keeping in mind that the system will have to be completely recalibrated when you do this.  Again, do not do any firmware updates on the day you need to use the system.

Product Controllers

Ensure that your attached implements show up on your display or controller.  Test out the boom valves and control valves to ensure they open and close.  Flowmeters can only be tested with flowing water, but granular encoders can be tested without any product.  Generally I don’t see a huge need to update firmware on product controllers unless a specific issue has been found.

The most important thing is to ensure proper flow control:  Boom – Speed – Flow.  If you checked your flowmeter, ensure that your boom widths are correct, and that the system sees that your boom sections are turning on and off.

Then, double check your speed calibration.  If possible, use GPS speed as this stays the most consistent.  There is nothing wrong with radars and wheel magnets, but they must be double checked for accuracy.


The most common issue with precision equipment is the cabling.  Bad connections and specifically grounding.

Follow the cabling out of the cab and look for pinch or wear points.  Then, check the plugs for corrosion.  Do not overoil or grease connections.  There is special lube for connections if you think you need them.  You do not want contact between the pins from grease oozing over the face of the plug.

Ensure that your aerials and RTK antennas are secure on the roof.

What’s new:

Climate FieldView is now compatible with more GPS receivers, albeit not with some product controllers.  That said, you can at least map out planting maps with some Trimble displays where you could not before.  Ensure your products are up to date and contact us with any questions about cabling needs for Climate.

Raven Displays:

Viper 4 (4+): Raven Branded: Viper 4 Software            

AgCo Branded:  Viper 4 Agco Software

CaseIH Branded: Viper 4 Case IH Software                      

Viper Pro:  As this is now a discontinued product there have been no updates since

Envizio Pro II:  There have been no updates since Envizio Pro Series 3.10 Software                      

Cruizer II:  There have been no updates since Cruizer II 3.5 Software Update                      

CR7: CR7 Software                      

Trimble Displays:

TMx-2050 most current update is 5.61

FMx (FM 1000) most current update is 10.13  (Needed for Climate FieldView to work)

Cfx 750most current update is 7.79

EZ Guide 250 – most current update is 3.12

EZ Guide 500 and EZ Guide Plus:  There are discontinued products, no updates since 5.12 and 4.11, respectively.