Getting the planter ready for the field is a big task. Planters have lots of moving parts, chains and bearings. When all are not working properly, down-time can be costly.
A few years ago, Chris, my husband, was looking for a way to watch the planter run before actually taking it to the field. By the time the fields are dry enough to calibrate and check moving parts on the planter, we should be ready to roll.
"I wanted to be able to observe the planter run. I had seen setups like this for calibrating insecticide meters. Company reps would come out, hook up a small motor, simulate planting speed and check the flow of granular insecticides," Chris said. "I thought this could be worth it just for preseason checks and oiling parts."
He spent the winter researching motors on the internet and talked to people who had been around them. Eventually he ordered a 60 rpm gear reduction motor and an arbor that would hold a half-inch socket extension.
We built a stand using an old disk blade and scrap steel that allowed for adjustable height, as it always needs to be parallel to the planter drive shafts for operation. We have a Kinze 16 split-row planter, and a 7/8 six-point socket allows us to connect the motor to the planter shafts.
The motor needed to be reversible so that it could run from either side of the planter. Using a double pole/double throw switch allowed us to do this externally, though requiring a lot of thought configuring the wiring. The extension had to be welded into the arbor, which Chris found a little more challenging than expected.
Each spring it is hooked up to the planter with the planter boxes removed so chains can be oiled and bearings checked. We can move from row to row listening and watching moving parts for any trouble.
Once seed boxes are back on and loaded, we hook up a radar simulator on the monitor. This allows us to check the monitor and settings before heading to the field.