1986 - Volume #10, Issue #3, Page #33[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
First Cruise Control For Diesel TractorsAg engineers at the USDA research station in Stoneville, Miss., have developed the first "cruise control" for diesel tractors. It lets you dial the exact desired engine speed and maintains that speed within 5 rpm's regardless of terrain and changing soil conditions.
"We're getting 5 to 10% better fuel efficiency. It could amount to more under certain conditions with different tractors," says Lowery Smith, who developed the add-on device which replaces the original engine governor with a vacuum diaphragm.
Key to success of the system is an electronic module that continuously reads rpm's off a digital tachometer. It translates the information into control decisions five times per second by sending signals to an electric solenoid which acts on the vacuum diaphragm. The diaphragm then controls the fuel injector pump.
Smith says precise and continuous control of the injector pump saves fuel by throttling up gradually rather than adjusting all at once to load demand. It took less than $200 worth of hardware to build. One improvement Smith plans to make in the system is to replace the vacuum diaphragm with a screw-operated stepping pump for more precise control.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Lowery Smith, Field Crops and Mechanization, USDA, P.O. Box 36, Stoneville, Miss. 38776 (ph 601 686-2311).
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