Wireless Tractor Control Simplifies Grain Handling

“I got fed up with all the extra steps I was taking every day during grain bagging; jumping in and out of my tractor to start and stop it, engage the pto and move hydraulic levers,” says Alberta, Canada, farmer Vince Pawluski. “One day I had an ‘aha’ moment and decided to build a device that would use actuators to handle some of those functions."


             Pawluski built and tested a prototype and now has a patent pending device he calls the RCFarmArm. It’s an easy-to-install set of mechanical actuators that fits on the armrest of most modern tractors, allowing the operator to use a hand-held remote to start and stop a tractor engine, control the throttle, engage and disengage the pto, and regulate 2 hydraulic levers. The shifting lever isn’t affected so the tractor can still be driven.


            “In the summer, during harvest, I can operate my grain bagger without getting in and out of the tractor,” Pawluski says. “In the winter, when I’m extracting grain from those bags and the ground is covered with ice or snow, I don’t have to worry about slipping and sliding on my way to the tractor because I can operate it with the remote. One big benefit is that the device is mechanical and doesn’t tap into a tractor’s CAN bus electrical system, affecting the tractor’s warranty.”


            The RCFarmArm is powered from the tractor’s standard accessory point and backed up by an internal 12-volt battery. Pawluski says the actuators work just like a person’s hand to move the tractor controls. He used his natural ingenuity and life experiences to design, build and apply for the RCFarmArm patent.


            “As a kid I enjoyed building and modifying RC model tractors and after high school I became a journeyman millwright. During the 2020 harvest I was using a grease pencil to draw ideas on the windows of my combine cab,” he says with a laugh. “After harvest I put them into drawings and designed the actual system.”


            He taught himself CAD design and used a 3D printer to make some of the parts. He found others on the internet.


              “It’s a simple idea with one set of actuators controlling 2 hydraulic levers, the throttle and pto, while a second module turns the switch on and starts the tractor. An emergency shutoff inside the tractor and on the remote shuts the tractor off and sets the actuators back to neutral.


            Pawluski built his prototype for a Deere 8220 tractor. He’s now taking orders for Deere 8000 and 9000 series models along with 7000 series models if they have fingertip hydraulic controls. A version for the R series armrest is available and additional models are being developed. The system also fits Case IH Magnum, Quadtrac/Steiger and Puma models built from 2011 through 2020. Pricing on pre-order units in fall 2021 is $4,950 Canadian with shipping included. Modules for older Deere 4000, 5000 and 6000 series tractors without hydraulic actuators will be $3,950 Canadian. “We are fully supporting each system for two harvest seasons to ensure reliability and quality,” Pawluski says.


                Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, RCFarmArm, 72401 Range Road 52, County of Grande Prairie No. 1, Alberta Canada T8X 4M8 (ph 833-327-6276; rcfarmarm@gmail.com; www.rcfarmarm.ca).