Smart Connector plugs app into tractor

Farmers can monitor their tractor’s performance from the smartphone, including engine r.p.m. and coolant temperature

John Deere updated its TractorPlus smartphone app for compact utility tractors and it’s also offering a new Smart Connector that plugs into the tractor’s service advisor port and automatically connects the app to the tractor.

The Smart Connector enables the app to connect to the tractor via Bluetooth for both IOS- and Android-based phones to provide constant updates of the tractors status.

“It automatically updates the hours on the tractor, the service intervals, and the maintenance is being displayed in real time,” said John Doyle of John Deere.

“There is a live dashboard that is basically a performance monitor that lets you see like engine r.p.m.s, the engine load, coolant temperature, and so on.”

If the tractor has a digital speedometer the app will also show ground speed.

Doyle said there have also been significant updates to the TractorPlus app, including the ability to track maintenance and service intervals of the tractor, as well as the ability to order parts through the app.

“Let’s say it’s time to change the oil, the benefit of that is it will alert you to do it when you’re supposed to,” Doyle said.

“It will give you the part number of the oil filter, it will give you the recommended oil and the quantities. From that the customer can click on the oil filter, it’s the right part number, they can send it to the online cart and then they can order that filter through the John Deere parts centre.”

He said the John Deere online parts centre is not available in Canada.

Users can manually enter into the app a diagnostic trouble code from the tractor, or if they have the Smart Connector it will automatically receive the code, and the app will provide a description of the code.

“It will say, for example, there is a fault in the fuel centre relay or whatever,” Doyle said.

“The benefit to the customer is it enables them to make an informed decision. To say OK, depending on the level of DIY person they are, is this something that I might try to look at myself or do I need to call the dealer,” Doyle said.

With the TractorPlus app, users can either manually enter in the serial number of the tractor, or use the QR reader within the app to scan in the barcode on the tractor’s serial number plate.

When the serial number is entered, the app will load the applicable information associated with the tractor, including its parts diagrams.

Doyle said it’s the same information available in the paper operators manual, the app just makes it more convenient to obtain.

“You can load the implements into the app and also scan the barcode of the impediment and it will load a little bit of information about the implement in there also,” Doyle said.

The app now has a work-tracking feature that gives users the ability to see where they’ve been on their property or land, to better track how long they were doing an operation including when the power take-off was on.

Doyle said the TractorPlus app will help keep track of where the machine has been but it relies on the phone’s GPS, which isn’t accurate enough to drive functions such as overlap or skip control of the implement connected to the tractor.

However, the representation of the tractor on the work-tracking feature can be set to the width of the implement.

The TractorPlus smartphone app and Smart Connector is compatible with John Deere compact utility tractors with up to 125 horsepower, but Doyle said the company is working on expanding to further equipment lines.

The app is free, while the Smart Connector costs about $130.

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