AMS Report 4.25.2014

by Lucas Veale

Good weather over the last 7 days has allowed customers to plant most of the corn in central Illinois.  The pace has been fast and furious, but it is nice to see much of the corn planted in April rather than May.

Understanding the down force system on the new Seedstar XP monitors was one of the main struggles for customers this spring.  Discerning the difference between margin and down force seemed to be the toughest task.  Down force sensors that needed to be zeroed out before they would read margin also contributed to the confusion.

This diagram should help explain the difference between margin and down force:


Section control setup also was a hot topic.  Helping customers understand how to set the “turn on/off times” and the critical nature of correct measurements was a large portion of the questions we received.

Josh Thornton  reports that he has been having issues with Kinze radar guns showing speed with the tractor running but not moving.  Kinze has seen this and is still investigating the root cause.  Josh believes it is a faulty radar gun as the planters using the tractor radar are working fine.  He has seen 3 planters like this.

Josh also reported that he has seen a new sprayer with two boom section valves connected backwards.  He switched the connectors and it was fine.  He also has seen two new sprayers with an incorrect flow meter calibration number in the monitor from the factory.

ITC receivers continue to be inconsistent, especially when planting.  I am hesitant to recommend these receivers for any application other than field work.  Starfire 3000 receivers are the recommended units for planting and spraying.

Justin Bickel reports that if you are trying to hook a Kinze planter to a John Deere 30 & R series tractor, you will need radar adapter AA66780.  It has pin 3 and 4 populated which is necessary for a Kinze.

Lucas Benning has found a couple new planters with the sprocket combination incorrect for the variable rate drive which will cause the population to be incorrect.  Check the “Drive” tab under the setup/configure button to check this issue if you are having population issues.

Matt Sweitzer experienced an issue with a dry rate controller.  The customer had been using a prescription but wanted to switch back to a flat rate.  He had to change the product name under the documentation button and then put the prescription name to the dotted lines to get it to switch back to a flat rate. You also have to change the product name to get it to go back to prescription mode as well.

I am still seeing the receiver stay at the back of the tractor or at the pivot point even after you switch the axle position.  If you get this, try to recalibrate the TCM.  I have seen this fix it.

We checked the 80 acres with the side by side test between the 1775 Exactemerge 24 row planter vs the 1770 24 row that we planted on April 12.  The corn was barely peeking through in a few spots.  However, it had germinated and was all but ready to poke through in the rest of the field.  We will see what it looks like for spacing when it is fully emerged.

Several guys have commented that incorrect radar speed calibrations have caused incorrect population readings on the seed monitor.

Software updates have fixed several minor issues with displays and receivers.  It is important to keep these units up to date with the latest software from Stellar Support.

Jared Wheeler has been dealing with some prescriptions that he has run through Apex from an outside vendor that won’t be recognized by the display.  He has had to import the raw shape file data and run it through the shape file converter in the display and then it works.

He also reminds you to check out the AMS page here on for lots of information on AMS products and services as well as videos and guides.

We have partnered with Horizon Precision Systems as our drone supplier (link). We hope to have a Horizon drone in the next week or so to go scout the 1775 Exactemerge planter side by side test plot.

AMS Report 4.24.2014

by Josh Zuck

Spring is finally here. We have been really busy finishing up installs and getting planters ready . NH3 is getting close to done. I had a few planters start yesterday with more this week to get started.

I had the opportunity to work with a customer and his new Raven Vortex HP NH3 system. It is a single cooler system that runs a pump to increase the NH3 pressure. He installed on a 2510H 23 row. With a single cooler he could run 8 MPH at 200 units per acre. This system is full ISOBUS and runs through the GS3 2630 without the need of a rate controller. The GS3 also uses the Section Control to shutoff sections of the bar. It was also very easy to set up and run with the GS3.

I ran into an issue where a AT Controller on a Case IH was throw a fault in the Raven setup screen along with code ACI 522390.09. I downloaded the latest Raven software and the customer ran for 2 days then it threw the same code again. I re-downloaded the software again and it worked, but I also did a DTAC case and will keep everyone updated once they get back to me.

Seeing a lot of down force sensors reading zero yet. Seems like a few things can get them working again. Raise planter and zero, calibrate height switch, disable and re-enable. There’s also a DTAC case that talks about resetting the PM2 controller as a last resort, but I haven’t had to do that yet.

Joe Brunker and Jon Reynolds found a bad poly phaser( part used to protect the amp from lightning strikes ) was the problem on weak signal at the Hazel Green leg.  With that said all towers are now up and operational.  With a few more climbs we will be finished on all towers.

During a few installs, I noticed that our RTK signal was very strong.  In several cases I was able to get 100% RTK data received inside steel machine sheds, and in one case that was 8 miles away.  Another instance was getting the Shullsburg tower all the way up to the Lancaster tower (30.98 miles away), unfortunately the Deere software won’t let you run that far from a tower.  All of the current RTK customers have begun gator mapping and have reported better coverage than they expected.

Bill adds, “this past week I had the pleasure of fighting a 1770 that had Precision installed on it.  The planter needed a new d.p. node installed and while we were installing it we also installed new software and dielectric greased the connectors.  Before we left I checked over all settings and verified that it was correct.  A few days later customer is called complaining that the software made a bunch of his sensors not work and throw codes.  After another stop to their farm, and the better part of the day with help from a Cuba City tech, we realized that the Precision Planting 20/20 was booting up after the 2630 causing sensors for both vacuum motors and other random codes to be thrown.  They all went away and planter preformed normally when the precision stuff was removed out of the system.  I truly feel that during season calls for random “odd” errors our first diagnostic test should be to remove any and all precision harnesses.  9 out if 10 times it would solve the problem.”

Bill also had an iTc receiver on 4830 sprayer with 2630 display.  The display had an error message of no GPS signal and couldn’t be accepted to move to another screen.  It ended up being software.   Receiver would work on another display, so I loaded software on that first and then was able to get the customers display to acknowledge and also take new software

New 1790 planters will unfold with the rock shaft units in the raised position. Follow D-Tac solution 67973 and make adjustments as necessary. Lots of damage occurs when these are folded out with the units raised.

New 4038R set up finding a noise in the right front corner of the cab, following all solutions did not prove any results. Only seems to occur on rougher roads and only while going down- hill. We delivered to Customer and they are aware of the problem and will continue to monitor. Have also entered a D-Tac case.

AMS Report 4.22.2014

by Lucas Veale

Planters are rolling strong across the area.  Conditions remain a bit damp, but with the promise of warmer weather on the way farmers are seizing the opportunity.  Continue to see the normal startup issues of customers trying to remember how their planter monitor, Autotrac, documentation, and Swath Control function and need to be setup or they need help getting all of the hoses and electrical connection hooked up correctly.

We have seen several customer having the problem with the receiver “white triangle” showing up at the hitch position which will make the section control malfunction.  Most of these have been corrected by simply changing the axle position to the opposite setting and then back to the correct setting.  However, Jeff Kraft, store manager of Sloan Implement in Hamel, IL found an instance where he had to change the offsets before it would allow it the position the receiver correctly.  Make sure you customers get out and dig to make sure the row command is working correctly!!!!!  Any other form of checking is inaccurate.

The new 1775 ExactEmerge high speed planter (pictured below) is in action and has had some field time.  Derek Sloan, product support specialist in Assumption comments on his experience pulling the new planter.  “ I got the chance to run the new high speed planter for a day and was very impressed with how well the machine ran. Singulation was excellent even at speeds around 10 mph and ride quality really did not suffer as much as I thought it would staying around 88 percent with downforce around 80-90. Population was even across the planter as well. Having the proper tillage tool running in front of this planter preparing the seed bed will play a big role in the effectiveness at higher speeds. Still waiting on seed to come up so we can see how the spacing really looks.”


Derek also reports that he has seen a barn lot nuisance code from the PM2 indicating that the down force sensors are out of range.  He reports that once it gets in the field the code does not return.

Matt Dehlinger, product support specialist in Effingham, IL reports that if you have a Kinze KPM III that will not keep the speed cal number you need to make sure you shut off the monitor when you complete it rather than turning off the key.

Justin Bickel, product support specialist in Virden, IL reports that on planters with more than 24 rows the PA1 controller can disappear.  The population will continue to function but the doubles and skips will turn red and show poor spacing.  Simply going into the monitor setup and turning off all of the seed sensors for all rows and then turning all rows back on will alleviate the problem.

If you have a customer with a Precision 20/20 monitor on a John Deere Seedstar XP planter and they call you because the monitor is not working correctly, unhook the 20/20 seed sense module back on the planter.  Numerous reports of this fixing planter monitor issues.

Lucas Benning, product support specialist in Vandalia, IL is making gains on the installation of the 4 new RTK base stations.  Three of them are in place with one to go.

Matt Sweitzer, product support specialist in Atwood, IL worked with wireless data transfer this week. He emphasizes the need for all components to have the latest software for a successful start up.  He also found that A/B guidance lines will not transfer from the display.  Only the documentation data will be sent.

He has also seen a 450 MHZ radio glitch.  He states that is says the radio is not responding when you first configure or turn on the system.  Cancel the warning and everything seems to work correctly.

AMS Report 4.17.14

by Josh Zuck

Field work hit full swing last week with a lot of NH3 going and also some tillage work.  Rate Controllers have been working great on NH3 bars. We have had to lower the fast close numbers from 743 to 343 to keep them from bouncing around. Always remember that NH3 is nothing to mess around with. Make sure to always have the proper PPE, always be up wind, and have NH3 gloves and non vented goggles when working on them.

I had a DB66 planter that kept throwing code PM2 1351.14, an alert for the air compressor operating time limit exceeded – check for leaks. If you have this come up, go to PM2 address 22 and the last digit is a 1 when compressor is running and a 0 when it is off. If it stays at 1 when the compressor is off, need to replace the PM2 controller.

I had a GS3 2630 fail during start up. The loading bar would only go across about ¼ of the way and stop. I did a field reprogram and that fixed it.

Teke Heinschel product support salesman at Lanark, has still been busy with boundary mapping.  He only has about 5000 acres more to map, and should be done early next week

Joe Brunker from Monroe, Bill Kletecka from Cuba City, Josh Thornton from White Hall, Derek Sloan from Assumption, Cory Barnes from Lanark, and myself got all of the new RTK base stations set up in Wisconsin last week. The 50 mph winds didn’t stop us from climbing those grain legs. Thanks to the guys down south for coming up and helping us out.

Chuck Standley, Service Manager in Monroe adds that the last couple of 1790 planters he has set up have had the drill shafts out of line and are binding when running the variable rate. This is an easy fix, just need to loosen tem up and let them re-center.

Joe Brunker, Product Support Specialist at Monroe,  says he could not get Internet Explorer to work with the Stellar Support website this week.  Google’s Chrome browser has been much better.  Joe also had one farmer who was getting an EIC error while downloading boundaries, but downloading  the latest version of the software fixed it.  This is just another reason why you need to make sure displays, receivers and Apex are running the most current software versions before planting season.

Our Broadhead RTK base seems strong, even though it has to transmit through a small mountain.  The 450 MHZ radios are really impressive in our rolling terrain of Northern IL and Southwestern WI.

We have been fielding a lot of documentation and layout manager questions as guys reinstall displays that were in combines last fall.

Bill Kletecka, Product Support Specialist at Cuba City, adds that installs have been going at a fevered pace with several more to do before planting.  He will be putting up a repeater on the Hazel Green RTK tower to cover the land that the customer needs for his operation.

Bill had a customer that started his Kinze planter that had the white triangle implement indicator on his display move to the drawbar.  This in turn made setting clutches impossible. Toggling the non-steering point from front to rear has fixed this issue.

We are getting some snow today, Monday April 14, but then suppose to be warming up the rest of the week. We had about 1 ½” of rain Saturday night through Monday morning.  We really need the rain. A lot of guys are talking about planting mid next week. So as of right now we are running a normal schedule.

AMS Report 4.14.2014

by Lucas Veale

A few planters began to roll last week as farmers tried to take advantage of the nice weather in the area.  Most were not in a huge hurry due to the upcoming cold weather, but it was good to get the planter in the field to make sure everything was set and ready to go once the weather stays nice.  Planter operation and clutch setup were the main opportunities for training customers.

AMS product sales continue to remain strong.  Several customers have switched to RTK or upgraded to 450 MHZ from their current 900 radios.  Customers seem to be willing to upgrade once they learn of the extended range of the 450 MHZ radios.  Rate controllers have also been a hot item.

There’s good news for farmers using Android devices and John Deere’s Apex farm management software.  Mobile Farm Manager is now available for your android smart phone and tablet.  It can be downloaded for free here at the Google Play site. (Picture below)


Mobile Farm Manager has been compatible with Iphone/Ipad since its inception in November 2012.  It gives farmers remote access to their Apex data and performs several functions like field maps, historical reports, GPS tracking, field navigation and soil sampling grids.   Having this agronomic information literally at your fingertips will make it much easier to analyze field data like application and fertility maps, soil sample grids, and crop product data directly from the field.  Mobile Farm Manager also makes it easy to share this agronomic information with ag service providers, farm managers, and other advisors.

Customers looking to activate Mobile Farm Manager will need to download the latest version of Apex, 3.6.1 here at

The GoPlant App for iPad is now available for download.  This app has several nice features that show how to operate the SeedStar monitor as well as other features on setting up your planter.  Check it out on the App Store. (Picture below)


Jared Wheeler, Product Support Specialist at Assumption, reminds you when searching for an ITC receiver on stellar support, be sure that you use an “02” in the serial number rather than the “01” that is actually there when activating a subscription.  For example, if the serial number is PCGT01C123456 then you should enter PCGT02C123456.  Otherwise, you will likely not be able to find the receiver in the system.

Josh Thornton, Product Support Specialist at White Hall, has had a little time with the new R-Series Sprayers.  He mentioned that there is a box for you to check when using the orifice valve and to check the dual flow meter box if your sprayer is set up that way.

Matt Dehlinger, Product Support Specialist at Effingham, found that an XMC callibration will fix an 6R tractor that is holding on to one side.

Justin Bickel, Product Support Specialist at Virden, had issues with the new GS2630 software update.  For some reason it can put the Starfire receiver in boot lock which requires the receiver to have the software manually forced to it.  The LED on the front of the receiver will flash red.  Others have reported this issue as well.

Dylan Vickers, Product Support Specialist at Atwood, had a CIS system that would not allow him to complete the calibration of the main system.  It wound up being the display was the faulty unit.

Matt Sweitzer, Product Support Specialist at Atwood, reports that several machines show the receiver, designated by the small white triangle, being located on the pivot point of the planter.  DTAC solution 98351 addresses the complaint. Others have reported the same issue.  This will negatively impact the performance of section control.

Lucas Benning, Product Support Specialist at Vandalia, has a customer who is really pleased with the direct injection system on his 4940 sprayer.  He says the system was very accurate right out of the box, but he would like to see the ability to change the direct injection while on the go.  Currently you must stop the sprayer and turn off the spray pump to change rates.

Jared Matthews, Service Manager at Assumption, said that if you are constantly having dead battery problems on your JD Link enabled machines, then you need to change the JDLINK shut down voltage to 12 volts rather than 11 or less.  This is done in address JDL 156.

I had the opportunity to start a Kinze planter that we had converted from KPM II to ISO and added Kinze electric clutches.  It went very well and the customer was very happy.  He said “This really was not that big of a deal.  Kind of a non-event.”  I have to agree with him.  The system worked great and was easy for him to understand and operate.  I highly recommend that if you have customers with a Kinze planter and a GS3 display that you have them make this upgrade, especially if they would like to add section control to their planter.

I also installed two of the four new RTK base stations in his area, and I will be erecting the other two as time and weather allows.

Until next time, good luck with your planting season and let us know if you need our assistance.

AMS Report 4.7.2014

by Lucas Veale

The rain has stopped any and all field work across Central Illinois and customers are anxious to get to the field.  We have seen very high interest and sales this past week with AMS as customer are anticipating a narrower planting window.  Rate controllers and RTK seemed to be the hot ticket this past week.

Kinze ISO and clutches continue to also sell well.  Customers like using their John Deere screens for everything in the cab.  We are currently installing a complete SF2 autotrac, ISO, swath control, and clutch system in a JD 4640 and a 2006 model 16/31 Kinze 3600.

For customers with row clutches you need to make sure that the dimensions are correct for the machine and implement.  Start with a turn on time of 1.0 sec and a turn off time of .6 sec.  This should get you within the first row and you can fine tune it from there.  However, don’t chase your tail too long.  If you get within a ½ row of perfect, just leave it alone.   It is also important to check the position of the white triangle on the tractor indicating the position of the Starfire receiver.  It needs to show on the front of the cab.  If it shows it near the front of the implement  (which we have been seeing a lot of this) you need to switch the fixed axle position from rear to front and then back to rear.  If this is not checked it will really throw off the swath control.

(See picture below)

ams picture

KPM III monitors could potentially not show any speed or the incorrect speed.  Check the speed cal number to make sure it hasn’t jumped way high.  Also, when using a radar adapter, the Kinze monitors must have at least three pins populated.  It will not work with only 2 pins.

If you are using Stellar Support for any updates or activations it is recommended that you use Google Chrome rather than Internet Explorer or just call the call center.

Deere just announced a new GO PLANT APP available for download on itunes (iPad only).  It has a lot of nice features and is handy for showing a customer the new Seedstar monitor as well as other planter items.

The Seed Meter test stand is still running at full capacity trying to get caught up.  We now have the adapter to run pro-meters with Tru Count clutches.  Please make sure that if a customer wants their meters ran they need to send at least a full bag of seed.  A coffee can full of seed will not cut it.

On April 1, 2015 we will no longer support 900 MHZ RTK radios.  We will leave them active as long as they continue to work, but we will not repair them if/when they fail to operate or cause our 450 MHZ units to fail.  The technology of the 450 MHZ radios far exceeds the 900 MHZ and is the direction of the industry.

Pre-season planter visits continue to be in full swing for those customers who purchased planters for this growing season.  Most have gone smoothly and we have found/fixed some minor issue prior to the customer going to the field.

All 2009 and 2010 model Seedstar 2 planters MUST be on version 10 software to work with the latest GS3 (3.22) software update.  It will partially work but items like swath pro will not be present or could be intermittent.