My Review of Combine Advisor, New for John Deere S700 Series

by Lucas Veale, Assumption, IL 

Corn and bean harvest was in full swing last week  (18-22 Sept).  Soybeans seemed to be the crop of choice to harvest first while growers were waiting on the corn to dry down a bit more.  I had a chance to operate one of the new model year ’18 S780 combines with the Combine Advisor Package installed in a cornfield not far from Assumption.  Combine Advisor automatically helps maintain machine performance once the operator initially sets the machine.  It has a high-speed camera on the clean grain and tailings elevators to monitor grain condition and tailings load in each respective elevator.

Combine Advisor Live Camera Video Feed

After the operator has set the machine to perform to his satisfaction, he will press the “set performance target” button and continue harvesting.  Once this is done, the system goes into action. For the next few rounds in the field, it looks at the loss monitor for separator and shoe loss levels.  It also inspects the free grain and trash levels in the tailings elevator via the tailings camera.  Lastly, it checks out the clean grain camera for foreign material and broken kernels.  During this period of time, approximately 10 min, it is learning the acceptable loss/damage/trash levels for each respective system.  Once it completes this learning period the system is ready and active.

Combine Advisor Adjustment Page

As the operator continues through the field,  the system is monitoring all of the above conditions and is looking for one that is outside the range that it experienced during the 10 minute learning period.  If it notices that one of the parameters is outside of acceptable levels, it will change one or more of the appropriate settings in the combine to try and correct the situation.  For example, if the system saw that the amount of free grain detected by the tailings camera was above the learned period level, it would open the sieve to try and direct more of this free grain to the clean grain elevator.  After the adjustment, the system will watch and see if the problem got better, got worse, or stayed the same for about 5-10 min.  It will also see if any other areas were affected, like in this scenario, if more foreign material was also introduced into the clean grain system.  If it lowered the free grain in the tailings, it would leave the sieve setting alone.  If it saw that the foreign material level went up it might close the chaffer or increase the fan speed to try and mitigate that development as well.

Combine Advisor Adjustment Settings Page

I got to experience firsthand the machine making needed adjustments on the fly.  We were harvesting corn in a field with 2 varieties.  We set the machine in the driest variety and continued harvesting.  It did have some small patches of replant in it, but the machine did not make “knee-jerk” adjustments when encountering the small patches of replant.  The customer was receiving a discount on drying costs from an elevator and decided we would move to the other end of the field to the wetter variety to take advantage of the discount.  I noticed shortly after I had moved to the new variety the combine had slowed the rotor and opened the concave.  I knew this because it had turned those two setting blue on the monitor.  I questioned why the combine had done this so I went to the performance history page and it showed me the reason for the change was because the broken grain levels had risen substantially.  After the machine had evaluated the change for a couple rounds it left them in place as we continued on through the field.  It made some other changes here and there to try and clean up the sample.  Some of them it left in place but some of them it did not leave in place an put them back to the original.  Once we got back into the drier variety the combine began to make adjustments again.  When it had finished “readjusting” the settings were nearly exactly where they were when we left the drier variety the first time.

Combine Advisor Performance History

I have set many combines in many different situations over my 20-year career with John Deere and Sloan Implement.  I can honestly say that this feature made me a better operator.  Not because it knew what adjustment to make better than I did, but because it was constantly watching the performance of the machine while I had other distractions.  I was also watching for drain sumps in the field.  Is the grain cart operator too close or too far away from my auger?  Am I going to make it to the end without running the grain tank over?  Are there any trucks here because the cart is almost full?  Am I running my deck plates too wide because I see a little corn shelling on the ground?  Etc., etc., etc.  Even if you are an experienced operator, you have many more things you are watching for as you run through the field in addition to keeping tabs on the performance of the machine.  If you are not an experienced operator, you can feel more comfortable that the machine is watching and adjusting as needed to do a good job.

To be honest, I thought this new technology was going to be nothing more than another bell and whistle that was just going to result in more phone calls for me to deal with while helping growers understand it.  I’m 99.9% sure I will still get some phone calls about it, but I think the value it brings will be worth it.

Thanks for spending your valuable time with me and hopefully this has given you some insights to the new Combine Advisor package.  Please be safe out there and have a bountiful and profitable harvest this fall.

Sloan Support is written by the product support team at Sloan Implement, a 20 location John Deere dealer in Illinois and Wisconsin.   Learn more at www.sloans.com

 

John Deere S-Series Combine Model Year Updates: 2012 to 2017

John Deere S Series Combines

John Deere’s S-Series combines have been harvesting crops since 2012.  They brought with it a larger operator station, bigger cleaning shoe,  new class 9 machine – better known as the S690, 16-row corn heads, flex draper platforms,  a power fold grain tank, and the ever popular refrigerator.  Many other updates have been made along the way and I will highlight those changes throughout this blog post.

2012

Model lineup included the S550, S660, S670, S680, & S690. It featured a larger cab with much-improved visibility over the 70 Series.  This really saved a lot of “bow necking;” looking around the corner post to see the ends of your headers.  It had (finally) a touchscreen command center display.  There were a lot of 70 series command centers with fingerprints on them because operators were used to the touch screen in their tractors and tried in vain to run the 70 Series combine command center the same way.  The new refrigerator was a big hit because it reduced the need for a cooler to get you through the long days.  The factory cab-cam harness made it easier to install cameras on the machine to reduce stress when on the road or when backing up. The S-Series also introduced a larger and more efficient cleaning shoe to help keep more crop in the machine.  With this added productivity, the S680 and S690 received a larger standard grain tank and an increased unloading auger capacity of 3.8 bu/sec vs. the 3.3bu/sec on the 70 series. The S680 and S690 were also given an active tailings system to help better deal with the added capacity of the machine and reduce losses by not recirculating crop back through the rotor.  One of my favorite changes was the ease of changing the chopper speed.  Gone were the days of swapping belts to switch from corn to beans.  Another change vs. the 70 Series was the removal of the park brake pedal and shift lever for the 3-speed transmission.  All of this was moved to the armrest as a park brake button and a 1-2-3 gear selection.  Also gone was the big silver colored boat anchor in the grain tank better known as the moisture sensor.  Replacing it was the new auger style mounted on the side of the clean grain elevator.  This new design was much more reliable than its predecessor.  Another new option was the power folding grain tank extension.  This allowed customers to fold it up or down from the cab to avoid low hanging power lines or shorter shed doors.  John Deere entered the class 9 market in 2012 with the model S690 with 543 hp at rated speed for handling larger heads, larger acres, and heavier crop conditions.

John Deere S690 Combine

Other additions in 2012 were new flex draper heads in 35’ and 40’ configurations, the 635FD and 640FD, and the 16-row corn head, 616C was introduced in 2012 as well.

2013

No changes were made to the model numbers for 2013, but there were some changes to the fleet nonetheless.  The rotor received a thicker skin to help protect it from damage from ingestion of foreign material.  A mid-year option addition permitted the chaffer to have a manually adjusted rear section.  This allowed for the independent adjustment of the rear of the chaffer to a tighter setting to help reduce the amount of tailings volume.

2014

This year saw some major changes to the S series.  First, the S550 was dropped from the lineup and the S650 added.

John Deere S650 Combine

The S650 had the same larger rotor size of its big brothers, increased hp over the S550, and a larger cleaning shoe.  Speaking of hp, the S660 and S670 also received increased muscle for 2014.  Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) was now required to meet the EPA smog standards and complete the long emissions journey to Final Tier 4.  Operators would notice a big reduction of cab noise in 2014 due to increased cab insulation, better door sealing, and laminated front glass.  A newly redesigned 36” track option was added to the lineup for help with those high floatation situations and deal with other challenging field conditions.

John Deere S670 on Tracks

John Deere also introduced Interactive Combine Adjust in 2014.  This feature found in the command center helped operators fine tune their machines to get maximum performance and productivity.  John Deere entered the 30’ flex draper market in 2014 with the release of the 630FD header.

John Deere 630FD Flex Draper

2015

The 2015 model year machines received a really nice update with the hydraulic fore-aft tilt feeder house.  This allowed for easier header connection and much-improved performance in the field.  When field conditions got tough, you could tilt the head back and forth to find the optimum cutting angle to improve header control performance.   We prepared this video in 2015 to better explain this feature.

Some structural strength was also added to the feeder house as well as moving the now smaller drum forward for improved feeding.  With more crop coming into the machine, Deere released the Active Concave Isolation option and hydraulically suspended the concave to provide a more robust concave gap and more consistent performance when dealing with slugs.  Deere entered the 45’ flex draper market in ’15 as well for those large acre customers who needed the greater productivity of a larger header.  To accommodate the larger head, Deere released the 28.5’ unloading auger option. To improve draper performance in field conditions that load one side of the header and not the other, Deere introduced the side belt speed reduction feature which would slow down one side of the header, but not the other, to prevent the belts from plugging.

2016

John Deere entered the folding corn head market in 2016.  This allowed operators with 12-row heads to move from field to field without requiring a head cart or a vehicle and person to pull the head cart from field to field, saving valuable time and money.

John Deere 612FC Folding Cornhead

The combines also received a 12% larger sieve to help save more grain from exiting the combine and to help clean up the grain tank.  Active Terrain Adjust option arrived which automatically adjusted the cleaning shoe settings and the fan speed based on the slope when going up and down a hill without any input from the operator.  An onboard air compressor was added to the options list to allow operators to blow off debris that had accumulated on the machine or service low air pressure in tires.  Lastly, the draper received a wider feed section in the center as well as a much larger and stronger reel finger.

2017

Models built for this fall received some fine tuning features, but no real major changes.  A factory installed camera chassis harness was available for the first time to ease camera installation.  An available foot rest option for the steering column was released and can be retrofitted to older machines.  Eight-row corn head owners can now purchase a folding corn head for really tight transport opportunities.

2017 John Deere 608C Folding Cornhead

Finally, a high moisture corn enhancement was added to improve grain quality and cleanliness with combines equipped with the deep tooth cleaning shoe.

Thanks for reading about the history of the S-Series combine.  If you are looking to upgrade from a previous series machine, hopefully this information will help you understand the changes made each year and help you make an informed decision for your farm and your budget.   You can learn even more about the S Series Combines by visiting our Youtube channel and watching our playlist on this machine.

If you are interested in purchasing a used S Series combine you can view our inventory by clicking the model types below:

S550

S650

S660

S670

S680

S690

Respectfully

Lucas Veale

by Lucas Veale, Assumption, IL 

 

Sloan Support is written by the product support team at Sloan Implement, a 20 location John Deere dealer in Illinois and Wisconsin.   Learn more at www.sloans.com

 

AMS Expo, S Series Combine Updates, and Rowsense for Forage Harvesters

by Joe Brunker, Monroe, WI

Last week, we spent a couple days in Atwood, IL helping with technician training and the customer AMS Expo. This week we will be in Litchfield for the customer expo on Thursday Aug 7th. Northern customers should mark their calendars for Thursday, August 28th in Belmont, WI. We are combining our fall AMS classes and our combine clinic together with some new items to change it up a bit this year. We hope to see you there!

Most of the area was working on 3+ weeks of no rain until Monday night. Widespread rain caught most of the area with anywhere from .3” to over 4” of rain. At the store in Monroe, I dumped out 2.4” Tuesday morning. At our place near Barneveld we had just under 1”. The corn was starting to fire up the stalk when I headed to IL last week and it changed for the worse while I was gone for a couple days. Beans were also showing stress especially on the lighter ground. The Field Connect moisture probes have also being showing the need for rain as the irrigation pivots were getting to the point where they could no longer keep up. There were days where the daily moisture change throughout the probe was negative .30-.40”. Our top end yield got dinged some over the last couple of weeks, but overall the crop still looks pretty good and this rain should really help fill out the corn and beans. There are still a few wheat fields out there to harvest. Some customers working on some 3rd crop hay while others maybe starting their 4th cutting in 10 days or so. The demo W235 will be around Monroe for the next week before moving up to the Mt. Horeb area. Give us a call if you are in either area and want to give it a try!

John Deere just released their 4th quarter programs. The following retail bonuses are in place until the end of October: $250 off GS3 rowsense activation, $500 off machine sync radio, $500 off machine sync activation and $500 a field installed JDLink MTG with Remote Display Access. I know we’ve priced some rowsense and JDLink installs for Wireless Data Transfer, so now would be a good time to buy either if you’ve been on the fence.

We installed a set of rowsense feelers on a Self Propelled Forage Harvester (SPFH) last week. Unlike rowsense for combines, the SPFH’s do not require a rowsense activation to run and they can also run without a display or GPS.

SPFH with Rowsense

SPFH with Rowsense

Rowsense Feeler on rotary head

Rowsense Feeler on rotary head

Model year 2014 combines with Final Tier 4 engines will have a new feature on them called Interactive Combine Adjust (ICA).  This allows the operator to select an area that they would like to improve (Grain Quality, Grain Loss or Straw Quality). The combine will then walk the operator through possible adjustments and make them for the operator when possible (like closing the sieve). At the end, you will be able to see a before and after shot of your grain loss monitor to see if the condition improved. It should be a neat feature to try out this fall. Just like any other combine adjustment, it’s highly recommended that you only make one adjustment at a time, so you can pinpoint whether it ended up helping or hurting the situation.

Interactive Combine Adjust (ICA)

Interactive Combine Adjust (ICA)

Speaking of grain loss monitors, model year 14 combines will also throw a new code at you if you have not calibrated your grain loss monitor yet.

Grain Loss Calibration Code

Grain Loss Calibration Code

After you properly set your combine, you will need to follow the following steps to calibrate your grain loss monitor:

Main Menu (bottom RH corner)

Combine Icon

H- Set-up Icon (dot with an arrow pointing at it)

G- Set-up Crop

Press the triangle calibration button (found beside the vision trak cal value) while harvesting at your normal ground speed and engine load. You should then see that value change.