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  1. #1
    Silver Member ACHINBAC's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
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    167
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    Middleborough, Ma
    Tractor
    BX24

    Default FEL level indicator

    Wanted a lever indicator for the bucket, but not a bolt on rod type. After a bit of head scratching, a couple coors lights, and digging through some old parts boxes, this is what I've come up with:

    The sensor in the arm is a magnetic reed switch. The magnet is bolted to a carved up stainless washer. Both will be painted orange when I get a chance. The set up is very accurate and adjustable via the magnet/washer clamp, and is not affected by snow or dirt. The magnet is neodymium and scary powerful. The switch operates a high power red LED mounted on the plastic shroud at the base of the FEL stick (TBD- mocked up in the picture) and can be seen out of the corner of your eye even when not looking directly at it. Switch wire was routed inside the FEL arm, out, and then bundled with the hydraulic hoses. LED goes red the second the bucket is level - you can set level with the arms on the way down, or without hanging off the side of the tractor or in the dark during a complete white out in a blizzard with your eyes almost frozen shut.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -dsc02898-small-jpg   -dsc02899-small-jpg   -dsc02906-small-jpg   -dsc02922-small-jpg  

  2. #2
    Super Star Member Egon's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
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    17,702
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    Nova Scotia, Canada

    Default Re: FEL level indicator

    Ingenious!
    Egon
    50 years behind the times
    Livin in a
    Worn out skin bag filled with rattlin bones

  3. #3
    Super Member
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    Sep 2000
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    6,553

    Default Re: FEL level indicator

    Unfortunately, it will only give bucket level at one arm height. Raise the arms and the bucket will read level, but will be tipped back significantly.

    jb

  4. #4
    Veteran Member Mickey_Fx's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
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    1,132
    Location
    Vancouver Wa.
    Tractor
    Yanmar Fx24D, Cub 3204

    Default Re: FEL level indicator

    I've been wanting/thinking about such a feature. As shown here, I do have to agree with John's comments. Unless I'm not seeing something, this looks more like a position indicator. i.e. the bucket is level in only one situation.

    What I want but haven't got around to doing the design on is to have an indicator that truly tells when the bucket is level regardless of bucket height and another mode of operation for when you desire the bucket to be parallel to the ground. The second mode of operation is desirable when you want to scoop stuff off the ground and the grade not being level.

    I have something similar on the rear of my tractor which is part of the UFO controls on some Yanmar's. With the flip of a switch my 3pt is kept level in real time within the range of +/- 10ー left/right. This is a fairly complex system but only handles side/side situation and with a bucket, grade is important in some situations.

    ACHINBAC, please don't take it as we're dumping on your effort but this does not appear to truly indicate "level" in all situations. Does look like a nice clean install on the bucket and if it does what you need/want, good for ya.
    Yanmar Fx24D,
    Koyker 155 loader,
    RSB-1300 tiller
    Cub 3204, 48" mower
    Bolen 1257 GT with tiller

  5. #5
    Elite Member
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    Oct 2000
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    3,044
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    Windham County, Conn
    Tractor
    Ford 2120 , New Holland TN75D, Hitachi UH083LC Excavator

    Default Re: FEL level indicator

    Cool devise from an engineering standpoint. All of my tractors have bucket level rods on them. I neer use them, finding that my eyes can still tell a level bucket just fine.

    Andy

  6. #6
    Advertiser kennyd's Avatar
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    Jul 2003
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    Westminster, MD
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    John Deere 4110, 455

    Default Re: FEL level indicator

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyMA View Post
    Cool devise from an engineering standpoint. All of my tractors have bucket level rods on them. I neer use them, finding that my eyes can still tell a level bucket just fine.

    Andy
    I never used mine either so I took it off...The top of my bucket is on the same plane as the bottom, so it's easy to see the position of the bucket from the seat.
    KennyD
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  7. #7
    Silver Member ACHINBAC's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
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    Middleborough, Ma
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    BX24

    Default Re: FEL level indicator

    John you are correct. I worded the post title incorrectly. It is technically a wheel plane indicator for the bucket bottom, and of course is calibrated to indicate only that when the bucket is down for snow removal (we have a gravel drive). It is possible to indicate "level" with a different system but that would be beyond my needs and is a more involved project. Mercury switches and pendulums bounce around and would give erratic result, though would give an indication if the tractor was motionless. A linkage anchored at the FEL arm mount articulating the magnet would allow the bucket to be raised and the "wheel plane" could be determined at any height. Not true level of course. 2 more green LEDs on either side of the red existing and 2 more reed switches would also indicate if you were off - tilted up, or down.

    This was a fun, simple (and cheap) project that anyone can do. Veteran operators would find it useless I suppose, but last year during a couple of bad storms at night I wacked the driveway and the lawn in a bunch of spots pretty good. Will no doubt do it again this year too, but maybe less times.

    Dave

  8. #8
    Super Member
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    Sep 2000
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    Default Re: FEL level indicator

    Dave,

    Your project was nicely done and can be helpful - especially for newer users with less feel for position. And you are right, getting "real" bucket level is a harder thing. Very useful for folks that use forks. I always thought that a couple variable resistors that mark the full swing extent of the bucket travel and boom arm lift travel could be combined to calculate bucket level. I have the idea of how that would work, but not the skills to pull it off. (or the burning desire, spare time, spare change for parts, etc)

    jb

  9. #9
    Elite Member Gittyup's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
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    2,869
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    Mid Atlantic
    Tractor
    Kioti CK25 Shuttle Shift, loaded tires, JD X739

    Default Re: FEL level indicator

    This simple little switch might work good for keeping it true horizontal without too much switch bounce:

    Tilt Activated Switch

    Of course, it would have to be modified to be more rugged. But, that wouldn't be hard to do. Contact spacing would dictate sensitivity and accuracy.

  10. #10
    Elite Member
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    Nov 2005
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    Default Re: FEL level indicator

    Howze about a ball bearing inside a plastic tube filled with oil of an "appropriate" viscosity ?
    Sure it would be slower to react when colder, but maybe a thin enough oil and a ball bearing with enough but not too much clearance in the tube would have the right dampening.

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