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John Deere Starfire iTC receivers obsolete in 2021

From January 2021 StarFire iTC receivers will no longer be able to receive SF1 and SF2 correction signals.

As of 2021, something changes in the technology that Americans are using in their GPS network. The SF1 and SF2 signal that the satellites emit then shifts to a different frequency, preventing Deere’s iTC equipment from receiving the signal (properly) and transmitting it to the tractor controller.

AutoTrac will only work with RTK

After this date AutoTrac automatic steering will only work with the more accurate RTK signal, although applications such as Section Control, documentation and parallel tracking will still be possible using older 2630 or 1800 GreenStar displays, says John Deere.

Owners will now be able to trade in any current iTC receiver for the latest, fourth generation StarFire 6000 model with their local dealer. The offer includes not only the receiver but also the more accurate SF3 correction signal, effective down to 3cm, as well as an advanced Gen 4 4240 or 4640 GreenStar display, all at a lower price.

Faster signal acquisition and ISOBUS compatibility

Once they’ve upgraded, customers will benefit from faster signal acquisition and the displays’ ISOBUS compatibility, as well as wireless software updates and the PIN code locking system to help prevent theft. Further details are available from local John Deere dealerships.

Existing StarFire 6000 equipment, and also the intermediate SF 3000 technology, can move forward with the changed GPS signals and do not need an upgrade, but a – free – software update. The dealer may still charge a fee for carrying out the work.

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Starfire iTC owners will now be able to trade in any current iTC receiver for the latest, fourth generation StarFire 6000 model with their local dealer. - Photo: John Deere
Starfire iTC owners will now be able to trade in any current iTC receiver for the latest, fourth generation StarFire 6000 model with their local dealer. - Photo: John Deere

Many iTC receivers have already made way for an SF 3000 or SF 6000 in recent years. John Deere does not know exactly how many old models are still in circulation, but estimates that this will still be a “significant percentage”. The advice is not to wait until the last minute with an upgrade.

SF1 and SF2 signals will remain in use

The SF1 and SF2 signals will remain in use, even modern receivers can handle them. SF1 is the least accurate (plus / minus 10 cm at best), which can be used for “broad acre” applications, such as fertilising or spraying. SF2, used by the StarFire3000, achieves an accuracy of plus / minus 5 cm and is therefore suitable for row cultivation or strip cultivation, for example. The 6000 achieves an accuracy of about 3 cm with SF3 and does not need an RTK correction.

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