Canadian company Agra-GPS has come up with a solution which allows outdated John Deere iTC receivers to be used once more.
Agra-GPS developed a so-called “iTC Extend”-box with which the automatic steering on outdated John Deere iTC receivers can be activated. This feature has been disabled since February of this year. Outdated iTC receivers can no longer receive SF1 or SF2 signals because the satellite service shifted their signal to a different frequency.
As a result, users could no longer activate the Autotrac (automatic steering) function, because it required an SF1, SF2 signal or another connection signal. For this reason, John Deere launched trade-in promotions last year to convert users to an SF 6000 system.
Translating the signals
iTC Extend is not a receiver, but a converter, which means that a standard GPS / Glonass signal is translated into an SF1 signal. The control screen picks this up as if it were an SF1 correction signal, and the system allows you to activate the automatic steering. The screen therefore states that an SF1 signal is coming in.
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ITC Extend is not a receiver, but a converter. In concrete terms, it means that a standard GPS / Glonass signal is translated into an SF1 signal. - Photo: Agra-GPS
It should be noted that iTC Extend does enable automatic steering once more, but that it does not offer the accuracy of a correction signal. According to German importer GPS Technic, one can count on an accuracy of 0-20 centimetres because of the standard free GPS signal.
The importer has now brought around 10 demo sets to Germany and explains that in the past, a cultivator had achieved an accuracy of 0-5 centimetres. GPS Technic expects the retail price of iTC Extend will range between € 500-€ 550.
Arable farmer in Canada
Agra-GPS was founded by Johannes Heupel, a farmer and software engineer from Alberta, Canada. Heupel previously developed the so-called “JD Bridge”-systems with which GPS equipment from John Deere could e used on other machine brands. FarmerGPS, another one of Heupel’s inventions, is a steering assistance system.
In addition, the developers are working on a next step: building an additional receiver in iTC Extend so that old iTC equipment can also receive a free EGNOS correction signal.
The ITC Extend box is built on the iTC receiver and connected with the plug connections between receiver and tractor. - Photo: Agra-GPS