4xxx electronics long-term viability: John Deere Review  -- John Deere Tractors Discussion Forum and Review 4xxx electronics long-term viability: John Deere Review -- John Deere Tractors Discussion Forum

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Discussion Boards > Active Subjects > Messages as Posted > John Deere Review Forum

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 03-20-2003, 18:57 Post: 51529
kwschumm



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 4xxx electronics long-term viability

Is anyone else here suspicious of the long-term viability of the electronics in the 4xxx tractors? I'd really like to buy a 4310, but all the electronics are scaring me off.

Electronic components (processors, DSPs, logic devices, etc) seem to be the raw material required to build the "brains" of these tractors. I'm sure that JD buys the electronic components they use, therefore when the components are End-of-lifed (outside the control of JD) they will no longer be able to manufacture replacement parts. Electronic components are not like steel - you can't just go to a machine shop to get a part manufactured. Once an electronic component is no longer made you are SOL.

There are two viable solutions, but I can't see JD doing either of them. They can either stock enough parts to supply replacement needs for the next 50 years (management typically doesn't want to have that much cash tied up in inventory) or plan on redesigning replacement parts using current technology when obsolete components are no longer available (they probably want to spend their engineering budget on new products, not old ones).

Historically tractors have a very long useful working life, but availability of many electronic components is measured in months nowadays. I know JD has a good reputation of parts availability, but do they have any track record of redesigning electronics to repair old equipment? Will the push toward electronic controls shorten the working life of these tractors?






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 03-20-2003, 19:35 Post: 51532
Billy

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 4xxx electronics long-term viability

If it does, we can all go back to the horse and buggy days Wink yeah right






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 03-26-2003, 08:42 Post: 51904
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 4xxx electronics long-term viability

Many people had the same thought when the Deere 8000 series ag tractors came out in 1995. Their electrionic systems have proven to be very dependable. Just a thought.






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 03-26-2003, 09:03 Post: 51907
kwschumm



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 4xxx electronics long-term viability

It's good to know that JD electronics seem to have been reliable so far, but I see a big difference between trying to get replacement electronics for an 8 year old tractor vs. a 20-50 year old tractor.

I'm curious if the 4xxx series tractors have a limp-home mode. Will the ehydro work at all without it's electronics?






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 03-26-2003, 10:11 Post: 51913
slowrev



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 4xxx electronics long-term viability

Yes it will shorten the effective life of the tractors. But that is what the tractor manufacturers want. They are in the business of selling tractors. And no matter what they say, they do not want the tractor to last 30 years or more. I have already seen this problem in the auto industry. Which the tractor industry seems to be following the lead of.

I am an electronics technician and can repair many things, but once a computer chip/module the tractor uses becomes unavailable the tractor is trash. However I can get any mechanical part on a tractor repaired or built from scratch by myself or a good machinist. Also Electronics do not tend to hold up too well in the high vibration sit outside environment that tractors live in.

Of course if you plan on trading in the tractor on a new one every few years ( as with most people and their auto's) , This will not be a problem.

Just my opinion, but based on empirical evidence.






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 03-26-2003, 11:57 Post: 51925
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 4xxx electronics long-term viability

The way I understand it is your tractor will continue to work if all the electronic switches were to go out. The only one necessary is the PTO switch. If that were to go out, you couldn't engage the PTO.

The main concern here is the electronic controller. Without it working, your hydro pedals won't work. If by chance it was to go out and JD had stopped making them. You could take parts from a 4000 series hydro and change the 4000 Ten series to a 4000. Most likely it would consist of a couple of linkages.

I don't think they'll quit making the controller. If they do, there will be aftermarket ones pop up. Just think, an electronic controller cost very little to produce, since the design is already there. There would be a lot of money to be made here.

Billy






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 03-26-2003, 14:45 Post: 51932
slowrev



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 4xxx electronics long-term viability

Yes Billy,
Aftermarket companies would make the controller if they could. But with the gummit extending copyright laws to 99 years, it could be a long time as the software in the controller chip would be copyrighted by JD.

I like to buy a tractor to keep, however I cannot to wait 100 years for a part.

IMHO. Tractors should be kept simple, for reliability and ease/low cost of repair.






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 03-26-2003, 15:16 Post: 51934
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 4xxx electronics long-term viability

slowrev

On the copyright, if JD isn't gonna make the part they would certainly sell the copyright to the software.

You seem to think JD made something to sell and are planning to leave the buyer holding the bag? John Deere didn't get where it is today by doing that kind of business. Now if we were talking about some fly-by-night tractor company, I would agree with you.

Everyone has their own opinions. That's why forums are so interesting. On this point, neither one of us can prove we are right. I'll tell ya what. I'll bet you a buck I can buy a controller for my 4610 in 30 years? That is if we are both still kickin and we both remember the bet Wink yeah right






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 03-26-2003, 15:36 Post: 51936
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 4xxx electronics long-term viability

It's not just a matter of JD releasing the copyright. Even if they gave their custom firmware to the public domain, if the components are no longer available (microcontroller or programmable logic device) it may be a big effort to port to new devices. Do aftermarket manufacturers currently make replacement electronics for ANY brand of tractor?






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 03-26-2003, 16:04 Post: 51938
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 4xxx electronics long-term viability

Not that I'm aware of, kwschumm. I can't see any difference in an automobile chip and a tractor chip. I do know you can buy electronic chips for autos from several sources.

If it was built once, it can be built again. And cheaper the second time around.







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