Pololu 21v3 motor controller in an old Steiger

Please excuse me if this isn’t the right spot, it’s not really a robot.

A while back I had asked a question about the 21v3 motor controller Serial commands and a 21v3 motor controller Thanks for the answer Paul. He had asked me to post my project when I was done, so here it is.

We have an old tractor that has one use in life, pushing trucks while loading them, and then out of muddy fields.

The guys that helped work on the tractor call it the FrankenSteiger (Steiger is the manufacturer) The tractor was built in 1979. It’s ugly, and old, and has somewhere around 12,000 hours on it. We installed a motor out of a garbage truck and an Allison automatic transmission out of a dump truck in the tractor. We originally mounted a big manual shift lever in the cab. Turns out that it was difficult for the operator to push the trucks, shift, and watch to make sure we get the truck loaded right. Our tractors that had electronic shift are much easier to drive.

So, I used an Arduino microcontroller, a 21v3 motor controller, and a Firgelli Automation linear actuator to make life a little easier. The control box I made up is mounted to the armrest in the tractor. The Arduino and the motor controller are mounted inside the box.

The linear actuator is mounted on the side of the transmission and moves the gear selector lever, sorry I don’t have any pictures of that.

The top switch is a locking toggle selects forward and reverse, the bottom rocker switch selects the gears 1-5 in forward range. The LED’s light up to show amber for reverse, green for neutral, and red for gears 1 through 5.

The locking toggle prevents the operator from accidentally bumping the tractor into gear, and the arduino is programmed to select neutral when the tractor is started. If the tractor is started in forward or reverse range, the controller will move the transmission to neutral, and flash the LED’s to indicate the problem.

Since farming is difficult when it’s 10 degrees out, we’ve tested the tractor by moving snow. I’ll try to get a video of it soon. So far we’re pretty happy with the combination.

I have a few other ideas for the Arduino/Pololu combination, so you may hear more from me. Let me know what you think or if you have any questions.

Wow, that is impressive. Sure, it is not exactly a robot, but this arguably falls under the general heading of “robotics”, and I would happily rename this forum to something more inclusive if it would encourage more posts like this one! I would definitely love to see a video of it in action.

Where are you located, and what are you growing and loading onto the trucks (when the weather is warmer, of course)?


That’s some nice job U’ve done.

Were U thinking about getting transmission control from old bus ? The friend of mine used bus automatic transmission on K-700 (Kirovets) tractor.=))) (tooks about 2 years of work)
(like this one)

That’s the good “real life” use for our toys =))

The farm is in Minnesota, and in this picture we’re harvesting sugarbeets to bring to the factory. If you look at the trailer it’s only about 2/3 full. We had a very wet and muddy harvest this year. That’s as full as we could load a lot of the trailers. We also grow corn, soybeans and kidney (chili) beans.

Some of the sugar from these beets is sold to the candy company’s. The sugar in the candy bar you’re eating may have come out of my fields!

It’s a small world on here!
Those Kirovets are some workhorses of a tractor. There are a few of them here in the US and Canada. I think your friend had the same idea we did.
The automatic we installed is out of a dump truck. It came from a local truck junkyard. It is the same sort of transmission used in over the road buses. The transmission is the cylindrical black thing in the center of the picture

It took a little cutting and fitting to get done, but it was worth it in the end.

True. And I’ve sent him link to this page, so he can take a look at the job u’ve done. (if U don’t mind)

oh… I adore heavy machinery, but I never work with it.

Don’t you think to replace it with Tamiya motor kit ? =))))