Project Idea - Electric Drive Planter Units

Electric drive planter units have definitely increased in popularity, with proponents saying that they should reduce maintenance and provide section control and on-the-spot population control capabilities for each electric motor involved (whether it be every row/every 2 rows/etc).

These motors can run off PWM, so we could use them with AOG, correct?

Just something I thought about.

Edit: They also have encoder built in so you can tell exact revolutions for population control.

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Yep. Same code as needed for pwm nozzles on a sprayer.
All coded & controlled from machine microcontrollers connected to AOG through ethernet.
Not too hard once you get into it. Have fun coding. Plenty of help here or on telegram if you ask.
Turn compensation of units is key when driving a curve. We should be able to do this much better than the commercial system I’ve used on a sprayer. by predicting a curve from AOG rather than just waiting until after the fact if just using gps position which gives way too much lag in response.


For motor controls. The entire operation & control can be done using open source. The diy electric car community has conquered the power control of cheap 3 phase electric motors using IGBT’s. In this case for planters we would just need to miniturise their components to suit.

Quite a few planters use stepper motors. The advantage there is no feedback required and control is dead simple. Couldn’t detect problems though, like a jammed meter disc, or some other mechanical problem affecting the rate. There are a bunch of really nice closed-loop servo systems available that aren’t too expensive. Many of them can be controlled via ethernet or a serial connection. If you’re driving each row with its own unit, then this is probably the only way to go. One example is ClearPath. John Saunders did a number of videos on them and they are super easy to control with Arduino. For example, Arduino & ClearPath Servo: Moving 34 lbs FAST! WW131 - YouTube.

There’s also an open source project to make a closed-loop servo system with regular stepper motors. It’s called Mechaduino.

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Some trimatic stepper driver (TMC2130, TMC2209) seem to be able to detect blockages with normal stepper motors.
But not used myself (yet).

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Just found this thread, and thought you might find this link interesting. Viewing a thread - Homemade electric planter drive

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