7 January 2000

Comfort still top priority

Automated powershift and

simultaneous operation of up

to 12 implement functions

are part of a mid-life boost

for Deeres 8000 series

tractors, now badged 8010s.

Geoff Ashcroft reports from

the cab of an 8410, where

operator comfort is the key

COMFORT has always been high on John Deeres list of priorities and the 8000 series tractor range was no exception.

With CommandArm control console, slimline steering column and panoramic view, the 8000 series cab had few imperfections.

Now, six years after the launch of the 8000 series, Deere has upgraded the four-model range with the introduction of the 8010 series. Wheeled models are now badged 8110, 8210, 8310 and 8410, while rubber tracked versions carry the T suffix.

Apart from a change to decals, there is nothing visual – externally – to differentiate old from new. The changes are under the skin, with electronic enhancements and power tweaks aimed primarily at making the operators life more comfortable.

All four machines retain the 8.1-litre PowerTech engine, but with modest increases in power and torque; the 8110 gets 195hp, the 8210 is 215hp, the 8310 is now 235hp and the 8410 powers in at 270hp. Rubber tracked models get the same treatment.

The most significant enhancement to make the 8000 series worthy of its new 10 series badging is the development of the Command Control System, a combination of Automatic PowerShift (APS), Implement Management System (IMS) and Hitch Slip Command (HSC).

Deere says the improvements are aimed at reducing driver fatigue and improving operator efficiency, and have been made possible from the 8000 series drive-by-wire design.

So, farmers weekly went to Deeres Langar, Nottingham, premises to try out a 270hp 8410, to see if the enhancements are worthwhile, or simply more gizmos which could add to confusion.

Once settled in the cab, sharp-eyed Deere operators will notice extra switches and buttons located on the right-hand instrument console and the armrest control console. These allow selection of APS, IMS and HSC. We will start with APS.

The same 16×5 powershift transmission is retained, but electronic management sees an automatic function coming in to play. APS requires the driver to select the highest gear desired before activating the auto function; it operates by downshifting according to engine load, throttle position and forward speed, to put the tractor in the most suitable gear to maintain optimum productivity.

On the road at full throttle and with top gear engaged, the operator activates APS. A light on the console confirms the auto function. Then simply backing off the throttle sees the tractor shift progressively and smoothly down through the next three lower gears. Opening up the throttle has the reverse effect.

But when load is introduced into the equation, APS comes into its own to make full use of the engines massive power and torque reserves.

As load increases on the engine and forward speed starts to fall – irrespective of the gear selected – APS will progressively downshift through as many gears it thinks is necessary to keep the tractor buzzing.

It is a clever system and one which could avoid operators making unnecessary gear changes, or prevent the engine being dragged down to its knees.

As load eases, APS starts changing up the box back to its maximum pre-selected gear. And to prevent whiplash from a sudden lightening of engine load followed by frantic automatic gearshifts, all successive upshifts take place at two-second intervals.

APS can be overridden simply by making a manual gearshift; a resume button on the console allows APS to be reactivated, taking up the gear from where APS was initially selected.

Implement Management System (IMS) is a more sophisticated version of Deeres Headland Management System (HMS) found on 6010 and 7010 series tractors.

It allows simultaneous management of tractor and implement functions, and enables up to 12 functions to be operated simultaneously at the touch of a button.

With IMS activated and the tractor moving, the driver presses a "learn" button followed by pressing the "sequence 1" or "sequence 2" commands on the console-mounted rocker switch.

The system is now ready to learn up to 12 functions for each sequence button. Grouping function together should simplify headland turns, as repetitive tasks can be completed simply by touching one button. And with a series of desired functions recorded on the IMS system, a "save" button stores the sequences in memory, ready for operation.

With Deeres own 410A mulch tiller behind the tractor, I was able to program two basic sequences to simulate a headland turn. On sequence one, the system enabled me to program lowering of implement, hydraulic adjustment of front disc gang depth, an increase of two gears on the transmission, then a large helping of throttle to simulate going into work. Sequence two was programmed to reverse the order of functions in readiness to make a headland turn.

Okay, it took me a few attempts to come to terms with the system, but its advantages are clear to see. And it lets operators use IMS in as simple or complex a mode as they require, as functions can be activated simultaneously or according to the distance travelled by the tractor before each function is activated in programmed order.

The final piece in the Command Control System is HSC and during my brief driving impression, I was denied the chance of trying it in heavy fieldwork because of bad weather. Deere says the system has been developed to supplement draft control, using wheel-slip as the intervening factor, to maintain a more uniform working depth with mounted equipment.

Interestingly, every Deere 8010 series comes with an instruction card fastened inside the armrest control console, offering the operator a quick reminder of how to set up and use APS, IMS and HSC. And it too, is a practical – some would say essential – approach to getting the best from these increasingly sophisticated tractors.

CommandArm control console now carries resume switch used to re-engage transmissions auto function, and rocker switch to select sequence one or sequence two, for Implement Management System. Instruction card a helpful reminder of how to get the best out of tractors electronic gizmos.

A change in decals differentiates Deeres 8010s from older 8000 series tractors. Range-topping 8410 has rated output of 270hp, power bulge sneaks output up to a maximum of 297hp.

Each of John Deeres new 8000 Series tractors are produced as tracked versions – they take on a T designation (just in case you dont notice).

JD 8000 SERIES

&#8226 Model 8110/8110T, 8210/8210T, 8310/8310T, 8410/8410T.

&#8226 Engines 6-cylinder turbo 8.1-litre PowerTech, with power bulge.

&#8226 Rated power 195hp, 215hp, 235hp, 270hp.

&#8226 Max power 215hp, 237hp, 259hp, 297hp.

&#8226 Transmission 16×5 powershift with manual and automatic functions.

&#8226 Hydraulic system Simultaneous operation of 12 functions via Implement Management System; Hitch Slip Command integrates with draft control system to provide consistent working depth with soil engaging kit.

&#8226 Lift capacity 7930kg (8110/8210), 8878kg (8310/8410).