OnSite FMS is designed for easy installation by anyone with minimal mechanical aptitude. If you have a basic understanding of how liquid flows in a system and know how to turn a wrench, you shouldn’t have any problems installing OnSite FMS.
Each step in the install process is designed to be as simple as possible, but when it has to be repeated 36 times, it can take a while. If you’re just replacing red balls on a 12 row planter, you can probably get the system installed in an afternoon. If you’re installing liquid for the first time on a large planter, it could take a couple days. Each install is as unique as the planter it is going on.
This guide is a general overview of how we install OnSite FMS on most planters. However, every planter is different. The goal of this tutorial is not to give you rigid instructions, but rather to help you understand the whole process and give you some tips we’ve learned over the hundreds of installs we’ve done. Some of the steps can be done out of order or row by row if that makes more sense for you. Hopefully, this guide can give you some confidence and help you avoid some of our early mistakes.
On a side note, you may notice a lot of green planters in our photos. This is only due to their popularity in our area. The details vary from planter to planter, but the steps are the same for any make or model of planter.
Mounting your FlowBoards is a simple bolt-on operation. The bracket is predrilled with holes for mounting to the frame via the U-bolt and the FlowBoard.
If you are replacing a redball system, you will most likely just mount the FlowBoards in the same position. You may even be able to reuse the same bracket.
However, unlike redballs, you don’t need to see the FlowBoards. Feel free to get creative with mounting positions. We do recommend mounting the FlowBoards towards the center of the group of rows each board will feed to make running the hoses to the row units easier. You can also bolt the boards directly to the planter as long as you can run both the wire harnesses and the hoses without interference.
You will receive large U-bolts with your kit that goes around the planter bar and attaches to the aluminum C-channel bracket. Position the U-bolt around the planter bar where convenient and bolt the aluminum C-channel bar to it via the larger holes at the bottom of the bar with the supplied nuts. The flat side will go toward the bar, leaving the empty cavity facing out.
If space allows, mount the FlowBoard bracket on the rear side of the planter so the FlowBoard will sit over the bar when mounted. This will minimize interference problems when the planter is folded. Often, you will have interference issues with other objects already mounted to the bar, so you’ll have to mount it on the front. Get creative if you have to. OnSite FMS can be installed almost anywhere as long as your wire harnesses can reach from board to board (extensions are available).
If your planter requires you to mount your FlowBoards on the central beam, we offer an optional bracket that bolts on top of the beam. This style of mount features a centered bar that can hold a FlowBoard on each side of it, making it perfect for up to a 24 row planters (or a 12 row planter with dual products). The bracket also includes a mounting point for a 12V pump.
If you are installing liquid for the first time on the planter, you’ll need to install your check valves before we run our lines to the row units. If you bought them from us, you will receive brackets that allow you to bolt them directly to the parallel arm of your row unit (or wherever you want them).
If your planter already has check valves installed, you can obviously skip this step and move on to running your lines to each row unit.
This is a simple one bolt operation. Use the supplied bolt through the larger hole on the angled end of the bracket to secure it to the parallel arm or any other mounting point of your choice.
Running your lines is pretty straight forward. We usually start at Row 1 and work our way across the planter, but you can do it however you choose.
When you run your hoses follow the other hoses and wire already secured to the planter. This is almost guaranteed to be the safest path around the planter and should eliminate a lot of potential problems. Leave yourself a fair amount of slack in the lines, especially if your lines have to go across the fold. We will trim them up in the last step.
The steps below outline our process, but there isn’t a wrong way to run your hoses.
It doesn’t really matter how you run your lines. We tend to start with row one and work our way across the planter, following the wires and hoses already mounted to the planter. Be sure to leave a fair amount of slack in the lines to allow for the planter’s natural movement. We generally start from the FlowBoard and run out to the check valves. Then we make sure we have enough slack for a nice loop above the FlowBoard, cut the line, and attach it to the correct flowmeter.
Here are some tips we’ve learned over the years.
Start at the row unit the furthest away from the FlowBoard and work your way back to it. Add rows to the bundle as you move inward. Secure each new hose into the bundle with a zip tie, leaving the correct amount of slack for each check valve.
Straighten the hoses and make them all run together as a bundle, pushing any extra slack down the planter toward the FlowBoard. Do the same for the other side, moving any extra slack in individual lines down the row toward the FlowBoard. You should end up with a very professional bundle of hoses when you’re done.
Now that we have all the lines secured to the planter at the correct length, we can do a final trim on our hoses to give our FlowBoard a professional look.
A few tips:
Now that we have the lines run to the check valves, we just have to connect the check valves to the fertilizer tubes on the row units. If your planter already had liquid set up, this may already be done.
This is a straightforward process, but will vary considerably based on your hardware. Just run a line from your fertilizer tubes up to the check valves. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you run your lines.
By the time you reach the outside FlowBoards, your hose should be perfectly secured exactly where you want it.
Screw in the hose fitting to the manifold and attach your supply hose
Attach the supplied hose fitting into the manifold on the FlowBoard. Use a small amount of thread sealant on the fitting to ensure you won’t have leaks. Run your supply line up to the end of the fitting and cut the hose to length. Attach it to your manifolds using the supplied hose clamp. Remember to lubricate both the inside of the hose and the fitting.
Congratulations! You’ve just run the perfect supply line and your plumbing is complete!
Your wire harness will generally run along the same path as your FlowBoard hose. Be aware that the power harness does have to be plugged into the first FlowBoard (usually the one with the Bluetooth module). This will run to wherever you want to get your power from (usually a battery).
Wherever you get your power from, be sure any extra wire is coiled and secured to the planter. Usually, you will be taking power somewhere near the center of the planter, making it easy to coil and store any extra wire out of the way in the center stack.
John Deere planters make it easy by giving you an Aux Power weatherpack plug that our system will plug directly into. If you run Precision Planting equipment, you will likely have a power distribution center the harness can plug into. Just take out any dummy plug and plug in the power harness directly.
If you are using multiple liquid products, you should have sets of FlowBoards for each product. Connect the systems together like they were one system. You’ll assign each module to each product in the software setup, so it is ok that the products are mixed together as long as the boards are hooked together in the correct order.
This usually goes pretty quick.
Most modern tractors make this very easy and convenient. You can usually find an open power circuit in the cab that will power the system without problems.
If you are using a wired system, we recommend using a 30amp circuit to ensure the proper flow of power throughout the system.
Bluetooth systems just need power to charge the screen, which runs on simple 12V power.
If everything is hooked up correctly, the system should recognize all the FlowBoards and all the rows automatically. If you are running dual products, you’ll need to assign which products go to which FlowBoards.
If you are running dual products, enable the second product by tapping the on-screen toggle switch. You can then set the target application rate for your second product as well.
Many customers love adding a BENCO Motor Controller to the mix when they get OnSite FMS. If you are running an electric pump, it allows very fine grain control over system pressure (and therefor application rates) right from your cab. Motor Controllers are an very inexpensive way to add a lot of control to your liquid application on your planter.
Bolt the control box where it is easy to adjust. Usually our customers mount them near the OnSite FMS screen so they can see in real time how slight adjustments are affecting the system’s application rates.
Hook up the power (red & black wires)
It doesn’t really matter where the power comes from as long as you are connected to at least a 30Amp circuit. We generally recommend you hook the system directly to the battery. You’ll be powering your pump off of this, so you need plenty of juice to make sure it runs flawlessly.