Preliminary Review of Deere E/H Controls

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by ARP, Apr 21, 2008.

  1. ARP

    ARP LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,510

    Hi all, great forum here- I’ve been hanging around for a few years learning from the excellent experience represented here. I’m finishing up my second to last semester of school and am trying to get into the precision grading and environmental contracting market. To get my feet wet in the excavation business and get going on my own this summer, I am connecting with landscapers and excavation contractors in my area looking for work that involves knowledge of heavy equipment. Quick background: I have worked for several years (summers, and a month every winter, and occasional school breaks), for a large earthmoving contractor as an assistant site supervisor, operator, and GPS layout technician.

    The business plan I have laid out has me starting out doing small jobs with skidsteers and renting larger equipment as needed while I start and eventually moving into a 3000 ROC skidsteer with the VTS package. As part of my pre-business homework, I have been talking with my local Bobcat, Cat, and Deere dealers about various financial programs as well as trying to get a feel for the new machines on the market. Having spent a summer on a Bobcat 863 and a Cat 236, and then most recently running a NH 190 for a brief period of time, I have enough experience with different control patterns to develop my preference for the joystick/pilot control pattern on a skidsteer and have such have started testing out Cat’s, Deere’s, and Bobcat’s controls.

    I took a brief trip to my local Deere dealer today and got to play around in the yard with a new 325 skid with the E/H controls for about 15 minutes and developed a few thoughts about the controls and the machine.
    Please take my thoughts with a grain of salt as I have yet to try any of the competitor’s machines and have yet to really run the machine in a production setting.
    Controllability:
    At first glance, I did not find any delay in the controls. The controls produced a very fast response from the hydraulic system. Cycle functions were very fast with a very slight reduction in speed when multi-tasking (Raise boom, curl bucket, etc.) One thing I noticed while I was adjusting to the controls was the speed with which the bucket would curl back and “pop” material in the air when charging a dirt pile. When trying to control a slow, forward grading pass of the rutted, dirt lot I was in I found the controls very responsive to the slightest touch in the controls. I actually found the controls a little too “responsive” when trying to adjust the angle of the cutting edge and asked the dealer if there was a way to adjust the sensitivity of the controls. (I’m currently awaiting his response, as he did not know at the time.) A nice feature I liked, not sure if the other competitor’s offer it, but there was a trigger button on the right joystick that when depressed, controlled the float functions of the loader, rather than having to push the joystick all the way forward to a detent position.

    Overall, I found the new controls to be very comfortable to operate and responsive to the operator’s touch. I remember reading that some people were concerned about the size of the pylons that the controls rested on and what that meant in a reduction in space in an already relatively small cab. On that thought, though the E/H controls do take up a little extra space, I did not find that they unnecessarily cramped the cab. Keep in mind that I am 5’9” and weigh 160 lbs. A larger 6’+, 200lb+ plus operator might find the overall feel of the cab to be much different, but I do not think that would be due to the controls being there, but rather to the nature of the physical size of the cab. The biggest complaint I would have about the controls would be the sensitivity of the system and whether or not you can adjust it like you can like the new Cat AMIC system.

    I am setting up demos for a Cat 262C and a Bobcat T300/T190 with E/H controls for a large multiday project at my parent’s house and I will post my thoughts on those as I try them out.
     
  2. dozerman21

    dozerman21 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,170

    ARP- Welcome to the site. It sounds like you are steering in the right direction with your business plan. Precision grading and environmental contracting market should be reliable fields to get into once you get your foot in the door. Good luck with your business endeavors.

    On the new Deere controls, I'd like to try them myself. I've always preferred hand controls and currently have them on my CT332, but I will give the pilot/joystick controls a good look when I buy my next machine down the road. I don't have a lot of time in any of the pilots or joysticks, but I thought the Cat had the best feel. You can get some feel for a control system by moving around in a lot, but you really need to run a machine for at least a full day to get an accurate opinion of a control system. This goes for most machines IMO. I want to see how controls feel while working the machine in real conditions like grading, hogging dirt, running in mud, or digging in clay. I want to see how my body feels at the end of the day, which is why I think a person needs to work a machine for a full 6-8+ hours. By the way, the "pop" feel in bucket is something I like. For the most part, if you're used to a machine, the faster the hydraulics on the arms and bucket the better, for me anyway. This is where the Amics feature on the Cats would be handy, if two different operating styles had to use the same machine. I don't like it though when a machine's steering is too responsive. It ends up being jerky.

    When you go to eventually buy a machine, demo your top 3 or so for a couple of days. Even rent a machine if you have to so you can get the machine/control pattern that best suites your needs.
     
  3. RockSet N' Grade

    RockSet N' Grade LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,454

    ARP.....I read your post and was going to comment on pilots, but I am not. Instead, I admire your plan. I respect anyone with a plan that does due diligence and homework and then executes or decides not to. I read in another forum where a youngster ( I am 52 so almost everyone is a youngster) was concentrating on learning how to bid large jobs. There is a niche for that also....good estimators. Good luck to ya.....and when you get to be aged like me.........any machine is a good machine as long as it has pilots.
     
  4. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,131


    Well RSG if you would have left your lill' johnson alone more often you wouldn't have that terrible case of tennis elbow.:cool2:
     
  5. ARP

    ARP LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,510

    Thanks for the welcome Dozerman and RSG. :waving:

    Thanks also for the kind words of advice on demoing the machines.
    So far every salesman has been very receptive to my questions and I am trying to get the 3 machines on various, production oriented demos (3-4 days of just hogging dirt and grading) over the next few months. I will post my thoughts on all of the machines after I have more time in them. I will also post the response I get from the dealer about the Deere E/H to keep everyone in the loop for those who are interested.

    PS- RSG, I would be very interested in hearing what you have to say about Pilots. You seem to be pretty knowledgeable and I would be interested in hearing what you or anyone else has to say about any of my post. Don't worry- I don't bite! ;-)
     
  6. Construct'O

    Construct'O LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Sw Iowa
    Posts: 1,387

    The aux hydraulics are push button controled, with a thumb control roller on the right handle for the attachment so you can adjust the flow to the attachment you are running.

    You was just using the bucket sounded like,but if you get another chance to do demo again,you might want to see how that works for running attachments.

    Only thing that i found was this "E/H means service calibration routine is simple and intuitive(both steering/hydraulics).No manual adjustments.

    So don't know if they can adjust the response time or not????

    Good luck on you demos and your up and coming plans!!!!!!!!:usflag:
     
  7. ARP

    ARP LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,510

    Thanks for the good wishes Construct'O. I look forward to racking your's and other's brains on here as I get going.

    In terms of the tryout today, I should have mentioned that all I got to try was the bucket and no attachments. My upcoming demo/ rental will involve running a harley rake so I figure that should be a good test of the controls. Should be interesting- I'll keep you and others posted.

    Happy digging- the weather is getting nice out!
     
  8. Fieldman12

    Fieldman12 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,504

    I have heard the E/H on the Deere skid is real smooth.
     
  9. qps

    qps LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indy
    Posts: 1,484

    Cat's pilots are to touchy for my liking at full speed, without the amics control I would be running through bldgs....my 297 has the float feature on the right joystick trigger....now for the funny part...yes I bought a two speed machine...guess I didn't ask enough questions...after all these months I found out by accident that if you click the left joystick trigger it engages warp drive...I about took out three tree's and the neighbors cat before I got the darn thing backed down to warp factor 3 :dizzy:...
     
  10. AWJ Services

    AWJ Services LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Ga
    Posts: 4,276

    So your avatar is actually your facial expression at that time.
     

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