Review of Fimco Model ATV-25-700 10' Boom Sprayer

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by PamlicoLawnCare, Apr 23, 2013.

  1. PamlicoLawnCare

    PamlicoLawnCare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 80

    Background:

    I've been in the lawn care business for 8 years.

    Every year I sub-contracted out larger spraying jobs for a few of my customers because I didn't have any spray equipment other than Stihl backpack sprayers.

    We are located in coastal North Carolina where the majority (95%) of lawns are centipede.

    The sub-contractor (friend) that I use always applies a tank mix combination of Speedzone Southern and Atrazine.

    This past winter I decided I would put a small spray rig together so I wouldn't be at the mercy of someone else.

    Garden Tractor:

    Didn't have an ATV but I did have a 1975 Sears Suburban garden tractor that I used for skidding logs and leveling soil with the back blade. It ain't pretty but has always run well and been dependable.

    Removed the 3-point hitch and bolted on a hitch receiver. Installed a hitch cargo carrier purchased on sale from Harbor Freight.

    The weight of a full 25 gallon tank, boom assembly and cargo carrier is almost 300 lbs.

    After pricing suitcase weights I decided to build a counter weight for the front of the tractor out of some scrap 6" x 4" x 1/4" steel and a bag of quickrete.

    The weight netted out at 70 lbs.

    Sprayer

    Purchased a Fimco Model ATV-25-700 boom sprayer from Tractor Supply and installed the unit on the cargo carrier of the tractor. The nozzle bodies and tips were pre-installed on the boom so installation consisted of only mounting the tank and boom. Installation was straightforward and took about an hour. The boom was installed so that each spray tip was 18" measured from the garage floor.

    Out of the box unit included a 25 gallon poly tank, 2.1 GPM 60 PSI diaphragm pump, pressure gauge, economy spray wand with 15' of 3/8" hose, 7 nozzles spaced 20" apart on a 10' boom. Spray tips are Lechler 8002.

    I wanted to be able to spray in tight quarters with the boom extensions folded in so I installed a shut-off valve on each end (see pic). This would allow using only the 3 nozzles on the middle boom section when spraying around tight trees, plant beds, buildings, etc.

    Testing:

    Stock, out of the box output was tested using a full )25 gal.) tank with all 7 nozzles running at the same time, wide-open valve with no by-pass. Tractor was running at medium RPM so voltage output would be equivalent to actual spraying conditions.

    Gauge read 35 PSI. The volume of each nozzle was individually collected for 60 seconds using a 1 liter graduated cylinder. Looking at the back of the tractor the nozzle volumes were collected from left to right and were labeled and recorded nozzle 1-7 respectively.

    All nozzles were dead on 680 ml per minute or 0.18 gpm.

    Spray width was measured at 140" or 11.67'.

    At a spray speed of 3 mph this is a spray volume of 0.40 gallons per 1000 sq. ft. or 17.5 gallons per acre.

    This is not enough volume for even coverage for most pre and post emergent without slowing to an absolute crawl with spray speed.

    I installed a new 3.8 gpm 45 psi diaphragm pump and Lechler 8004 spray tips and retested using the same parameters except using 30 second collections due to having only a 1 liter graduated cylinder.

    Gauge read 40 psi with wide open valve and no bypass.

    All nozzles were dead on 1420 ml per minute or 0.375 gpm.

    At a spray speed of 3 mph this is a spray volume of 0.84 gallons per 1000 sq. ft. or 36.6 gallons per acre.

    In order to get 1 gallon per 1000 sq. ft. I had to slow to 2.5 mph which I verified with a GPS. I made markings on the tractor throttle and gears so this speed could be easily repeated.

    Bottom Line:

    The 2.1 GPM pump is not sufficient for broadcast spraying and should be replaced with at least a 5 GPM pump in order to get desired pressure and volume.

    The 8002 spray tips do not give enough volume even with a larger pump. These should be replaced with 110 degree minimum 0.40 GPM tips. I'm still not sure why Fimco ships 80 degree tips with these units when they suggest 18" high spray heights.

    The pressure gauge is rough and should be replaced with a liquid-filled quality gauge.

    The economy spray wand is mickey mouse. I replaced mine with a Hamilton 22" Power Jet spray gun.

    15' spray gun hose is not long enough. I replace mine with 50' hose.

    I can also see where the plastic manifold and valves would freeze and crack during winter for guys that are much farther north than I am.

    The boom is beefy and besides the tank itself is the best part of the system.

    Self-aligning nozzle bodies with quick-attach tips would be nice to have and I'll get some of these as money allows.

    I've sprayed with this setup this year with no problems and it works well.

    I'm moving to AI nozzles and will get a larger pump but other than that I'm pleased with the system.

    As is out of the box may be ok for occasional homeowner use but it does need the modifications listed above at a minimum to go pro.

    Thank You,

    Rod J
    Pamlico Lawn Care, LLC
    Oriental, NC

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  2. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,821

    Nice set up. Worth switching to a better pump and AI nozzles.
     
  3. Nate'sLawnCare

    Nate'sLawnCare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,001

    I'd definitely recommend the TeeJet AI nozzles for best results. You could probably use the brown 110 degree tips and still maintain somewhere near 0.4 gpm per nozzle. You can buy them from PaulBParts for around $8 each and they should attach right to your current setup with the screw caps. How far off the ground are you running?
     
  4. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,821

    Brown AI tips are 0.5 GPM at 40 PSI. I am guessing that to hit 0.4 GPM, pressure is more like 25 PSI. At lower pressures, AI tips have trouble maintaining a good pattern. I actually will run a smaller tip at higher pressure if coverage will be a concern.
     
  5. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,821

    As is, this rig is how to smoke everything down wind of you with Three Way. Not to mention the poor weed control because what you are supposed to be applying to the weeds in the lawn is blowing away.
     
  6. Nate'sLawnCare

    Nate'sLawnCare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,001

  7. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,821

    No worries. Even I have trouble remembering which color tip corresponds to a given gallonage. It is even worse when I run ceramic disc-core tips for insecticides and fungicides. The manufacturer has a multimillion dollar building and lab to test these nozzles for output/performance. I find that running the nozzles within the manufacturer's parameters gives me good results every time. How easy can it get? I also use a Teejet 834 controller and Centerline GPS unit when running a boom on a vehicle. When running a three nozzle hand held boom, or single tip wand, I calibrate starting with the figures for a 2.5 MPH walking speed. Small adjustments in pressure enable me to dial in the rate per 1000. No such thing as "how much do I put in per gallon". It is always "how much per acre/1000 sq ft."
     
  8. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,777

    Some people get good results from .25 gals per 1000 sqft. Its the chemistry that kills weeds...not the water or the pressure.
    Sweet setup, thanks for sharing. Too bad there isn't an easier way to move the weight distribution near to the center. If you did it again...would you put the boom up front?

    The ag engineers usually recommend aiming the nozzles at a backwards angle as this reduces the drift due to air movement.
     
  9. PamlicoLawnCare

    PamlicoLawnCare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 80

    18" from bottom of spray tip to ground. That's the height Fimco recommended for the stock setup so that's the height I went with. Should I mount it lower?

    It never occurred to me to mount the boom on the front. It would be easy enough to mount on front. That would sure give better visibility of the nozzles and any boom obstructions.

    Are there any disadvantages to a front mount boom sprayer besides the possibility of more operator exposure?


    Thank You,

    Rod
    Pamlico Lawn Care, LLC
    Oriental, NC
     
  10. Nate'sLawnCare

    Nate'sLawnCare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,001

    You should be fine at 18 inches, I was just curious about your height on the current setup. If you go with the TeeJet 110 degree AI nozzles, they have a table that shows optimum nozzle spacing based on the height. A rule of thumb they use is basically a one-to-one relationship between spacing and height with some leeway either direction. Of course, the lower you go in height, the better drift control while sacrificing overall width of your total pattern.
     

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