As part of my role in the SOYL Customer Support team, much of my time is spent helping growers with hardware. Unsurprisingly, as Trimble is one of the most popular brands for arable application control in the UK, many growers that I speak to ask about their range of devices and compatibility with our own products.
The Trimble range
While many of our customers use the MySOYL website to make their variable rate files, my precision agronomy colleagues often produce variable rate application maps for customers who are using the Trimble hardware. There are a variety of variable-rate compatible Trimble control boxes on the market, with some of the most common devices being the TMX-2050, the CFX-750, the FMX and the Nomad. The GFX-750, released recently, is also compatible with our SOYL services.
Among the more basic models are the EZ-Guide 500 and CFX-750. Terminals with larger screens such as the GFX-750, the FMX and the TMX-2050 have more features, including ISOBUS compatibility. This means that any equipment which meets the ISO 11783 standard is compatible with the terminal so they can be used with a very wide range of implements.
A detailed explanation of the differences among Trimble displays can be found here.
Among the older Trimble control boxes, Nomads are variable rate compatible, as is the Trimble EZ-Guide 500. However, the first EZ-Guide system – released in 2004 – is not SOYL compatible and neither are the EZ-Guide 250 and the EZ-Guide Plus.
Setting up variable rate applications
SOYL customers using a Trimble control box for variable rate will usually receive their recommendations by email with a zip file attachment. The file must be saved onto the computer so that the shapefiles within the zip can be extracted and saved to a USB stick. If your device is a Trimble Nomad, your files should be transferred onto an SD card.
Customers using an EZ-Guide 500, a Trimble CFX-750 or an FMX must place their files into an AgGPS\Prescriptions folder on their USB stick. Customers using a TMX-2050 should place their files into a TASKDATA folder on their USB stick and customers with the GFX-750 should use AgData\Prescriptions.
All Trimble control boxes, except the Nomad, require unlock codes for variable rate which can be purchased from your Trimble dealer. Before buying an unlock code, make sure to check that your device is not already unlocked – this is something I have come across a number of times with customers.
How can I tell if my control box is already unlocked?
For the recent GFX-750 model, you can check whether it is already unlocked by exiting the Precision IQ app, tapping the 'App Central' icon, tapping the menu icon in the top left and selecting 'Licences'.
On the TMX-2050 you can check by navigating to 'Display settings' and then 'Feature unlocks' while on the CFX-750 information on unlocks is located under 'Settings', 'System', 'Status' and then 'Upgrade options'.
Once your Trimble device is unlocked, you are ready to load your variable rate files. However, the instructions to do this can vary considerably between the different models. Once we know the equipment you are working with, we can talk you through the relevant steps to get you up and running quickly.