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The Environment of Electrical/Electronic Components on Agricultural Equipment

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  The Environment of Electrical/Electronic Components on Agricultural Equipment. ASAE Distinguished Lecture No. 12, pp. 1-16. Winter Meeting of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers, 16 December 1987, Chicago, Illinois  913C1187.(doi:)
Authors:   Gale A. Holloway
Keywords:   The Electrical System, The Environment, Atmospheric/Climatic Conditions, Temperature, Moisture, Dust, Salt, Chemical Conditions, Mechanical Conditions, Vibration, Shock, Electrical Conditions, Steady State Voltage Characteristics, Operating Voltage, Reverse Polarity, Short Circuits, Batteryless Operation, Transient Voltage Characteristics, Inductive Load Switching, Load Dump, Alternator Field Decay, Mutual Coupling, Accessory Noise, Electrostatic Discharge, Electromagnetic Compatibility, Recommended Applications Guidelines, Temperature, Moisture/Dust/Salt/Chemical/Oils, Mechanical Vibration/Shock, Electrical Conditions, Recommended Design/Test Criteria Guidelines, Atmospheric/Climatic Conditions, Temperature, Moisture/humidity, Dust, Salt, Chemical Conditions, Mechanical Conditions, Vibration, Shock, Electrical Conditions, Steady state voltage, Transient voltage, Electrostatic discharge, Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), Combined Testing, Reliability and the Environment, Future Electronic Application Trends

The application of electrical and electronic systems on agricultural equipment has seen tremendous growth in the past decade, and the future promises continued opportunities in this field. This growth is the result of increased demands on equipment productivity and performance. To meet these needs the equipment systems (engines, powertrain, hydraulics, etc.) have become more complex. This complexity requires a higher level of monitoring and control than ever before. Electrical/electronic systems have proven to be a very effective media for providing this higher level of monitoring and control demanded from agricultural equipment. A typical agricultural tractor of the early 1970's may have had approximately 30 to 50 individual electrical circuits. A tractor of the late 1980's and early 2990's will incorporate in excess of 130 to 150 individual circuits.

In addition, there has been a tremendous demand to improve the man/machine interface which ultimately results in improved productivity. Again, electrical/electronic systems have proven to be very effective in improving the comfort and ease of operation of agricultural equipment.

As the need for electronics has grown, so has the electronic technology grown. The state-of-the-art electronic technology has progressed to include analog, digital, and microprocessor based circuits. The electronics industry is rapidly providing more capability in smaller packages. There have also been tremendous advancements in the manufacturing technology of electronic circuits, resulting in a significant improvement in capability, reliability and performance.

The application of this state-of-the-art electronic technology to agricultural equipment has been a challenge in itself and a major factor creating this challenge has been the environment in which this technology must survive. The environment is extremely harsh and encompasses a broad spectrum of conditions. The climatic conditions are obvious. However, the significance of other environmental factors such as vibration and electrical transients, may be less obvious. Understanding the environment is a significant requirement. There has been tremendous progress in defining environmental parameters and establishing meaningful design criteria. Addressing the environment by providing adequate protection has been a major challenge facing the industry. There have been significant accomplishments in this area also. Environmental protection must be a major factor in the overall design of an electronic component and electrical system.

Defining the environment and incorporating adequate protection in the fundamental design of components and systems, are the key ingredients to reliable application of electrical/electronic technology on agricultural equipment.

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