Posted 11/15/2022 19:29 (#9933791) Subject: Using GPS to make a level pad with a Dozer (pics)
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Neighbor is putting up a shed next year, so we wanted to get the pad leveled off this fall before it freezes. Elevation difference was approximately 4 feet end to end, so there was some dirt to move. While we do have a laser level and grade stick, I thought I'd try something new to us - GPS grade control on the blade.
This Deere 700K dozer is pre-wired with coax for GPS. I put an antenna out on the blade mast and a NovAtel PwrPak7 receiver under the cab. This receiver has TerraStar-X, which is not really intended for vertical work like this. For a rough cut like this, the 1-2 inches of vertical movement can't be seen anyway. The dirt was sticky and didn't want to grade well. We'll do a final pass next spring.
The receiver has WIFI, so I used an Android tablet connected to the receiver's WIFI network, then a TCP connection right into the receiver to get position data. The Android NTRIP client has an option for grade control, which will show you an arrow up or down to get to some target elevation (see picture below).
The guy running the dozer has never used grade control before. He said it took about 20 minutes to get a feel for it. It also takes a few passes to get one level pass started. Once you have that level surface end to end, it's a lot easier to keep making the level area larger since the dozer itself isn't going up and down much.
If anyone has a source for the wire harness pinout or CAN commands to get into the hydraulic controls on a Deere dozer, I'd appreciate that info. Deere advertises their dozers as "open architecture" but I haven't been able to locate any documentation on this.