The Agricultural Industry Electronics Foundation (AEF), founded in 2008, is playing a key role in standardizing the communication interface used by different agricultural implements. AEF’s efforts are focused around the ISO 11783 standard, known as ‘Tractors and machinery for agriculture and forestry – Serial control and communications data network’, often referred to as ISO Bus or ISOBUS. ISO 11783 defines a communication protocol for the operation and control of agricultural implements and is based on the SAE J1939 protocol, which in turn is based on CAN bus. ISOBUS-compatible implements can be connected directly to the tractor’s control network, and can therefore be controlled by a single control terminal within the cab. It provides better integration with other onboard systems, such as GPS and precision farming data.
Similar to how CAN facilitates the reading of diagnostic fault codes by a car mechanic, agricultural machinery mechanics can now achieve the same for a tractor. Apart from this basic application, the technology has enabled users to monitor, capture and analyse data related to fuel consumption, odometer readings, idle versus running hours and many other performance and efficiency parameters. The data can be used to extend the machine’s capabilities and enhance its performance and efficiency, as well as achieve cost-savings for farmers.
J1939 connectors are widely used in agricultural machinery. The J1939-13 off-board diagnostic connector is used to access vehicle communications in various types of farm machinery. Kvaser’s Leaf Light HS v2 J1939-13 Type II diagnostic connector is especially suited to this environment because of its galvanic isolation, which provides protection from power surges or electrical shocks.