Friday, 27 May 2022 12:55

The 1,2,3 of JCB's new control and interface system

Written by  Mark Daniel
JCB is offering “allnew electronics infrastructure” on its latest Fastrac 4000 and 8000 models. JCB is offering “allnew electronics infrastructure” on its latest Fastrac 4000 and 8000 models.

Fastrac fans will be breathing a sigh of relief knowing JCB has launched what it describes as an “all-new electronics infrastructure” offering on its latest Fastrac 4000 and 8000 models.

Taking four years to develop, the key to the revised infrastructure has been to separate tractor operation into three key areas. Each section is controlled individually through a common screen, by the new iCon system.

The first area addressed is individual operators’ interaction with the controls, allowing full customisation of the various functions possible. The most obvious sign of the upgrade is the seat-mounted iCon armrest console and a 12-inch colour touch-screen display. The position of the new screen may be altered to allow for easy viewing or moved to one side to offer maximum visibility through the tractor windscreen.

Selectable colour-coded levers give proportional control of electrically-operated spool valves, power take-off (PTO) and hitch controls. Meanwhile, an auxiliary joystick and hard keys – complemented by an encoder dial – remain as a tactile alternative to using the touch-screen interface. Control setup allows you to seamlessly switch between stick, pedal or cruise driving modes simply by touching either control. 

The second key area of operation centres around precision agriculture technology. The control and monitoring of tractor operations is via the ISOBUS as the communication protocol. This optimises the operation of the latest Fastrac 4000 and 8000 series tractors that are precision farming ready.

A factory installed, integrated GPS guidance system will be available, consisting of a Novatel Smart-7 receiver, a steering controller and JCB user interface, with Section Control and Variable Rate Control available as unlock options. If the customer is already using aftermarket guidance and precision farming, the GPS Ready option allows the Fastrac to quickly embed itself within that.

The third area of optimisation is specific to the machines, with updated driveline software that allows operators to set the appropriate forward speed. This leaves the tractor to balance engine revs and gear ratio to achieve the desired speed at the most economical level.

The new JCB Pro format simplifies the selection of ground speed, by pushing forward or pulling back on the joystick to effect a change, while moving to the left or right controls the forward/reverse shuttle direction. 

Away from the new control setup, both the 4000 and 8000 series Fastrac tractors remain largely unchanged, albeit with some subtle repositioning to grab handles and better situated internal door latches.

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