A new version of Raven Industries' Viper task controller allows growers to access the Internet from the same console in the cab that is used to control product application rates. The Viper Pro retains all of the functions of the current Viper, including variable-rate application, variable-rate mapping, data logging, automatic boom section control and automatic boom leveling. But in addition, the new system has a larger processor, more memory and an Ethernet connection to provide access to the Internet.
“Growers and custom operators want the console in the cab to do more things,” says Marlin Melander, marketing manager for Raven. “So we came out with this to satisfy those needs.”
Like the old system, the Viper Pro consists of a console, mounting bracket, interface cable, power cable and software. “What we are adding is the ability to go on the Internet, so growers can do file transfers or access weather information, grain markets and whatever else,” Melander says.
Ethernet and USB connections are hardwired into the console to provide Internet access. Growers who want to use the connections can use either a cell phone interface cable or a USB WiFi adapter. “Now rather than listening to the radio to find out when it might rain, a grower can look at an actual radar map [on the Internet] to see where the weather front is located and when it will come through so he can better time an application,” Melander says.
Growers also can access current temperature, humidity, wind speed and wind direction. A report function on the Viper Pro allows users to add that information into their application reports for the purpose of documentation.
The same Internet connection allows the operator to automatically transfer files from field to office over e-mail rather than downloading the files to a storage card or flash drive and transferring it by hand.
Vehicle location system
“Another feature growers have been asking for is AVL, or automatic vehicle location system,” Melander says. “Farms, co-ops and fertilizer companies are getting larger and have more machines in the field, and they want to know where those machines are located.”
Using AVL software, growers can view the location of vehicles from a map on their office computer. Vehicles equipped with GPS receivers will appear on screen as icons showing their status and field location.
The Viper Pro is designed to work with controllers on sprayers and implements and GPS-based vehicle guidance systems used for precision application of fertilizers, chemicals and seed. The Viper Pro controller is targeted to sell for less than $5,000. It also requires a GPS receiver, such as the Raven Phoenix 200 GPS receiver, which sells for $1,600.
Also new from Raven is the Envizio Pro, which is pre-wired to allow for the same wireless communication as the Viper. “The connections are all there, but it does not include the wireless software yet,” Melander says. “The software will be a future enhancement.”
The Envizio Pro is designed for growers who want to use variable-rate application and vehicle guidance but cannot justify the cost of a large screen system. The Envizio Pro has a 6.5-in.-dia. screen and has a submeter GPS receiver built in, which lowers cost and simplifies installation and setup by eliminating extra black boxes and interface cables. Suggested list price is $3,495.