If you’re tired of getting in and out of a truck or tractor cab half a dozen times trying to get equipment lined up for loading or unloading grain, fertilizer or seed, a former North Dakota farmer has come up with a durable, reliable signaling device that can save time, money and a lot of effort.
The Stop Sensor
Stop Sensor is a tripod-mounted device developed by Larry Mosbrucker of New Salem, North Dakota, which eliminates the need for having a spotter on the ground, if, for example you are trying to line up a B-train with a loading auger.
“It took a lot of design and development, but it is a relatively simple concept,” says Mosbrucker who designed Stop Sensor after he was seriously injured in a farm accident. “You position the sensor on its tripod under the auger if you’re a loading a tractor-trailer unit, for example. A small reflector is mounted on the side of the box of the grain trailer. When that reflector comes into line with the sensor that is mounted on the tripod standing next to the auger, a red light flashes which you can see in your side mirrors, and you stop.”
It is a fully portable system that operates on 12 volt and/or 110 household power sources, and is accurate to within one half inch. “It has so many applications around the farm,” says Mosbrucker. “It works for any application where you have to drive in next to something with a truck or combine or grain cart for loading or unloading and you need to know where to stop for proper positioning for the loading and unloading.”
When the equipment is first used, the farmer has to get the truck or grain cart or whatever in the proper position and then apply the reflector strip so it lines up with the tripod-mounted sensor. Then every trip after that the sensor will flash when it reads the reflector. The inexpensive reflector strips are supplied either with a magnetic backing to attach to steel surfaces or adhesive tape to attach to aluminum or non-metal surfaces.
Learning from experience
Mosbrucker, who has worked in a number of industries, was seriously injured a few years ago when he fell off a haystack and shattered both heels. “I developed this out of necessity because after the accident it became difficult and painful to be getting into and out of a truck or tractor,” he says. “I used to farm myself so when I was developing this I looked to make it as practical and durable as possible with a wide range of applications.”
If it is being used to load trucks in a bin-row, for example, the sensor comes with a bracket so it can be mounted directly on the auger. Once the truck or grain trailer has reflectors where they are wanted, you can keep moving the auger and the sensor will flash each time the truck is in line for the correct position.
Along with the tripod and mounting bracket the Stop Sensor also comes with extension lights. “If for some reason the sensor is mounted where you can’t see it through the side mirrors, hook up the extension lights so they can be extended further out for easy viewing. The sensor also comes with its own spot light for easier viewing of the work area during nighttime operation.
“Farmers have told me that they see 101 uses for Stop Sensor,” says Mosbrucker, who named one of the Innovations of the Year at Canada’s Farm Progress Show in Regina in 2013. “They plan to use it for loading and unloading grain trucks, for lining up a truck for the air seeding system, for lining up grain carts for loading or unloading. It just makes the job easier, faster and much safer especially when you are tired, or sore, or in a hurry and sometimes all three.”
A complete unit, including tripod, retails for $1,195. For more information visit the Stop Sensor webside at www.stopsenor.com or phone 701-425-2774. †Lee Hart is a field editor for Grainews in Calgary. Contact him at 403-592-1964 or by email at [email protected].