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Let There Be Light

Gerald Oloske of New Sarepta, Alta., says he got tired of trying to unload grain in the dark holding a flashlight, so he decided to mount some permanent lights on his auger. “It was for safety and convenience,” he says.

Oloske uses a 61-foot, Westfield swing auger to fill his bins at harvest time. By positioning lights at three places along its length, he can completely light the area he needs to work in. One light at the top is directed downward and shines into the bin opening. “When you crawl up on top to look into the granary, you can see in,” he says. Fabricating a ring to bolt around the auger barrel made a simple mounting bracket.

Two other lights are located lower down and can be turned to any direction. “You can shine them toward the granary front or wherever you need them.” The fourth light is mounted on the swing arm to illuminate the rear of the truck.

The ordinary, 12-volt automotive lights get power from the tractor running the auger through its rear trailer connection plug. Power could also be taken directly from the tractor’s battery by using a pair of clamps instead of a trailer connection.

From the tractor, electrical current is routed to a small, commercially-available, PVC control box mounted on the auger. Oloske installed three separate switches in it to control the lights at the three locations, independently. “All switches have rubber boots over them to keep moisture and dust out,” he says. “(Moisture and dust) are big switch killers.”

From the control box, a separate 14-gauge wire feeds current to all three light locations. A return wire was used to complete the circuit rather than grounding the lights to the auger body. “The ground is isolated. It’s much easier that way,” he says. All the necessary wires were included in a single, five-wire conductor he purchased from an electrical supply outlet (three to provide current and two connected together for extra amperage capacity to handle the return voltage). Connections are soldered and covered with heat-shrink tubing to keep them free of corrosion.

Oloske adds having a permanent wiring system on the auger also made it possible to easily install signal and tail lights for transporting the auger on roads at night.

How much did he have to spend? “I’ve never really figured out the cost,” he says. “I think it would be a couple of hundred dollars to do it right.”

Haveyoumodifiedamachineorbuilt somethingintheworkshoptohelpmakelife easieronthefarm?Letusknow.EmailScott Garvey,Grainewsmachineryeditor,atscott. [email protected]

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Scott Garvey

Scott Garvey is a freelance writer and video producer. He is also the former machinery editor at Grainews.

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