Some of you may remember a few weeks ago I was whining about the servo valve on my sprayer failing and the subsequent weed streaks I had in my field. I challenged the sprayer industry to invent a simple monitor to show when the sprayer control thinks the valve is open but it’s not.
Nothing happened. So as I threatened, I have invented the miraculous solution. Introducing the Phipps-O-Matic 3000 SSSP, Stupid Sprayer Streak Preventer. It’s a simple device that lights up when there is power to the boom section servo, but not flow – hence the product motto: if the light’s a-glowin’, the spray isn’t flowin’.”
This stunningly simple add-on uses miniature pressure switches. They can cost from $30-100, but I got the expensive ones for the stainless-steel construction, and easy pressure adjustment ring. The lights are simple 12 volt LED’s, and the futuristic housing is ¾” plywood of my own original design. The cable is 10 strand - 18 gauge sprinkler wire, but I only used 6 strands. I had a choice of 10 or 250 feet, and I didn’t want too many connections, so I have 200 feet left. I used Weatherpack connectors because I’ve had good experience with them and recommend T-spice snap connectors. It’s also necessary to add a tee and gauge adapter to each boom section hose barb, but Banjo manifold fittings made that fairly easy. You can also use the alternate switch contacts and have green lights that are on when things are working but go off at failure – your preference.
I know what you’re thinking – Gosh, John. I’d pay dozens of dollars for a Phipps-O-Matic, but they are not for sale. That’s right, put your credit card away, I’m giving this technological breakthrough away for free. Roughly what it is worth. On our website you can download this episode script with a pdf of the materials, links to suppliers, and my hand-drawn schematic, although any sixth-grader can figure out the circuit. There are also a few notes from things I learned by trial and error. There is also a more detailed video with professional quality installation hints.
The Phipps-O-Matic 3000. Be the first one in your neighborhood to show it off on your sprayer, and say goodbye to embarrassing sprayer skips.
Pressure switches I used the PSW523 (100 psi)
LED Be careful the tabs can break off if you bend them too much.
Sprinkler wire OK – I admit I’ve got 200’ left over.
- The wire is solid, not stranded. Make sure and bending from changing boom height does not fatigue and cause failure. Look places where kinks could occur.
- Use ONLY enough connectors to make repair possible: one in the cab, one at the manifold (minimum)
- I like RED=FAIL, but it works for GREEN=OK using the NO switch contact.
- Protect the cable with some kind of wire wrap.
- Be sure to splice servo leads upstream of the connector, so you can change servo motors without rewiring.
- LEDs are polarized. Make sure the + tab gets the 12v side.
- Obviously, the Phipps-O-Matic isn’t designed for sprayers with the rapid-action nozzle solenoids.