Heavy machine run hour monitor

Hello car talk community,
I was wondering if there is a tool out there in the market to actually plug and read the actual run hr for heavy machinery, like excavators. Buying a used product and even renting out a machine has been a problem, particularly in finding the the actual hours the machine worked.
Please post ur comments! :slight_smile:

They have their own ! And trying to use an outside meter wouldn’t work…
The problem is, hour meters already found on heavy equipment don’t actually measure the number of hours a piece of machinery runs. Here is how the hour meter was explained to me by my tractor service mechanic. It’s really a work meter and is specific to the task so you won’t get one that can be used for every piece of machinery for all jobs. For example, a tractor may show one hour run after running one hour at 2600 rpm, it’s rated work rpm for snow blowing, but may show only 1/2 hour run when light grading for an hour at 1300 rpm in a different gear.

Because each piece of equipment is calibrated differently, a one size fits all meter would not work accurately for everything.

IMHO, they are a better indicator of when service is needed. But, if you are determinig rental fees, the guy who has it pays for the time ( by the day) he actually has the equipment, regardless of how he uses it…which I feel is the right way to bill someone. You wouldn’t want rental fees based on idling which is good to keep machinery fluids warm in cold weather. It might encourage people to shut them off and increase wear and decrease work load.

Now you got me going Dag. The first thing I did on my lawn tractor was to put an hour meter on it. I guess I never bothered to check whether an hour was an hour though. I’ll do that as soon as the snow melts.

Was that an option and dealer installed ? If all an hour meter did was measure time running, all you would need is a clock that came on with the ignition. I suspect that some after market or some tractors may do this. My older and newer Kubota both use a cable drive . The recommended PTO rpm of 540 is about 2600 rpm motor, so it must run an hour at that rpm to indicate an hour. It would be worth asking your dealer which you have. My wild uneducated guess is a that a lawn tractor is actual time. If it does not have a PTO and tends to run at the same rpm all the time, why not.

No it wasn’t an option. I just bought a $25 one from Northern Hyd and put it in myself. I really like having it. I suspect its just a simple clock. I rented a dozer once from a guy that was charging by the hour but didn’t seem like the hour meter clicked much in the couple days I ran it and he charged me more based on fuel consumption than hours. So maybe that was why. I knew I had run it more than the hour meter said I did.

Neighbor and sometime boss has an old crawler Cat d4 with a 6 way blade…awesome machine when you think you can drive through nearly anyone’s house…

I remember the hour meter on a Ford tractor read “Number of hours at 2000 rpm”. I’m not exactly certain about the 2000, but it was a particular figure. I imagine it recorded more hours at a higher rpm and fewer hours at a lower rpm for the actual time run. I know that we talked about used tractors with the number of hours on them.

It’s easy to figure out. If you have an hour meter built into the tachometer, its based on the speed of the engine. If it’s a small remote round or rectangular unit it’s time based.

Not to change the subject, but I was grading my vacant lot that was kind of on a hill. It was quite an experience to get behind that dozer and find out it had no brakes or steering wheel going down hill. Just foot pedals and levers for the blade and tracks. I much prefer a Bobcat.

Hey Artvegas:
Pretty much, the hour meter in the cab is the per-hour run time of the engine. There isn’t exactly an inexpensive way to see what the actual hours are for a machine without a laptop and software to communicate with the ECM’s depending on how new the machine is.

As for older machines without ECM’s: they just have the old round or square meters that start counting when the engine runs because their power comes from the alternator. These can work slow if they have a problem and may not be accurate and could be useless for determining the time it worked since they can be easily replaced and someone just wasn’t in the mood to put the film on it that one uses to scratch the current hours onto.

So, in newer machines like an 836H the master hour is held in the ECM’s and require it connected to a computer; in older machines, such as 963B’s, there isn’t anyway of knowing the true hours of the machine. Mostly, hour meters are best for keeping track of service intervals.