When it comes to agricultural machinery including tractors, a critical accessory that’s often overlooked is a tiltmeter.
If you have a lot of slopes on your property, you’ve probably had your tractor on 2 wheels several times, and installing a tiltmeter can help you gauge at what angle the tractor will roll over.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at what exactly is a tiltmeter, how it differs from an inclinometer, and how to install a tiltmeter on a tractor.
What is the Function of a Tiltmeter?
The function of a tractor tiltmeter is to measure the angle and orientation of the tractor with respect to the horizontal plane.
The tiltmeter typically consists of a sensor that detects the angle of the tractor and a display or indicator that provides a visual readout of the angle.
The tiltmeter can be used to help the driver operate the tractor more efficiently and safely.
For example, if the tractor is operating on a slope, the tiltmeter can help the driver maintain a safe and stable position.
If the tractor is equipped with an attachment such as a loader or backhoe, the tiltmeter can help the driver position the attachment more accurately for better performance and safety.
Additionally, the tiltmeter can be useful for monitoring the overall condition and performance of the tractor.
By tracking the angle of the tractor during operation, the tiltmeter can help identify issues such as uneven tire wear, misaligned wheels, or other problems that could affect the tractor’s stability or performance.
What is the Difference Between Inclinometer and Tiltmeter?
An inclinometer is similar to that of a tiltmeter in that it measures the angle and orientation of the tractor with respect to the horizontal plane.
However, an inclinometer typically provides more detailed information than a tiltmeter, including roll, pitch, and yaw angles.
An inclinometer can be useful for a variety of tasks related to tractor operation, including monitoring the slope of the terrain, checking the levelness of attachments such as plows or cultivators, and ensuring that the tractor is operating within safe limits.
Additionally, an inclinometer can be used to identify issues with the tractor’s suspension, alignment, or other systems that could affect its stability or performance.
Some inclinometers may also include additional features such as alarms or alerts that can notify the driver if the tractor is operating outside of safe parameters.
Best 3 Tiltmeter for Tractors
1. Sun Company Inclinometer
The Sun Company inclinometer is a manual device yet is highly reliable and for use with tractors or anything that tilts.
It comes with an easy-to-read display and a high-visibility brass ball that’s tucked away neatly within a Saturn yellow tube assembly.
Another noteworthy feature of the Sun Company inclinator is its shatterproof design, thanks to its rugged copolymer “flex tube” construction.
It can be mounted on your tractor with an easily available 3M VHB tape and best of all is made in the USA.
2. Rieker Military Grade Inclinometer
The Rieker military-grade inclinator is a great choice for rugged conditions and is easy to install on your tractor with the included high-bond VHB tape.
It boasts an all-weather housing and is 100 percent polycarbonate shatterproof. Furthermore, the Rieker military grade inclinometer can be used in temperatures between -50° F to +180° F (-45ºC to +82ºC) and features a non-stick smoothest roll.
3. Digital Level Protractor Inclinometer
The Folia inclinometer is my top choice on this short list of best inclinometers for several reasons, starting with its superior accuracy.
It features dual functionality, therefore can be used to check the relative angles between surfaces and as a digital level for tight spaces.
The Folia digital inclinometer is equipped with a clear and crisp large LCD display complete with a backlight to use in low light conditions.
Adding to this, this tool features built-in magnets at the bottom to secure it to any metal surface on your tractor.
The Folia digital inclinometer is handy for a wide range of applications including agriculture, machine manufacturing, and engineering.
Factors to Consider when Choosing a Tiltmeter for a Tractor
There are several factors to consider when choosing a tiltmeter for a tractor.
The last thing you want is a tiltmeter that provides inaccurate readings because that would defeat the purpose of installing one on your tractor in the first place.
That said, there is no tiltmeter that provides 100 percent accuracy but you can expect an accuracy of +/- 0.05 degrees.
The more expensive models provide better accuracy than cheap tiltmeters but it’s always good to check user reviews to ease your decision.
Even though a digital display is a nice touch, you don’t necessarily have to buy a tiltmeter with a digital display as long as the display is easy and clear to read.
Adding to this, make sure you can read the tiltmeter in sunny conditions and low light conditions if you’ll be using your tractor at night.
Most tiltmeters are water resistant right out of the box but some aren’t. If you’re going to use the tiltmeter in wet weather conditions or going to install it in an open cab, make sure it is water-resistant.
The tiltmeter you buy should be easy to install such as with strong magnets and not with nuts and bolts.
How to Install a Tiltmeter on a Tractor?
Here are the steps to follow for installing a tiltmeter on a tractor:
1. Choose the location of installation
The tiltmeter needs to be installed in a location which is horizontal to the level as the tractor.
To achieve this, park the tractor on a flat surface which has zero inclination.
You can measure the inclination of the parked surface by placing the inclinometer on it.
Now choose a location on the tractor where the tiltmeter can be easily visible to the driver.
A common location is on the dashboard, near the steering wheel.
2. Mount the Tiltmeter
To mount tiltmeters like the Sun Company Lev-o-gage Sr. Inclinometer and Tilt Gauge, you can use the 3M VHB tape that comes included with the product.
While mounting ensure that the tiltmeter reading reads zero inclination after you have mounted it, else it will always give wrong reading.
For other tiltmeters like the Folia Inclinometer
you may need a mounting bracket or a mounting plate, which can provide a more stable and adjustable mounting option.
You can check this video for more in-depth guide on mounting the tiltmeter.
How to Calibrate a Tiltmeter?
Calibration of the Tiltmeters like the Sun Company Lev-o-gage Sr. Inclinometer and Tilt Gauge or the Rieker Military Grade Inclinometer is pretty simple and ideally should be done while installing them.
Here are some general steps that can be followed.
- Position the tractor on a level surface, or on the surface where you want to calibrate the tiltmeter.
- If the tiltmeter has a “zero” or “calibrate” function, use it to set the tiltmeter to read zero when the tractor is on a level surface. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to perform this step.
- Use the calibration equipment to measure the actual angle of the tractor, and compare it to the readings on the tiltmeter. If the readings are not accurate, adjust the tiltmeter as needed according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Maintenance and Care Tips for Tiltmeters in Tractors
- Always install your tiltmeter on a flat surface on your tractor
- Even though your tiltmeter may be water resistant, it’s best to avoid getting it wet
- Make sure the inclinometer is installed properly for accurate readings and for long service life of the device
Even though many farmers are unaware, a tiltmeter is a handy device to have on your tractor if you have hilly and rugged terrain on your property.
There are two common types of tiltmeters available —manual and digital and choosing between the two is a matter of personal preference. These devices are easy to install on your tractor either with magnets or VHB tape.
I’m Bryan Livingstone, a farmer with 21 years of experience, and I founded FarmingHandbook.com to share the wisdom I’ve gathered. Inspired by my own handbook, this site is your ultimate guide to all things farming. Read More!