GPS Tracking Technology and the Power of PTO Connections
Business owners and fleet managers need to choose a GPS tracking technology provider whose system allows for integration with other devices and products. The PTO (power take-off) is a primary example of a device that can be integrated with our system and Geotab GO Device that adds value to the overall fleet management system.
What is PTO?
PTO, Power Take-Off, can refer to the activity of any motorized device connected to a vehicle. It is comparable to a portable power generator, in the event that you lose power, you would still be able to run all of your appliances and equipment around your home. Comparably, many companies rely on the PTO to generate power for a specific piece of equipment, without only relying on using the engine itself.
Examples of PTO Use
Some of the typical applications of PTO use (although not limited to) include:
- Raising the bed of a dump truck
- Running a truck mounted hot water extraction machine used for carpet cleaning
- Operating a garbage truck compactor
An example of one way companies are utilizing PTO with our GPS device is in the use of document shredding and destruction. Companies have mobile trucks with a shredder built on board, they collect many important documents and are able to destroy them securely using the shredder.
The devices have the capacity to gather data from the vehicle’s ECM, also known as the engine control module, and provide information about the status of the PTO unit. In general, you do not want to have the vehicle moving while the PTO is engaged. This is one instance where during operation you should monitor the status of the vehicle. If a driver were to have the vehicle moving while the PTO is in operation, it could cause severe stress and ultimately damage the motor, leading to extensive repair or replacement.
Another important aspect to consider is the green effect in our society that has brought attention to the issue of idling in the management and operation in large fleets. The GoFleet Getoab GO devices have the ability to set up specific rules to determine the length of time a vehicle has been idling. Whenever a rule is broken an “exception” is then generated. This can then point management to see particular trends or excessive behavior that is non-compliant. When it comes to PTO, the device can assist in looking ever further into the problem and has the ability to determine the difference between idling due to PTO use and excessive vehicle idling.
Connecting the PTO
The PTO module normally has direct connection to the vehicle’s ECM. The PTO is often referred to as a “6 Pack” because of the number of external pins it has. Our devices would typically be connected using a harness to the vehicle’s diagnostic port using either a 9 pin or 6 pin connection, depending on the model and make of the vehicle. A harness, such as an HRN-EZT would be required to connect to the ECM and the GO device would then be connected to the HRN-EZT. It’s recommended that you use a T-harness for connections, that way it will leave an extra port available for a mechanic to use.
What to Remember When Using the PTO
In order for the GPS device to pick up the signal from the ECM, the vehicle with the PTO module installed would need to be returned to the dealership to have the ECM reset to be able to read the PTO module. Only once that has been completed will the device be able to pull the data from the diagnostic port directly. Most trucks made in 1996 or later have the ability for the ECM to read PTO automatically and therefore there is no need for an auxiliary input.
Original Article Written by: Owen D’Acres, Customer Support at Geotab