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Old 24th Nov 2016, 19:44   #1 (permalink)
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Caterpillar sidesticks

Outside my gate there's a young man digging up the road with a 'CAT' earthmover. He has two sidesticks plus a centre steering wheel.
He's a real ace and I'd trust him to remove my hat and specs with it, but how does he manage to control all this high-tech gear with only two arms?
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Old 24th Nov 2016, 19:50   #2 (permalink)
 
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Probably the same way one uses a PC keyboard and mouse (Requires 3 hands as per the MS design but only two are available) and don't even get me going on the built in mouse pad. (requires a prehensile tail of suitable length and suitability)

I'm expecting MS to offer a wireless brain implant that detects eye movement cursor positioning and "thinking" "left click, scroll or "right click.

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Old 24th Nov 2016, 21:42   #3 (permalink)
 
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JCB used to have a demo team, and in their routine they struck matches with the bucket arm, such was their dexterity as operators. Impressive. My brother was a driver of diggers various for years. Poor pay, but seeing him at work was a pleasure to behold. He once happened upon me indulging myself with a weekend hire of a mini-digger, hired to dig land drains. He looked, asked, "What the cluck are you doing?" Without waiting for a reply he said, "Gerrout the way!" Took him about 20 mins to finish, and another half hour to make good my mess. Cost me a cuppa.

CG
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Old 24th Nov 2016, 21:50   #4 (permalink)
 
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Old China.
Not knowing the machine I should say lever right of wheel is for bucket and left is forward and reverse .
Cant be to high tech as newer machines have a joystick which steers,changes gears and forward and reverse.
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Old 24th Nov 2016, 22:36   #5 (permalink)
 
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Depends on the machine but as mentioned either stick has forward back and side motions, some have rotation as well like cyclic (or is it collective) and throttle on a floppy copter.
each motion controls a boom extension or bucket crowd motion.
Was talking to a driver about this a few years ago and he mentioned that a lot of the older guys had trouble moving from the old multi lever controls onto the side sticks. One of his colleagues retired when the firm upgraded the fleet rather than try to learn the new controls.
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Old 25th Nov 2016, 00:49   #6 (permalink)
 
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The old lever control models had foot pedals as well which IIRC swung the unit side to side.
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Old 25th Nov 2016, 02:43   #7 (permalink)
 
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The biggest shock is moving from an older Caterpillar motor (road) grader, or a Caterpillar wheel loader (front-end loader), with a steering wheel - to the new models with NO steering wheel, and only 2 side joysticks for machine control!

It takes a little while to get used to the transformation, but most operators achieve it, as the joysticks are "user-friendly" and basically intuitive.

Each control lever on a modern Cat has multiple actions designed into it. It generally takes 2-3 mths for an operator to achieve a skilled touch.
Over 6 to 12 mths an operator with the right abilities can become a very skilled operator with a touch that means they can open cans with the bucket teeth, without damaging the can.

Cat put a lot of work and $$$'s into research, the size of their proving grounds is staggering, and they often put multiple prototypes into contractors hands, before release, so they can be "proven on the job", to sort out real-life bugs, to get operator feedback, and to determine if there is any unreliability in the design.

Then, Cat continue with a process of continuous improvement, redesigning components where reliability problems have arisen with extended use.
Not for nothing are they the premier producers of earthmoving and associated equipment - and have been since 1925, when Caterpillar was formed from the merger of the Holt and Best Tractor Co's.

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Old 25th Nov 2016, 04:10   #8 (permalink)
 
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I occasionally drive a borrowed one of the Brit equivalent, the JCB, to do odd jobs on my land. Here's how the controls work on that one.

The tracks are controlled by simple levers which can also be controlled by foot. The only non-intuitive bit is that you push forward to go back and vice-versa.

The right-hand joystick controls the boom and the bucket. Back pulls the boom up; forward pushes it down. Pushing the right-hand stick to the right opens the bucket, ie lifts it. Pulling the right-hand stick towards you closes the bucket, ie tilts it towards you.

The left-hand joystick controls yaw of the turntable, in the intuitive direction. It also controls the dipper. This is the equivalent of the forearm on a human. That too is in the intuitive sense, ie forward pushes the dipper down.

To learn how to co-ordinate the controls you need a nice open field with no obstructions anywhere near you, preferably without anyone to laugh at you making a complete arse of yourself (especially if they know that you used to fly helicopters and that you still fly aeroplanes!). It took me about forty minutes of solo time to get really comfortable with the somewhat odd control configuration.

The Japanese and Korean equivalents of the JCB turntable back-hoe have similar controls to the JCB's arrangement, so I'm guessing that the Cat ones are the same.
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Old 25th Nov 2016, 05:44   #9 (permalink)
 
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If the machine has a steering wheel, as the OP stated, then I'm hazarding an educated guess that it's not a tracked excavator, it's a wheeled excavator.
Only the wheeled excavators, and older, other styles of Cat earthmovers (more than 6-7 yrs old) have steering wheels.

If the OP really wants to see an earthmover operator busy as a one-armed paper-hanger in a high wind, then a ride on an old Cat motor grader, with steering wheel and multiple-lever controls is a must.

Here's a good video showing the difference between a motor grader with the older-style steering wheel/multiple-lever controls, and a motor grader with the latest joystick controls.

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Old 25th Nov 2016, 08:38   #10 (permalink)
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"If the machine has a steering wheel, as the OP stated, then I'm hazarding an educated guess that it's not a tracked excavator, it's a wheeled excavator.
Only the wheeled excavators, and older, other styles of Cat earthmovers (more than 6-7 yrs old) have steering wheels"


Correct Onetrack. Went for a look this morning. It's a wheeled M313C, if that means anything.
Unlike the video, my guy's steering wheel has a "spinner knob" attachment, if that's not rude.

Last edited by oldchina; 25th Nov 2016 at 08:50.
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Old 25th Nov 2016, 09:44   #11 (permalink)
 
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Earth being moved and foundations being drilled outside my office window in prep for another multi-story office. Really enjoy watching the skill of these operators. The area is tight and surrounding infrastructure makes it challenging. Looks like so much fun with their expensive toys.
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Old 25th Nov 2016, 09:56   #12 (permalink)

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Quote:
my guy's steering wheel has a "spinner knob" attachment, if that's not rude
As an aside I recall a similar device (an add-on for the steering wheel) being advertised in Motoring News, as a "Rally Drivers Knob". Caused a bit of sniggering down at the motor club that did, particularly in Navigators Corner.
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Old 25th Nov 2016, 11:28   #13 (permalink)
 
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I always associated those spinner knobs with elderly or disabled drivers.
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Old 25th Nov 2016, 11:43   #14 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ImageGear View Post
Probably the same way one uses a PC keyboard and mouse (Requires 3 hands as per the MS design but only two are available) and don't even get me going on the built in mouse pad. (requires a prehensile tail of suitable length and suitability)
Naff-all to do with microsoft. The mouse-and-keyboard interface was put together by Apple for their abortive LISA product, although being Apple they didn't actually invent it themselves - they employed their usual corporate parctices and copied it (without consent) and then claimed it as their own. In this insance they copied it from the PARC division of Rank Xerox - it was their project which invented the whole "WIMP" thing (Windows, Icons, Mouse & Pointer).

MS d9idn't invent the trackpad either - they weren't permitted to play in the hardware arena at the time.

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Old 25th Nov 2016, 12:05   #15 (permalink)
 
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Way more fun!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cuWSxFWv3Fo
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Old 25th Nov 2016, 12:12   #16 (permalink)
 
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"Spinner knobs" are common on forklifts where you need to do a lot of steering movements, when negotiating into tight areas.
They're actually very handy on vehicles with a large number of turns, lock-to-lock, as many of the older, non-power-steering Fords did.
I believe they were quite commonly fitted to many American cars in the 40's to 60's mainly, as an aftermarket accessory - and you'll find there's a roaring trade on eBay of these old spinner knobs, because of the huge number of varieties made, and the uniqueness of many.
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Old 25th Nov 2016, 14:30   #17 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cazalet33 View Post
I occasionally drive a borrowed one of the Brit equivalent, the JCB, to do odd jobs on my land. Here's how the controls work on that one.

The tracks are controlled by simple levers which can also be controlled by foot. The only non-intuitive bit is that you push forward to go back and ........
Try rotating the cabin 180 degrees.
Per
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Old 25th Nov 2016, 18:09   #18 (permalink)
 
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But then left becomes right and right becomes left.

Flying a helicopter is so much simpler and so much more intuitive, albeit a bit longer in the learning. Makes just as messy a hole in the ground if you bugger things up though.
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