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John Deere Tractors Discussion Forum
Show Parts for Model:

Digital Hour Meter/tachometer

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Tom R in TN

02-05-2006 13:01:32

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Has anyone out there used the Northern unit on a 2 cyl? Does it work? I can't use a mechanical
tach. Any advice will be appreciated. Thanks

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buckeye al

02-06-2006 15:28:03

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 Re: Digital Hour Meter/tachometer in reply to Tom R in TN, 02-05-2006 13:01:32  
Neighbor man has one on his lawn tractor. He asked me to install it for him and it works very well.

You have to get the right one though!

If you notice in the catalog, there are two different units and both are generally being marketed for single cylinder engines. One that is for battery ignition systems and one generally for mag fired engines. Reason is that most engines with battery ignition only spark in the compression stroke. No spark occurs between the intake and exhaust strokes so there is only one spark for every TWO revolutions of the crankshaft. Most mag fired single cylinder engines spark every revolution of the crank operating in what is termed the lost spark process. One spark does nothing and is simply lost between the engine's exhaust and intake strokes or cycles.

MOST of the John Deere 2 cylinder engines (not all but most) are lost spark engines with a spark to each plug on every revolution. This is true for MOST of both mag fired and battery ignition JD 2 cylinder tractors!

You did not say what model tractor you have but generally if your tractor is a letter series and is mag fired with anything but a Fairbanks DRV series mag, (not sure of the Splitdorf mags) then you would need the one that is for mag fired (lost spark) units. If your tractor is a numbered series FACTORY LP tractor or if it is a letter series that has the DRV series FB mag (maybe also the Splitdorf) then you need the distributor type type. The non LP numbered series tractors could be either type.

Soooo, if you install one of those tach hour meters, you need to get the right one even though either one will actually work becasue they're both just counting sparks to a spark plug. If however you get the wrong one for your machine, the reading will either be double the actual engine speed or half the engine speed! Also the operating hours will rack up at either double real time or at half real time!

Clear as mud right?

Posting what tractor and ingnition system you have would help.


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Glen in TX

02-06-2006 21:12:15

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 Re: Digital Hour Meter/tachometer in reply to buckeye al, 02-06-2006 15:28:03  
That's a very good point there on if it will work in real time or half time. The Wico mags and other battery distributors on JD 2 cyld. will fire every revolution on compression and exhaust. The FM RV2 and Edison Splitdorfs for JD will fire on compression only as will the later special built Wicos for pulling with the CAT caps on them. I believe the FMJ & X2 mags will fire every revolution like the Wicos. So it will take some thinking it out to get the right one or you won't get the readings you want.

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buckeye al

02-07-2006 15:13:10

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 Re: Digital Hour Meter/tachometer in reply to Glen in TX, 02-06-2006 21:12:15  

Telling which one to use on a JD is sort of like having somebody tell you they live on the left side of Marsh Pike in the 3rd house past Rangeline Road.

Depends on if yer goin east or goin west doesn't it? Is it the 3rd house and just happens to be on the left or is it the third house on the left ignoring all those on the right?

Now I done got myself so confused I don't know if I'm comin or goin! {:-)

Think I'll just go eat supper.

Take care.

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Glen in TX

02-07-2006 18:07:46

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 Re: Digital Hour Meter/tachometer in reply to buckeye al, 02-07-2006 15:13:10  
LOL yep. Would be easier to just use the original type that you know works? ;) I guess the one from northern must be a bargain?

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02-05-2006 17:58:16

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 Re: Digital Hour Meter/tachometer in reply to Tom R in TN, 02-05-2006 13:01:32  
The electronic tach that uses a couple of turns of wire around the plug wires for a speed pickup looks interesting since it doesn't require any electrics on the tractor. Also claims to provide hour meter function. The 45 B has no electrics and this might be the way to go. Haven't tried it but looks like it should work.

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Glen in TX

02-05-2006 13:31:55

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 Re: Digital Hour Meter/tachometer in reply to Tom R in TN, 02-05-2006 13:01:32  
Don't know about those you mention but you might be able to still find the 6V or 12V electric hour meters that were used with a oil pressure switch on the styled JD A & AR. They were Hobbs brand I believe? They are in the JD styled A parts book.

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