The power of PTO connections in telematics

Published on July 28, 2014 in Fleet Management by Owen D’Acres


Fleet managers need to choose a telematics provider whose technology allows for integration with other products and devices, such as the PTO Power Take Off.

Fleet managers and business owners need to choose a telematics provider whose technology allows for integration with other products and devices. The PTO is a primary example of a device that can be integrated within Geotab’s technology that adds value to the overall telematics system.

What is PTO?

PTO, or Power Take Off, can refer to the activity of any motorized device that is connected to a vehicle. You can think of the PTO as your portable power generator, so that in the event you lose power, you would still be able to run all of your appliances and equipment around the home. Similarly, most companies rely on the PTO to generate power to a specific piece of equipment, without solely relying on the use of the engine itself.

Examples of PTO Use

Some typical applications of PTO use though not limited are: Running a truck mounted hot water extraction machine used for carpet cleaning. Raising a dump truck bed. Operating the compactor on a garbage truck. One of the ways in which companies are utilizing PTO with the GO device is in the use of document destruction and shredding. Companies have mobile trucks with a built on shredder on board, they collect important documents and are able to securely destroy them using the shredder.

The Geotab GO device has the capacity to gather data from the vehicle’s ECM, also known as the engine control module, and provide information regarding the status of the PTO unit. Generally speaking, you do not want to have the vehicle moving while the PTO is engaged. This is one instance where you should monitor the status of the vehicle during operation. If a driver were to have the vehicle moving with the PTO in operation, it could cause severe stress and ultimately damage the motor, leading to expensive repair or replacement.

Another important aspect to consider is the green effect in today’s society that has brought attention to the issue of idling in the operation and management of large fleets. The Geotab GO devices have the ability to set up specific rules to determine the length of time a vehicle has been idling. When a rule is broken an “exception” is generated, which can then point management to a particular trend or excessive behavior that is non-compliant. In the case of the PTO, the device can assist in looking even deeper into the problem and is able to determine the difference between excessive idling and idling due to PTO use.

Connecting the PTO

The PTO module usually has direct connection to the vehicle’s ECM. The PTO is sometimes referred to as a “6 Pack” due to the number of external pins it has. The GO device would typically be connected using a harness to the vehicle’s diagnostic port that would use either a 6 pin or 9 pin connection, depending on the make and model of the vehicle. Therefore, 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 is recommended that one uses a T-harness for connections since this will leave an extra port available for use by a mechanic.

What To Remember When Using The PTO

In order for the GO 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 and be able to read the PTO module. Only once that has been completed will the GO device be able to pull the data directly from the diagnostic port. Finally, most trucks that were made in 1996 or later will have built-in ability for the ECM to read PTO automatically and therefore there is no need for an auxiliary input.

To learn more about PTO connections and the other opportunities for external integration with Geotab’s telematics GO devices, post your questions in the comment box below.


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Disclaimer

Geotab's blog posts are intended to provide information and encourage discussion on topics of interest to the telematics community at large. Geotab is not providing technical, professional or legal advice through these blog posts. While every effort has been made to ensure the information in this blog post is timely and accurate, errors and omissions may occur, and the information presented here may become out-of-date with the passage of time.

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