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Discovery Alarms Demystified: Simple Solutions for Common Issues

The Discovery Collector first appeared in 2011 and it has to be one of my most favorite Lely products to install, do maintenance and overall talk about just how cool it is.

Growing up on a farm, our farm used the traditional tractor scraper set up. It was my first job when I was able to drive a tractor by myself at the age of 8. But boy, things have sure changed over the years, now robots are starting to replace that labor intensive task and with the bonus of better overall cow health including lower cell count.

With that being said, here is a list of the most common Discovery alarms and how to resolve them on your own.

Tank too full too often – this alarm can be caused by two things, either a blockage in the tank or the full sensor is caked in dried manure (it’s reading full when it isn’t).

To clear a blockage; first remove the tank lid and check to see if there is copious amounts of manure in the tank after the Discovery has dumped. The technique I like to use is with a crowbar and ever so gently lower the crowbar into the tank to avoid rupturing the waterbag on an angle towards the mouth. I then poke around to feel for any blockages and push them loose. Once dislodged I use the crowbar to lift the front end of the Discovery in the air and basically drop the nose to flush any remaining debris out till the tank is empty.

Ultrasound sensor dirty – The ultrasound sensor is essentially the eyes of the Discovery and once blocked by bedding and manure can cause poor ultrasound readings which will lead to more crashes. Try and keep the ultrasound area as clean as possible especially after bedding day.

Robot blocked/fatal route error – can be caused by a couple things; a cow that may have went down in its path and couldn’t get up in time or maybe even a dirty ultra sound sensor. The most common seems to be the Discovery hitting a wall that it thinks shouldn’t be there. This can be caused by bald tires, an out-of-date wheel calibration or a route action that isn’t quite perfect. Take note of what route action it is or where it keeps happening and let the FMV team know.

Battery too low to set out on route – this often happens when there are too many routes in a 24hr period, and the battery has failed to reach the 50% threshold it needs to leave on a route. If this is happening repeatedly, using your tablet, check to make sure the drive time is less than 9.5 hours. If it is, then it might be time to look at the charging contacts for cleanliness and/or battery health. When the robot first powers up, the Discovery is unable to determine the battery percentage and reads 0%. If you try and send the Discovery on a route right away it will trigger this alarm. All you need to do is wait a few minutes with the disco on the charger then it can determine what the current voltage is to set out on a route.

Finally, Friction Force is too high – Is there a rock or a chunk of metal near your battery under the hood??? I bet you added the rock or piece of metal in order to keep the nose of the Discovery down for certain route actions. Well that extra nose weight can and will trigger this alarm. Basically, with all the extra weight on the nose the motors have to work harder to push that extra weight and doing so will also prematurely wear out the scraper rubbers. Try to avoid adding extra weight unless necessary.

Keep up on the weekly and monthly maintenance tasks, they are there to help you get the best overall performance and longevity out of your machine. If something doesn’t seem right or an alarm is happening regularly feel free to give the FMV team a call and we can help you further from there.

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