Power Take Off, or PTO is a feature that is integrated into some trucks, equipment, and vehicles to help to perform other tasks. It is designed to divert a percentage of the engine’s power to other systems. It is typically operated by a switch, button, or lever that the operator engages.

Some of the more common uses for PTO include:

  • Moving a snow plow blade up or down Plow Up/Down
  • Opening and closing doors or vehicle ports
  • Raising and lowering the bed of a dump truck
  • Activating onboard hydraulics such as the compactor of a garbage truck
  • Running special equipment such as a hot water pump on a carpet cleaner

What Are The Benefits Of PTO Tracking?

How and when PTO is used is largely up to the driver or operator. Yet recent technological advancements can give you the ability to track PTO usage and other data. This type of advanced tracking has many benefits, especially when you apply advanced analytics to collected information. It can also do things like provide you with proof of service, improve safety, and efficiency as well as improved operator training. and much more.

PTO tracking can also be used for other things, such as seatbelt use, how long the doors remain open on a refrigeration unit, or how much stress is being applied to hydraulic systems. Many companies who embrace PTO tracking do so as part of an improved safety initiative. It can be especially helpful for food transportation companies.

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the ways and benefits of PTO tracking. Depending on the analytics you apply to the historically collected data, can be used for things like job completion rates, a wide variety of safety features, and even fleet efficiency.

How To Connect To PTO?

A Power Take Off feature typically has a direct link to the internal ECM of the vehicle or the equipment in question. It usually has six external pins, that are sometimes referred to as a “Six-Pack.”

Depending on the type of vehicle, or equipment, the PTO tracking system can be connected by a harness to one of the diagnostic ports via a six or nine pack connection. In some situations, a harness, like an HRN-EZT might be needed to connect to the ECM or some type of GO device. Using a T-harness connection might be a good idea, as it leaves an extra port open for times when your in-house mechanic might need to use it for other diagnostics.

How Is PTO Data Tracked?

Collected PTO data relies on a GPS device to transmit it. This can be done in real time or collected for analysis at a later date. With some newer trucks and equipment, the ECM needs to be reset after the installation to be able to accurately transmit the information. However, some older units might have an auxiliary port that can be used instead of the diagnostic port.

What Are Some Of The Common Ways PTO Tracking Data Is Used?

There is a variety of ways to analyze PTO tracking data. Ideally, you will find the most benefits if it is collated with other data that can easily be collected through the integrated GPS system. Some of the more common uses include:

Improved Driver/Operator Accountability

PTO tracking and other GPS data can reveal times when an operator is speeding, idling, or transporting a vehicle outside of its specified area. It can also be helpful for efficient route selection and making sure that the operator isn’t using a company vehicle for personal use. When an operator knows that the vehicle is being tracked, they are far less likely to use it improperly.

Efficient Maintenance Scheduling

A GPS tracking system can also be used to do things like monitor engine hours, equipment operating hours, and mileage. This information can then be used to schedule routine maintenance measures more accurately. The PTO report will also help you understand how the equipment has been used to replace or upgrade components before they suffer excess wear and tear. A GPS system like this can also be set up to send alerts when a warning light comes on.

Improved Security And Recovery

Vehicles and equipment that are left on a project site, can be at increased risk for theft, tampering, and vandalism. With a PTO and GPS tracking system on board, alerts can be set up any time the vehicle is activated or altered. If the vehicle or equipment is stolen, GPS tracking software can be used to help law enforcement to locate and recover it.

Can PTO and GPS Tracking Help Municipal Services?

Job completion is one of the nuts and bolts details of operating any municipal service. Especially, in northern climes, where things like plowing, salting, and street sweeping are a routine part of seasonal changes. In the past, municipal service managers and their call centers would be flooded with complaints and reports about a street that had not been plowed, swept, or maintained in a reasonable amount of time.

When a PTO tracking system with GPS functionality is integrated into snowplows and street sweeping equipment it can provide valuable job completion information. Alerts can even be set up if specific areas have not received service on schedule. Power Take Off information can even tell operators if the plow blades are up or down, or if a sweeper is engaged.

Of course, this is just one example of how PTO and GPS tracking can be used. This type of system could also be installed on a waste collection vehicle. It can collect information on when a garbage truck stops, as well as when the collection arm is being used or when the compactor is activated.

This information can also be used for improved operator accountability or retraining. For example, if a truck is backing up too often, it can be a safety hazard. A PTO tracking system can be set up to record every time the vehicle is put in reverse or left too long at idle.

Does A PTO Tracking System Have A Good Return On Investment?

Being able to have accurate data that goes beyond an operator’s recollection allows you to spot inefficiencies and safety issues. This information can also be analyzed to improve maintenance scheduling, and limit liability.

When you compare the cost of these things to the very affordable cost of a PTO tracking system with GPS functionality, the value should pay for itself in short order.