Valarm Monitoring Harvesters at Scheid Vineyards Blog Post 1 - 6 copy

Precision agriculture can be quite expensive + challenging, yet ranches are driven to optimize production. With Valarm, Scheid Vineyards found a solution to map their wine grape harvesters in real-time. This is an important step for knowing real-time yield, which helps a grower’s efficiency and bottom line. The solution easily integrates into their operations since Valarm Tools is cloud-based and the Valarm APIs allow you to integrate live, geotagged sensor data into the Esri ArcGIS platform. Specifically, this technology helps ranch managers with:

  • Real-time report of yield progress
  • Recording labor hours
  • Logistics
  • Streamlining operations
  • More precise understanding of vine performance

This is a follow-up writing to this previous, initial overview of the Scheid vineyards harvester monitoring. Here are the sensors / factors we monitored for the 2014 harvest season – August thru October:

  1. Harvester power on/off
  2. Conveyor belts on/off
  3. Gondola reload light on/off
  4. Shaker heads on/off
  5. Fans/blowers on/off
  6. Current speed setting of shaker head
  7. Velocity of the harvester

To do all this we used the Valarm Pro app running on a Samsung Galaxy S3. The Valarm Pro app communicates with thousands of different sensors available from all over the world. To talk to the harvesters we used the Yocto Knob and Yocto 0-10V sensors. The Yocto Knob has 5 channels for monitoring electrical resistance / potentiometer/ switches. The Yocto 0-10V monitors voltage values between 0 and 10, which is a sensor standard used around the world. The Knob was connected to these 5 sensors/switches for channels 1-5:

  1. Power
  2. Shaker Heads
  3. Conveyor Belts
  4. Fans/Blowers
  5. Gondola Light

The 0-10V sensor adapter was connected to the Shaker Heads dial, which is the upper left dial on the harvester driver’s dashboard below:

Valarm Monitoring Harvesters at Scheid Vineyards Blog Post 1 - 4


We used an external Bluetooth GPS to get higher accuracy location coordinates (latitude, longitude). We’ve experimented with a few including the SX Blue II GPS and the Garmin GLO. For the 2014 harvest we went with the Garmin GLO since it’s more affordable and cost-effective. Hence, instead of using the built-in GPS on the Samsung Galaxy S3, here the Valarm Pro app gets the current location from the external Bluetooth GPS inside the orange box seen in the picture below:

Inside the mysterious weatherproof orange box: Valarm Pro app running on a Samsung Galaxy S3, Yocto-Knob sensor, Yocto-0-10V sensor, USB hub, 5V UBEC voltage step-down, Garmin GLO GPS. The gondola light’s the blue one!

Deploying Valarm gives you precision agriculture / viticulture at a fraction of the competition’s cost. Each Valarm equipped wine grape harvester uploaded its sensor data to the cloud in real-time using the phone’s (Samsung Galaxy S3) cell network connection with Verizon. This is how all of the data is uploaded in real-time to the Valarm Tools Cloud website. Using Valarm Tools, the staff at Scheid Vineyards could use a web browser on any device to see harvest information in tabular or map form as seen below.

Valarm Scheid Harvester Data Valarm Tools Cloud Device Manager

Valarm collected current values of the Scheid Vineyards harvesters at regular intervals whenever a harvester was turned on.


Valarm Scheid Harvester Map 1 Valarm Tools Cloud Esri ArcGIS Platform Tools

All of your data can be mapped directly on Valarm Tools Cloud at


Valarm Scheid Harvester Map 2 Valarm Tools Cloud Esri ArcGIS Platform Tools

Each Valarm data point, collected at regular time intervals or under customizable trigger conditions, contains attribute information for the harvester at that moment in time.


Valarm Scheid Vineyards Harvester Paths MH108

Here you see nice paths over each row in the vineyard thanks to combining the Valarm Pro app with the high precision Garmin GLO GPS! You can also see when the harvester stopped, turned on the gondola light, and waited for a new gondola to arrive. Channel 5 of the Yocto-Knob was linked to the gondola light so we can see in the point clicked here on the map that channel 5 was on, meaning the driver was waiting. This idle time reported by Valarm is then used by Scheid Vineyards to help optimize for efficiency such that the harvesters are harvesting for grapes instead of stopped and waiting. This can be helped by adding another gondola driver if wait times in a specific area are particularly long.


That’s all for now, we’ll be adding more later on things like the electronics with more details on how we physically wired up the harvester with sensors, connecting and plugging into the giant machine’s control box. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or comments and check out our other blog posts for more stories like the earlier one on monitoring grape harvesters!