In-line measurement technologies are rapidly getting into today’s agricultural equipment. It can be used to determine the quality of harvested material, for quality sorting or machine control purposes but also for production or growth monitoring and for controlling the fertilization. In addition to increasing the yield of production, new environmental regulations can be met by using sensor technologies on the machine.
For a number of applications of optical sensor systems in precision farming, embedded spectroscopy systems offer a number of advantages compared to PC based systems
. In the last years, powerful microcontrollers and related electronics became available for the mobile and handheld markets. These components can be used to build compact and low power consumption equipment, offering sufficient processing power for complex spectroscopic data acquisition and evaluation tasks.
If the spectroscopy equipment is used on vehicles, the measurement system has to comply with the vehicle’s power supply properties, e.g. the range of available DC voltages and to be immune to temporary supply voltage instabilities at certain load conditions. For communication with the vehicle controllers, a CAN-based communication interface is usually required.
Environmental requirements typically include ruggedness, immunity against shock and vibrations and a wide temperature range for operation. In some applications, parts of the equipment need to withstand exposure to large amounts of dust and dirt but also humidity and wet conditions.
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