If you aren’t aware of the AEF ISOBUS Database, you should be. Whether you are a salesperson or service tech, the ISOBUS Database will become an essential part of your toolbox. It provides important ISOBUS compatibility information right at your fingertips.
The AEF ISOBUS Database has been developed as an online resource for dealers, manufacturers and the public to help understand the compatibility of agricultural products currently on the market. Only products that have passed the AEF ISOBUS Conformance Test can be listed in the AEF ISOBUS Database.
The “Uncommon” History of ISOBUS
You may have heard of ISOBUS, the name referring to a common CANbus that runs between tractors and implements.
The original attraction of ISOBUS was that each manufacturer could develop their own ISOBUS products, such as displays, implement controllers, etc., and by using the ISOBUS’ “common language,” those products would be able to communicate with other ISOBUS products from different manufacturers. This would allow the farmer to reduce the clutter in the tractor cab and use the same display to control any number of implements.
However, the reality was different. Farmers adopting the first ISOBUS systems did not experience that desired compatibility. The “common language“ was simply not common enough.
The AEF Aims for Clarity and Compatibility
Members of the non-profit Agriculture Industry Electronics Foundation (AEF) have been volunteering since 2008 to help the entire industry work with ISOBUS, and to solve the compatibility issues some farmers had been facing when working with ISOBUS products.
The AEF started referring to ISOBUS in terms of individual functionalities to enable everybody to understand what you could actually do with a typical ISOBUS system such as a tractor/implement/display combination.
They then defined a “conformance test” for those functionalities, as well as a database of ISOBUS products that had passed the conformance test.
The AEF ISOBUS Database: A Resource for Dealers
The AEF ISOBUS Database has been developed as a resource for dealers, manufacturers, and the public to obtain the understanding they need regarding ISOBUS products. Only products which have passed the AEF ISOBUS Conformance Test can be listed in the AEF ISOBUS Database.
The AEF ISOBUS Database is open to everybody, but you must register (i.e. create an account) first. This can be done from the home page. Scroll down until you see the following:
If you work at a Dealership, please register as a Dealer. This will give you a higher level of access compared to a User account, which is intended for the general public.
While registering as a dealer you will be able to choose which OEM brands you represent at your dealership. (In a subsequent step, each manufacturer would have to approve that you do represent their brands, but this would not stop you accessing the database.) There is also a single sign on link which some manufacturers have implemented to connect their dealer portal to the AEF ISOBUS Database.
So, Now That You Have Your Account, What Can You Do?
The AEF ISOBUS database contains information on all the ISOBUS products from the different manufacturers who have passed the AEF ISOBUS Conformance Test. Currently there are 71 companies listing their certified ISOBUS products in the Database and that number keeps growing.
You may be wondering, what is the ISOBUS capability of a specific tractor or implement? Or, you may have a customer who wants to purchase an ISOBUS implement from your dealership but does not know the ISOBUS capabilities of the tractor they already own.
In the database, you can search individual products and see what ISOBUS functionalities they support. Searching can be done by manufacturer, by product type (tractor, sprayer, planter, etc.), or even by functionality. You can then search for other products too.
Not only will the database show you what ISOBUS function each individual product has, it will also show you what you can do if you connect all those products together (on the ISOBUS). This is an incredibly useful resource when you have to advise your customer on their next ISOBUS equipment purchase.
Remember that if it cannot be found in the database, then it is not AEF ISOBUS Certified. The database also contains a ticket system which can be used by the service department of the dealership. If you do have a customer with an ISOBUS compatibility issue, a ticket can be raised in the database which will be sent to the support departments of all the manufacturers involved in the issue. But please note that this feature needs to be enabled by the manufacturers that you represent. Some manufacturers prefer that dealers use their established (OEM) tools for reporting issues. In this case, their dealers are not allowed to use the database ticket system, but it is utilized internally to communicate ISOBUS issues with the other involved manufacturers.
The AEF ISOBUS Database can be accessed via a web browser, but is also available as a smartphone app so you can access it in the office, in the yard or even in the field. You can visit the database here: www.aef-isobus-database.org.
About the Author: This article is the second in a series of eight by the Agricultural Industry Electronics Foundation (AEF), an independent organization founded on October 28th, 2008 by seven international ag equipment manufacturers and two associations. Today eight manufacturers and three associations are working as core members together with 220 general members. They work to improve cross-manufacturer compatibility of electronic and electric components in agricultural equipment, and to establish transparency about compatibility issues. You can become a member and learn more about the AEF by visiting: www.aef-online.org/home.html or contact the AEF communications team: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
The Precision Ag - What's under the ISOBUS hood? series is brought to you by the AEF.
The AEF Mission — The development and support for the implementation of generally accepted standards for electric and electronic interfaces as well as standards for data exchange for the agricultural machinery industry. The AEF is providing a framework for the cooperation of all interested parties under the leadership of the core members whilst maintaining competition amongst all members. The AEF supports standardization organizations such as the International Standards Organization (ISO)