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Hey guys,

I am putting the baler into storage for winter and noticed that my needle latch cable running from the needle latch lever to to the side of the needle arm slacks when the needles rise into the chamber. It tightens back up when the needles retract. Looked on the cable and it shows old grease caked onto the cable where it routes between the tire and pick drive chain so it has been doing this for quite some time. The spring at the needle latch is intact and appears to be working properly.

Is it normal for the cable to slack like this? I looked at the cable adjustment "A" and the needle latch retracks with 1-1/8" clearance from the plunger crank arm as it comes up into the chamber.

Picture from manual attached.

Thanks,

Greg
 

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Greg the slackening of the cable is as it should be!

For later models, the needle latch was given an expanded name "needle protection latch".

As soon as the needles leave their home position, or more correctly as soon as the yoke carrying the needles leaves its home position the cable slackens and allows the needle protection latch under spring loading to enter the path of the crank which drives the plunger. If your baler is correctly timed the plunger crank will have just passed the needle protection latch when the latch enters into the crank's pathway. The needles rise in the chamber and the knotters do their magic, and the needles return to home position with the cable pulling the needle protection latch (against its spring loading ) back to its home position clearing the path of the crank arm only just (1 1/8 inch in your case) before the crank arm arrives. The needles have risen, the knotters have done their magic, and the needles returned in less than one revolution of the plunger crank allowing the first slice (biscuit) of hay to then be compressed into the chamber for the next bale.

The 282 is not a model I have seen in Australia but the principle is the same across the range of NH and JD balers. Eg the JD 348 baler has the needle protection latch at the top of the plunger crank arm cycle not the bottom as in most if not all NH balers.

Some points to attend to when putting into or taking out of storage.

Ensure the needle protection latch spring is in good condition.

Ensure the needle protection latch pivot point is well lubricated and the latch free to move. You will have to trip the knotters and rotate by hand to slacken the cable and move the latch against its spring load.

There is an adjustment at "A" in the thumbnail diagram to get the right timing of movement between the needle yoke moving and the needle latch entering the path of the crank.

There should also be a thick rubber cushion mounted on the crank arm where it would contact the needle latch if the baler is out of time or there is some other malfunction which would allow the plunger to come into contact with the needles.

Some models had a rubber cushion on the needle latch arm to dull the noise of the needle latch activating, not essential but a nice touch. If you listen to the baler when it activates the knotter there can be a sharp "crack" like a hammer striking solid steel, that is the latch going into its protection position.

The purpose of the needle protection latch (a name descriptive of its function) is to prevent extensive and expensive damage to the needles by the plunger. If the machine is timed properly there should not be a problem however in providing protection to your valuable machine there is a shear bolt on the knotter drive. If that bolt shears the needles are left in the chamber and the plunger is approaching, do you see the problem? The needle protection latch is there to stop the plunger before it damages the needles.

In stopping the plunger crank the flywheel shear bolt is broken.

Welding broken needles back into correct alignment is no fun particularly if both are broken and you do not have a pattern to work by.

While attending to the pre and post storage maintenance ensure the knotter brake is properly adjusted. It is a little disc brake on an shaft with a crank arm that holds the needle yoke at home position preventing any movement of the yoke and therefore the needle protection latch before the knotter is tripped. A loose brake is a common cause of the needle yoke moving when a bump is encountered and the protection system resulting in a broken flywheel shear bolt.

There can be a moment in the cycle that the machine cannot protect itself if the knotter brake is loose. That moment is after the plunger crank has passed the critical point of having enough time for the needle protection latch to stop the crank and before the crank nears its full stroke. At near full stroke, the needles can penetrate the plunger in the slots provided and the plunger is prevented from having another stroke by the latch. This is only likely if the latch is tight on its pivot, ie delay in entry to the crank path.

You would be aware that there are several protective mechanisms to prevent more serious damage

The slip clutch on the PTO drive at the flywheel, the flywheel shear bolt, the knotter shear bolt a slip clutch on the pickup drive or on some models a vee belt to slip if the pickup is overloaded, the needle protection system and on some models a shear bolt on the cross transfer system getting hay across to the plunger. Check them all because in storage the slip surfaces of clutches can develop rust or otherwise stick together.

A neighbour once told me that a baler was the most frustrating piece of equipment on the farm.

Given proper maintenance adjustment and storage a baler will bale tens of thousands of bales in a relatively short time every year, but because of the short period of use each year few take the time to analyse and understand how they work.

Happy baling and it is good to see not only pre storage checks but that there is critical analysis of the operations of your baler.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wow thanks for the detailed reply Coondle. Very thorough and I was able to follow everything you said.

In all honesty, I have had the baler for 4 years and this is the first full end-of-season maintenance check. I know that's bad to say but the thing just keeps pumping out bales. In the past 4 years, I have had a total of 7 broken bales and not one bad knot.

This year, I had to leave the baler in the last field I baled with hay in the chamber. Usually I bring it home and immediately blow it out with air hose. I felt bad because by the time I got it home the chaff and dust had things pretty gummed up. A thorough steam cleaning later and full lube and she looks good again but that was the first time I observed the cable going loose like that.

Anyway...thanks again!!!

Greg
 
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