Overview: Power take-off (PTO)

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What a PTO is

A power take-off (PTO) is a splined driveshaft, usually on a tractor or truck, that can be used to provide power to an attachment or separate machine. It is designed to be easily connected and disconnected. The power take-off allows implements to draw energy from the tractor's engine.


What a PTO does

A PTO drives a shaft that generally runs a hydraulic pump. That pump in turns runs various devices like: 

  • Dump bed 
  • Tow lift 
  • Trash compactor 
  • Boom crane

PTO Locations and Connections

PTO’s Locations: 

  • Most PTO lights are located in the cab of the vehicle.
  • There are instances where PTOs, or what we are looking to monitor are outside the cab.
  • Generally gas and oil distribution companies have PTO lights outside in the rear of the vehicle.

Our connection to the PTO: 

  • There is a switch somewhere on or in the vehicle that operates the PTO.  
  • Most of the switches have a light or a buzzer that turns on when the PTO is engaged.  
  • This is so the driver does not drive the vehicle while the PTO is engaged as it increases wear to the vehicles engine.  

How Verizon Connect connects to a PTO: 

  • We attach our digital input to the light or buzzer that turns on when the PTO is engaged.  
  • We can only attached to a 12 Volt Light, buzzer or switch.

Things to know:

  • For PTO monitoring to be possible, a vehicle’s onboard equipment must have an accessible switched wire that a technician can connect to the GPS device Power Harness.
  • A switched wire is one that displays a change of voltage when the onboard equipment is switched On and Off.
    • The switch can be either negative or positive in polarity.
      • Negative – The wire reads 12v in the Off position and 0v in the On position.
      • Positive – The wire reads 0v in the Off position and 12v in the On position.
  • Often technicians will wire to an indicator light on the vehicle’s dashboard that illuminates when the PTO is in operation.
    This indicator light needs to be functional in order for PTO to work.
  • If the onboard equipment is pneumatic (air operated) or hydraulic (water operated), the Customer would need to install a switch to generate an electrical signal.
  • If the onboard equipment is located far from where the device is mounted in the vehicle, the technician would need to run additional wire to connect it.
  • The technician will need to connect the switched wire to an input wire on the device harness that corresponds with its polarity.

CalAmp 2500/2600 









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