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Earth Tools TDS (Tiller Depth System) and BCS PDR (Precision Depth Roller)
BCS walk-behind tractor with 30" tiller, with
Earth Tools TDS installed (ALSO FITS GRILLO TILLERS)
The BCS PDR and Earth Tools TDS both add a full-width roller to a tiller implement to precisely regulate tilling depth and leave a level, pressed bed. This enables consistently shallow tillage to minimize soil disturbance, plus providing a “pressed” seedbed for best results with precision multi-row seeding equipment; This allows the tiller implement to perform SOME of the functions that the Power Harrow has become famous for. BCS and Earth Tools have developed their own different versions of this roller system: Earth Tools’ version is the TDS (Tiller Depth System), and the BCS version is the PDR (Precision Depth Roller). Both types achieve much the same results, but we have designed our TDS system to be much easier to install & remove, easier to handle, have more versatility, AND it is more affordable. Please see the chart below for the pros / cons of both types. We stock both versions…
|Earth Tools TDS||BCS America PDR|
|Time for mounting to / removing from tiller||Once frame is installed, 2 minutes (5 min. to install frame, which you leave on the tiller)||About 30 minutes, every time|
|Tiller widths fit||BCS 26” & 30”; Grillo 27” or 30”||2 models: for BCS 26” or BCS 30”|
|Extra “length” that roller projects behind tiller||7 inches||13.5 inches|
|Available roller styles||Solid roller (std) or Bar-type roller||“Slotted” roller only|
|Bearing type on roller||Sealed Ball Bearings||Bronze & plastic bushings|
|Depth/Height adjustment system:||Lever-type with 1/3” depth adjustment increments||Lever-type with ½” depth increments|
|Tilling depth with roller mounted||0 - 3 inches||0 - 7 inches|
The Earth Tools TDS comes standard with a SMOOTH roller made of tubular aluminum, which will not “fill up” with the material discharged rear-ward out of a tiller. Thus, we were able to nestle the roller right up under the tiller rear flap, to “shorten” the whole system up as much as possible (6.5” shorter overall than the BCS version), therefore making it easier to handle (and less prone to whacking your shins on when maneuvering / turning around the machine!). To deal with the fact that a “solid” roller may build up soil on it in damp conditions, we have an adjustable scraper-bar oriented over the top of the roller to scrape off excess soil.
Even though the smooth roller makes the Earth Tools TDS a few pounds heavier than the BCS version, the fact that it is so much shorter (closer to the tractor fulcrum/axle) makes the “perceived weight” (that is, the amount of effort the operator has to generate to lift the tiller out of the ground) LESS than the BCS version.
With EITHER the Earth Tools OR the BCS version, the weight the operator has to deal with when lifting the tiller out of the soil obviously increases when a roller is added to the tiller… so we recommend adding engine-side counterweights to offset this. (See below in pricing section) Our front-weights are “suitcase-style”, so they hook right onto the engine bumper with no tools needed. NOTE: IF YOU HAVE VERY SOFT / SANDY SOILS, EVEN MORE FRONT COUNTER-BALANCE WEIGHTS WILL BE NEEDED – OTHERWISE, THE GROUND-PRESSURE OF THE ROLLER MAY “SQUISH” THE SOIL OUT TO THE SIDES TOO MUCH, PARTICULARLY ON RAISED BEDS. THIS GOES FOR BOTH THE BCS PDR AND THE EARTH TOOLS TDS.
The Earth Tools TDS mounts to BCS 26” OR 30” tillers, or Grillo 27” & 30” tillers. (NOTE: The Earth Tools TDS has a roller that is 30” wide, so if used on a 26” or 27” tiller, the roller will be wider than the tiller), and once the mounting frame is installed, the roller assembly mounts or dismounts from the tiller in about a minute, making it easy to convert back to a “regular” tiller for deep tillage OR for operating the Hiller/Furrower, which is an accessory that goes behind the tiller (but will obviously not attach if there is a roller in the way). NO modifications or changes need to be made to the tiller in order to mount the Earth Tools TDS or to make it work properly. By contrast, the BCS PDR takes at least a half-hour to mount because it requires the removal of the tiller “rear flap” and also requires that the outside tine holders of the tiller actually be changed. So if you have the BCS PDR installed on your tiller and you want to operate a Hiller/Furrower behind your tiller, you will spend quite a bit of time removing the roller so that the Furrower will fit and then more time re-installing the roller afterwards. The BCS-brand PDR system is available in 2 different widths: To fit the BCS-brand 26” tiller, or the BCS 30” tiller. The BCS system requires about a half-hour to mount or dismount it from the tiller.
Cage-type roller is used for weed-control applications
When using the roller to regulate depth in WEEDING applications, the Earth Tools TDS offers an optional Cage-Type Roller, which is made up of horizontal bars with space between them. This still offers precise depth control but minimizes soil contact and leaves the soil “fluffy” to that uprooted weeds have much less chance of re-rooting. The two roller types can be switched out in the frame in less than 2 minutes, with just 2 bolts.
The range of adjustment the Earth Tools TDS system offers allows 11 positions, ranging from 0 to 3” of tilling depth, and will also lift the tiller off the ground for transport. The depth increments are roughly 1/3” apart for very fine adjustment. The BCS version (the “PDR”) has a greater range of working depth: 0 to 7”, with 16 adjustment positions (roughly ½” increments)….so it is capable of doing a “deep till” while the roller is still mounted. This is the one clear advantage of the BCS PDR: The ability to still till to “full depth” while the roller is in place. (This is fortunate, because the BCS version is quite time-consuming to mount or dismount from the tiller!) By comparison, we made the Earth Tools TDS so that it can be installed or removed in a couple minutes, so that folks who wanted to “deep-till” can just pop the roller off in a minute or two and have a lighter, more maneuverable machine for deep-tilling.
PLEASE NOTE: When EITHER of these “roller” systems are mounted to the tiller, the TOTAL width increases 2” to 3” beyond the original tiller width, as the roller is slightly wider than the tiller (and the so-called 30” BCS tiller is actually 31.25” wide to start with)
Note: Since the Earth Tools TDS is not a “BCS-manufactured” accessory, BCS has stated that if any damage to their tiller implement occurs during the warranty period as a result of the Earth Tools TDS being mounted to it, this damage will NOT be covered by the BCS warranty. However, since we at Earth Tools stand behind our products, if such damage occurs during the warranty period, WE (Earth Tools) will cover the repair.