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stump grinders: which is better? remote control or old school?

murphy4trees

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I just can't imagine being able to produce with a remote the way I can with 100 hp standing right next to the work.
I regularly chase roots, cut carefully around embedded rocks, work very close to fences and foundations, grind right to the edge of the stump without hitting much dirt to keep the clean up minimal, use the wheel (non-rotating) to push the piles out of the way for another pass, and make small positioning adjustments during sweeps to maximize cutting speed. And how would you be able to sense the machine's stability on steep ground? There are so many functions that I perform regularly, that simply would not be possible without standing right near the work.

The only place I could see the remote helping productivity would be coming down a tight alley, where there isn't room for the op to stand alongside the machine as it is moving, or working next to a tree, shrub, fence, or building where the operator's door can't swing open due to obstructions.

Though I have never demoed one, the one time I did stop to see one in action on a job site, it looked REALLY SLOW. I think I'd cut 3 to 4 times as fast on a technical stump, and twice as fast on a large stump. But that is just an uneducated guess.
Productivity is my main concern with stump grinding. It's a matter of $$$. Getting on the stumps fast is a huge moneymaker. This isn't about cutting trees all day and then grinding a couple of stumps to complete the job. This is about doing 5-10 stump jobs a day, many with multiple stumps, making 2-3K/day.
 

Nutball

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I personally would get the largest remote controlled one I could. They still have manual controls if you want to use them. My problem is, as far as I know having done hardly any research, the RC ones don't come as big as you can get, though they are on the larger side. I have only ever used a 60hp RC grinder, and it could knock out most stumps pretty quick, you just get used to the slight delay in the controls and basically stay a fraction of a second ahead of the machine. Of course production rate is more dependent on power than control method, so you may want to stick with 30-40 more HP. You can learn to judge very well the stability of things by sight too. I like the remote because I can stand back in the clear away from debris, and readily change viewing angles if I'm working near obstacles.
 

flushcut

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Old school for me. I like being able to see what the wheel is cutting. And a remote is one more thing to break/maintain. Vermeer sc652
 

treesmith

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You use a remote for your TV/DVD? You can anyways walk across the room and push a button. But with the remote, you can control it from your recliner.
 

flushcut

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Yeah but I'm not lugging out my recliner for a five minute stump. Get in get out deposite check. So walk across the room I go.
 

cory

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I see vids of remotes in use; are these locales where there are no rocks? While grinding I'm not standing anywhere but behind bullet proof glass. A thrown rock once dented my truck 60' away.
 

lxskllr

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OT, but I had a rock puncture the skin of a truck door once, driving on the road. My best guess is it squirted out from a tire just right to get some real momentum. The whole dent was 4"-5" big, with a puncture at the apex. Scared the shit out of me when it hit the truck.
 

murphy4trees

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interested in your opinion Carl.

why?

also with 100 hp. the machine is taking such big bites, it's better to have instant ability to back off the pass if I hear metal or a rock. it's like a reflex. happens often and the damage is minimal compared to a slower reaction
 

lumberjack

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Visibility, comfort, and safety come to mind. Productivity could be reduced slightly in some circumstances, but for me it was well worth the trade.

With the remote you might see the metal before you hit it. There will surely be lag on a remote control, but I didn't notice and would think it wasn't a significant difference either way vs a hydraulic lever's longer throw.
 

cory

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also with 100 hp. the machine is taking such big bites, it's better to have instant ability to back off the pass if I hear metal or a rock. it's like a reflex. happens often and the damage is minimal compared to a slower reaction
Every operator who knows the absolute bare basics of stumping does that, regardless of engine size, right?

I watched a vid of yours, what are your thoughts on smooth, fluid operation as opposed to rammy, herky jerky operation. And thoughts on machine cool down as opposed to shut down immediately after sustained hi speed ops
 

Nutball

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The 60hp RC one I used took small enough bites slow enough to not be a concern with rocks. If you hit one, just release the controls immediately, but the damage is minimal if any. You could probably do a good bit of rock grinding with it considering how easy it is to chip rock. Metal would be my concern. Drive speed was also pretty slow on this tracked grinder if you have a long drive from trailer to stump. The remote gives an initial impression by the feel of it that it is not variable according to how far a stick is moved, but with time I found you could get a decent bit of variable speed control with acceptable precision.
 

murphy4trees

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I AM a master of smooth and fluid, with no wasted moves etc. But nobody is perfect. And yes I always let any machine with turbo idle for 3 minutes with the rare exception of making a video and preferring to talk without the engine noise in the background.

I suppose I ought to demo a RC.

The emissions standards causing Rayco to discontinue it's 100 hp diesel machines make no sense to me. the stump has to get ground.. You're gonna burn more fuel with lower horsepower because it takes so much longer. The ggas chippers are fuel hogs. how is that better for the environment. Shouldn't some industry association get on top of this?
 

Nutball

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I AM a master of smooth and fluid, with no wasted moves etc. But nobody is perfect. And yes I always let any machine with turbo idle for 3 minutes with the rare exception of making a video and preferring to talk without the engine noise in the background.

I suppose I ought to demo a RC.

The emissions standards causing Rayco to discontinue it's 100 hp diesel machines make no sense to me. the stump has to get ground.. You're gonna burn more fuel with lower horsepower because it takes so much longer. The ggas chippers are fuel hogs. how is that better for the environment. Shouldn't some industry association get on top of this?
The guys running the EPA show are too stupid or something. I prefer the low emissions old styl vented gas cans that suck in fresh air while the gas is poured, and don't glug sloshing and spilling gas while it's poured. Then when I open the can to refil with gas, fresh the fresh air that got sucked in the vent now gets displaced out by the gasoline coming in. The new cans both spill gas and suck in the vapors so they can be released later when refilling it.

Anyway, demoing is the way to go, especially if it is free. Just say I'm either going to buy an RC or a 100hp, and they should be happy to work with you.
 

murphy4trees

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Visibility, comfort, and safety come to mind. Productivity could be reduced slightly in some circumstances, but for me it was well worth the trade.

With the remote you might see the metal before you hit it. There will surely be lag on a remote control, but I didn't notice and would think it wasn't a significant difference either way vs a hydraulic lever's longer throw.
What kind of HP on the RC ?
 

Nutball

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I think the vermeer ones are 60-70hp


67hp. The one I used I think was a SC60 and from what I heard it went through U-joints or gear boxes kinda fast, so I hope they fixed that.
 

theTreeSpyder

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Not my game, but i'd think could bulk out in remote mode, and fine tune/chase roots as needed olds-cool manual. Sometimes might want to be able to flip to small machine for that, and other Oddjob's (bad guy w/hat against Bond in Goldfinger).
 

treesmith

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I can think of no scenario where the remote would be a disadvantage. If you want to stand to the side with the machine blocking your view, you can still stand there. Aside from feathering the valves for very slow maneuvering, it's essentially the same, aside from the remote yielding the best visibility available.
 

lxskllr

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You don't gain anything being hands on with the machine? I've only /seen/ grinders being used a couple times, so I know little more than zero about them, but generally speaking, I like feeling a machine, and listening to it to get feedback on how the job's going. Sun, exhaust and sawdust in the face may far offset that, but is anything gained by being right there?
 

kevin bingham

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my stumper is only like 44 horsepower, you can adjust speed and and swing speed pretty easily. you can also adjust how much the head drops for each pass. if you set it too high its gets jumpy. based off of species and teeth sharpness, you adjust speeds and then go at it. i never find myself wanting to stand behind the machine. i find the best vantage point is in front of the machine off about 45 degrees and maybe 15 feet away. i still get so bored grinding stumps though. i can barely stand it. the RC makes it a bit more tolerable.
 

cory

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So many folks say grinding is boring, for me I just don't see it, it's fascinating trying to do it well and fast and smooth. I tend to dislike automatic/robotic stuff. My vermeer had automatic swing speed adjustment based on engine RPMs in the cut, thankfully it stopped working after awhile.
 

murphy4trees

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At first, I didn't like the RPM auto swing function that keeps the machine from stalling, but it didn't take long to become clear that it is actually fast. And clearly easier on the machine. Faster because it keeps the op from having to stop the swing completely and allow the machine time to recover which is fairly common. Less common but still a factor that adds up over time would be the times that the machine actually stalls, and then its many seconds to restart and get going again. It's not surprising that the vermeer broke. I've got thousands of hours on three rayco's and no such issues.
 
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