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Summer 2010 Vol. 18 No. 3

Get ready for winter with calibration guide

Now is the time to prepare for winter operations, including calibrating your snowplows. A new guide from the Local Road Research Board can help you do it.

The Local Government Snowplow Salt and Sander Controller Calibration Guide (2009RIC08) provides easy-to-use, illustrated steps for calibrating snowplow sander controllers. “Quick Calibration Sheets” (one-pagers) are included with less detailed instructions to assist experienced calibrators. The guide also includes calibration forms and a general discussion about calibration.

The guide is an experience-based guide that captures tips and techniques learned by experienced calibrators. It helps agencies calibrate their sander controllers so the correct amount of salt, sand, or other solid material is applied to the road—saving money and improving safety.

The guide covers both automatic and manual controllers, and suggests approaches for both open-loop and closed-loop automatic controllers. It is available for download from the Minnesota LRRB Web site.

Calibration workshops this fall

The LRRB calibration guide will be used in a new series of workshops this year from the Circuit Training and Assistance Program (CTAP). The Snowplow Salt and Sander Calibration Hands-on Workshop will be offered October 12 at the Washington County Highway Department, October 21 at the Grand Rapids Public Works Department, and November 9 at the Lac Qui Parle County Highway Department, in morning and afternoon sessions.

For more information, contact CTAP instruc

tor Kathy Schaefer at 651-366-3575,

Some tips from the guide

Be safe

  • Know and use your governing safety regulations.
  • Set spinner dials to zero/off before starting.
  • Always notify all persons outside the truck before running the auger/spinner.
  • Heads-up when outside the truck.

Take it slow

  • Don’t rush, especially when going through screens on the controller. It usually goes smoothly when we go through steps carefully and not too quickly

Record constants as you calibrate

  • This helps mechanics when troubleshooting is required.
  • It is very easy to do (not very many constants to record).

Simulate operating conditions during calibration

  • Fully warm up truck hydraulics.
  • Keep auger loaded/primed during tests.
  • Get truck RPMs up at key test points (i.e., running auger/spinner, etc.).

Automatic controllers self-calibrate

  • We do not have to be concerned with calibrating different rates (100, 200, 300, etc.). The controller will automatically calibrate for any/all rates.


Minnesota LTAP | University of Minnesota | Minneapolis, MN 55455 | Location & Contact Information