Working with a tractor on a farm or ranch is no easy task, and while spending countless hours a day out in the field, it would be pleasant to have an excellent audio system.
If your tractor comes with an audio system, that is great, but what should you do when it does not have any audio installed? Let’s find out how to install speakers in a JD tractor.
If your John Deere tractor comes with speakers and a stereo, replacing or installing new speakers is the same as in a car. However, you will need to get heavy-duty speakers for tractors that are not equipped with the audio system and mount them to the tractor’s chassis.
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Tip: When replacing speakers in a tractor, remember that inside the cabin can be pretty noisy. Therefore speakers you choose should have high sensitivity, and ideally, if they can be connected via Bluetooth, so you do not have to worry about running the wires.
My favorite speakers that can work in such a noisy environment are 4″ heavy-duty and waterproof Herdio.
In the article below, I will also look at the tractors that don’t come with a sound system and ones that do not have closed cabin space.
Do You Need a Radio for a John Deere Tractor?
Tractors are necessary on ranches and farms, being often utilized between 10 and 14 hours a day.
They are used to pull in many farm and ranching implements such as cultivating, plowing, planting, fertilizing, and harvesting. In addition to that, you probably can also use it to haul materials.
Now, not every tractor is used for 10 to 14 hours a day due to varying factors that you would have to consider, like weather, season, time of year regarding harvesting, etc.
However, many hours are spent in this vehicle, and it is only suited for one person, which means you can get bored there while you are hard at work in the blazing heat.
There’s nothing like listening to your favorite podcast, ebook, or music to help you pass the time while at work.
It’s not uncommon for many tractors to come with OEM factory standard built-in radios and speakers nowadays and what’s great is just like a car audio system.
You can chop and change these audio elements as you see fit. Meaning you can replace the speakers and stereo if you are looking for better audio quality.
What Radio Should I Put in John Deere Tractor
There are two factors that separate tractor radios from typical car stereos:
Tractor radios are designed to be weather band radios and are also weatherproof.
What Is a Weather Band Radio?
A weather band stereo is a specialized type of stereo that is designed to receive public broadcast services.
This essentially means if you listen to the stereo and there is some form of alert (be it the weather or anything else), your radio will automatically be switched to the distress channel, and you will be warned.
As you can tell, a weather band radio is a must-have in your tractor to receive any warning about the weather while you are out in your tractor isolated from everyone.
Many states with extensive farming and ranching communities in the USA are located in regions where the weather can get extreme. You can get flash floods, fires, and tornadoes. Some of these catastrophes can happen within minutes.
The National Weather Service in the USA has an average lead time for tornado warnings of approximately 9 minutes but wants to increase it to 13 in the future.
Now 9 minutes is not an ample amount of time to get to safety, especially if you are out in the field and miles from home.
The fastest John Deere tractor, which is the 6R series, has only a top speed of 31mph (49.89 kph). Hence, if you are out in the field, you need to be warned about incoming hazardous weather immediately.
You might say, well, you can check your phone. However, working takes focus and effort, especially in a tractor, and storms can flare up in an instance. So it’s much better to be prepared and equipped than having to check your phone every 10 minutes for the weather report.
What Is Weatherproof Radio for Tractor?
A weatherproof radio is robustly built to withstand the wet elements, also known as waterproof or outdoor radios. Enclosed John Deere tractors will have a typical stereo in that it will be made the same way as a standard car stereo.
However, these radios are not designed to be that way and are typically external radios that are portable.
If your John Deere tractor does not have an enclosed section where you sit, you probably should purchase this type of radio because it is rugged and tough.
Moreover, you can place it just about anywhere, and it comes with built-in speakers, so there is no need to worry about anything. Just grab your radio and head out.
However, one thing to note is that you should preferably also get a weather band portable outdoor weatherproof radio in cases of emergencies.
Where to Place a Radio in a JD Tractor?
Most tractors have a fixed position that the radio will sit in just like a standard motor vehicle. However, it might not be exactly in the same location, with some radios placed in the roof lining.
Take, for instance, the John Deere 7230. The radio is set above the driver in the tractor’s roof, as seen in the video below.
Tractors have come leaps and bounds in their design over the past few decades. Those that feature an enclosed area where you sit might even have many luxuries that a car might have, like leatherette sets, covered panels, a stereo system, and roof speakers.
If you have a John Deere tractor that does not come with a radio, such as the large John Deere 9650, do not worry. The best place to install the radio like Midland MXT115VP3 in such a tractor would be to the vent tower inside the tractor. See the video below for further explanation.
You need to either fashion a mounting bracket or purchase Midland Antenna Bracker and then mount the radio to the vent tower accordingly.
One thing to note is that this radio is a ham radio and not a traditional radio where you can listen to commercial stations.
For John Deere tractors with an open seated area, it would be best to either fashion a bracket and mount the portable stereo on any part of the unobstructed chassis and a section with no bearing on the components of the tractor.
How to Wire a Radio in a JD Tractor?
For John Deere tractors that sport a traditional style stereo, the process of wiring and replacing the radio will be the same as a typical car stereo.
In the case of the John Deere 7230, the radio will be mounted in the headliner and will sit in its own shell. Other tractors may not come with a radio but will have a shell still placed in the headliner for this exact reason (installing a radio).
You can choose pretty much any single-DIN radio unit to install or replace in your tractor, and it will come with a wiring harness, perhaps a mounting bracket, and any other additional accessories.
The wiring harness and the colors of the wires are essential when it comes to wiring a stereo. The various colors mean they are used for a specific application, and you cannot use them for anything else.
For the most part, unlike cars, you will not have to remove any panels or frames. This is great because essentially installing or replacing a stereo now becomes a plug-and-play situation.
All you would need to do is match the wires of your stereo (or its wiring harness) to your tractor’s wires that will be slotted in the radio shell and will be easy to get to.
If you find that your tractor has different color wires to your stereo, then all you need to do is check the owner’s manual, and there will be a section in there covering this. However, if for some reason, you don’t have the manuals or it doesn’t cover the wire colors, then a quick online search should get you the results you need.
After that, all you need to do is connect the wires to your tractor’s harness, matching them up to the correct connector.
The only tools and accessories you will need are the basic ones you should find in your garage. However, if you do not have these tools, I listed below all I use, and I am happy with their quality.
Assuming that you are a DIY buff, this job will not be too difficult and I have added a short video below if you prefer a visual explanation. Video shows in detail the installation of the Jensen MPT210, but my preferable model is the waterproof higher model Jensen MS2013BT also equipped with Bluetooth.
Although this installation is not specific for a John Deere tractor, the principle concept is precisely the same for all tractors.
Where in a JD Tractor Should I Place Speakers?
If your John Deere tractor comes with an audio system, the speakers and the stereo will be placed in the headliner, otherwise mounted to the roof.
If you have a John Deere tractor that does not have speakers or a stereo system, it would be best to mount any audio equipment to the chassis where they are avoidable and will not conflict with any tractor elements.
Take note that there are many models of John Deere tractors, and to speculate where you should mount your speakers in each would be a separate article.
Just keep the principle factors in mind regarding safety and ease of use, and you should be fine.
You will have to fashion or purchase mounting brackets depending on the speaker type and size that you get.
If you opt to purchase heavy-duty speakers for your tractor, then things become a little simpler because they will typically have some form of mounting bracket already installed on the speakers.
The ones I can recommend are the 4″ heavy-duty and waterproof Herdio, so you do not have to worry about them playing in the rain or dust.
How to Wire Speakers to the Radio in JD Tractor?
The principles of wiring up your speakers will also be the same as with any car stereo system. You need to consider how many speakers you are planning on using and connect them to the correct wires of the tractor stereo.
This means that you would typically wire the speakers to utilize the stereo’s front left and right speaker wires. The standard colors of a stereo wiring system of harness for the left front and right speakers are:
- Grey/black = right front speakers
- White/black – front left speakers
If your tractor already comes with speakers, then this is not a problem. All you need to do is remove them and then replace them with the new speakers using the same wires.
If you opt to purchase heavy-duty speakers because your tractor is not enclosed, you are in luck because most will have Bluetooth capability, like mentioned earlier, Herdio.
Do I Need an Extra Battery for JD Tractor
If your John Deere tractor already comes with a sound system installed, then it goes without saying that it will not need one. Also, if you want to replace or add additional speakers, a second battery in the tractor is not required.
You may be wondering, well, what if you are looking to put in a high-end stereo and speakers? Won’t you need another battery then?
Logic would dictate that instances like this would not ever occur because people will not spend thousands of dollars putting high-end sound systems in their tractors. This just doesn’t happen.
Most will use it for ordinary purposes, like listening to a radio station, checking the weather, and using ham radio to talk to fellow farmers and ranchers.
In other situations where you are using a portable weather band radio, they will most likely come with disposable batteries, so you will not need to purchase another vehicle battery in this instance as well.
As you can see, it is relatively easy to install speakers in a John Deere tractor no matter the model you have.
It is even straightforward to install or replace a stereo. The principles are the same as with a traditional car audio system, and there is nothing out of the ordinary that you need to consider.
The only thing you should note is that you should opt to purchase a stereo that is a weather band stereo for safety purposes.
This stereo in the event of a natural disaster or extreme weather conditions will automatically change to the distress channel, where you will receive a warning.
Suppose you have a tractor that does not feature an enclosed area where you sit. Then you would need to opt for an external radio with heavy-duty speakers.
In both instances, an extra battery is not required. By now, you should know everything there is to know about wiring up an audio system for your John Deere tractor.