A backhoe is a popular piece of excavating equipment that is typically mounted over another heavy equipment such as a tractor or a front loader. A backhoe can swivel in several different directions and with so many moving parts, it is amazing that you can operate it on your own. It definitely can be overwhelming if you are operating this heavy equipment for the first time. That is why it pays to learn how to operate a backhoe, so that you can take up the challenge of mastering the different controls, even as a newbie.
Before you learn to operate a backhoe, it is imperative you learn a few safety measures. This will keep you safe and prevent you from causing any damage during operation.
Check the backhoe before you use it. Make sure all the attachments are working properly. Also, check the booms, bucket and wheel of the equipment. They should be in good working order. Each time you start or stop or get out of it, remember to use parking brakes.
As a backhoe uses hydraulics technology, it is necessary you first start and rev the engine. It will aid in the heating up of the hydraulic fluid to ensure smooth operation.
Above all, wear your seat belt at all times once you get into the backhoe. This is for your own protection.
Operating a Backhoe
A backhoe has five main stages of operation. They are opening the bucket, lowering the boom, digging, lifting and finally dumping. You have to learn each stage in order to operate this equipment correctly.
Opening the Bucket: Make sure the stabilizers are down when you want to open the bucket. While you are releasing the boom lock, push the left joystick. This will help to extend the arm out where you need it. So push the left joystick as much as needed. Once the arm has extended to where you want it, push the right joystick to open the bucket.
Lowering the Boom: Before you lower the boom, you should know the exact location where you want to dig. Once this location is known, push the right joystick in the forward direction to lower the boom.
Digging the Ground: The digging motion of the bucket can be controlled using the right joystick. Just push the joystick towards the left to lower the bucket and start digging. It is best to angle the bucket to ensure proper digging.
Lifting the Load: In order to lift the load and dug out debris, you will have to pull the left and right joysticks simultaneously. Make sure you do not overfill the bucket; if you do, it may cause it to topple over.
Dumping the Load: Once you have successfully lifted the load, you will need to dump it away from the site. At this point, the throttle should be pressed completely. Push the left and right joysticks simultaneously to the right. This will release the load. However, make sure the bucket is quite close to the ground to avoid scattering the load.
There is no doubt that learning to operate a backhoe requires fair amount of practice. You will have to do several things simultaneously and this can often make the entire operation feel complicated. Once you get the hang of the various levers, buttons and joysticks, you will not have to pause and think what to do next. It will be easy and simple. Remember, the toughest part is not learning how to handle the joysticks. Rather, it is knowing how to position the arm to dig efficiently. You should know at what angle to bring the bucket to ensure it can effectively sink into the soil and thereafter you just have to know when and how to move the joysticks to move the boom, bucket and arm.
If you still find it difficult to learn how to operate a backhoe, get a professional to give you hands-on training. Most heavy machinery rental companies, such as L&D Earthmoving, would be more than happy to give you a quick demonstration on how to operate a backhoe, and will gladly get you in touch with backhoe operators.