Anyone else think the Ariens control panel is laid out weird? - Snowblower Forum : Snow Blower Forums
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post #1 of 37 Old 12-13-2018, 10:23 PM Thread Starter
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Anyone else think the Ariens control panel is laid out weird?

I've done a fair bit of user interface design during my career, and after using my brand new Pro32 a few times this season I just can't get over the seemingly terrible design decisions made on its control panel.


The drive clutch is on the left side. No problem! But then why is the friction disk control all the way on the opposite side of the panel?


The auger clutch is on the right side. No problem! But then why are the chute control levers on the opposite side of the panel?


At first, giving Ariens the benefit of the doubt, I figured "OK, maybe the theory is that (say) your left hand has the drive engaged and so your right hand is then free to change speeds". But that's not how (at least) I use a snowblower. First of all, I don't change speeds with the drive engaged - which means my left hand is available to change speeds anyway. More importantly, such an attitude presumes that I'm NOT using the auger because that hand must be free to work the shift lever. Yes, I know, the drive lever will hold down the auger lever, but the inverse is NOT true and consistency in user interface design is important for intuitive operation.


All of this would be easily rectified if (say) the drive controls were grouped toward the left, and the auger controls were grouped toward the right. Intuitively, one hand would control everything associated with the propulsion system and the other hand would control everything associated with the blower system. But the way the panel is laid out, that's just not convenient.


Given how the linkages are set up, the easiest way to change this might be to swap the cables between the left and right handlebar levers. I might try that at some point, just to see if my theory works. Might require longer cables for a permanent fix, but perhaps the factory cables are long enough for a test.


Is this just me? Anyone else find themselves reaching for a drive control, or auger control, and finding that you have to switch opposite of what seems logical?
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post #2 of 37 Old 01-27-2019, 06:57 PM
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I'm just getting used to the Ariens setup after 20+ years using an MTD that was reversed relative to Augur & Drive controls. Unfortunately it is not just a simple cable swap to change that. Gotta learn to live with it I guess.
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post #3 of 37 Old 01-27-2019, 07:34 PM
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No problems with the layout on my Ariens 28 hydro pro and my Ariens 32 12v Hydro Pro. One quick adjustment on the chute rotation (right hand) on the fly and keep moving . Adjust the speed with the right hand and keep blowing. I guess if it was car, you could buy a right hand drive car.
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post #4 of 37 Old 01-28-2019, 01:36 AM
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Yep, layout is horrible. My 826 31 year old JD was light years ahead as far as control layout. Move the drive lever forward and you moved forward. Want to go faster move it further forward. Want to go in reverse move it all the way back. None of this left or right to move forward or reverse. It did suffer from horrible electrical interlocks which were easy to "fix." Chute rotation should be on the right side or at least in the center not the left side. I think the engineer was standing on his head and used a mirror when he designed the control layout.

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post #5 of 37 Old 01-28-2019, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by DHS View Post
Yep, layout is horrible. My 826 31 year old JD was light years ahead as far as control layout. Move the drive lever forward and you moved forward. Want to go faster move it further forward. Want to go in reverse move it all the way back. None of this left or right to move forward or reverse. It did suffer from horrible electrical interlocks which were easy to "fix." Chute rotation should be on the right side or at least in the center not the left side. I think the engineer was standing on his head and used a mirror when he designed the control layout.
Maybe I'm missing something. We are talking about an Ariens 32" pro Hydro? To move the machine forward or backwards, I push the control forward or I pull it backwards for reverse. You mention you have to move it left or right?
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post #6 of 37 Old 02-01-2019, 10:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IDEngineer View Post
I've done a fair bit of user interface design during my career, and after using my brand new Pro32 a few times this season I just can't get over the seemingly terrible design decisions made on its control panel.


The drive clutch is on the left side. No problem! But then why is the friction disk control all the way on the opposite side of the panel?


The auger clutch is on the right side. No problem! But then why are the chute control levers on the opposite side of the panel?


At first, giving Ariens the benefit of the doubt, I figured "OK, maybe the theory is that (say) your left hand has the drive engaged and so your right hand is then free to change speeds". But that's not how (at least) I use a snowblower. First of all, I don't change speeds with the drive engaged - which means my left hand is available to change speeds anyway. More importantly, such an attitude presumes that I'm NOT using the auger because that hand must be free to work the shift lever. Yes, I know, the drive lever will hold down the auger lever, but the inverse is NOT true and consistency in user interface design is important for intuitive operation.


All of this would be easily rectified if (say) the drive controls were grouped toward the left, and the auger controls were grouped toward the right. Intuitively, one hand would control everything associated with the propulsion system and the other hand would control everything associated with the blower system. But the way the panel is laid out, that's just not convenient.


Given how the linkages are set up, the easiest way to change this might be to swap the cables between the left and right handlebar levers. I might try that at some point, just to see if my theory works. Might require longer cables for a permanent fix, but perhaps the factory cables are long enough for a test.


Is this just me? Anyone else find themselves reaching for a drive control, or auger control, and finding that you have to switch opposite of what seems logical?

Your not the only one, been saying since I joined in here in Nov. 18....Had an MTD for 20 yrs..layout was correct for auger and drive and interlock,, just bought a Ariens for better quality and chute controls , to make it easier , but found out the interlock set up doesn't make sense...Maybe they purposely make these crazy things, so they can have something new later on down the line..Go figure.
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post #7 of 37 Old 02-01-2019, 11:32 AM
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This is the 5th year for my Ariens and I find the controls easy to use, as I did at first operation. My left hand operates the wheel drive clutch only. My right hand operates all the other controls for auger clutch, gear speed, chute deflector, and chute side to side. It all seems perfectly natural and fluid to me.

The interlock is controlled by the wheel drive clutch so when machine is moving the auger clutch stays engaged while i operate the other controls with my right hand, except the disc drive gear speed selector where machine needs drive clutch disengaged. So I cannot see where any improvement can be made. I don't find the need to operate the chute deflector and side to side movement at the same time like a Toro but that would be an improvement for sure.

I don't need to change gears when moving, just set the speed for the average conditions at the time, and there is lots of reserve power to deal with snow changes.

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post #8 of 37 Old 02-01-2019, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
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I don't need to change gears when moving, just set the speed for the average conditions at the time, and there is lots of reserve power to deal with snow changes.
I agree, but others here have openly recommended shifting "gears" while leaving the drive clutch engaged. To each his own....
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post #9 of 37 Old 02-01-2019, 02:20 PM
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For me, the fix would be really easy. Either swap the clutch levers (so drive is on the right, auger on the left) or swap the gear select with the chute aim. I don't really care what hand I use for what, but not having to reach across all the time would be nice.
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post #10 of 37 Old 02-01-2019, 05:59 PM
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I think that the arrangement is just fine. This setup matches what I have used for all of my snowblowing life. First blower JD TRS26, second, Ariens 1028, and now Ariens Hydro Pro 28 EFI. The only difference between the JD and Ariens is the JD interlock would hold down either lever, only the auger on the Ariens. The spring on the Hydro's left lever is a little strong for my aging hands however.
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