How to Operate a Mini-Excavator | Mini Excavator Controls

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hey everyone Randy with extreme sandbox

today we're gonna show you how to

operate our mini excavators so we get a

lot of clients out here that we show how

to use this equipment every day we

thought it'd be cool to put a how-to

video for our Komatsu mini excavators we

are not expert so I say that up front

but we can absolutely show you how to

operate them come on along first thing

it's always three points of contact when

you get in with all equipment door locks

open so you'll want to lock that open so

you have a solid handle here three-point

the contact coming up and all the way in

the first thing you always want to do is

put your seat belt on

now while the machines still shut down

the safety lock lever on the mini

excavators is basically this big arm

that goes all the way down so today

again we're showing you our Komatsu PC

35 mini excavator almost any brand has

something like this that's gonna block

the door and that indicates that the

machine is live so it will leave it up

like that and then again for the door or

lock this machine's can be operated with

the door open we generally recommend

having them closed there's a little

lever right here that basically

disengages the lock and the door so I

can shut it hey we're in there now first

thing we're gonna do we're gonna start

it up key on the mini excavator it's

right over here one click

and all the way high first thing I'm

gonna do there is an auto Idol function

on this machine but I'm gonna turn it up

turn that off just for the video

purposes it does shake our camera up

here so we're gonna leave this all the

way up to start with now just kind of

going over the equipment controls again

we're gonna leave this lock lever up

with that up you'll see the machine is

safe nothing's going to operate so it's

very important that you don't put that

down until you're ready to go with the

Komatsu mini excavator again our display

here does show us I mean typically be

looking if there's any indicator warning

lights what the fuel level is anything

else that we would need to know would be

on that display coming over to get our

climate control for these machines right

here Keith is there throttle knob was

there and then lights if we need them

are right here we already put our seat

belt on then for seat position there's

not a ton of adjustments for a mini

excavator obviously they're pretty tight

compartments but there is a little bit

of sliding the seat if you need it at

all generally I mean I'm gonna be you're

probably gonna be all the way back with

these things so that said we got a

controls on these machines we're running

in ISO which is the standard same as our

bigger machines so right is boom bucket

left a stick and swing I'll go over

those in a moment here we got our

two-track paddles here and then there's

some additional pedals on the mini

excavators for hydraulic thumbs and

swinging of the arm which I'll go over

those in a minute so now to get this

machine live again um now I'm gonna put

the safety lock lever down it locks down

now everything is live on this equipment

so there we can start one motion at a

time on this thing so again right hand

on the right joystick if I pull back

it's gonna raise my boom up

and if I go right hand forward brings

the boom down

then if I'm gonna go right hand to the

right will open the bucket in right hand

to the left will close the bucket stop

there that's our right joystick our left

is our stick and swing so if I push out

push the stick out pull back we'll bring

the stick back and then we've got the

swing so with their left or right if we

go left this will actually swing the

entire cap we go to the left or go to

the right

these controls are the same as any other

larger excavator so those are really

your standards that are gonna operate no

matter size of machine so those are the

joysticks now some of the other pieces

we have on the mini excavator the

smaller lineups of excavators have also

a I called a blade they called a

stabilizer bar there's usually another

piece right in front of the tracks

there's another lever over to the right


that's what's gonna operate that so it's

just pulling it doesn't go side to side

it only goes back and forth so if I pull

back on it it raises my blade in the

front and if I push it down it'll push

that plate down I'll show you when we

get started digging why this is on

there's a couple reasons again you can

use it to backfill although they're not

the best they don't angle back and forth

so it's tough to backfill using this

like a dozer blade I think the bigger

thing that we really use it's calling a

stabilizer bar because your tracks your

machines so much more compact you want

to have a little bit more of a base so

it spreads you out I can even put a

little downward pressure it makes my

machine a little bit more stable when

I'm digging so that's probably the best

way you want to use it obviously though

it's important to have that retracted

before we start driving now with our

foot controls then you've got a couple

so there's a left and most mini

excavators have and you might not be

able to see it there's little pedals

that can block these if you need it now

the left foot pedal is the phone there's

a hydraulic thumb on this machine so if

I push it up it'll close that thumb if I

push on the back of it it opens it and

generally you want to keep it retracted

when you're not using it so it's out of

the way when you're digging so that's


tract paddles we'll go over in a second

that's how we're gonna drive it and then

the right side is really uh it's like a

backhoe on a larger machine this will

just swing the arm so the many

excavators have two different ways you

can swing we already talked about the

cab swing that actually swings my seat

the entire machine you've also got a

feature here where you can just swing

the arms so if I go to the right with

that it just swings the arm to the right

if I go to the left with my foot it'll

swing it to the left this is handy for a

mini excavator if you're really in a

tight configuration you're trying to dig

straight like maybe along a foundation

or some other areas that are really

tight that's an easy way that you can

make some adjustments with your arm

without having you might not be able to

swing your whole cab so that's why they

use that again we don't use it much out

here to train new operators we have

enough free room that we just use the

cabs so those are all the basic controls

okay now we're gonna get into driving

first and foremost we want to make sure

that blade is up it's not gonna drive

very well with it down so I pull back on

this have it a few feet off the ground

now mini-excavator similar to the big

excavators there's two-track paddles or

there's foot controls okay every new

operator we always train them with their

hands just a lot easier to train them

that way on the minis you'll see there's

two little pieces again these machines

are designed to be compact so I'll show

you I get an expert we normally use

their feet which is how I'll do it but

I'm gonna keep my hands off these just

to show you I'm doing everything with

just my feet if I push both each one of

these controls one of the tracks like

which left it push the left one by push

on the back it goes backwards so right

now I'm gonna push on both of them

and roughly driving it right there let's

say I want to dig right around here what

I'll do now down there I usually

recommend taking feet off just so it

doesn't cause any confusion before you

dig again dropping that stabilizer over

that blade put a little bit of downward

pressure and now I'm ready today again

like any other excavator you generally

want to dig ideally straight lined up

with your tracks that especially with

that stabilizer bar it's where the

machine is most stable

you've got the largest footprint on the

ground there so you're gonna be the best

in that position you obviously can dig

at any configuration off the sides

things like that but your machine just

is not going to be quite as stable the

other piece is you know this machine as

much as it won't hit if I curl this in

it will not hit the boom arm or anything

but it will absolutely hit your blade

you'll see I can actually touch my blade

down there I can actually hit my tracks

as well so that's why it's really

important that you're never too close

off the corners you want to keep some

distance so to dig a hole I'm going to

extend that out again we start all the

way out so I've got the stick extended

you bring it down towards the ground

stopping a few feet this is where you

want to make sure your teeth are

relatively out a little bit so right

above there put it down in the ground

once it's in I'm just gonna go right

hand to left curl that bucket all the

way in raise it up and then I can spin

left or right

to dump right in there

that's fully extended the other way if I

raise this up I can bring this stick

down and in to dig closer same thing

though I want to make that adjustment so

my teeth are out a little bit put it in

the ground curl that bucket all the way


as I raise that up you'll notice that

buckets closer that is that stick it

controls your distance now I'm going to

push that out

and I can swing over dump it right there

now again this is we've really boiled

this down just to show one movement at a

time it's much easier for a new operator

to just focus on one joystick one

control then as you get better you'll

notice an expert will often be I'm

pulling in the stick I'm raising the

boom I'm curling I am doing multiple

three things there that's what an expert

is gonna do and even going out I can

push bulb stick out I can swing at the

same time as you get more proficient

you'll get better at practicing this so

you have multiple motions

and pushing it out again nice and slow

and easy

so that is how you dig with a mini

excavator okay so that was digging now

let's just do a little bit of back

filling on there

it's a backfill really the opposite of

digging just making sure your teeth are

out a little bit and just curling right

through it

raising that up swing it over

now the machines are much more efficient

at scooping so that's where you how you

want to do that a lot of people try and

use the side and you're gonna find the

machine just doesn't have much force

there now with that said once you get

closed and there wasn't much material

here so I can go straight into it but

it's kind of just making sure your

bucket is flat to the ground you don't

want to do it with a curled up so I'm

just gonna create a concave it's gonna

be like a little canyon there it's not

straight you want to have those teeth

flat to the ground like that and then

just coming through if it gets stuck

like that I keep swaying eyes raise my

boom a little bit and that'll slide

through again for the mini ice skaters

with the blade I can also show you how

to push it with the blade the other

piece here is you can always kind of

rake the material out away from you so

if I just go right here

I push left hand forward you'll see how

I'm kind of pushing it down this is also

doing multiple motions at the same time

always trying to make sure my buckets

all the way open so I don't hit that

joint and you don't want to dig in the

back of this bucket so you'll see right

there if I was to go down like this it's

not great for a machine I would end up

getting a bunch of dirt in there so we

want to have that cylinder closed all

the way like that and then I'm just

using the bottom of the bucket to push

material out like that

so that's how to backfill now I'm gonna

move the machine I'm gonna show you you

know two things one how to use the thumb

on it but also using that blade okay

so I just kind of reposition the Machine

a little bit so if I wanted to show

really quick how do again you saw me use

that I can use the blade in a lot of

different capacities here it is a

stabilizer but just to show you really

quickly you know I can use this like a a

little bit like a dozer blade so I'm

just gonna have my feet on the pedals

there I'm pushing forward and kind of

dropping my blade and just trying to

push this material into that hole right

there back up

and I'll try one more

I'm gonna hook it in there a little bit

and it's not the best because the blade

will not actually go left or right it

won't adjust but it will in a pinch you

can do a combination of that and using

the side of your bucket so that's how

you use the blade now the final thing I

want to show is that thumb so again I

always set that stabilizer bar it's not

a requirement depends how much your love

picking up but it is always safer to

have that down now again the thumb is

that left joystick or I'm sorry the left

foot pedal if I push that forward and

that way now I should show you I'm gonna

open my bucket first the thumb will not

go all the way so you see that's as far

as it goes

so to go any further I have to actually

bring that bucket in to really pinch it

in there so starting where they were

attracted I'm gonna we just used some

tires out here easy for training but if

I try and just get my bucket in there

curl that in so it's nice and tight now

I can pull right hand back and I've got

that thing pinched in there if I then

bring it over here

set it down wherever I need it I'll push

it out a little bit away

and I can either open my thumb to drop

this let's see if I just go like that

see how that we retracted there and I

can go back

sometimes I give too

I just won there

so again as long as I don't touch

anything with that bucket it'll stay

pinched in there then I can move it to

where I want and I can now I can just

open the bucket to if I want one second

I'm going to open my I want to do the

thumb there a little bit there is no

kind of get set up there let's try it

one more I'll try you know what I've got

a bowling ball over here I'm gonna pull

it in a little bit off and away from

this barricade so again if I get my

teeth down by it

and now I've got it locked in there so

again I can push it away

me I'm gonna put it right in the center


open my bucket boom

and again it's important to go ahead

once you're done with that to open that

all the way get a back-end driving

position and then if I were to want to

drive to Park pull that back up again

drive forward here

put it there again when I'm parking I

like to set that blade back on the

ground and then we always like to set

our buckets a lot of it down right

there's good to park it once you're done

it's very important to pull the safety

lock lever up again that deactivates

everything right there we'll do all that

I take my seatbelt off

I will then throttle it down and Shh it

shut that down again door latch right

there make sure it's all the way open

three points of contact if possible come

out in backwards step there step there

all the way there

that's our Komatsu mini excavator

hopefully you enjoyed watching that if

you have any questions or comments

please put them below if you're an

expert if you're an operator have any

other tips or tricks please post it

below thanks a lot you guys for tuning

in we'll see on the next episode