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Total Station Data Collector

Discussion in 'General Land Surveying' started by Scotland, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. Scotland

    Scotland 4-Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2010
    Messages:
    421
    Location:
    Raton, New Mexico
    Licensed in:
    CO, OK
    We've picked up several topo jobs and using our trusty setup of a Nikon TS and SMI on a HP48. Works great, but was thinking of maybe updating to a better data collector. What would you suggest? There are so many out there and don't want to spend thousands of dollars, maybe just under a thousand.

    Scott
     
  2. that1surveyor

    that1surveyor 3-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    Messages:
    51
    Location:
    Oklahoma City
    I'm partial to the TDS Ranger, if you can get an older version in working order it is well worth it.
     
  3. Tdturk

    Tdturk 3-Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2011
    Messages:
    9
    Seriously hard to beat the HP48/SMI combo. Stanley Trent truly created a gem when he wrote that software! The 48 is not as durable as the newer collectors, but it is certainly very powerful. We converted to TDS Rangers several years ago, primarily due to the durability issue. You will find that most new software is written on a 10th grade level... Stanley's was written for speed and intuitiveness. Hidden shortcut keys, keyboard overlays, etc.. My vote - for less than 1k, buy another HP48 and SMI card on Ebay and put it on the shelf as a backup and keep on rolling. Good to hear you are busy. Trent Turk
     
  4. billinsc

    billinsc 4-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
    Messages:
    86
    Location:
    Yonges Island, SC
    I have a TDS Ranger, but still use my 48's with SMI v7 and v5 for alot of jobs...good stuff!
     
  5. Carl B. Correll

    Carl B. Correll 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2010
    Messages:
    1,920
    Location:
    Christiansburg, VA
    [size=small]> We've picked up several topo jobs and using our trusty setup of a Nikon TS and SMI on a HP48. Works great, but was thinking of maybe updating to a better data collector. What would you suggest? There are so many out there and don't want to spend thousands of dollars, maybe just under a thousand.
    >
    > Scott[/size]

    I was an SMI guy and would use it for my robot if it was possible. You might try picking up one of the Allegro CE units with the old SMI on it. Same screen, bigger buttons, quicker response (no packing and storing). Try here: Allegro CE

    If I had money around, I'd try the DC50 from John Evers... provided they are still in business. It sounded like they took the SMI model (hard key driven over menu driven like TDS) DC50

    Good luck, and glad you are busy like I think Trent said!!

    Carl
     
  6. snoop

    snoop 4-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2010
    Messages:
    1,524
    It will be hard to find much for around $1,000. Maybe an older Carlson. For about $2,000 you can get a nice used Ranger. Stay clear of the older Recons. The TDS Nomads are not bad but you will not like the no keyboard approach if you are used to a 48. The way things are around my shop the attitude is 'if it aint broke, don't replace it and if it is broke, repair it'.

    Check these guys out for used equipment you can count on:

    http://www.hayesinstrument.com/cgi-bin/webc.cgi/Used_Data_Collectors.html?sid=3b6LA-2j85RAAqv-44111189742.08
     
  7. Richard

    Richard 4-Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2010
    Messages:
    506
    Location:
    Tasmania Aus.
    What sort of Nikon TS do you have?
    Nikon AP700 and AP800 (written by TDS) software is in my opinion up with the best.
    Actually I put it way ahead of Field Genius.

    The obvious downside is no onscreen info and so its not as 'user friendly'.
    But its options and routines are far superior.

    Don't know SMI so can't comment.

    For years I had only my Nikon on board software and then went Field Genius.
    There are times I have to use the Nikon (AP800) as FG doesn't give the options that I have onboard.

    I have a Nikon 821, before that a 720.
    I found it was the PC software that had a big bearing on the ease one could get a 'field to finish' output from that was important.
    Microsurvey filled that option for me and did it well.
     
  8. JB

    JB 4-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2010
    Messages:
    710
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    I've been running a JETTXL with SMI for years now.
    Blutooth for the Hayes Bantam radios and for up/down loading is flawless.
    Very solid stuff. I got mine from Eagle Point.
     
  9. Tom Wilson

    Tom Wilson 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    298
    Location:
    Massachusettes
    I just spent a week working with a Ranger with TDS pro and I really didn't think it was much better than my old HP48/TDS collector. I know the "newer more powerful (more expensive)" collector has some functions the old HP48 didn't but for just collecting data I really liked the HP48 better - no problem reading the screen, no problem with the touch screen, etc. and when it broke it was small $ to replace. The new boxes are great if you need all of the fancy features but for a lot of us it is real overkill, money wasted. I would also say that Stanley did get it right, software by a surveyor for surveyors. RIP Stanley, I miss the real world tech. support you always delivered. Good advise form Tdturk too.

    T.W.
     
  10. Scotland

    Scotland 4-Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2010
    Messages:
    421
    Location:
    Raton, New Mexico
    Licensed in:
    CO, OK
    I would have to agree on the SMI/HP48 combo with the enviromental case. WE love it. Really great stuff and tough too. My only complaint would be the ability to view real time data, i.e. where we have taken shots. Working in the forest with oak brush, it can be a real challenge to make sure you shot in enough. Just though there might be something better. Thought about the Allegro with SMI. Tough to find though. And wondered about the DC50. Thanks for the input guys.
     
  11. Tom Wilson

    Tom Wilson 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    298
    Location:
    Massachusettes
    Scotland

    You might check out Surveyors Tool Kit

    www.stk4hp.com/Pages/About.htm

    Jeff Moog has been around since the HP41 days and I am sure that this is good stuff. It still runs on an HP calculator but costs considerably less than a top end Ranger and software.

    T.W.
     

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