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Hello Everyone

FNG Member

Hi everyone! I'm a new member and my reason for joining is I have recently inherited a Trimble 5700/5800 setup and need help getting it running again. I work for the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service. We assist ag producers with conservation projects on their lands. Some of what we do involves engineering and therefore surveying. I have no formal training in survey and everything I know is from assisting our engineering staff in the field. I enjoy the work a lot and want to go out and do some on my own. The agency had this survey setup just sitting because everyone else is running on newer equipment so I asked if I could have it. I got my wish and now need some help.

Topic starter Posted : January 13, 2022 1:31 pm
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1,000+ posts Member

Your best bet is to get with the engineering staff that previously used the equipment and have them give you some training. The problem you face is one of a little knowledge being somewhat dangerous, but if you can get some good guidance and hands on experience from people familiar with the type of work you want to use it for, maybe you can avoid getting things too goobered up. I have the same personal setup that acquired on a trade in some years ago. Very likely the units will require a firmware update from the dealer and similar period controller software to operate it successfully. Those units are GPS satellite only so you will be limited on how well it will work when you get around any kind of canopy. Back when I used these units I typically used them to set control out in the open and then came off of those points to conventionally traverse. Good luck.

Posted : January 13, 2022 5:18 pm
FL/GA and Mark Mayer liked
Norman Oklahoma
5,000+ posts Member

How long has it been since this setup last worked? If its been sitting a long while I expect that you will need firmware upgrades to have a hope of getting this to work. That setup, i believe, is around 20 years old and GPS only (ie/ no Russian or Euro birds) so the performance in canopy  (ie/ the woods, where natural resources people are often found) is going to be spotty.

It will probably be worthwhile to call up a nearby Trimble Service Center, the dealer, and give them the serial numbers of the units. They can probably use that to tell you what firmware you have, and what will be needed to make it work.   You should be able to get that information free of charge, but Trimble will want money to proceed with upgrading your firmware. And then you may need to upgrade software to work with the new firmware.  

Posted : January 13, 2022 5:25 pm

holy cow
10,000+ posts Member

I believe our new poster will spend most of his time in the middle of cropland and ditches so tree canopy will only be a minor problem.  OH.  Welcome, by the way.

A former employee of mine works for USDA-NRCS.  I'm not sure what GPS gear he uses almost every day, but it is definitely nearly new.  I've listened to stories from his work laying out terraces, waterways and dams.  He truly enjoys the interaction with the landowners and contractors.  He was 16 when he started working with me.

Note that you are near Gillette, Wyoming.  We have several regulars here from Wyoming.  By pure coincidence,  the big Kahuna of this site is Wendell.  He and his wife happened to drive through Gillette today following I-90.

Posted : January 13, 2022 6:57 pm
FL/GA liked
1,000+ posts Member

I used a 5800 for a rover and a 5700 for the base. The 5700 probably doesn't have an internal radio, so you also need a base radio. Does it have a Data Collector? I believe Trimble has all the manuals online. It's best if you have someone who is familiar with the equipment. The 5700 needs a GPS antenna.

I traded yp to Trimble R10s. Working around obstacles is tricky, but with experience you learn little tricks to work around that problem.

You also need software to do something with the points you'll be generating. 

I was constantly running into little problems and my Trimble representative was just a phone call away. I'm sure the. Wyoming Trimble Rep will tell you what you need to get up and running. Glenn Borkenhagen is an old Trimble Rep and is a genius located in Wyoming. It probably needs new batteries and of course a charger. You need a tripod for the Base antenna, a 12 volt battery to power the base radio(which by the way you have to get licensed for it's use). 

A 5800 came with a TSC data collector which ran out storage space real quick if you were doing large topos. There are lots of TSC2 used for sale and are a good upgrade.

Navigating through the setup process can be a real nightmare depending on how much experience you have with RTK GPS equipment. I don't remember equipment upgrades being a big deal, but the GPS calendar change a year or so ago and that caused some problems. That may have required some internal software upgrades.

You'll soon find out why Surveyor's get the big bucks.


Posted : January 13, 2022 10:57 pm
FNG Member


Thank you and yes, good advice and that is in fact what I have been doing. The engineer that previously ran this particular setup is who I have been working with. We surveyed together and yes when we got into the trees we did lose accuracy but for the livestock pipelines it was still sufficient elevation data to run the hydraulics. If it is a critical elevation we would find a better way. When this system started giving him trouble ≈5 years ago the agency decided it was time and gave him an updated setup (R8/R10 I believe) and retired this set to the State Office basement. I hated to know this equipment was just sitting there so I requested it with the hopes of getting it running again.


It has been a while since the equipment has worked >5 years. The issue then and still now is the internal radio in the 5800 won't connect to the controller. We have checked and double checked the survey style to make sure everything is on the same frequency, but that doesn't seem to be doing it. I plan to start a separate post to give more details on the setup and ask for advice on what to do. I'll defiantly hit up Trimble. Being from Wyoming however, I'm used to customer service being states away. Hoping there is something close.


Thank you for the welcome. Actually, our agency does a variety of engineering work. From terracing and irrigation on croplands like you mentioned to dams and streambanks in water channels, and drop structures for erosion control. In my county we do a lot of work on range, forestry and cropland. On the range side we are designing water developments for livestock to supplement prescribed grazing management. For this we survey the routes to capture elevations to run hydraulics to calculate flow and pressures. This is where my focus will be primarily. Your former employee is correct, it is truly a rewarding job getting to help landowners out with their conservation needs. The appreciation they give for what we do makes working for the government all worth it. Also, great to know there is great support in Wyoming, Go Pokes!!


Sounds like your setup is very similar to what I have here. I have a 5700 base receiver with a Zephyr Geodetic Antenna and Trimmark 3 external radio. My rover is a 5800 and a TSC2 controller. All my batteries are good and hold charge from the chargers. I had our IT department install Windows Mobile Device Center on my computer so I can pull data off the controller. Dealing with 20 year old tech makes for an interesting experience with IT. I've run through the setup a few times and I'm getting good at it. I can get base mode to run like it should, but my struggles come when I try to setup up rover mode. I'd be grateful for any help your WY contacts could give me.


Thanks again for the warm welcome everyone! Your responses was more than I had hoped for in such a short amount of time. I plan on making another post going into more detail about my issues and what we have tried. I very new at this, but I find it all very interesting and want to learn. My goal out of all this is to be able to get the equipment working so I can capture the elevation data I need for the pipelines I design.

Topic starter Posted : January 14, 2022 8:02 am

1,000+ posts Supporter

Welcome to the group!

Posted : January 14, 2022 9:33 am