WelcomeMonday, January 30th, 2023
Long Range Bluetooth Connection
Just curious, I don't want to get into too much detail (yet), but I have to know if am I the only one out here having bluetooth connections between data collector and total station? The biggest issues are happening while we are traversing though wooded areas. It's not uncommon for us to loose connection at 250-300'. This requires us to use the robotic total station almost like a traditional instrument since someone has to be near the instrument for the data collector to link up.
I only had this issue when I was working around a lot of buildings and vehicles (many of them with Bluetooth devices active in them likely) I could lose connection when trying to shoot between houses that were very close together. It didn't happen often but occasionally. This was a Leica TCRP1203+ with the RH17 Bluetooth radio handle and a Panasonic fz-m1 tablet.
Sure sounds like something's amiss. Using a Carlson DC with a Leica, usually get 600'+
My first check would be the antennae.
Thanks for the responses.
So our "current" set up is a Geomax zoom 95 with the X-pad on a juniper mesa3 tablet. The zoom 95 has the long range Bluetooth handle (ZRT 82) attached (I sprung for the extra $$ thinking the promised 1200' range would help). I say our "current" set up because we have gone through several different tablets (somewhere in the order of 4-6; Geomax Zenius 800, Juniper Cedar CT8x2, Samsung Active3). With the previous tablets, we were only getting 250'-400' tops IN THE OPEN!!! Once the bluetooth lost connection we had to trek back to within 50'-100' of the instrument to regain connection. This current setup has been the best yet.
I'm no radio wave scientist, but the connection seems to foul up when our traverse window closes up. or if there is an obstruction (let's say a truck) directly between the robot and the tablet.
I'm honestly taken aback that NO ONE else is having these issues.
Could it be that I'm just the brunt of a really, really well orchestrated joke?
In the open I was able to get close to 1000' work the 1203+ and the Panasonic tablet. I also tested it with the tsc7 at one point and it went well beyond 1000'. However it's very inconsistent depending on the surroundings.
I will say it is one of the few issues I had with the Leica compared to the radio on the Trimble...but usually it would be a long backsight I couldn't get Bluetooth so I would just set up a backsight prism on a tripod.
I think with the Trimble I spend a lot more time waiting for the radio to connect than I did setting up backsights for the Leica. Not sure why the radio is so slow and unreliable to connect on the Trimble, I've always found Bluetooth unreliable but on the Leica radio handle it would always connect immediately unless I was a long way away.
@jmh2884 I am currently using a Zoom95 with the long range handle and Xpad on a Samsung Tab Active 3 and I can confirm your findings. Xpad seems to occasionally freeze when losing connection. On some occasions I managed to reestablish connection from more than 200' by going to the TPS tab. That seemed to reset the connection. On other occasions I had to to turn off Xpad and get closer to the robot in order to connect.
I'm running a Panasonic fz-b2 which has pretty low processor/ram spec (but excellent battery life!) given the focus seemed durability/stability with a zoom 90 (same radio handle) and I find XPAD will just freeze up on occasion which requires a hard reset of tablet.
Maximum range (line of sight) I get is 180-200m but if I go behind a fence or car have had it drop out at ~70m; perhaps you have too many trees between you and instrument when walking to next/last traverse mark? The Bluetooth radio much more line of sight than a UHF GNSS radio.
Wondering why you stopped using the Samsung tab active 3? Was it the battery life?
Had assumed it would have better Bluetooth range than my Panasonic fz-b2 and was looking at one as an upgrade as thought it would be great to have s-pen to take field notes and use in cold when I have gloves on.
@lukenz Xpad, as we all know, is a work in progress. With the Tab Active 3, I am losing around 15% of battery power every hour and I have it set on Battery Saving mode, basically a black screen and Bluetooth only, and no SIM card. The screen doesn't turn off automatically after 30 sec of inactivity when the Xpad is running, so my only way of conserving battery is to turn off the screen manually (the button below the volume). When I turn it back on, sometimes the XPad freezes, and I need to restart it. The good thing is that it remembers the setup and I just get back to work.
I did use the Tab Active 3 in below-freezing temperatures (-8 celsius) and it performed well even with my thick gloves. I also got in a bit of a sprinkle one day and I had to reduce the touchscreen sensitivity in order to avoid ghost touches at each drop location. It worked well afterward even with the wet screen. My take is that the Tab Active 3 is a good tablet to use with Xpad if you only use it for about 6 hours. The battery is just 5050mAh, a bit small for an 8" screen tablet. The large screen is a plus if you're using the CAD in Xpad, or taking notes. I am planning the get an external battery to extend the internal battery life. My work days are sometimes 14hrs in the summer.
I'm running a Leica MS50 with Leica CS20 controller. The MS50 specs long range bluetooth up to 1000 meters. From my experience after using the equipment for the last 6 years 1000 meters is either in extremely optimal conditions or a huge exaggeration. At times I can be locating a sideshot 300 feet away with direct line of sight and lose bluetooth. Most of the time I'm lucky to get 800 feet away without losing bluetooth. If there is ANY direct line of sight obstruction it usually kills the connection. The compounding issue that occurs when I lose bluetooth is sometimes I can't regain the connection by moving closer or back to the MS50 without powering equipment off and back on. This has been a major issue working solo and often times compromises the efficiency of robotics. Very frustrating to be standing in the middle of the road trying to get a sideshot 300 feet away while dodging vehicles and fight with bluetooth. Causes me to have some colorful language with the equipment. After having the equipment checked multiple times the only explanation I get is it's due to environmental interference. Maybe environmental interference in more urban settings but when you're in a rural setting?
The battery life was definitely one of the issues. We couldn't get a full day out of it. We were still not getting any range out of the Samsung.
Thanks for replying and that's interesting how well your TS16 bluetooth works. Was the TS16 introduced with the MS60 and Captivate? If so maybe newer/better technology. Other than that I can only wonder if it's a problem with my instrument or just the way it is with MS50. When the instrument was purchased I was running it with CS15 on Viva and had bluetooth issues right from the start. Do you have issues like I described with reconnecting forcing me to power off and back on?