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Recommendation for Digital Level

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Stacy Carroll
(@stacy-carroll)
500+ posts Member

Does anyone have recommendations for a digital level? Things to look for when choosing one?

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Topic starter Posted : January 7, 2022 7:09 am
jflamm
(@jflamm)
100+ posts Member

My first experience with one was an old Leica that I thought was quite persnickety.  I've used the Trimble DiNi 0.3mm quite a bit and I thought it was great.  User friendly and performed well.  Downloads and adjusts in Trimble Business Center nicely or you can use Star*Net.

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Posted : January 7, 2022 7:16 am
John Putnam
(@john-putnam)
1,000+ posts Member

What are your intended uses for the level.  I think most of the manufactures offer both construction and survey grade lines.

Leica's original NA digital levels were very persnickety when it came to light and shadows, but they are now 25+ years old now.  I've been using a DNA03, which is the 2nd generation, for nearly 20 years now.  It is much improved over the first generation with regard to light and shadowy conditions.  My only complaint about the DNA03 is that if kind of fell in between the cracks of Leica's data storage format since it came out just before they went to the SmartWorks database.  Data can be adjusted onboard, in the old DOS base GSI adjustment program or in LGO/Infinity.  Leica's new line of survey grade levels use the new data formats, better batteries and removable storage.  For my work flow I can't see a reason to upgrade at this point, the old DNA03 still shots like a champ.

 

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Posted : January 7, 2022 8:08 am

Brad Ott
(@brad-ott)
5,000+ posts Supporter

For my once every five years or so usage I am happy with this purchase made April 2020.

Leica Sprinter 150M Digital Level... https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07L5YDTJ2?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share

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Posted : January 7, 2022 8:12 am
FrozenNorth
(@frozennorth)
500+ posts Member

I've used Trimble, Leica, Topcon, and Sokkia digital levels, and appreciated every one when compared to using an ordinary auto level.  If you're using it for day-to-day mom-and-pop survey stuff (elevation certificates, control for topo surveys, most construction surveying), I think you won't go wrong with any of them.  I often didn't even use the digital files, and just booked it like normal.  If you're going to be doing longer leveling runs then I suppose you might follow the rule of thumb of having your level be the same color as your other gear to help with data integration.

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Posted : January 7, 2022 8:37 am
Norman Oklahoma
(@norman-oklahoma)
5,000+ posts Member

Newer ones seem to tolerate more obstruction in the field of view that the earliest models did.  You will want to test reading the rod through some foliage to compare. Also low light, looking towards the sun, etc.

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Posted : January 7, 2022 10:14 am
jflamm liked

AlexanderT
(@alexandert)
10+ posts Member

Depends what you need it for & how frequently.

I always go to the Leica LS15 one of my favourite bits of kit. If you work  at night or in low lighting the lumiscale staff is a must have, works amazingly well.

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Posted : January 7, 2022 10:28 am
FrozenNorth
(@frozennorth)
500+ posts Member
Posted by: @alexandert

Depends what you need it for & how frequently.

I always go to the Leica LS15 one of my favourite bits of kit. If you work  at night or in low lighting the lumiscale staff is a must have, works amazingly well.

Lumiscale staff is a new one on me, had to google it.  Awesome!  Way better than having the rodman shine a light on the rod juuuuust right.

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Posted : January 7, 2022 10:39 am
AlexanderT
(@alexandert)
10+ posts Member

 

@frozennorth

Honestly highly recommend it, it even has a small LED above the bubble so it's easy to level up. 

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Posted : January 7, 2022 10:54 am

FrozenNorth
(@frozennorth)
500+ posts Member

@alexandert Is that turning plate off-the-shelf or did you have it fabricated?  I've never seen one like that.

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Posted : January 7, 2022 11:24 am
AlexanderT
(@alexandert)
10+ posts Member

@frozennorth 

 

Sorry not sure 🤷, this was just a picture from a supplier of the staff. 

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Posted : January 7, 2022 11:31 am
Jaccen
(@jaccen)
200+ posts Member

I used a DNA03 w/ the old GSI adjustment program John spoke of to monitor potential sinking building foundations.  I was very happy w/ its operation and results.

 

If I had to buy one today, it would like be a 250m Sprinter as it is supposed to work w/ SurvCE and my current place of employment uses that.

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Posted : January 21, 2022 1:15 pm

OleManRiver
(@olemanriver)
100+ posts Member

I have used all brands.  If you are doing anything long runs and high precision get the Dini or leica.  I have ran 10 miles plus with both of there upper end ones and both had pros and cons but always had great closures. Even in another country with high temps very high. Just had to run early in morning and late in evening. If all your doing is small runs get something that will fit into your current workflow and equipment. Sokkia was a good price point for local job sites as well as Topcon.  Leica is what NGS uses but they also have information for Dini of you are looking that sort of jobs. The biggest thing for high accuracy work is the rods and Rodman.  Get a set of turtles for turning on roads and airports makes life great once the rodman learn not to pick them up    . 

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Posted : January 22, 2022 9:56 am
party chef
(@party-chef)
500+ posts Member

Think about the whole system and what you need to accomplish whatever it is you are doing. Rod, turtle, legs, bolts etc, I think fixed legs are not preferable but noticed a few years back that someone here uses them, maybe Jim, I dunno.

Like Alexander I like the lumiscale by NEDO but if you are needing Invar then you will need to get that sorted, two meter or three or, my least favorite the telescoping digital level rod. I like a bipod and I like turtles but having the guy on the rod bring along a rotohammer and some anchors and set a hard point every few turns if it is a one time thing or every turn if it is a monitor and all the positions have been established.

The newer Leica have a more friendly user interface than the DNA, but they weigh something like two and a half pounds more. There is the option to take pictures in the 15, if you are into that kind of thing and the option to record some angle and distance data which could be handy for rough location of points along a corridor or something. A disposable coffee cup with the bottom cut off makes a better sunshade than the one included, once shaded the level performs quite well.

The Dini is fine, maybe a little easier interface than the Leica, maybe not depending on what you prefer.

I have Trimble and Leica and have no strong preference either way for the levels. Having to plug in a cable makes downloading off the dini a bit more of a chore, and I kind of like the color screen on the LS but whatever.

 

 

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Posted : January 23, 2022 2:09 am
OleManRiver
(@olemanriver)
100+ posts Member

@party-chef  I have ran many miles of high order levels and many small 1 mile or less for job sites and such.  I prefer fixed legs for levels. Only time I prefer adjustable legs if on a job site where I have placed a TBM on a wall and want to set the level up as a direct reading on that line as zero.  When you start running levels for .7mm closure or better for miles in stead of a couple hundredths of a foot or more.  You start to see the benefits of Invar rods fixed legs good turning points and multiple readings forward and backwards and very balanced legs between BS and FS.  The whole system is correct.  Just ran a mile from he other day with a 25’ level rod single wire old automatic level. The guy closed .05 roughly. Good enough for the work but could have trigged that well.  I hate re running levels so I prefer 3 wires at a minimum.  The digital levels if collimated and good procedures are used makes for great data and saves time. 

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Posted : January 23, 2022 7:28 am

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