Replace Leica CS20 with Allegro MX?
We use five Leica CS20's with our Leica TS16, TS16i, 2 TCRA1203’s and 2 x GS 14’s running Captivate 3.0, 3.2 and also have a CS35.
Had major problems when we bought them in 2015 with workflow using Captivate. Many of these issues have been corrected with software updates, but we are still seeing the CS20's freeze/lock up on a daily basis, probably 30 minutes lost per day, per crew. Really random stuff, but can't seem to find anyone else having these issues, so we need to start to pursue alternatives to the CS20's.
Is anyone currently using an Allegro MX data collector, running the Carlson SurvCE software with a Leica TS16 and/or TCRA 1203’s? Are you happy with the performance? We do mostly boundary and topo's, ALTA's, very little construction stake-out or residential work. We use Civil3D 2019 and F2F.
Currently? No. Did several years ago with the 12 series and it worked like a charm. I demo'd a CS20, thought it was pretty well made - surprised you're having issues with it. Then again, anything with Windows mobile can have hiccups, even the Allegro - so not sure you're going to totally escape it.
Have you worked with the crew to witness the issues? 30 minutes every day seems a tad too convenient 😉
Bummer about the CS20s - that's a big investment. What activities cause the lockup?
Anyone else on the board having this experience?
We are running 2 CS20's with Captivate 4.01, way improved from the V2 we started on. Those controllers run a TS16i & an MS60, we've never had issues with lockups. We also have a TS12 we run with SurvCE, along with 2 Sokkia SX & 1 DX robot. All work well but the Carlson/Leica combo is a step ahead. This being said, our Leica dealer can no longer get a GeoCom License for a TS16 since the release of the TS13. They may be able to work arond this by telling leica the GeoCom is for remote operation like GeoMoss.
I have 3 CS20's driving 2 MS60's & 1 TS15 and a CS15 driving a TCRP1203. I put a RH16 on the 1203 so the CS20's could drive it if needed. There have certainly been some quirks but nothing as dramatic as you describe at least not on an ongoing regular basis. I'm assuming you've done all the typical trouble shooting like resetting the hardware and clearing old jobs off the hard drive and SD card?
I used to drive the 1203 with an Allegro MX with the integrated radio pod. It worked well. I can't speak to using the MX with a TS16 but it would be a fine alternative with the older 1200 series robots. I never used it with my GS14/15 series antennas so can't speak to ease of use there either.
Hopefully you can find a solution for the CS20's. Would be a shame to throw the time away that was spent getting fluent in Captivate.
I am running both, CS20's and Carson Surveyor 2. I outfit my crews with a GS16 and TS16, and I give my crews both data collectors too. I only run the GPS with the CS 20 and run the TS 16 with the Carlson survey 2. The reason that I did this was I hated the CS 20s and Captivate. So for most of the traversing and location, we would use Carlson because we are rednecks and the European software was hard to learn and buggy at first.
Lately things have been changing, as Captivate has gotten more stable and multi-constellation GPS has improved my good'ol boys have been pulling out the owners manual using the CS20s's more and more.
To answer your question the Carlson 2 will run the TS16 and Ts 12 wonderfully. I don't know about the GPS because I never set it up. Also if you want to sell the CS35 make me a price, I will take it off your hands.
Good Luck !
I'm running a CS20 with a MS50 and for the most part enjoy it. I started having some issues about a year ago though. The thing would lock up randomly. At the same time I noticed that it would not always recognize the SD card. I stopped using the card and stored everything on board and the issue stopped. It turns out the Leica SD to micro SD adapter was the culprit.
That being said. You will need to purchase Geocom for the TS. It set me back around a grand for my MS.
Yes, we have been all working things out together as they occur. On Christmas Eve my brother and I were trying to stake out a building and we were stuck for an hour between the lock up, not being able to find our TS and having to reload the working style in the CS20.
I also polled the guys today and I was mistaken, 15 minutes of lost time a day is more the average, sometimes 5 minutes, maybe longer if the sd card with the working styles is in the truck and not near the setup.
Yes, we have been working these issues out with our dealer since we acquired the units back in 2015. It has gotten better, but we make our living with these instruments, and we pay a premium for the Leica product. Unfortunately, in our case, they do not live up to the promotions. Leica's tagline "self-learning total stations" definitely does not describe our experiences.
We do have a lot of time and money invested in learning Captivate, and it is very frustrating that after three years our survey crews can't expect to go out to a job and just do their thing, with out the glitches occurring.
We bought the CS35 to run our P40 scanner, but have not needed it becasue we use the touchscreen on the instrument. The CS35 also has Captivate on it. I will be in touch with you about selling it.
The random lock ups are very frustrating. We can be using it for a couple of hours, put the CS20 down to cut a little brush and return to the setup and the CS20 is unresponsive. In fact, I think most of the issues seem or appear random in nature.
Really appreciate everyone's feedback!
I asked our Reality Capture Manager to elaborate on some of the issues we experience almost daily in more detail and here is what he described:
Establishing Internet Connection on CS20
We use mobile hotspots from our phones to connect our CS20’s in the Windows Operating System. Anytime we want to connect to a different wifi connection besides the last one used on the CS20, we have trouble connecting. When you open the wireless network screen, you’ll see a list of all of the available networks. The CS20 repeatedly cycles through all of them trying to connect to each one. The screen is grayed out during this time and you are unable to click on any of the networks to establish a connection. The handheld will repeatedly cycle each network – never stopping. I’ve let them sit for over 10 minutes before with no resolution. The only way we have found around this is by opening the network screen and immediately trying to double click the network you want. You have to do this before the screen becomes grayed out. I am not exaggerating when I say you have under a second to do this. There are times where you will sit there trying to access your network this way for over 5-10 minutes. Eventually, if you are fast enough, you’ll be able to select the network of your choice and enter your password. Again, this occurs every time we choose to connect to a new network that was not immediately used in the last session. This becomes more difficult in densely populated areas due to the excessive amount of wifi signals coming from homes, businesses, etc.
Losing Connection to Total Station
Another issue is the CS20 losing connection to the total station. This has nothing to do with range. The handheld can be at the instrument and this will still occur. Normally this occurs right before the CS20 freezes, and we will have to power the unit down. We are unable to reconnect the data collector until it has been powered down.
We can’t seem to figure out why the CS20 freezes. We will go a day or two without any issues, and then suddenly our data collector will lock up. This can be during use or while it is just sitting there. The other day we were in the middle of the day, we had already taken about 100 shots from the setup, and the unit just froze. We had to hold the power button down in order to shut it off. A few weeks ago though, we were staking out to a point, and we had to cut some line. The gun and data collector were together. We had just established the line we wanted to cut and everything was fine. It took about 5 minutes to clear the path and we returned to the gun. I looked at the data collector and it had the following error ‘A problem has been encountered. Captivate must be restarted’ (or something very close to this verbiage). Once this occurs, it seems to do this frequently until you fully power the unit down.
CS20 Freezing and Losing ALL Settings
1 out of every 4 or 5 times after a freeze, the CS20 will lose all of our settings. We have to reload the working style and reset our import, export options, etc. This is a time consuming task (~5-10 minutes + restart time).
We constantly experience other random bugs. For example, While using our GS14’s, we receive an error almost every shot that states we have lost connection to the GS receiver. It comes back within a few seconds, and it doesn’t seem to compromise any accuracy of our points. However, this shouldn’t be happening. Another example of a random issue is in the middle of a job, the data collector began to really slow down. I restarted the unit, and when it came back on, my keyboard was typing in another language. This was occurring in Captivate and in Windows. I checked the region/language settings, and everything was set correctly.
Maybe other user's have encountered these issue and have a work around? Any thoughts are appreciated.
Thanks for the detailed info Mike.
I have also had the issue with loss of connection with our GS16. In my case I noticed that in the connection setting both the internet connection pointed to both the GS & CS. Once I stopped the GS from looking for the internet the problem went away. Until I noticed that, I figured my comm board was on its way out.
It sound to me like you are having Windows CE issues.
It seems like I remember something similar to your description of the connection loss between the CS20 and GS14 after each shot but if memory serves that was right after v3.50 and they very quickly launched v3.51 that fixed it.
Really sounds like a lot of your problems are more hardware related than software and the majority seem to surround wireless comms. Are all your serial numbers sequential or very close? It could be a bad batch of Bluetooth and/or WiFi boards were installed in the production run yours came out of.
I asked our dealer (who has proven to be honest and reliable over the decades - you owe me Bill) about this list. He noted that he hasn't seen these issues - except for connectivity with TS06 via Bluetooth. You've probably considered this but if it's not a hardware issue then it's worth checking if there is a compatibility issue -the Captivate v4.10 Release Notes (29 pages) has this compatibility chart (from page 4) -
Best of luck
Thanks for the feedback everyone!
Jim, our Reality Capture manager asked me to post this request..
If anyone could spare a moment to look at their CS20 for me, I’d greatly appreciate it. If you go to Windows, open ‘My Device’. Open your Captivate folder and the subdirectory ‘System’. Do all of you have Error Logs in there? Each of our data collectors have multiple error logs that are all full at 500 KB each.
Our logs show an excessive amount of errors popping up a second. Some appear to be related to a backup battery, unhandled exceptions, program calls, etc. I just want to make sure everyone has these in the same quantity we do.
We just discovered these logs today, and we are going to see if anything stands out after the next crash.
Thanks again for your time.
My CS20 has three log files.