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Trimble 5600 series Robotic Total Station equipment experience?

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timd1971
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Ok, this is for the users of this series equipment or anyone with helpful knowledge.

This is obviously very old equipment.

Looking mainly to use for learning and a hobby, nothing critical that requires a $50,000 RTS etc.

Is anyone finding these to be useable when all the working components and proper software are acquired?

I am more particularly looking for the Trimble 5603 DR200+ with 2.4GHz radio which are more common.

I really needed the Trimble Standard DR that has the coaxial red laser pointer for vertical layout that I can see for staking, but not seeming to find any that are also radio and Robotic.  I am not finding the DR 300+ with the optional laser pointer on the top where the course sight is either.  (not finding this optional laser anywhere also by itself, may be able to just mount and aim a laser pointer to the top manually for my use) So the 5603 DR200+ with radio may have to suffice that is supposedly robotic for use with the mandatory RMT 606.  I know there are 3 different options, battery, Tracklight or full robotic Tracker.  Hoping the DR200+ with built-in radio / antennas have the full robotic Tracker for use with the RMT 606.  Not sure how to determine that until received.  Seems they would for robotic tracking?

I see there are BLUE and RED dot GeoRadios.  What is the difference please?

I may look into the Parani bluetooth options and the trick to use them once initially connected via cable.  Seems the GeoRadios are overpriced etc.

Then obviously you have battery power for the RTS, radio, RMT 606 and data collector.  I am sure these old batteries will be an issue, where a motorcycle battery will come into play for the RTS.  I assume I will have to find an option for the battery power for the rover pole with RMT 606, radio and data collector. (not sure I want to do the power stick battery in the pole option?)  Then the issue of the backup battery inside the unit itself.  From what I understand from a post here, must be replaced before it dies to avoid loosing settings, firmware etc?

The biggest issue seems to be the software for the data collector.  I see some units have a Data Collector with old Trimble Survey Controller software.... different versions.  Anyone have any luck downloading this very old software to install say a old Trimble Nomad 900G data Collector (windows Mobile 6.1) or the like?  Don't really want to buy another DC such as TSC2 or 3 etc.  Or is it virtually impossible to find this software that works with the Trimble 5600 series RTS's.  Is the keypad really needed if you have a data collector?  Does Trimble Access have drivers for the Trimble 5600 series?  I think Survey Pro does?  But how to get the software also if so?  And, YES, I KNOW Trimble has been phasing the 5600 series etc out and sounds like Survey Pro also.

I know I can use a old MicroSurvey FieldGenius v9.0.20.3 that apparently has the very last drivers for the Trimble 5600 series.  (Trimble would not support their products/drivers with MicroSurvey anymore) Anyone actually have luck with this and full Robotic Total Station functions?  Do they work with Carlson SurvCE (depending on versions also I guess?)

Thank you for ANY help with all of this from experienced users.  Seems to be quite a project, but again, this isn't going to be used for anything critical.

 

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Richard Imrie
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A couple of answers.

Red dot = 600MHz, blue dot = 2.4GHz. I understand that using red dot frequency is now illegal in USA.

Best to forget about the Trimble radios, and use Parani long range bluetooth radios.

Carslon SurvCE runs 5600's up to V5. V5 has the added ability for electronic bubble.

I found Survey Controller to be a PITA. SurvCE is better but there is a simple (but complicated) procedure to get it to fire up a 5600 in robotic mode.

Robotic-tracking 5600's have two "scopes". The top one is optical, the bottom one tracks the LED of the RMT. Hence the tracker is not coaxial with the optical (there is a collimation routine to adjust for this). The later S series trackers are coaxial - hence there is only one "scope" - but they still need tracker collimation.

Biggest issue is servicing - Trimble shops wont touch them - but there are some privateers in the USA who still do them.

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timd1971
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Posted by: @richard-imrie

SurvCE is better but there is a simple (but complicated) procedure to get it to fire up a 5600 in robotic mode.

Thank you so much for the help.  Much appreciated!

I'll search here if the solution is here, but if not, could you point me in the right direction please?  Thank you.

Edit:  I may have found your posts.  Sounds like I need a CU also.

https://surveyorconnect.com/community/surveying-geomatics/bluetooth-adapter-for-total-station-cable/paged/8/#post-370985

 

Besides being able to find someone servicing these units, what's the biggest problem they may have?  I.e. motors, encoders, etc?

Thank you.

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Richard Imrie
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I penned a couple of guides here:

https://surveyorconnect.com/community/software-cad-mapping/opines-on-geod-600-trimble-5600-sp-focus-10-wanted/paged/2/#post-498996

The main trick is to fire up the instrument using the CU (keyboard), doing all the levelling, compensator, (collimation if necessary) etc with the CU, then use the CU to put it in to remote (robotic) mode, which effectively shuts the instrument down. Then, if SurvCE, cable connect the DC to the instrument and get SurvCE to send the "robotic instructions" to the instrument - it will beep a few times and whiz a bit - only then will it run with the radios.

Note that Trimble bought Geodimeter in around year 2000 and turned the Geodimeter 600 series into the Trimble 5600 series, so while they look different, they are the same - two scopes, active tracking, etc.

I forgot to mention that on the RMT, the vertical distance between the LED's and the prisms, is the same as the distance between the optical scope and the tracker scope on the instrument. Which is part of the cunning way that these things work.

The main issue is internal battery failure on both the CU and the instrument, which results in loss of memory parameters. There are lots of posts on this.

My go to Geodimeter 650 (equivalent to a 5601) looks like the instrument batteries have gone, and while the instrument does power up and turn on the wheels, she's "lifeless". Grrrrrrr. I also have a 5601, but the tracker is not well aligned with the scope. I also have another 650, which seems to work other than the optical scope being dim. I haven't had a chance to check it.

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timd1971
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@richard-imrie 

Thank you Richard.  I have a lot of reading to do, thank you for your extra effort to help people interested, much appreciated.

A big pitfall I see so far is the batteries dieing and I guess losing the unit's and CU's firmware if not caught ahead of time or time lapsed anyways?

If I happen to purchase one that ends up like this...  do you think it's going to be very difficult to find and install new firmware to get everything running again... or if there is possibly a repository to download these files easily and go from there?  Or maybe what @robots is working on here as a better alternative?

https://surveyorconnect.com/community/surveying-geomatics/geodimeter-4005004000600-and-trimble-5500-5600-toolkit/

I can handle installing / soldering new batteries and possibly using new coin style battery holders as mentioned somewhere here (have to find again).  But the firmware problems sounds like a PITA no matter even if all the required components etc are found and working.

Yes, this definitely is going to be a project requiring lots of time and effort.  Again, just for hobby and learning reasons etc.  ; )

Thank you.

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Richard Imrie
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@timd1971 

I think from what robots and others in that thread are saying, is that the instrument parameters are set in its memory when the instrument is manufactured and if the instrument batteries go flat, those parameters are lost and cannot be reprogrammed - unless they have been copied beforehand. Presumably the Trimble shops did this "saving" but now these shops are gone, presumably the independent shops that do offer 5600 servicing cannot reprogram the instrument to its factory settings. I understand that they can reload a CU, because the software is not unique to an instrument.

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robots
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@richard-imrie yes, trimble offered web-service to service partners to download this data from their website, and program it into the station. The shop that serviced your station last time is likely to still have copy of this data. Otherwise the station is pretty much useless.

And trust me .. its not saving. They did this on purpose.

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Richard Imrie
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@robots 

I looked through some old computer folders that I have and I found that when I bought the Geodimeter 650 in 2015, off EBay, the original advert had the CU and Instrument parameters:

s l1600 (1)
s l1600

Would it be possible to load this back onto the instrument and save the instrument?

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ncsudirtman
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for the OP - I originally looked at buying one a couple years ago to get started. but the scarcity of a complete kit and the difficulty in sourcing all the parts needed at a reasonable cost is what made me give up on the 5600. don't get me wrong the 5600 can do some great surveying still but it requires a lot of pieces and most sellers aren't selling complete kits. I ended up scoring an S3 at a great price on eBay which is the cheaper, baby brother to the S6 - both the S3 & S6 are more recent robots and easier to find parts for if need be plus they can still be serviced at most Trimble dealers (requires Trimble software i believe). I learned on an S6 years ago when they first came out and it was just a natural fit for me - if I could find a well cared for S6 here locally I'd gladly pick it up too

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timd1971
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@ncsudirtman

I hear ya!!!  Yes, that is the purpose of my post.... to see what I am getting into.  Sounds like the internal batteries and firmware are the biggest problem, next to not being able to get repaired if need be...  if ever.  And yes, obviously getting everything you need pieced together.

I typically don't mind with these type of things...  but it seems finding the firmware and getting it back on one of these units is a real PIA if the batteries are dead on arrival which good chances they are.

I am also looking at some newer models as you mentioned also just in case.

Thanks!

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