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TS16 vs TS13 vs S5 vs Geomax/Carlson zoom 90

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350RocketMike
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My boss needs to purchase another robot for one of our crews and he's indecisive and looking for some input from me. I've definitely done more research on the subject than he has but I'd like some opinions from guys who have used them. 

We use Microsurvey CAD in the office and the crews currently used Microsurvey Fieldgenius on the total stations and Trimble access on the GPS. The total station being replaced was an old slow Sokkia SRX and the Bluetooth seems to have died after 10 years. It can probably still be used as a backup with my Parani's if the Bluetooth is the issue. He uses it manually most of the time but probably 50%+ of his work is with GPS so he's not using it as heavily as I do with the construction layout. 

So our options that I see are as follows:

Trimble S5 and he transitions to using Trimble access for everything on the tsc7 he already has. 

Leica TS16 or TS13 running Fieldgenius (not captivate). We already have enough Fieldgenius licenses. I'm curious how those 2 compare with each other and how they compare to the 11 year old TCRP1203+ that I'm using heavily every day. I haven't used any other Leica robots or a Trimble robot but the old Leica seems to work really good compared to the old Sokkia SRX and even the newer Sokkia iX. 

Geomax zoom 90/Carlson also running Fieldgenius. I've been dealing with Microsurvey trying to fix a bunch of glitches in their software used on my windows 10 tablet and I asked them about which brands work better with their software (the Sokkia ix was a complete fail for robotic work with Fieldgenius - had to switch to Magnet Field) and they said that Leica is more friendly towards their software than Geomax. I'm not sure why that is since they're all owned by the same company but that may be a reason to pay more for Leica. Especially since we typically run these things 7-10 years. 

I noticed the ts13 looks a lot more similar to my 1200 series than the ts16. I'm also not sure what improvements there are to ATR PLUS vs the old ATR. They say ATR plus is faster to regain lock when line of sight is regained but my experience with the 1200 is that it's basically instant. If a vehicle blocks my line of sight and I stop and don't move right before...as soon as the vehicle is gone it's locked immediately. I don't think there is any improvement to be had there. 

Occasionally it misses me when searching or fails to shoot, especially when Sun is bright and low in the sky. I'm curious if that is improved in the newer ones. Also if I climb up onto a foundation to tie it in and then try to get lock it sometimes can't find my because of the vertical difference. Other than those downfalls it's pretty well a perfect robot. 

So what do you guys think? Team yellow or team Green?

Screenshot 20210605 073503

 

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lukenz
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The Geomax Zoom90 (Carlson also sell it rebadged) is the same as a TS15 which the TS13 appears a replacement for. See the TS13 is often spec'd pretty low on features (no keyboard etc) which I guess to to make the TS16 look better. I've used a Trimble robot a little but prefer the Leica/Geomax machines, only a personal preference.

 

Like any gear purchase the most important thing is which local dealer supports the gear well! Also for your boss having lots of different brands of gear must be a real hassle, much easier on one brand. Being able to start the job with GNSS and then hook up total station to finish job so much better than having to swap between two data collectors. Probably a bigger difference than if an S5 is better than a Zoom90/TS13 or not, either of them be better than the Sokkia!

 

If your not going to use Leica data collector and software (which I personally think is the best available), and you can live without the slightly better atr the TS16 has (I would happily given the price premium) I've no idea why you'd buy the Leica TS 13 given the Zoom90 price. I run my Zoom90 with XPAD ultimate which is great just can't control every minute detail like in Captivate, XPAD far easier than SurvCE from my use.

 

I also run geomax Zenith40 GNSS. I would have bought Leica when I started but for the 60k I got Geomax set for vs the 110k the Leica set would have been I decided I could make do without a couple of feature Captivate had that XPAD doesn't have.

 

The old Geomax Zoom80 which is no longer sold is same as 1200 series Leica your currently using.

 

Depending on what it's going to be used for I'd be aiming for the 1 or 2 second options in a Zoom90, worth moving up from a 5 second just for "odd job" piece of mind. If lots of construction/control work probably worth going right up to 1", for mainly boundary topo the 2" be ok.

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350RocketMike
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@lukenz

My boss is trying to figure out a way to move to all one brand in the future.... but he's well invested in Trimble now with our GPS's and the new sx12. I'm the only one with a different GPS, I have an old Sokkia grx2 because I sometimes go a month without needing to use it. It runs on Fieldgenius just like my TS which is very convenient like you said.

As far as the CAD software he's worried many of our employees will not deal well with a switch to something different. Currently they all use Microsurvey.

Personally I'd be willing to try captivate but I know he won't go for it. I even downloaded x Pad software on my phone to see if it would work with my Leica but haven't yet tried it. 

The one thing shying me away from Geomax (boss never heard of them so it would only be on my recommendation) is that Microsurvey said they aren't as friendly towards Fieldgenius as leica's and my last coworker came from a different larger survey company to the west...his party chief demod a Geomax (must have been a zoom 90 as it was less than 2 years ago) and it was running Fieldgenius and he said it was constant crashes and issues. They previously used top of the line Trimble's. They used a Leica (unknown model) for a bit after that running captivate and had no real problems. My coworker even used it by himself on one or 2 jobs, they loved the Trimble best, but said the Leica was pretty good. 

Both were miles above the Sokkia iX that we were using when he worked with me. 

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lukenz
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@350rocketmike

I bought my own gear so cost was a factor and also I'm the only user.

 

For your boss having multiple brands will be more of a headache than any savings on one piece of gear. Also third party software always adds another layer of hassle. Unless your a company with only one or two crews it is far, far better to stick to Trimble/Leica and use their software.

 

Given you mostly have Trimble GNSS I'd be getting one of their robots if I was doing the buying in your firm provided your dealer is good at supporting gear. Being able to plug the same controller into both GNSS or robot is very useful. Even though I'd personally prefer a Lecia robot that would be less important to me in your situation than sticking to one brand for the company.

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dmyhill
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@lukenz

5" is more than adequate for most boundaries. We rarely have traverses longer enough to tell the difference between 5" and 1".

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lukenz
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@dmyhill

Fine if that's all you do but most small companies I know don't do 100% boundary so instrument needs to do setout, monitoring, control for topo etc. where need to minimise error up front so they don't propagate.

 

Agree with your other comment below that once your chasing <5mm that it's the pole/prism/tribrach/methods...... that is going to hamstring you first. That and you need a particular type of surveyor who is happy to work that carefully.

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350RocketMike
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@lukenz

Actually getting down on my knees to perfectly center the pole on the nail is among some of the things I do that I don't feel like a lot of guys I've worked with do. I think I'm also a lot more ocd about centering. 

The only 1" instrument we have is the sx12 we just got. I do feel like it would be nice to have a 1" instrument myself but I'm not the one buying it. For what I do 99% of the time 3" would be perfectly fine but like you said it's the other 1% that you may wish you had the better instrument. 

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dmyhill
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@lukenz

5" at 500 feet is 0.01'...the size of the job or the contract or the company doesn't change that. Most instruments do not have the optical resolution to aim better than 0.01' at 1000 feet. I submit that you cannot aim well enough at 1000' to make a 1" instrument worthwhile.

Oh, and the 1" is only really guaranteed by Leica (for instance) if you have had it maintained (and have a certificate). Some of those certifications require shipping the instrument to a certain facility. So, we have a race car Ferrari, we ship it off to get specially certified and calibrated and then the shipper does what to it on the way back?

A 5" gun (which if you turn forward and reverse should do better than 5") is the least of your worries for any real world monitoring or whatever you might be doing. 

I like a good 1" total station as much as the next guy, but I also know it is rarely worth the extra money unless I need to it fulfill a certain specification written into a contract.

If you are doing long distance, high precision measurements, it could be useful. (This assumes that you also purchased and correctly used all the relevant accessories like tribrachs, tripods, prisms, adapters, etc etc etc, and followed all the correct procedures, etc.) But, at some point we end up moving outside the best use of a total station marketed to land surveyors.

I have balanced and reviewed many traverses done with 1" and 5" total stations, and I can sincerely tell you that the instrument being 1 or 5 seconds is the last thing I worry about.

 

 

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lukenz
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@dmyhill

I still see value in getting a 2"/3" for regular work given the relatively small price premium, wouldn't get the 1" unless doing precision construction or monitoring all the time. I want to know that practically no errors are coming from instrument so I still have sufficient error budget to account for systematic errors I can't adjust out of the other gear in equation and still get in the 3-5mm ballpark.

 

Turning both faces is fine for traverse/monitoring but not so practical for setout.  You've convinced yourself 5" is what meets your needs and that is fine too.

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Brad Ott
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Posted by: @lukenz

worth moving up from a 5 second just for "odd job" piece of mind. If lots of construction/control work probably worth going right up to 1", for mainly boundary topo the 2" be ok.

My current robot since 1998 is a one second gun.  I have decided her replacement will be five seconds.  Change my mind.

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350RocketMike
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@brad-ott

My current and last gun were both 3" but the Leica would shoot 2 faces like 5" horizontal difference and 10" vertical while the Sokkia freshly back from repair and calibration was 10" and 15".  

Other than that we have a Sokkia 5" SRX that the Bluetooth just failed on, an old Leica conventional 5" instrument and I think the rest are all 3". I've never seen a 2" or better in person. Lol. 

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lukenz
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@brad-ott

When your paying you buy what you want.

 

For 1mm of angular error a 1" can shoot 206m, a 2" can shoot 103m and a 5" can shoot 41m. 3" wasn't an option with the Zoom90. Was about a 2k step between each.

 

The GMP 101 I use has 1mm pointing error. I figure for setout with a pole your at 3-4mm with pole bubble and pole runout plumbing error and with a the mini prism at ground it's still 1-2mm plumbing error.

 

So to achieve sub 5mm (real world repeatibility) setout with a 5" instrument you can't be much over 40m from instrument which isn't enough for me. Was well worth the 2k to go from 5" to 2" but wouldn't want to be over 100m from instrument on a construction site so not worth the next 2k to get 1".

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Bill93
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Posted by: @brad-ott

replacement will be five seconds.  Change my mind.

Depends on what you need to measure to what accuracy. Compare various angles at distances.  0.10 ft at a mile is about 4 seconds.

If your centering error is 0.01 ft each on gun and target, the 5 second gun (using repeats per spec to get 5") will statistically contribute equal error at 583 ft.

You can average to improve on that. If your tolerances are looser or you rarely shoot further for precision work, then you don't need the better gun. If you want to set really good control at long distances, and/or don't want to do a lot of repeats, then get the better one.

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dmyhill
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@brad-ott

In practice, a name brand 5" instrument will produce the same results as a 1" instrument on any boundary survey up to and including a full section.

The variabilities in aiming, stability, calibration, adjustment, etc etc etc are greater than the effective difference.

If you want metrology level results, you cannot simply buy a "better" instrument. You need to buy better everything, and then keep it adjusted and maintained to that level of performance. It simply doesn't happen with most crews. 

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Mark Mayer
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I can't give you a direct answer  but maybe I can give you and your boss some things to consider:

  • I always say that you should shop for field and office software and then buy the hardware that it works with best
  • It is desirable to settle on a brand and stick with it long term. Mixing and matching is for the birds. Really look into your preferred workflow and how the field software you propose to buy fits that. 
  • When it comes to locking onto a prism and staying locked the active tracking with the diodes, on the Trimble really cannot be beat.  Trimble GPS are very good for point positioning, also. Trimble Access is fine field software, and TBC is good, too. On the negative side the TSC7 is a load to carry around and eats batteries. You already know that.
  • IMO, Lieca is a step ahead of Trimble in the emerging technology department.  The scanning capability of the MS-60 and the spatial imaging if the TS-18I are hard to ignore. Trimble has some comparable setups but I'm not sure that they are working as well in the real world.   If you want to be on the cutting edge of technology I think that Lieca is where you want to be. Buying Geomax would be sort of a back door baby step in that direction.
  • I'm sure that Microsurvey being a Canadian company is part of the attraction to that field software. But they really aren't so Canadian, being owned by Hexagon. So I'm not so sure that your loyalty is well placed. Bugs have crept into the latest versions of StarNet and Microsurvey's response to them has been disappointing. I just don't think that they have the resources.
  • Dealer support is super important. Which dealer will respond to breakdowns and interruptions most effectively? Which will keep you abreast of technology developments?
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350RocketMike
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@mark-mayer

I definitely agree with your first statement, the complication is that we (my boss with input from all of us) don't know what we're going to stick with long term. As far as loyalty to Microsurvey....I wouldn't say we have that, more that we're invested in them. Not just financially but intellectually (especially with the older guys). We are well experienced with glitches and bugs that Microsurvey can't fix. After a year with the Sokkia iX running Fieldgenius they could not fix it enough that it wasn't wasting 1-2 hours of my time a day.

I understand there are more complications with Sokkia, but I still felt like I put up with all the issues and spent time sending them files, trying to help them sort it out and eventually had to give up and trade a Fieldgenius license for a Magnet field license I used for another 9 months before the next hardware failure. 

I do have to say the Sokkia employees before Brandt buyout seemed to work hard to try to fix the issues and let me try magnet out before we ended up switching. The couple times we needed it a loaner came in less than 36 hours. But one employee alone can't make everything okay and we're completely done with Sokkia now. 

We do already have a Leica salesman contact who I've spoken to by email, the company we bought out purchased several brand new instruments (including my 1203+) through them. He is hoping to bring a TS16 to demo and try out the RH17 on my 1203+. If we can try it with Fieldgenius and it works well then the boss will probably buy it. I don't think it's likely he's going to be switching all the office staff over from Fieldgenius to Trimble within the next 5 years anyway. 

It's not such a big deal to switch field software if you put in the time to learning it, but I feel like the office software has a whole lot more stuff to get tripped up on learning something new. I haven't used office software since school almost 10 years ago now. 

 

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lukenz
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@350rocketmike

With those kind of software/hardware issues I'd say changing off Field genius and onto Trimble Access if your already running it for your GNSS is a no brainer.

 

Personally I'd go full Lecia but given your firm is already part Trimble would make sense to stick with that given there isn't major differences over which is best between those two.

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350RocketMike
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@lukenz

What software do you use with the leica's?

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lukenz
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@mark-mayer

Great summary, fully endorse it.

 

Geomax gear is that one step behind Lecia but even like for like Zoom90 vs TS13 or Zenith40 vs GS16 they are significantly cheaper for same functionality.

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Jaccen
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Posted by: @mark-mayer

I can't give you a direct answer  but maybe I can give you and your boss some things to consider:

  • I'm sure that Microsurvey being a Canadian company is part of the attraction to that field software. But they really aren't so Canadian, being owned by Hexagon. So I'm not so sure that your loyalty is well placed. Bugs have crept into the latest versions of StarNet and Microsurvey's response to them has been disappointing. I just don't think that they have the resources.

As a Starnet user, my interest is piqued.  What bugs have been found?  Thanks.

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Norman Oklahoma
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@jaccen

Mapmode doesn't work right in v10, for example. 

 

 

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Jaccen
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@norman-oklahoma 

Good to know.  To add to the list: GPS 2 point offsets done w/ Carlson SurvPC 6.09 and a BRX7 are not correctly calculated in the Import dialog.

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dmyhill
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@mark-mayer

Pick the software first. 100%

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350RocketMike
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@dmyhill

I think the software won't be finally picked until we see how the next purchase works out. 

We do have one crew trying out the sx12 and how the traverse file works with Fieldgenius will probably be a big factor in their decision, but if it doesn't go well the decision is still between switching to all Trimble or just sticking with leica's and Fieldgenius for TS and Trimble for GPS (GPS has been Trimble for years without issue. It's the total station raw data from other software that seems to be a problem with Microsurvey. 

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Richard Imrie
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Mark Silver at iGage has good info on the Zoom 90, and there's also some excellent through the scope videos of it tracking.

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350RocketMike
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@richard-imrie

I watched some of his videos and my old Leica 1203+ basically works the same as that geomax was. It is really good at predicting and regaining lock especially when you get a long ways away. I think personally I'd like to stick with Leica but the software on the Trimble is probably a lot more stable even if I have to start from scratch learning.

It would be nice to try a Trimble with the active tracking for a day or 2, see how fast I am with it once I learn the software. 

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