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Which Trimble Data Collector what type of work and why is it your choice.

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100+ posts Member

Was wondering which data collector you prefer TSC7 TSC5 one of the Tablets or the phone looking dc. It will need to run the Trimble Access Software. 

I am not a fan of the TSC7. The keys on keyboard are to small for my old eyes and it’s awkward balancing it in thick mess. I have ran it with robot and gnss rover. TSC3 I like the weight but my eyes just can’t see everything very well anymore. And its at the end of its life. 

So I am looking at getting something new. The phone data collector seems great Tdc600 or something. I don’t know how economical it will be if I have to purchase a external radio for the robot yet and do not know how long battery life is but seems to be light weight. So i will test it But how well can I read the screen and map etc.   probably perfect for just setting control with gnss and such. 

are the tablets any good on battery power balance on rod. Weight etc.  and can the text on screen be seen by my eyes without the cheater glasses. 

what are y’all’s opinions   


Topic starter Posted : June 23, 2022 7:22 pm
Brad Ott liked
Jon Collins
200+ posts Member

So I just bought the TDC600. I came from the tsc3. The 7 is of no interest to me. I only do cadastral/boundary work so small light and easy. I really like my TDC, far cheaper, very easy to use. Battery lasts almost 2 days. The OS is android so it is much more stable than the old Microsoft mobile we had we tsc2s and 3s. I only do GNSS so I can't speak on the external radio. If you do a lot of  big topos and construction staking, the 7 will be a great choice. 

Posted : June 23, 2022 7:29 pm
100+ posts Member

@jon-collins Thank you.  We do some construction staking but currently I am about the only one who prepares surfaces and dxf where larger map is useful. The others just want points to stake.  But I am mostly doing the boundary and establishing control for sites . I will most definitely have to get one in my hands to see if i can read the screen. Today I humped in a mile dragging that darn TSC7 briar catcher through hills and hollers with r12 doing some rough clearing limits stakes. 

Topic starter Posted : June 23, 2022 7:51 pm

1,000+ posts Supporter

The TSC7 (aka rubber-coated sledgehammer) is brilliant - huge computing power and a good screen. But the ergonomics aren't great - heavy and a bit too big for my small hands. And the battery life is not great. But all that computing power also allows it to do some things the other collectors cant. 

The TSC5 is light and easy - and the android touch interface is slick and the battery life is good. But it is not hugely powerful, some things like sorting and displaying big point lists can be painfully slow. While lighter than the 7, the form factor is not much different.

The TDC600 is slower again, and does not have the keyboard. But they are cheap and cheerful. The radio datalink to the total stations works well. Plus it saves you carrying a phone - even if it is just a bit too big to fit in a pocket.

if all you are doing is cadastral, and can live without the keyboard, I think the TDC600 would be the way to go

I can see advantages and disadvantages to all three - and I really can't decide which I prefer. I think if I had bigger hands I'd probably go for the 7, but as they say 'your mileage may vary'

Posted : June 23, 2022 8:03 pm
100+ posts Member

@jimcox nice information. Great details thank you.  

Topic starter Posted : June 23, 2022 8:17 pm
Said Lot
50+ posts Member

I use and like the TSC7. Screen real estate is great. Access has been recently unstable for me, but I like that the map screen is central. Also great for pdfs. I used and liked the TSC3 for many years and have one as a backup. I wish the TSC7 rested well on the ground while attached to the rod -  must not have been tested by a solo person who does construction cause after doing it one day it’s a noticeable flaw. 

Posted : June 23, 2022 8:31 pm

1,000+ posts Member

It's hard to go wrong with Access in any form, but I'm a fan of the 7 due to screen size and Windows OS.

If you hold them up next to each other, the size difference is not much - not enough for me to give up that extra 2 inches of screen - but the lighter TSC5 weight is noticeable.

The 5 is finally starting to get the bugs worked out, so if you want lighter and better battery life, it's probably OK. Personally I don't like the Android OS compared to Windows, but to each their own. I like the "mini laptop" feel of Windows and the interoperability with the office.

The power users at our firm tend to lean toward the 7, but not by much.

Posted : June 23, 2022 8:51 pm
1,000+ posts Member

Used a TSC7 for about a year and I really didn't like it.  Way too heavy and just a colossal pain in the ass to drag through brush and get near fences with.  I really didn't like how I couldn't even leave the rod with a bipod on a point for 2-3 minute shot without the rod tipping over due to the weight.  That alone would make me not use it.

The argument for these things used to be "Well, you need one to run the scanning robots" but I talked with the local dealer last week and they said Trimble revamped the file format to compress the data and now the TSC 5s will run the scanning robots, so yeah... I'd avoid the TSC7 like the plague.

Posted : June 23, 2022 11:43 pm
christ lambrecht
1,000+ posts Member

TSC7 here, and we prefer Win10 above Android/TSC5.

Posted by: @olemanriver

The others just want points to stake.

Hard to believe, we even connect our utilty markerstones with a line so we can stake to the startpoint of the line instead of staking solitaire points. Walking from one point to the other along the line makes it far easier for us to orientate on site.

This post was modified 2 weeks ago by christ lambrecht
Posted : June 24, 2022 3:04 am

500+ posts Member


Yeah if I was doing small jobs especially going through the bush with GPS, I would want the tdc600. The tsc5 was a decent design other than the lack of processing power as you and I discussed before. 

The tsc7 has decent power and a nice screen, but overall ergonomics suck for my work. 

Posted : June 24, 2022 3:40 am
5,000+ posts Supporter

Took a look at the TSC7, didn't like it at all, nor did the crews. They would rather use the TSC3. I got a TDC600 for 1/2 the cost of the others and I really like it. Battery is no longer an issue. Not sure why it's considered slow, it's not for what I do which is boundary. Paired with an R10 or R12 it's so light and quick that I don't want anything else. 

As Jim Cox related the drawback is it's terrible in heavy rain, light rain it's ok, but when it dumps on you, you may as well pack it in. 

Posted : June 24, 2022 7:31 am
Norman Oklahoma
5,000+ posts Member

The TSC7 is quite a load and does eat batteries. If you are doing a lot of construction and/or are likely to take advantage of the various lesser used functions of the program it may be worth having. If you just collect points or stake out points that have been computed in the office you will wish for the smaller unit.   

I haven't used a Trimble tablet, but I have used Topcon's FC-5000. I find it frustrating to type things in on a touch screen.  

Posted : June 24, 2022 7:43 am

500+ posts Member

I let the TSC7 sit for a long time.  Then I remembered I used a steel prism pole with a data collector and a Satel radio hanging on the side 15 years ago.  All of a sudden the TSC7 seemed lighter.  The screen size and ability to use it in bright light has it's advantage over a TSC3.

i also carried a stake bag and hub bag with stakes staged every 500 feet. Didn't return to the truck until I was done.  Ah, to be 55 again.

Posted : June 24, 2022 11:39 am
OleManRiver, FrozenNorth, Rover83 and 1 people liked
100+ posts Member

@norman-oklahoma I used the Topcon 5000 a couple days. It had the topcon software for robot i loved how the text size was larger while I was staking out some points. I could read in out left right without using my glasses and no glare so it didn’t matter which way sun hit it it was easily readable. It also had Trimble Access on it for R12 and R12i.  And i had to put the glasses back on. Lol. Access is great But they cram so many options the text size and such gets smaller.  

Topic starter Posted : June 24, 2022 1:39 pm
10+ posts Member

We are a Survey Pro shop Trimble robots and Spectra SP 85's. We are currently using Ranger 3's with Survey Pro. We are looking into the Ranger 5 has anyone used the Origin Max software yet?

Posted : June 24, 2022 1:44 pm

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