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The best Robotic Total Station for the money?

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The best Robotic Total Station for the money?

Posted by Tony Garmon on Aug 19, 2010 10:23 am

After talking with different salesmen about different robotic total stations, I am more confused than ever. So that is why I want to get advice from fellow surveyors. What is the best robot for the money? Right now I am between Topcon 9000, Leica, and Sokkia. Give me your brutal honest opinion. Thanks.

-Tony
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Re: The best Robotic Total Station for the money?

Posted by Pin Cushion on Aug 19, 2010 10:38 am


Tony,

I know you just earned you license, dont go out and spend all your money on a fantsy robotic gun... or cripple yourself with debt or payments.  Get yourself a good used conventional total station that you can afford, save your money... it will be a long cold winter in Georgia.


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Re: The best Robotic Total Station for the money?

Posted by Tony Garmon on Aug 19, 2010 11:00 am

Pin,

This is actually for the company I am working for right now. We have had the APL1-A system forever and bought a sokkia a few years ago. Now that the APL1-A is in the "GRAVE", God rest its soul, we have to find a replacement. Since I am not happy with the sokkia that we bought a few years ago, I want a replacement. We are running skeleton crews right now so a Robot is a must.

Tony
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Re: The best Robotic Total Station for the money?

Posted by Don Poole on Aug 19, 2010 11:01 am

Hey, if your business plan include the payments on the new gun, and your client base supports it then go for it.   But,pins advice is good.  Try a used one out. I think that Julie Immler has something for sale on ebay, topcon I believe...  I'm a leica guy myself, grown up on wild and i like the optics.   But the best advice that I have heard is go with the unit that has the best support behind it, and that lies with your dealer....


Don Poole PLS
Outermost Land Survey, Inc.

"Outstanding in the field"
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Re: The best Robotic Total Station for the money?

Posted by John Hamilton on Aug 19, 2010 12:05 pm

You left out the best one, in my opinion. The Trimble S6 or S8 with mag drive, coupled with a TSC2, is the best around. More costly than some, but you get what you pay for.

I do not consider cost when purchasing equipment I am going to use day-in and day-out, and that my livelihood depends on. I want the best available, doing otherwise is false economy.
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Re: The best Robotic Total Station for the money?

Posted by Mark Mayer on Aug 19, 2010 12:32 pm


The answer to your question is highly dependent on what kind of work you intend to do with it.

"For the money" I doubt that you could do better than a good, used Trimble 5603. Highly reliable and I bet you could pick up an outfit for well under $10,000 right now.
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Re: The best Robotic Total Station for the money?

Posted by billhart on Aug 19, 2010 1:01 pm


>Julie Immler has something for sale on ebay

Item 220656082742 
GTS-2B which is not only not robotic, it is a mid-1980's instrument with 5 mm+5 ppm EDM, 6" spec micrometer scale angles, no computation or data collector interface.

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Re: The best Robotic Total Station for the money?

Posted by Tony Garmon on Aug 19, 2010 2:07 pm

Well, let me clear it up. "For the Money" is between $20,000 - $30,000.

Ex. Is the Leica at $29,000 that much better than the Topcon 9003 at $20,000? That is what I mean "for the money." Is the difference so noticeable that I want to throw almost 1/3 extra in the price for the same outcome? I work in a high precision area, so that will be a variable to consider. When we bought the Sokkia a few years ago it was supposed to be the best thing since sliced bread... we went with the salesman's word. Not this time.

I also want to know about the Spectra 30. The salesman is pitching this thing to be "the next best thing." Of course there is nothing beter than this robot. It runs around $26,000.

You can see now why it is so hard to pick the best option.

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Re: The best Robotic Total Station for the money?

Posted by Mark Mayer on Aug 19, 2010 2:19 pm


Your basic question has been asked before in many different ways. What I have seen is that virtually nobody will admit regretting their Leica or Trimble purchase. Many like their Topcons, but a  significant number do not.

That $9,000 feels more like $5,000 after taxes - and $5,000 is about 5 days work over a 10 year life span. 

My approach would be to identify the data collector software  I want to use (based on my office setup), then the best data collector to run it, then the gun that works best with that combination.  I'd also give stong consideration to the battery situation. And dealer support.
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The Only way....

Posted by Pin Cushion on Aug 19, 2010 3:11 pm

The only way to answer your question is to have the dealer drop you off a demo for a week. Test  each instrument out and see what suits your need the best, then make your decision with your colluges input.  The salesmen will do this if they want to make the sale, if they don't then they are crazy.  The sales guys are just as hungry as the surveyors... haggle.

good luck

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Re: The best Robotic Total Station for the money?

Posted by AverageJoe on Aug 19, 2010 4:41 pm

Love my Leica 1203.  I use it mostly for topo and for setting corners.  Excellent gun.  Shawn Billings wrote a good article on it about 2 years back in one of the other magazines, and he did an awsome job describing how it worked as far as the auto target recognition and other features. 
The only concern I have is that in discussion with one of the CA DOT guys, he mentioned that he stopped buying Leica's because they would no longer support the 1100 series when they released the 1200 series.  Poor business practice in my opinion to not support your last products only in favor of the current product.  Apparently they had some they needed fixed and Leica said no. 
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Re: The best Robotic Total Station for the money?

Posted by Randall on Aug 19, 2010 5:11 pm

But the best advice that I have heard is go with the unit that has the best support behind it, and that lies with your dealer....

What do you not like about the Sokkia? Is it a SRX and what data collector package are you running with it?

Regards,

Randall Brown
Georgia Surveyors Exchange
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Re: The best Robotic Total Station for the money?

Posted by CSS on Aug 19, 2010 8:32 pm

We assessed this a few years ago and compared a Leica 1203 and Trimble S6 side by side. We chose the Leica and it's been briliant. We've never had downtime with our instrument. That's pretty impressive in my opinion. 

I think the Leica is a little bit more versatile than the S6 because it has a narrower reflectorless laser and laser plummet.

IMO, cost is almost irrelevant.  Even the most expensive TS will pay for itself so long as you're working. I'd definitely avoid skimping on features such as robotic or reflectorless to shave the cost down.
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Re: The best Robotic Total Station for the money?

Posted by ron berry on Aug 19, 2010 8:41 pm

I think Mark nailed it on the head.........
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Re: The best Robotic Total Station for the money?

Posted by RADU on Aug 19, 2010 11:44 pm


The problem of recommendation is that we all will recommend the instrument model / maker that we use, unless it is a dog.  The dealer after sales service is critical. CSS will concur that the Leica agency in Adelaide is first rate , bending over with loan equipment during servicing or breakdown.

If purchasing secondhand TS be careful of age as these instruments are going to face redundancy because modern computers not supporting their once easy data card exchange.

A new instrument comes with a guarantee and chance to have a maintenance plan.

I am biased and can only utter Leica.


RADU
RADU VALUE ADDING SURVEYOR
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Re: The best Robotic Total Station for the money?

Posted by Tom Bushelman on Aug 20, 2010 12:47 pm

  My dad was a diesel mechanic and he always impressed upon me to use good tools in your job.  Perhaps skimp on the hobby stuff but never on work tools.  He has a toolbox full of Snap-on. 
    I looked around and got what I considered to be the best, regardless of price and am using the Trimble S-6 with TSC2 controller.  Great gun, don't care about the optics though they are very good because I rarely look through the gun.  It can turn an angle way better than my eye can.  I have used an early model Topcon robotic and fought with it a lot.  I also happened to have a great Trimble dealer with good support here.
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Re: The best Robotic Total Station for the money?

Posted by Old Pacer on Aug 22, 2010 9:27 pm

Between Leica, Topcon and Trimble Robots, the Lieca has worked better for me in the past.  I'm not sure that will continue and will look at the Focus 30, if it develops a good reputation. 
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Re: The best Robotic Total Station for the money?

Posted by Old_Maps on Aug 25, 2010 10:12 am


Remeber one thing...You get what you pay for.  Buy the best you can afford.  Having run several defferent robots, I think Leica is by far more reliable than the ones listed in the replies.


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Re: The best Robotic Total Station for the money?

Posted by Allen Dunn on Sep 8, 2010 2:28 pm

Topcon is the best gun for the money. Trimble charges yearly "maintenance fees" for support and software/firmware updates. Leica software and equipment is proprietary. Topcon controllers will work with almost any instrument and the software is intuitive and simple to use with minimal learning curve.
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Re: The best Robotic Total Station for the money?

Posted by Alexander Thorp on Sep 17, 2010 1:02 am


I too would like to know what you have used from Sokkia.  Is it the SRX?  What do you not like about it?  What data collector are you using with it.  I had some initial complaints and confusions in using the Sokkia instrument (SRX3), but the more I use it the more I like it.  Of course, I haven't used any other robot, so I don't know what to compare it to.
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Re: The best Robotic Total Station for the money?

Posted by JKinAK on Sep 20, 2010 8:09 pm

I agree with Mr. Mayer's approach - but I would move dealer support up near the top.

We have Leica 1201+ and 1205+ robots. I don't have experience with other robots except the earlier Leicas and Topcons. The current generation of robots track much better than previous versions - very usable.

Beware - we have had bad luck with the 1205s radio seals. After owning the gun for 18 months - only 51 days of field use (only 12 saw rain and the gun was never put away wet) the handle radio and side cover electronics corroded internally and had to be repaired. I sent Leica our use log but they didn't take ownership of the problem and we ended up paying over $2000 to repair it.

I don't know if other 1200 owners have had corrosion problems - we may have gotten a bad gun or it may be bad design. Either way, I'd go for another vendor if all other things were equal (which they never are). Our dealer is tops so we stick with Leica.
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Re: The best Robotic Total Station for the money?

Posted by Kevin White on Oct 13, 2010 10:08 am

I have used both the leica 1200 series and trimble 5600 series TS and i prefer the trimble by far. As a one man crew, the trimble seemed to work much better through trees and near traffic because of the signal from the prism. The leica has a passive prism that is much more difficult to work with around any obstructions. Theyre both excellent TS's though and i havent had any major issues with either. It is a personal preference thing like chevy vs ford in the end.
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Re: The best Robotic Total Station for the money?

Posted by apriori on Oct 13, 2010 7:49 pm

A Trimble S6 matched up with a Ranger 500X (running TDS Survey Pro of course) will provide unmatched reliability and productivity.

 

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Re: The best Robotic Total Station for the money?

Posted by stratman59 on Feb 13, 2011 3:23 am



I know this is a bit late but for any others asking the same thing. On site here in the U.A.E we have Leica 1201 and 1205 and a Trimble S6. I use both every day for set out and topo as builts etc. Both are good robotic instruments and both dealerships in the U.A.E are equally appalling. The Trimble tracking is much the better and faster, no question even with passive 360 prism, in fact we use a Lieca peanut 360 with the Trimble most of the time. For elevation work with laser dot the Leica is better as you can offset the distance a few mm from a corner and then swing the HZ over exactly to the corner. Reliability on the Trimble has been better in really harsh heat and dust conditions due to the mag drive with no moving parts, obviously for wet conditions I can't say, what is rain anyway? Both the Leica RX1250 and the Trimble Nomad data collectors are horrible to see in strong sunlight ( a serious issue over here),  I hate the Trimble annual charges for software upgrades, if you buy something then the upgrade for that product should be inclusive but you can still use the software, the upgrades are often cosmetic. For setting out the Trimble LM80 Layout Manager is superb and so easy to use. Is the Trimble worth the extra 25 - 30% over the Leica, well if I was paying I'm just not sure so I guess that means no if your buying new, used it maybe a different matter. What I want to know is how the hell a 360 prism can cost that much? It's a piece of glass for C***** sake.
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Re: The best Robotic Total Station for the money?

Posted by james moore on Feb 17, 2011 11:30 pm

Mark Mayer:

Your basic question has been asked before in many different ways. What I have seen is that virtually nobody will admit regretting their Leica or Trimble purchase. Many like their Topcons, but a  significant number do not.

I have experience with Trimble/Geodimeter and Topcon, all current models. I'm one of the significant number who don't like the 9000 Topcon. Great dealer support but the tracking on the 9005 is unbelievably bad.
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