Topcon GT Series Robotic Instrument – looking for reviewsPosted by stlsurveyor on October 2, 2019 at 8:54 pm
Curious if anyone has any experiences with these instruments and your reviews/impressions? I would be particularly interested from those who are Trimble users. St. Louis is an extremely Trimble heavy region and I know of no firms that use Topcon gear. Also, as a side question, what is the deal with Topcon’s RC-5 remote? Is the Rc-5 remote required for robotic function or does it simply provide the “active” prism feature? Thanks in advance..
- 48 Replies
- MemberOctober 2, 2019 at 9:07 pm
I have a GTS-825 with the RC2 (circa 2003). The RC unit is there so when you lose lock and initiate a search, it beams the instrument “I’m over here dummy”. Not an active track.
- MemberOctober 3, 2019 at 1:06 am
Ive used a GTS with RC2 years ago and more recently a PS with RC4, ive always liked using Topcon robots, to me they work as well as anything else and i really like the RC call function. Just as said above the RC unit is for calling the instrument to the prism and works as the communication between the data collector and instrument so no radio is required (as opposed to a trimble unit which has to have an internal radio in the DC). Personally i think its more about the field software youre most comfortable with, if i understand correctly a GT can only be run robotically using magnet or carlson software. So if youre accustomed to using trimble software there will be a learning curve to make the switch.
- MemberOctober 3, 2019 at 1:47 am
I use a Topcon PS which employs the RC-5. All communication between the dc and the gun is routed through the RC-5, so you need it all the time. It’s not a problem to use it most of the time, and the global search function works well.
Nevertheless I hate this gun. The turning rate is very slow and the latency acting on issued commands is painfully long. The search works well, but I have to issue the command way too often, and wait far too long for it to begin its thing. I’m using it with Survey Pro software which may have something to do with it. So just make sure you test this unit out before you buy.
- MemberOctober 3, 2019 at 10:30 am
Interesting…The turn rate of 180 degree in one second is the big Topcon claim to fan for this unit, but you think it turns slow. I hate SurveyPro with a passion and I must say I love Access as field software. I have never used Magnet software – but on this forum there is a fair amount of horror stories. Reason I am asking is that there are a few used (demo) units out there for about 20k and wanted to know if the GT-1003 Robot was worth considering when comparing to a used S6 or a used TS16.
- MemberOctober 3, 2019 at 11:28 am
The GT Robot is unlike any of the instruments described above (GTS very old, heavy, uses cables and the PS in one version below the GT). The GT Robot is the latest release from Topcon, the smallest and fastest turning robotic instrument I have ever used. It is the first Topcon instrument to use an Ultrasonic Direct Drive, no belts. It will operate either with or without the RC-5 units. Using the RC-5 will aid in longer distances between the instrument and controller Bluetooth connection (I’ve seen over 1800ft). RC-5 also makes for a quick lock with a single button click in Magnet Field. Without the RC-5 the distances are about 900ft, you need to use the virtual joystick to roughly align the instrument towards the prism, then align it. After the lock, you can run, stop and twirl the prism without losing lock. The only problem I have seen with the GT is one client had troubles in extremely cold temperatures. The instrument would not inverse the scope. Some of the lubricants inside seemed to gel up. The dealer fixed the problem. Ins peaking with the tech, this is the only instrument they have seen with this problem. This instrument does make a lot of unique noise. But it is extremely fast. The PS robot described above turns at a rate of at 32?ø per second, while the GT turns at rate of 128?ø and 180?ø per second. The instrument also has TS shield. Which is an internal cell modem only used to track the geo-location of the instrument and notify the end-user of firmware updates. Every time the instrument is turned on a GPS location is sent to the registered owner and Topcon. I understand that Topcon can then track and /or disabled the GT remotely.
I own a PS Robot for my daily driver, would consider getting a GT.
- MemberOctober 3, 2019 at 2:37 pm
Id bet $1000 it won??t hold a candle to a brandy new Leica robot. The fact that the Topcon GT needs a $5000 RC unit solidifies that opinion. Topcon??s robotic technology has been behind the leaders for well, two decades… Topcon has been inferior to the competition for a long time but you just heard about it.
pros: ??light,? ??fast,? ??new technology? lol
cons: needs a $5000 RC unit to work properly, if you drop the pole once you stand to lose $6000 for a prism and an RC. IMO it cost a lot where better equipment could be purchased for less.
- MemberOctober 3, 2019 at 3:10 pm
Our DOT Region uses these instruments with Magnet. They seem to work great and I would second what Lee Green said.
As far as cost – Well we’re the government so it’s all about whats on the purchasing contract. We have Leica – Trimble – Topcon.
They all compare is pricing. If you want to go for a deal shop other than the Yellow-Green three.
- MemberOctober 3, 2019 at 4:17 pm
The internal radio on a Trimble DC costs about the same to purchase new. $5000 is exaggerated for a radio repair cost of any brand. Unless you obliterate the device they are usually repairable
Anytime you drop a 360 prism it is going to hurt. The Trimble MT is up to $2800 MSRP and doesn’t even have a radio to help you search it though it has one for prism identification which is I find odd. Trimble Active Track also loves to lock on to tail lights and road signs with no notice
The Topcon technology gets 3x the radio range compared to the Trimble technology. (3000′ vs 1000′ I’ll testify)
Personally I would probably buy the Leica if I had a choice between the three. Due to cost and solo operator range I would choose the Topcon over the Trimble.
I haven’t used a Leica radio in a while but they were great with an Allegro 20 years ago, I bet they haven’t gotten any worse
Topcon technical support is poor. If you have a good local sales/support team then they can make it work for you
- MemberOctober 3, 2019 at 4:44 pm
Last year we took Trimble, Leica, and Topcon and gave the whole package to a crew (total station plus controller plus the recommended software) for a few days.
The crews were immediately productive with the Topcon setup. The Leica hardware was the best liked, but the crews never got their software to work. I am sure that they could have been trained, but they begged us not to be forced to learn it. The Trimble was fine, but they didnt like a few things about the hardware. Topcon worked, Magnet sucks compared to SurvCE, but seemed comparable to the Trimble offering.
We previously ran a PS and a Leica TCRP 1201+ (I still shed a tear that we traded in that Leica), with Carlson SurvCE. We ran off brand GPS because we could with SurvCE and it was a third the price.
Now we are all Topcon top to bottom. It is more efficient than the patchwork before. I get less complaints about hardware and software issues. SurvCE is better at field to finish, and is simply better software in every aspect that I have used it, but we were looking for a single color to avoid conflicts and lack of vendor accountability.
The guys still miss the Leica robots (both the one they tested and the old one), but they still have bad memories of the software. The GT is a huge step up from the PS, however, which now sits on the shelf as a backup.-All thoughts my own, except my typos and when I am wrong.
- MemberOctober 3, 2019 at 8:40 pm
I suggest the Hiper VR, it is about half the cost of the HR and works just as well, if not better.
- MemberOctober 4, 2019 at 6:48 pm
I used the Topcon GT running Magnet on their fc5000 tablet and it was straight trash.
I heard they have great financing though.
- MemberOctober 5, 2019 at 2:23 am
My experience with Trimble has been quite different than yours. I started with a Topcon GPT-9003 robot and a FC-2500 data collector. That combo was good for 3000 ft but I hated the TopSurv software. Switching to Carlson SurvCE on that rig resulted in radio issues that reduced its range to 1000 ft at best. I learned a valuable lesson about mixing and matching equipment.
When I decided to look at Trimble (local dealer + better support), I took an S6 and a Yuma 2 data collector running Trimble Access out to a section of Highway where I could get long sight lines and had lots of RF sources to provide potential interference. I set the S6 in the median with car lots and fast food joints on both sides of the road and then drove out to about 2500′ (approx. auto track range to the MT1000). The radio was still solid so I switched to a larger prism and went further out. With the prism attached to the truck and the DC in the cab I didn’t lose the radio until I was out beyond 4000′. I now run an S6 & S7 with a Yuma2 and a Yuma7. I have had a couple of instances where I had to shut off the WiFi and Bluetooth to get rid of interference that was causing the radio to drop out at around a 1000′ but that was on a site where the instrument was near a transmission line and the radio would drop out when I got near certain houses.
- MemberOctober 5, 2019 at 11:54 am
buwaaaaahaahahahhaha…. not surprised at all. It is impressive they are still in business at all because they have been making optical garbage for over 15 years. IMO they haven??t made a decent robot ever, probably never will.
- MemberOctober 5, 2019 at 5:26 pm
32?ø/second, or about 11 seconds to make a full rotation seems about right for a PS. Against about 3 seconds to do the same thing with a 15 year old Trimble S6. Increasing that speed by 4x on the GT is a huge improvement, but one wonders why it took until 2019 to do something the Trimble was doing 15 years ago.
- MemberOctober 5, 2019 at 10:51 pm
Are you talking about tracking speed or rotating speed? The PS Robot max. rotating speed is 85?ø/second or 4.2 seconds per revolution.
There are versions of the PS robot specific to machine control LPS operations that have even faster-rotating speeds (since 2012). These are often purchased only by contractors, not surveyors.
The GT Robot was released in 2016, NOT 2019.
The PS Robot was released in 2012.
The Trump World. Speak first, and sort out the facts later.
- MemberOctober 6, 2019 at 12:51 am
I had no specific idea about rotational speed specs until you posted 32?ø/second. I only knew that it is slow. I looked it up after you posted that number. I have no idea that their is a difference between tracking speed and rotational speed. But it doesn’t turn fast enough to track a target that is within a hundred feet of the instrument and moving at normal walking speed. It could be that the latency my instrument exhibits is an abberation. But I have complained about it to the dealer a number of times, a Topcon Solutions Store, and no solution has been offered.
Even the 20?ø/sec tracking speed listed in the specs aught to be enough to keep up with a person. But it simply doesn’t do it. It’s rare for the thing to stay locked on as you move from point to point, even if its a few feet. I’m truly at my wit’s end with this PoS.
The instrument was sold new in 2015. Okay, so it only took Topcon 12 years (2004-2016) instead of 15 to match Trimble’s (and everybody else’s) rotational speed. A distinction but not a difference.
Finally, let’s keep politics out of this.
- MemberOctober 6, 2019 at 9:49 am
One of the facts that might be helpful to sort out is that you have a business concern tutoring users in how to use the Topcon line of products.
Disclosing that when you shill their products might better inform forum users in their evaluation of your glowing reviews.
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