Im looking at used robots. years ago like maybe 8 years a topcon rep demoed a 9003a. the company didn't buy it. I see a few online. any comments on this robot? pros cons? I thought he said it would do scans on buildings. take a shot every couple inches.
This Content Originally Published by a land surveyor to Land Surveyors United Network
The 9003a is a solid robot. It performs well enough and I think if purchased, you will find it to be in the average level of comparable robots. It tracks well, holds great vertical, and is easy enough to use. You will find it is not as fast as newer robots, isn't as easy as the newer robots to field calibrate/compensate, and the communication system leaves a bit to be desired. You have to use a RC-3 or RC-4 unit on top of the prism which is a pain and costly if damaged. ($5k piece of equipment on top of your $1k prism).
We still have a few out in the field (I manage approximately 56 crews across the US). The guys that have them, when offered an upgrade to a QS, PS, or GT, always have wanted to keep their 9003a. The main feedback I get is how tight the horizontal and vertical stays in them compared to the others (which is good bc they are not as easy to field adjust).
As far as scanning, I do not believe the 9003a has any kind of significant scanning abilities, nor would I trust it. Obviously, you can shoot reflectorless as well as setup auto-topo depending on your software, but personally, I would not consider the 9003a as a scanner in any way!
They are a good, solid robot with a few drawbacks but if you take care of it and learn to use it right, it will get the job done accurately and relatively headache free! Hope this helps a little!
I'm using a QS and FC-5000 (Juniper Mesa 2) tablet. I've had recurring connection glitches between the data collector and instrument for several months (Bluetooth and WiFi probelms). No one can figure it out. The tablet has a tendency to freeze and restart itself 6 or 8 times each day (sometimes in the middle of a measurement). Very unreliable on a good day.
I have two instruments and two tablets (one of the tablets is 30 days old). Topcon makes very durable and reliable instruments and I like the prism finder button on the RC-4 but at this point due to the connection problems I would not reccommend a Topcon robotic system to my worst enemy and I regret investing in them. I also use a Topcon GR-3 for RTK GNSS measurements.
Maybe the GT is better, I don't know and I probably never will
The last 2 Windows 10 versions are creating issues in the FC-5000 collectors. I have talked directly with Topcon about it as it has affected a handful of our collectors. What I have done is sent out instruction to our crews on how to turn off, or at least delay, any updates for the near future. If you are not out of the time window, you do have the ability to recover your last version of Windows. We have found issues with Windows 10 Pro 1703 and 1709 but most drastically with 1709.
The one other option you have is to re-image the collector...essentially setting it back to new and blocking updates. You will have to backup all of your info and re-install any additional software, but it should get you back to running decent. I have had to do this to our most extreme cases.
Page 21 of the FC-5000 user manual covers the process if you want to give it a shot!
As far as the issues, I believe 100% it is a Windows issue and not a Topcon/Magnet issue. If you search the error codes and error screens, as well as some of the other glitches, you will see they are coming up for people surveying on FC-5000s to people using financing software on PCs. There is some kind of error being created in the Windows registry and it appears to be creating conflicts when multiple applications are running...which is always!
One other note, equipment configs and jobs can become corrupted in Magnet. Sometimes, creating an identical equipment config with a different name will fix issues. Sometimes, exporting all your points, creating a new job, and bringing just the points in will fix the issue. That IS a Magnet issue and I have told Topcon about it as well!
Thanks for the input Gary, it sounds like you have made some good progress on this issue and I will try your suggestions. I expect it will take a couple of days of lost time to sort it all out
Unfortunately, my dim view of Topcon's robotic setup precedes this recent episode.
I have said since Summer 2016 when I started using the QS that I really like the Topcon setup on the T&M jobs because everything takes twice as long. Prior to purchasing the first tablet we were using an FC-100 (I believe). It had similar problems with freezing and restarts, presumably a BT glitch. Finally it crashed completely and we bought the tablet. The tablet worked well for about six months. Now it won't connect to internet hotspots (iphone). The batteries on the QS went bad and we bought a new charging unit. The RC-4 had to be rebuilt. The windows glitches are just another drop in the bucket. The main problem is the amount of time we spend on every project tapping on the screen trying to get the thing to work right. There is certainly an above average number of quirks with this setup, I've used Leica robots, Trimble S6 and Sokkia, Topcon and Nikon conventional instruments since 1999 and we bought a Trimble SX-10 last spring. I've never expereinced anything so tempramental as this Topcon robotic system. It's difficult to put into words....
My intent is to get a DC that cables to the instrument and the RC-4 so that I can bypass the bluetooth modules. The tablet does not appear to have this capability
The only thing I can say that is positive about the Topcon instruments at this point is that they last a really long time. I'm not sure anymore this is truly a blessing. I wish things could be different as I am currently afflicted with two of them and I would like them to work as buying new total stations is not an option at the moment. I will probably be pulling my hair out over Topcon quirks for at least another year or I will buy an older used Leica and a Juniper /Carlson Allegro
We feel and understand your pain. We recently had a sit down with some Topcon reps as well as our vendor and let them have it for about 2 hours! I backed it up with purchase dates, repair dates, everything. They had no leg to stand on! I am a Topcon guy...I love their GPS and software. I have ALWAYS despised their robotics...conventionals are great...but since I have gone to robotics, I hate them. I had a Leica 1203+ that would run circles around any Topcon robot out there.
As far as cabling to your robot, you have a couple options. The one you may have explored is bypassing the RC unit and bluetoothing straight to the QS. You only have a 60' range so it will have to be a 2-man crew to pull off, but it can get you out of a jam. You may have already explored that option though. The other option, which you won't like either, is there are different models of FC-5000. One has the option for the RS232 port to be on the collector ($600-$900 extra)...old school 9 pin serial like all of us older surveyors know. I would assume there is a cable made to run that connection to the QS. Another model is the Geo model. I have not used the feature and we do not have the geo models, but my understanding with them is that you can turn on Hybrid and use the GPS locator in the FC-5000 to turn the robot to the area you are in, and then it will search your preset work area. Again, I have yet to use that feature, so I am sure there is more to it than that, but they are some additional options you can research and/or try!