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Topcon Millimeter GPS vs Trimble GPS

Discussion in 'GPS Systems' started by Sigep761, Dec 29, 2011.

  1. Sigep761

    Sigep761 Member

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    I am about to purchase a Base and Rover system and then eventually add machine control. Does trimble offer anything as accurate as topcons millimeter GPS? im leaning towards trimble but i want to be more than .30 accurate. any and all advice is appreciated.
     
  2. JimBruce42

    JimBruce42 Senior Member

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    The systems might have changed a bit since I first saw the topcon systems, but I think the millimeter GPS gets its really tight accuracy from a laser plane in conjunction with the GPS. If you get out of sight of the laser, you lose the advantage, but I believe trimble has a mast that reads a laser too. The new systems are all much more accurate (on both manufacturers), but I've always used Trimble where I work.
     
  3. t_dirt

    t_dirt Well-Known Member

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    Sigep761, before you buy either, talk to your local dealer and look at both systems. I sell Topcon and i sold Trimble in the past. The mmGPS from Topcon is a better solution than the Trimble Laser option, because the Trimble is limited to the 4' +/- laser receiver on the mast. The topcon system is up 15' and down 15' from the center of the laser, a total of 30' vertical and you can add 1 or 2 or 3 more lasers and cover a huge vertical or horizontal distance. The new Topcon GR-5 units are the most accurate GPS units i have ever seen!! Pair them with a new FC-236 and you have a great package!!!
    just my $.02 worth!!
    http://www.topconpositioning.com/dealer-locator
    CALL YOU LOCAL DEALERS!!!!
     
  4. MarkChambers

    MarkChambers New Member

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    Sigep. Our company has owned both Topcon and Trimble systems...we currently use the Trimble system on large projects and use the Topcon system for smaller jobs, staking and places where we just want to quickly jump in and out because the setup on the Topcon systems is quicker. Topcons rovers seem to be designed more for the end user or surveyors because they're lighter, more portable and streamlined down from several cases for the Trimble units down to just one hardcase and a tripod for the Topcon system. On the other hand, Topcon has never given me the range that Trimble has on their radios, if you're going to be on one job for an extended period the Trimble system is much easier to set up (you just break down the antennae and radio at night and set them back up in the morning) all you have to do after the initial setup is just turn it on and all your machines will automatically connect, do location corrections and you're off to work. Both Trimble and Topcon have millimeter systems but both require the addition of a laser and some additional laser receivers. If all your work requires that tight of a tolerance then its probably worth the money but if its just an occasional job or some one off work then you'll probably be much better off just using a cheap and reliable laser system to begin with. Thats just my opinion though. Both systems work great and they're both pretty comparable it's going to basically boil down to who gives you the better deal and who can offer you better service in your area.
     
  5. Bigironjim

    Bigironjim Well-Known Member

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    Starting with the base and rover, and learning the basics as well as the more advanced funtions of verifying the site, collecting data, site layout, shooting catch points, and working your way into machine control is, in my opinion, the best way to go. I have had the Topcon single GPS side by side the Cat Trimble AccuGrade dual GPS system on comparable motorgraders, using the same calibration points but completely separate base/ rover system, and checking grade with both rover/ data collectors. On the bottom of a landfill cell we worked them both, alternating the lead grader, and they both worked within a .050' (+/- .025') ON THE STRAIGHT PUSH. In the turn accuracy fell off on the singl GPS machine, the slope sensor on that machine was slow to react OR valve speed was adjusted too slow is my opinion. That being said, I am comfortable saying that the GPS system brings the design into the cab, eliminates ALMOST all of the grade stakes, and will work within a tenth (+/- .050) all day long. IF you need VERTICLE accuracy closer than that, go with the laser, the Topcon gives you the most verticle flexibility. IF most of your work is flat planes( or flat slopes ) a laser system is less expensive and more accurate than a GPS system. Other than brief periods of "low accuracy GPS" I have had two days since 2007 that the satelites were a problem.
    Again, in my opinion (that opinion and $1.00 will get you a cup of coffee where they sell cheap coffee) ASK both of your dealers for a demo, tell them what you have in mind, and allow THEM to show you how their system wil not only save you time, but make you money.
     
  6. Sigep761

    Sigep761 Member

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    thanks for the advice guys. I love hearing from people who have experience. I am new to all this but very interested in learning as much as i can about it. As far as cheap automated laser systems for a dozer or grader do you guys have any recommendations?
     
  7. Bigironjim

    Bigironjim Well-Known Member

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    Sigep761.
    What is the main type of work that you do? Pads, Berms, drainage ? or, Complex 3-D work ?
     
  8. Sigep761

    Sigep761 Member

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    Bigironjim we do all types of grading. Pads, slopes, roads and utilities.
     
  9. MCguy

    MCguy Member

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    No matter what system you choose, it boils down to the information and the calibrations you put in (3D model & site calibrations). If you put garbage in, you'll get garbage out! I dont think if your using just GPS that you gain anything from Trimble to Topcon, it works the same. Now if your trying to abtain tight tolerances then there are few routes to look at. Topcon offers the millimeter laser system that is more flexable than Trimble's. Topcon's lasers allow a 30' window verses Trimble's 4'+/-. Both offer a system that works with a total station also, I can verify the Topcon's system but have used Trimble's Blade Pro and GCS900 systems for years and never have any issues obtain the tolerances I have needed. The Blade Pro is for the most part out dated and not sold nor serviced by Trimble or their dealers anymore. There are a few dealers out there that have systems to sell used. THe GCS900 systems are fresh and can get expensive if you are setting up a new machince. For example to set an new grader up with Trimble GCS900 with SPS930 total station could run you $90k or so, same with Topcon's grader using 3Dmc2 ( i have quotes in front of me for both)

    If your new to the machine control I would base your decision on who will give you the better serivce, b/c you going to have problems and question when you first starting until you get over the learning curve.
     
  10. Duramax

    Duramax Member

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    We went through the same thing when we were deciding which one to purchase. And it boiled down to two things, 1 dealer support trimble in our area has outstanding staff and support where topcon has one rep for the whole state and was a dealer we seldom do buisness with, we were afraid of never seeing them after the sale. #2 we wanted to be able to plug and play our cat dealer has been ordering only ARO machines for the last few years so if we update a machine or rent one it is prewired. Also we like the dual mast over the slope sensors. Anyway we are pleased with the route we went.
     
  11. Chopjaw

    Chopjaw Member

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    I am new here cause I just joined...LOL

    TO answer you question is this. Both system builders produce a good product. I have used both. Trimble is my choice of product. You can get better than .10 Horz and .10 Vert on a calibration, BUT like any machine control system the accuracy is dependent on how good the control is that you are using! Period!! If anybody tells you different is just talking crap and is a salesman. Trimble has a better 3D system cause of the software and the option of Trimble Connected Community (TCC). They offer so much more for software, radio/internet/cell phone connectivity. There are options galore. THe software is Business Center-HCE for a free software there is not a single platform better, sure there are different brands but NOBODY can compair to a single platform that does so much. Yes if you want to go further then you have to buy the upgrades for the modules. Terramodel, paydirt, sight vision office was the software versions that you have to have if you were going to go all Trimble. Now they combigned all 3 into a single platform. I have used Agtek to do takeoff, Carlson too, and they are good products. but you have to use 3 different programs to perform a task. Once again, Trimble is one system. Less mess or problems.. I work with some of the biggest constructions companies in the world and they run both systems, if you ask them. Their choice is Trimble. BUT in the end you have to decide!!

    Good Luck.
     
  12. MCguy

    MCguy Member

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    I haven't figured out the TBC as of yet, but Ive been using Carlson for the past 3-4 years now and I love it...probably b/c Im a AutoCAD guy since the version12 days. But the biggest thing to keep in mind that the number one thing with there systems is the information you put in...ive said before many times, if you put garbage in, expect garbage out
     
  13. vapor300

    vapor300 Senior Member

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    Topcon is hands down the better system when it comes to machine control, first they had 3Dmc2 now they have 3Gmc2 much more accurate and faster system
     
  14. Duramax

    Duramax Member

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    I assume you have used both to support your opinion.
     
  15. MCguy

    MCguy Member

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    Ive only ever used Trimble, did a demo with Topcon once and the operator didnt like the display? Not sure why - Again though BOTH do the same exact thing.
     
  16. Cat IT38H

    Cat IT38H New Member

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    My company only runs Topcon, but its is user friendly. I have a rover and base that I have been running for the past three years, and in general i have had little problems. My first job was in Northern NH and with the tree cover it was not very useful. In 2009 i was on an airport job where we had a base, rover and GPS dozer and grader with MM. The paving foreman said it was the best fine grade he has ever seen on a runway, and he has been paving for 40 plus years. We had no problems getting the P209 to quarter inch tolerance. This past season I was on a landfill and he had a base, rover, and new Cat D6N LPG with 3D MC2, we had no problems with grades but the machine automation is only has good as the model.
     
  17. vapor300

    vapor300 Senior Member

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    Well lets see here

    1 year on a quad track 450 with trimbles old version- very slow had a hard time keeping up with you if you were gojng to fast, accurate to within 5 tenths

    3 years on a 627 with the latest version of trimble- very fast kept up with 27 no matter how fast you went and was accurate to within a few tenths, took lots of abuse

    spent a few weeks on a 6t with trimble dual head system- it was faster then the old topcon but no where near as fast as 3Dmc2, when in auto the fstest you could run was full throttle first gear, was nice have the dual heads since even when you angled the blade it still knew where the blade was, and you didnt have to worry about breaklines and shoulders and things like that, and was accurate to within a tenth

    6 months on a 6t with topcons old system- hated it, very very slow, auto would only keep up in 1st gear, was easier just to free hand it, accurate to within 5 tenths

    6 months on 6t with topcon 3Dmc2- Loved it, kept up with me no matter how fast i went, auto works great, but had to be careful when you were finsihing and had the blade angled, since its only a single head it doesnt calibrate when you have the blade angled, can get you in trouble fast if you forget about it and ur cutting a slope that has break points in it, and also had a hard time with the blade chopping if i didnt have a 1/4 blade full, accurate within a tenth

    1 year on 8t with 3Dmc2- same results very fast, exspecially in auto, but the 8 was more balanced and auto would cut smooth as glass even if i was pushing half a yard of dirt, accurate to within a tenth

    about a month on a 14M with topcon MM- when using MM had to run about 1st gear half to full throtle, accuarte to with a few hundreths, now they have 3Gmc2 would like to run one with this sysyem
     
  18. Chopjaw

    Chopjaw Member

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    That really depends on what you like. We just went to a product demo and there were 2new contractors who wanted 3d machine control. Both Trimble and Topcon had a demo set up with Blade and excavator running the respected systems. Both contractors left with Trimble orders... Just sayin.... If you have only used Topcon then that's all you know. If you have used both then chances are, you like trimble. If you are new to the game and want the best.. Trimble wins out almost every time. Just sayin..

    Thanks.
     
  19. Bigironjim

    Bigironjim Well-Known Member

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    Chopjaw:
    Agreed,
    ANY machine control is better than no machine control... But given the chance to compare, side by side, Trimble will win out, almost every time.
     
  20. vapor300

    vapor300 Senior Member

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    Im willing to bet that the topcon system on the blade was not 3Gmc2, and a trimble gps dozer cannot finish as fast as a topcon 3Dmc2 system, trimble will even admit this