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New to laser transits. Which unit?

Discussion in 'Lasers' started by MattR, Apr 13, 2020.

  1. bam1968

    bam1968 Senior Member

    Nov 1, 2014
    Excavating Contractor
    As far as receivers I have a couple of Leica magnetic mounts receivers that we mount on the dozer blades. They are fairly inexpensive and seem to work well for us. IIRC CM1995 and Shimmy have alot nicer receiver setups but they probably cost quite a bit more. It all comes down to your application and frequency of use. For instance, I don't have much use for a dual slope laser because the bulk of our work is terracing, waterways and general farm type work with an occasional basement here and there. But we recently finished the initial grading for a storage unit building. The building itself is level. But in a month or so we will be going back to finish the grade for the 24 ft cement driveway that goes all the way around the building. The plans show for all sorts of slopes on the driveway and will likely be a PITA with my single slope laser. But personally I don't think I can justify the cost of a dual slope for an occasional use like that. We will see, I might be eating my words in a month or so!!!!! :eek:
  2. Shimmy1

    Shimmy1 Senior Member

    Aug 14, 2014
    North Dakota
    I can't help you much, because I'm a Spectra guy. I spent some time with a RT-5, and tried a H5A. Had a bunch of trouble with the RT, and didn't care for the other one. Decided to try a GL-722, and haven't looked back. I think a laser is like a piece of equipment. My Spectra dealer is exceptional, and that's why I stick with them. As far as dual slope, you don't know you need it until you don't have it. I do a lot of building-site grading and natural waterway work, and use the dual slope quite often. You are going to be the best judge of if you need it or not.

    DGODGR Senior Member

    Dec 18, 2009
    S/W CO
    I think the dual slope feature is worth it. Especially for only $350 more. I won't buy a laser without dual slope capability.
    Maybe you are already aware but dual slope still gets you only a single plane. In the world of rotary lasers there are (2) axis (hence dual slope). They are usually referred to as the X and Y axis. The X axis will always be 90 degrees to the Y axis (or perpendicular). If you have a single slope laser you can only pitch it along (1) axis. If you have the dual slope laser you can pitch it along both. Imagine a table top. It is a single plane (flat across the top). If you were at one end of our imaginary table you could tip the table towards you. This would put a slope along the X axis. Now imagine you tip the right side of the table higher than the left. This would put a slope on the Y axis. On a single slope laser you could program the laser to put slope in one direction or the other. If you have a dual slope laser you can do both at the same time. If we go back to our table you started off by sloping the table toward you. Now while the table is still sloped toward you, the dual slope laser can also tip either right or left as well. Remember that the table top is always a flt top, or on a single plane, so you can't make hips or valleys without resetting the programed slope of the laser. Hopefully that helps you understand the difference and the added function between the single and dual slope transmitters. I will often use the dual slope feature when grading for driveway slab prep.
    I would also recommend getting one that has at least 12 degree slope capability. For my area 12 degrees is the maximum driveway slope allowed by the fire department. The TopCon that I have came with rechargeable batteries, can also run on 110 power, or I can also run it on D cells. I must admit that this is very handy.
    I currently am running a TopCon RL1002s. At the time I bought it retail price was $3,200.00. I believe that it is the predecessor to the RL H5B. Before that I had some cheaper units (a CST and a David White -which were the same level with only a slightly different shell). I had some trouble with the TopCon going into error mode quite frequently. I also found that the cheaper units would work in colder temps than the TopCon. That was pretty frustrating for me. Especially considering that the TopCon was 2x the price as the other ones I had. While both of the cheaper units are now dead and gone the TopCon remains. I no longer have trouble with it.
    I will also second the consideration of service after the sale. Unfortunately I live in a rural town so I have to ship a laser out of town for repairs. I just bought (2) Leica lasers (they haven't even arrived yet) in part because of reports of excellent durability. They also have a 5 year warranty and a 2 year "knock down" warranty. That's right...Leica will repair it for free if it gets knocked down or dropped, etc. Now that I have (3) lasers I have a spare with my current crew make-up. This will allow me to stay working if one is off for repairs.
    Yes you can get a laser indicator mounted to your machine. You haven't said if you want a receiver for a dozer or an excavator or what. If I was to buy a receiver for an excavator I think I would go with a Spectra LR60. I like the plumb indicator but it will also be accurate at +/-30 degrees of plumb. No other brand of receiver has the plumb compensation feature except Apache-which makes the LR60 for Spectra. I would really like to get a 2D system from Leica or IDig. They work pretty much the same as the what you now find on Cat excavators but without any automation. They are a bit spendy too. The LR60 will also work on a dozer mast but one could probably buy a less expensive unit for that application.
    CM1995 likes this.
  4. suladas

    suladas Senior Member

    Jun 30, 2016
    My spectra uses rechargeable D batteries but I also keep a extra set in the case, best of best worlds. Just pull it out and charge after most jobs but if something happens I have extra batteries. My only complaint is it's very temperamental with the wind and the sensor going off. Slope is a waste of time for most IMO. Also if you're having employees run it, it adds a extra factor of messing something up. I use a LR60 receiver on my hoe for basements and it's great. I rented it numerous times to get a feel, also tried the LR50 but the plumb indicator is well worth the extra money. It cost me a little over $3,000 but the way I look at it costs say $200 a day for a guy to run a stick, 15 days and it's paid for itself, and it always shows up and doesn't screw up. It does take awhile to get use to it to make a nice hole. If you haven't used one, i'd highly recommend having a guy run a stick or checking yourself for a bit until you get use to it. I am amazed you don't see many of them around.
    JPSouth and Ronsii like this.
  5. lumberjack

    lumberjack Senior Member

    Dec 24, 2011
    Columbus, MS
    7 years ago I bought a Spectra UL633. I don’t use it much, but I’ve never wished for “more” laser.

    Buy once, cry once kinda deal.