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Thoughts on Trimble's Earthworks 2D with Auto?

Discussion in 'Integrated Machine Control' started by KSSS, Dec 9, 2021.

  1. KSSS

    KSSS Senior Member

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    excavation
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    Idaho
    Having run both lasers, the Topcon at a max of 800 rpm or the GeoMax at up to 20 RPS, the Geomax makes it easy, the Topcon speed is nothing but frustrating so I can say 800 RPM is not fast enough. When Western States Cat came out to show us how to use it. The instructor who is incredibly knowledge about the system, looked at the laser and when he saw how fast it spins, he commented on how much better this would be to catch the laser signal. When I told him what I paid for it (I think it was around $3K) he was completely surprised since their laser that spins that fast was around $6K. I haven't slowed the GeoMax down to identify what speed is min. and still be considered "fast". I just make sure that when I use the system, that I have the Geomax and I set it at its fastest setting.

    The guy from Smart Grade essentially said the same thing. As I mentioned I told him my laser model and he immediately told me to upgrade lasers. His reasoning was little different but also made sense. The more hits on the receiver results in a much faster response by the attachment. If the hits are slow the machine cant make instant changes. It made sense to me when he explained it that way. I fought the concern that he was trying to sell me more stuff, it turned out to be a great decision not only for the Smart Grade application but for Earthworks as well.

    If you were a little closer I would let you use to see for yourself.
     
    DGODGR likes this.
  2. DGODGR

    DGODGR Senior Member

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    My Leica CL series laser will do 20 RPS so I'll check to see if it makes a difference for me when I do my next dig-out later this week.
     
  3. KSSS

    KSSS Senior Member

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    Well good your set then, You will certainly notice a difference. You have your system to automatically accept the laser I assume? You should here a beep when your near the laser.
     
  4. DGODGR

    DGODGR Senior Member

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    It's been a while so I thought I'd check in to see how you're getting along with your system....and to report on my experiences as well.
    I have not used the "Grade Assist" feature yet (more on that below). I usually use the "Touch To Bench", and "Laser Bench", but with indicate only. I prefer using the laser because it is available from most anywhere you move the machine. Furthermore I find it a little bit more accurate since one is not "benching" from a spot that might not be perfect do to the accuracy tolerances of the machine. In other words, if I "bench" a spot that the machine told me was on grade, it may be a hair off (+/- a tenth maybe?), so the laser beam has much greater accuracy. I greatly enjoy how user friendly the system seems to be thus far. I have been able to use the system without any real training from the MFR.
    That being said, I tried to use the laser to bench with my last dig-out. Something was not right as it was several feet off from what my story pole was telling me (Trust the story pole!). I tried canceling and re-benching several times but could not get it to work. Back to having a man on the pole for this dig-out. Cat came out (it was actually a guy from SITECH) and he looked at it to try and figure things out. Of course, it worked fine. We did, however, find out that the "Grade Assist" (the machine control feature) was not working. Boom and bucket would not go below the established grade but crowd did not even recognize grade, nor did the boom and bucket go "automatic" while crowding (which is how the grade assist is supposed to function) so it makes me wonder if he was in the "E-Fence" mode instead of grade assist. Cat has since come out and downloaded all of the relevant updates to the computer, and the tech was also on the line with "CAT Tech" trying to get it sorted out. So far, they can't seem to get it sorted and are talking about maybe replacing ECMs. I have another dig-out to start this week so we will see if , at least, the laser catch is working. As it relates to Grade Assist, the tech left with no fix, not much of an idea how it was going to get fixed (other than CAT Tech is on it and will get back to him), and the statement that "Don't worry, we won't leave you hanging", as he drove off and left me hanging. As I said, so far I haven't even used the system (I usually use the machine with indicate only so far anyway), but I would like it to be functional when the day comes that I will use Grade Assist. After all, I paid a pretty penny for that functionality. I'm glad that I paid for the extended warranty!

    How have you been getting along with your system?
     
  5. KSSS

    KSSS Senior Member

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    It's been mostly good. Every once in a while, it will be off. I can't explain what causes that. Probably me doing something wrong. I reset it and it has worked, so it must be me, but I swear I have done nothing different. My only continuous issue is at times trouble hitting the laser receiver On foundations where there is a lot of fall in the basement, sometimes is a beach swinging to hit the receiver. On a typical flat basement it works fine, but the more fall the harder that can be at times. I will have to fold the stick up and lay it way down to hit it. Moving the laser works but can be a PINTA, when it is so high, its a struggle setting the laser by hand. The receiver window is small and like I mentioned, the faster I spin the laser it helps, but not always on more complex digs. These are somewhat first world problems, overall its worth the money. 3D would solve my personal issues, but that is a lot more money.