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Trimble or Topcon?

Discussion in 'GPS Systems' started by Mass-X, Jan 18, 2009.

  1. Mass-X

    Mass-X Well-Known Member

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    If you have experience with both Trimble and Topcon GPS systems, which do you prefer and why?

    I would like to hear preferences and opinions from operators and grade setters/surveyors that have used both systems. I’ve only worked with these two brands, and they seem to be the two most popular systems.

    What do you like and dislike about Trimble? What do you like/dislike about Topcon?

    What do you see as the weaknesses of each system?

    Which software/model construction software do you prefer?

    Any other comments on the two systems?
     
  2. bigcatpip

    bigcatpip Well-Known Member

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    trimble is all we use and the only thng I can say bad about it is when you are making a "new grade " or "new slope" you dont see your background map.
     
  3. grunk36

    grunk36 Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
    trainer/technical support with TRIMBLE/SITECH denm
    Location:
    denmark
    i have used trimble/accugrade for 3,5 years now and i love it cant say anything bad about it and know some people who says the same about topcon except for the tiny mast on topcon who shakes aroun where trimble has got 2 very rugged mast that do not move at all
    i think that if its for caterpillar i would choose trimble if its for komatsu i would choose topcon because of the build in platforms
     
  4. Txdrt

    Txdrt Member

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    Occupation:
    Equipment/Safety Coordinator and wishing I was on
    Location:
    Central Texas
    If you are looking around try ICM out of Ark. Their system combined with Carlson's grade supervisor.
     
  5. F-1.08-F.G.

    F-1.08-F.G. Active Member

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    Location:
    Richmond VA
    TopCon

    1 1/2 years on a Cat D-6K equipped with TopCon System 5 3-D grade control system. System works flawlessly and has more tools and options than you could imagine. Love the slope lock and point of measure offsets when I'm grading for curbing. Not too familiar with the ToPo abilities yet, but I've played with it on slow days... will VERY accurately measure stockpiles if you take the time to do it right. TopCon (just like any system) has its hiccups if you put it in the right (or wrong) place (areas with closely spaced contours or aggressive landscaping areas), but a wise operator knows to avoid these areas or do them manually. Some say that most GPS systems have a steep learning curve... but through my experiences, I would say that if you know how to read a set of site plans and profiles, the learning curve really isn't that steep. On a good day I can literally wipe the dirt right off of the blue tops at a brisk walking pace. I'm very eager to try some other systems because I really don't believe anything could be more user friendly and easy to get used to. TopCon really hit the nail on the head with this one!
     
  6. grunk36

    grunk36 Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
    trainer/technical support with TRIMBLE/SITECH denm
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    denmark
    i would say excactly the same about trimble/accugrade after 4 years of use but like you i would love to try out another system like topcon
     
  7. pauly690

    pauly690 New Member

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    Location:
    canada
    We own both... To make a long story short were sticking with Topcon. Although the Trimble is a great system, Topcon has much better support, cheaper, and easier to operate. I think the Trimble may be a little more accurate than Topcon. We have a hard time getting the Horizontal and Vertical precicions down to sub 1". With the millimeter though were bang on! Trimble is also pushing 900MHZ which is a huge problem on highway jobs. They will only transmit 2 miles max which means you need multiple repeaters at $5000 each.

    Hope this helps. BTW I have 2 trimble and 13 topcon machines. Multiple rovers for both.
     
  8. Captain Call

    Captain Call Member

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    Occupation:
    Operator, Grade Checker
    Location:
    Utah
    I just started working with the Trimble rover this last year after using Topcon for about 4 years. It took some getting used to, but I like it. I use both Survey Controler and SCS 900. I don't typically run the iron with GPS because I'm on the ground 95% of the time but I have messed around with them some and like the Topcon a little more but I suppose it's cause I have more hours on Topcon than Trimble.
     
  9. grunk36

    grunk36 Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
    trainer/technical support with TRIMBLE/SITECH denm
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    denmark
    here in denmark trimble use the 400 mhz i have an mobile basestation and has been working up to at least 8 km from it with no problems
     
  10. dozerdan

    dozerdan Member

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    Location:
    united states
    I like both systems, but if I had to choose one it would be trimble. They have given us good product support, and the trimble components are more durable, and I think that the accuracy is just a touch better. I am more comfortable with trimble, and I know my way around the system better.
     
  11. aglasergps

    aglasergps Active Member

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    Occupation:
    Managing Director - TOOMEY EARTHMOVERS
    Location:
    Yatala, Queensland, Australia
    Trimble or Topcon GNSS technology

    This is our experience at the moment here in Australia and really compares the quality of the satellite based solutions of the two major competitors in this field, Trimble and Topcon. Even though what we are doing is agricultural grading, the same basic hardware is used in the construction products of both these companies. I'm not sure how much GNSS grading is done anywhere else but would be interested to hear what other people are seeing.

    I run Trimble's agricultural version of the GNSS 3-D on my tractor scraper and a contractor not far from where I'm working has 3 of the Topcon GNSS 3-D MC systems on his scrapers (pans to you guys). We both grade fields for drainage and accuracy is very important.

    After this last 2 months I think that Topcon has a few issues with their GNSS receiver software. I can grade perfectly with the Trimble GNSS and the Topcon GNSS systems keep changing height and putting waves in the field surface - it's not much really, but it is noticeable, and under lights really stands out. The contractor tells me that the calculated vertical accuracy of the Topcon goes out to 80mm (3 inches) sometimes and at the same time the Trimble isn't faltering and still produces a smooth trim. He sometimes gets his best results when he turns off the Glonass satellites and only runs on the GPS satellites. We have the same scrapers so that isn't a factor. I can drive away from my fields as my scraper leaves them but this other guy has to run a 40 foot wide grader board across the field to try and smooth out the waves. The Topcon guys have changed everything many times and can't stop the height changes and they are getting as frustrated as this contractor.

    In three weeks we have only ever seen one definite elevation shift with the Trimble, and that was about 7mm, and lasted all that day. The rest of the time we continually grade on the same bench mark offset. The height does shift a bit on a hard turn but quicky settles once we are travelling in a straight line - it's pretty cool to watch.

    As far as radios are concerned, Trimble have both 900 and 450 as standard options so I don't know why that dealer would be pushing 900 MHz only unless there was already a 900 MHz base established. I don't use the Trimble radios at all. I've gone to a third party 150MHz VHF data radio and can get working distances to 20 kms in lots of areas. We can even repeat the GNSS corrections with the same rover radio at that distance as well. I wouldn't have thought there was any restriction there for using a different radio band so that may be an option to get distance? This type of radio solution is relatively inexpensive in comparison.
     
  12. Dozerboy

    Dozerboy Senior Member

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    TX
    I agree the Trimble is more accurate than Topcon. Waves in the grade. We have a lot of trouble with our Trimble setups, but there a bit older.
     
  13. aglasergps

    aglasergps Active Member

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    Managing Director - TOOMEY EARTHMOVERS
    Location:
    Yatala, Queensland, Australia
    What sort of trouble? Base or machine set up? What system are you talking about?

    The newer civil gear is a lot better but still requires a bit of site calibration software to set up. That's why I like the Ag 3-D version - no surveyors needed, just a benchmark location (sorry about that if you are a surveyor)...though it is limited by the control file software at this stage.
     
  14. pauly690

    pauly690 New Member

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    I've got a pile of 900mhz radios for machines, rovers,bases and repeaters if anyone is interested!

    EMAIL ME AT paulmc000@hotmail.com
     
  15. Laser

    Laser Member

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    Midwest
    for you Topcon dozer users...you need to take advantage of upgrading your 9168 systems to the MC2. No one can grade with the speed and smoothness of this system. F
     
  16. EGS

    EGS Senior Member

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    We use Trimble we have good luck with it. The only time I have seen Topcon is when they tried it out when we where switching to GPS. The Topcon guy was out trying to get it hooked up and he could not get it to get to pick up a signal. When he did get it working it didn't work that good.
     
  17. Ling

    Ling Banned

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    Location:
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    Many people purchase TopCon to access GLONASS. GLONASS is the Russian satellite configuration. Having GLONASS allows for more satellites to be accessed. Trimble representatives have suggested that there might be technical or accuracy difficulties with GLONASS. We have been unable to validate any of these statements. However, we chose not to purchase GLONASS at this time, therefore, we are receiving exactly the same information as Trimble units.
    Finally, TopCon is able to download the data off their units in a format that is acceptable to GIS software, such as that from ESRI. We had both Trimble and TopCon come to Crested Butte for demonstrations, and we choose TopCon for three reasons:

    1.) User technicial support

    2.) User interface

    3.) Ease of set-up

    It is our belief that the user support provided by TopCon will be more flexible and will accommodate more of RMBL user's needs.

    The users interface with the TopCon unit was more smooth and compact than that of Trimble. It is our belief that the TopCon unit will have a smaller learning curve due to this simplier user interface.

    The setup for the TopCon unit was much more simple. We chose to purchase an internal radio and battery on our base station, which decreases the number of tripods, cables, and external batteries. We were able to choose the internal set-up due to the type of antenna that TopCon was selling. With their internal set-up, TopCon is selling a "rubber-duck" antenna that has positive gain. Gain is an increase in the energy emitted by an antenna over what would be produced by a standard reference antenna with the same power input. It is also defined as the ratio of the power transmitted by an antenna in a certain direction to that which would be transmitted in the same direction if all the power supplied to the antenna was radiated isotropically.

    The internal set-up that Trimble is selling is a no-gain or unity-gain 'rubber-duck'. Unity gain/no-gain is a set-up where that is no amplification or attenuation to the radio signal. A no-gain antenna will have decreased performance as you move away from the base station or through obstacles, which we saw during the demonstration.

    2007 Note: We have found that the user support has been sufficient for our needs. Users learning to use the unit have found it user friendly and fairly simple. The unit's radio has also performed excellently over long distance and through obstacles. We rarely lose radio connection with the base. When there are significant obstacles (trees, hills), the unit performs well in the 2-3 miles range. Without obstacles, the rover can stay connected to the base up to 4 miles. Based on the size and structure of our localizations, these ranges are more than sufficient.:usa
     
  18. t_dirt

    t_dirt Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Birmingham, AL
    I have used and sold both, and both systems are good. I am currently selling Topcon GPS Machine Control. We have done several Head-to-Head shoot outs and we have very good results with the Topcon system vrs.Trimble. The new MC2 system is even faster than our other systems.
    There are several things to consider before buying, Who is selling the system? (Has the company made investments in personnel, equipment, and repair facilities?) What do they have for back-up equipment? Do they have cables in stock? What kind of training are you going to get? What does the company have for support? The main thing is support, support, and support!!! Do they have one person covering huge territories?? If you have a problem, or more likely when, how many people does the company have to take your call?? Does the company have personnel on staff that understands ALL parts of GPS machine control? From the data prep, the base/rover, Networks, etc.
    Before you buy anything that costs that much and you are going to change the way you stake, or not stake a job, Ask the above questions to your sales person!!!!!
     
  19. digger242j

    digger242j Administrator

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    It must be noted that the post above by Ling is a direct cut and paste job from the website of the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory .

    If you have something of value to point out elsewhere on the internet, by all means do so, and give credit to the author. Don't post something and make it look like your own work when it's not. Just like in grade school, being a copycat gets you a failing grade. :cool2
     
  20. JDOFMEMI

    JDOFMEMI Senior Member

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    I had wondered how the new member from Pakistan had the manufacturers come to Crested Butte CO for a demonstration. Did not sound too likely.