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GPS system need help?

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by Construct'O, Jan 9, 2010.

  1. Construct'O

    Construct'O LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Sw Iowa
    Messages: 1,387

    Scag maybe you can answer my question?Been searching and calling for three days and still confused,nothing new:).Their is a dozen different ways too go,if money isn't a problem.

    Looking at Topcon this is the one that looks like would work for me.Hiper Lite+.Question is what do i need a basestation,rover, and handheld control,or a basestation and handheld contrl.Will be used with auto machine control on my machine.

    Know i need more stuff for the machine control,but for now need to know about the base staion, rover,handheld thing.

    If anyone else has used this system would like too know?:usflag:
  2. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,067

    Trimble is all I've used for GPS so I'm not fully versed with Topcon's offerings. However, the basic requirements for a system are the same regardless of brand as far as I know.

    A base station is setup somewhere on site that triangulates the signal from the satellites themselves. Technically these are called recievers but base station is a well used term. The computer that holds site plan information uses the base station information to create a benchmark, so to speak. The base station basically creates a known point that the rovers can triangulate against in the field.

    To use that information, you need some way of recieving it from the base station. A "rover" is a reciever globe that travels in the field. They can be used as a stationary measuring tool but in construction, they move around. We couple our reciever globe to a handheld unit to recieve site data in the field. The handheld controllers are what I'm most familiar with. We use a Trimble TSC2 where I'm at now, we had the same unit at the last outfit I worked for as well. I've been told they're close to $50K for the handheld units and the antenna. It runs a Windows operating system and you can do everything you can with a PC but in the palm of your hand. I've also been told you can get internet access for them but I know that would cost out the ass and is probably useless for most guys.

    The machine control route requires the antennas and will give you the ability to see where you're at based on your computer model. Most won't allow you to do what you can with a handheld controller, but for machine control you typically don't need those kinds of features, all you're trying to do is guide the machine.

    I hope I was able to asnwer what you needed to know, feel free to get back to me and I'll do best to grab info from my boss. I am the first to admit I'm not a GPS expert, but I do have a little experience with it. I've never set them up so there may be a few details and equipment I'm not fully aware of.
  3. Construct'O

    Construct'O LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Sw Iowa
    Messages: 1,387

    So basicly i need a base station,rover,and data controller for my surveying.Also some computer software for info from my surveywork.

    Basestation,rover, control box,cables,and antenna for my machine control.

    Don't need hydraulic valve since the trencher has electric over hydraulic valve for the grade cylinder already.So just a matter of cable and wiring it into the grade cylinder valve,back to the machine contol box and another cable from the box to the antenna.

    They said i could use the rover for the antenna,but to high priced for that.

    I believe the newer basestation and the rover is wireless.Was also hoping too use it some on my dozer also,but mainly for the trencher.

    My laser system is getting old,works fine,but is becoming obsolete for getting parts too fix.GPS system is high ,but new laser system would be close to half the cost of updating to GPS.Plus the time saved in surveying my jobs would be a big improvement.

    I was going to try and get used basestation and rover,the rest new.

    The confuseing part was there are several basestation system to choice from,and rovers.Actually to look at the base station and the rover they look alike,except different inside conponents.

    I'm wanting it for my trencher mostly,for auto machine control.Does the above sound right too you Scag.Thanks for the info.If you think of something else let me know.:usflag:
  4. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,067

    Yeah you're right, the rovers and base station are almost the same. I guess I always associated the rover with the little globes that you see either atop masts for machine control or on a survey rod with the controller attached below.

    You're on the right track, you have the general concept. We don't use machine control, last outfit I was with had masts for some of the dozers so I'm used to using the handheld controller and scrolling through plans. I will say that we would not be able to do alot of the things we do nearly as quickly or inexpensive without GPS.
  5. ARP

    ARP LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,510

    Something else you may consider Construct'o, (depending on how close your GPS dealer is to your area of operations), is to get a subscription to your dealer's "network." The Topcon and Trimble dealers around me have their own permanently mounted base stations on their shops that can broadcast a signal to local "rovers" or receivers owned by other contractors in the surrounding area (usually within a 30 mile range). The contractors pay a subscription fee and this saves them the $30-60K cost of buying a base station.

    While this concept wouldn't work for me as I would be working all over a 5-6 state region, for a more locally based contractor it may be the ticket for getting into GPS.

    How's the new "lady" working out for you?
  6. ARP

    ARP LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,510

    Also, not sure how much you priced out a complete GPS package (base station, hand held controller with rover, machine receivers, machine control box, valving, and CAD computer software for the office), but my local Trimble dealer told me to expect to pay over $125K for such a setup, with over $80k being devoted solely to the cost of the base station and hand held controller with rover. Machine control was another $30-40k and software being about $10k (Agtek Earthworks, Insite, etc. are common brands used by many contractors around me).
  7. Construct'O

    Construct'O LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Sw Iowa
    Messages: 1,387

    I'm getting there as far as getting my homework done,just need cash(money):cry:

    Can't use network system here,closes network in the making is a few years away.Iowa transportation system has a rtk system ,but not accurate enough at far as vertical signal goes.Will do the postioning,but not good enough elevation,i need to be within .005 accuraty.

    My experience with a laser system is helping figure out somethings along with help here and on on the other forum.

    I got qoutes for an after market software company for drainage work software,and some hardware.I 'm looking at hardware on auction site.It is used,which is about the only way i can afford to go with GPS complete system.

    Hard to piece things togather like getting a piece here and there and get a workable system all at one time.

    My trencher already has workable hydraulic valve would just have to get the right cables to wire it into my valving and GPS control box.

    If i was doing a lot of flat land work (bottom crop land) where i was doing a lot of precision grading,pattern tile system installs of 20k to 30k feet of drainage tile then updating to GPS would be an easy update:).

    I would be one of the first in my area to go to GPS from laser.I have always been looking to move forward with new ways of doing stuff,and equipment over the years.

    Like i have said before!!!!!!!!!!! age is my biggest thing now.Time to make my investment pay for its self over an extended time frame(long term),is not the best option for me because of my age.

    Anyway with the aftermarket system all new and the used hardware,might be able to squeeze in around the mid thirtys for a barebones system:rolleyes: for the trencher.

    Got a good lead on guy for my aftermarket stuff(good sevice and training is the keyword there also).Yes training is the keyword,they don't give that away,you have too pay your way.To many chances of mistake in the learning curve to not need help on startup.

    At least i'm getting through the learning curve getting setup right the first time,other then the used hardware would could be my biggest down fall.We'll see what happens.

    Still got my laser system and i'm adding a Levelmaster2 drainage grade system that will do auto machine control using a sensor system.It is programable with software so might be my option for now just need to get it setup(wired into my hydraulic) and see how accurate it is.Okay for short runs.

    They also have a low budget GPS system that will measure and map your drainage jobs as you install a drainage system.That would save me the time of having to go back and measure my installs.Can download the info for the complete job on my computer and then design the work(mapping) you did and footage for you.Sounds pretty helpful and time saving getting that work done for faster billing.

    Lots of new things out there that is for sure.As more people gets on board that will bring down the cost.Only thing is if your not on the front your always going to be running outdated equipment.Electonics is the worst(look at computers and software).Good today outdated tomorrow:confused:

    The funny thing is trying to pry out infomation from the dealers and sale person,like pulling teeth.It's like you buy:hammerhead: then we will point you down the right road.I like taking my own route when it comes down to cost.Thanks for the input again,:usflag:
  8. AWJ Services

    AWJ Services LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Ga
    Messages: 4,281

    If you do ante up for a system have a performance clause written into the contract. This will gurantee that the system will do what "YOU" need it to do.
  9. Construct'O

    Construct'O LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Sw Iowa
    Messages: 1,387

    AWJ i pretty sure it will have to a piece togather a system,so wouldn't be able to get training like going for new system.

    The aftermarket guy is including training and support through him.He is actually doing TOPO designs on a jobs in Tx. Ark. Mo. that is where is is out of Mo. cover my area.Actually just becoming an independent from of Topcon.20 years expierence.

    There is several places that you can get training,some colleges is also furnishing it now.Also online,but would wether of field training(on the job):)

    I will first get demos before i go with anything!!!!!! Probably just a pipe dream because of my age,but you just never know.:usflag:
  10. Construct'O

    Construct'O LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Sw Iowa
    Messages: 1,387

    Sorry read you post wrong,yeah the performance thing would be good idea.Thanks:usflag:

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