Newbie looking for his first Robotic Total Station - need advice!
For the most part I agree with Mark - the MEP (Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing) layout guys even use Trimble as a verb. Like, "I'll get out there and Trimble the sleeves this afternoon." Only difference is I see equipment from other vendors more often.
Aside: I have an excess 5603 that I'd be willing to part with.
I don't think the 5603 will be a great introduction to robotics for you. bit of an enthusiasts instrument is about the best thing I can say for it. i'm sure it was ground breaking in it's day. but my experience of it was spirit breaking due to it's huge appetite for batteries. and cables.
Spectra 35 is very good value and i think will suit your needs fine. My main gripe with it is that it can lock onto other reflective surfaces so be aware of that on site. You might have to turn your vest inside out for example. and get the guys to get out of your way and give you a clear line of sight.
Might be worth checking out the like for like price of a GeoMax, Carlson or Leica iCon setup. If you have a good dealer that will support you with those. The "top stream" Trimble and Leica's will be a lot more expensive. Topcon/Sokkia is another option, don;t know anything of their pricing and quality these days. They used to be a cheaper option.
Here's what the concrete industry said, in 2013, re the 5600.
I can' t begin to thank all of you for your input and advice enough. I've since had demos done on the Spectra Focus 35, Trimble product line, and Hilti products (which are basically more expensive Trimble products where I am located). We have decided to go for a lightly used Spectra Focus 35 and a new TSC7 for approximately $14,500 USD with all the field hardware, calibration and 3 month warranty, all sold by the local Trimble dealer. I've taken into consideration that it's passive as well. We are mostly working on sites which have been recently excavated with little other traffic or machinery until we're complete our scope so i'm hopeful we can mitigate that risk with enough awareness. Thanks for everyone's help and I look forward to more discussions!
Buy from a local dealer & pay for training
Hire an experience construction layout person, not the first and\or cheapest
Pay him good money
Require him to stay on top of all the subcontractors.
Give him to tools to do the job, a good cadd program, good data collector, good robot, good level, good truck, and all the other bits and pieces that go with it. Don't go cheap here, nothing is more frustrating than having a boss that refuses to buy a proper tool for the job.
Buy local, not long distance.