Author Topic: DistoX : Competition for the SAP ?  (Read 16871 times)

Offline Leclused

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DistoX : Competition for the SAP ?
« on: September 10, 2008, 12:05:55 pm »
On the NSS caving board I started the following thread

http://forums.caves.org/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=7297

Feel free to comment on this new gadget :-)

Our club is going for a DistoX. We used the SAP last summer with suc6 and will compare the two devices when we obtain our DistoX.

BR

Dagobert (Sc Avalon)
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Offline NOZ

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Re: DistoX : Competition for the SAP ?
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2008, 03:27:53 pm »
I think a more apt description would be that the DistoX has killed the SAP.

Offline footleg

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Re: DistoX : Competition for the SAP ?
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2008, 10:17:22 am »
I think a more apt description would be that the DistoX has killed the SAP.

I'd be interested to read a more detailed explanation for why you think this? Especially as until 2 weeks ago most people in the UK had never heard of the DistoX.

Offline dl

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Re: DistoX : Competition for the SAP ?
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2008, 11:24:37 am »
It strikes me that if the compass reading isn't reliable because of the batteries then the DistoX is next to useless.

Offline Leclused

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Re: DistoX : Competition for the SAP ?
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2008, 12:06:44 pm »
The distoX will be reliable but the distox has no build in rechargeable battery so each time you change the batteries a recalibration is required because the magnetic field is influenced by the metal off the batteries and because this will be different for each set of batteries the recalibration is required each time. There are some solutions such as calibration sheets for different sets of rechargeable batteries or using batteries with less magnetic distortion.

So calibration need to be done more often then with the SAP. However the calibration method of the DistoX seems to be more advanced then the calibration of the SAP. The calibration of the SAP is rather complex to be done.

The biggest advantage will be that you get 3 readings in one shot so surveying will speed up. With the sap you only get 2 readings.

The reason why you didn't hear anything about the distox is that it was shown for the first time to a large public during the vercors 2008 congres.

Some Americans also made a comparison of some digital survey tools. But the DistoX was not yet included.

Their findigns can be found in the following document

http://speleo.us/~abird/DigitalSurveyInstruments_NSS2008-AUG2008.pdf

I think that surveying will change dramatically in the coming years as new tools appear on the market. The time that 3 different tools were needed is over.

In my opinion the largest benefit will be time gain during the survey. For example a survey team did a re-topo of approx 400m in the Annialarra system in a matter of hours with a SAP. This wiill be redone for checking the quality of the SAP next week. I don't think that re-topo of such a large section would be done with the 3 classical tools just for fun / rechecking. But with new tools a check of a survey is easily executed (even twice) to be 100% sure  ;D

Dagobert
Btw Also the sap is influenced by the battery, but this is also included in the calibration.
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Offline Rob

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Re: DistoX : Competition for the SAP ?
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2008, 12:20:44 pm »
Would it need to be recalibrated if you always used the same type of battery?
I'm pressuming it uses AAs, so couldn't you just always use Duracells, or a specific brand (and capacity) of rechargables?
Or does the field change with the charge level?
The end is where we start....

Offline MatthiasM

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Re: DistoX : Competition for the SAP ?
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2008, 02:53:36 pm »
Website from Beat Heeb concerning that DistoX: http://paperless.bheeb.ch
The Disto A3 works with two AAA cells (Battery! NiMH with 1.2V each is not enough).

Offline Les W

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Re: DistoX : Competition for the SAP ?
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2008, 06:21:32 pm »
Why not adapt the DistoX by fitting a fly lead and removing the batteries from the equation entirely?
I'm a very busy person

Offline graham

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Re: DistoX : Competition for the SAP ?
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2008, 08:33:22 pm »
Why not adapt the DistoX by fitting a fly lead and removing the batteries from the equation entirely?
How long would it need to be to be effective?
Caving is for Life not just for Christmas

Offline SamT

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Re: DistoX : Competition for the SAP ?
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2008, 09:00:21 pm »

I can seriously see someone on Dragons Den soon....

I am looking for xthousand pounds and some business acumen   to help develop this homecobbled disto survey device thingy into a fully accurate, waterproof, peli-robust all singing all dancing survey aid.......please .

Offline NOZ

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Re: DistoX : Competition for the SAP ?
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2008, 01:11:52 pm »
Having tested the DistoX and changed batteries in it with negligible effect on calibration, I think it reasonable to assume that if I do the same again, and recheck repeatedly then the effect is negligible.
Until JFK died, noone had heard of LHO.
Better, cheaper (in some circumstances), fully integrated with a survey program, smaller, prettier.
As to the SAP being dead that is solely my opinion. Time will be my judge.

Offline ianball11

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Re: DistoX : Competition for the SAP ?
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2008, 01:28:45 pm »
I think the A3 has been superseeded by the D3

Ian B.

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Re: DistoX : Competition for the SAP ?
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2008, 02:35:48 pm »
I think the A3 has been superseeded by the D3

Ian B.


on Leica's web page the A3 is still listed. I suppose that the interface for connection the module might be different for different versions of the Disto and therefore this model is limited to the A3

Offline sluka

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Re: DistoX : Competition for the SAP ?
« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2008, 07:58:37 am »
[quote on Leica's web page the A3 is still listed. I suppose that the interface for connection the module might be different for different versions of the Disto and therefore this model is limited to the A3
[/quote]

The DistoX is ONLY for A3. There is no space for it in newer models of Distos.

Martin

Offline El Agreb

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Re: DistoX : Competition for the SAP ?
« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2008, 09:20:01 am »
I know you wrote ONLY but I have to ask as the casing for a Disto lite5 is much larger than the A3.
Are there other criteria to consider other than available space?
Might it be possible for the DistoX to work with this model?

Offline footleg

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Re: DistoX : Competition for the SAP ?
« Reply #15 on: January 06, 2009, 04:46:42 pm »
Built a couple of DistoXes for the West Sussex Caving Club over New Year. The conversion is quite fiddly but simple enough. The main difficulty was removing the screws from the Disto. The case is held shut by a torx (6 pointed star shaped hole in the screw head) size 12 screw with a centre pin, and the internal screws you have to remove require a torx size 7 (which we could not find for love nor money). We had a torx size 12 bit with the hole to remove the screws with a pin, but having stripped the edges off a torx size 6 bit attempting to remove the screws, I realised the bit was tapered, and removed the end with a hacksaw to create a 6+ sized bit which did the job.  ;)

The conversion requires 4 wires to be soldered onto pads on the DistoX board, and then onto the Disto original circuit board. The pads on the Disto original board are in the middle of the board, and only about 1mm x 1mm, so experience of soldering fine electronics, good eyes and steady hands are required.

Job done on both units, and I have borrowed one to play with. Calibration is simple but slightly time consuming. The good thing is you do not need to take any reference readings to calibrate the unit. You just need to record 56 shots (in groups of 4, rotating the Disto along the long axis by 90 degrees between each one (i.e. The first horizonal leg is taken with the screen up, then screen to the left, then screen towards the floor, then screen to the right). As long as you keep the device on station and the laser on target for each of the 4 shots in each group, the actual directions do not matter. The device then automatically uploads the 56 readings to the PDA. One button press executes the calibration process and an error factor is displayed. If it is 0.5 or less you have done it right, and just select from the PDA menu to upload the data back to the DistoX. So this can be done in a cave or out in the field if you need to change the batteries and want to recalibrate.

Testing it today the readings matched my Suunto Tandem compass/clino as closely as it is possible to read the Suunto. Can't wait to try it out underground now!  ;D

Offline bat

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Re: DistoX : Competition for the SAP ?
« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2009, 05:45:24 pm »
Hi Footleg Thanks again for doing that. :thumbsup:
just one small correction, (in case any one is getting themselves the tool kit for the job) the screw at the back that holds the case on is a Torx T10 or TR10 if it has the post in the middle.
Gary

Offline sluka

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Re: DistoX : Competition for the SAP ?
« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2009, 03:48:42 pm »
I think a more apt description would be that the DistoX has killed the SAP.
It is absolutely true.

Note: for DistoX use primary Lithium AAA cells from Energizer. They have the highest capacity from all AAA cells, they work from -40 to +60 Celsius without significant loss of capacity, they will not discharge 15 years (!!!!!). They are not cheap :(

Imagine next workflow:

1. From station 1.0 (you must follow the Toporobot logic of station numbering, series, etc. - http://www.geo.unizh.ch/~heller/toporobot/ ) you start measure the splay shots - it means you measure the important points and objects around the station 1.0.

2. You measure the surveying leg from station 1.0 to station 1.1 three times.

3. On your PocketPC in EasyTopo program you check the shots and draw the map, extended elevation and profile (optionaly) based on real measurements - splay shots and leg in map and elevation editor.

4. Go to station 1.1 and repeat.

You should receive in scale drawn map and elevation of surveyed part of cave at the end of your surveying trip.

At base camp, or at home you export data from EasyTopo and import both data and sketches into Therion. You redraw the map, elevation and profiles in Therion to receive the final map. Or you may export from Therion only the sketches to PDF and print them too.

Calibration is question of 15-20 minutes.

Martin



Offline footleg

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Re: DistoX : Competition for the SAP ?
« Reply #18 on: April 06, 2009, 03:07:41 pm »
My post on converting data for use with the PocketTopo software and a DistoX is under a different thread, but I thought it relevant enough to this thread that a link would be useful for people using the DistoX and Survex (in case you missed the post in the PDA thread):

http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php/topic,7193.msg106701.html#msg106701

Offline nickwilliams

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Re: DistoX : Competition for the SAP ?
« Reply #19 on: April 06, 2009, 05:34:28 pm »
the internal screws you have to remove require a torx size 7 (which we could not find for love nor money).

http://uk.farnell.com/wera/367-torx-7/screwdriver-torx-t7/dp/4432873?_requestid=150916

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Offline footleg

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Re: DistoX : Competition for the SAP ?
« Reply #20 on: April 07, 2009, 10:31:18 am »
I held a surveying workshop for members of the West Sussex Caving Club recently. We surveyed as loop round a mine which was around 9 legs (leg lengths were all in the range 8-16 metres). With a Suunto compass and clino both teams managed loop closures of around 1.5% error. With the DistoX they managed a loop closure of 0.44% Not bad for a first experience surveying. The DistoX and PocketTopo software worked very well as a system. Off to Spain to try it out for real now!

Offline wookey

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Re: DistoX : Competition for the SAP ?
« Reply #21 on: April 14, 2009, 01:49:29 am »
If anyone who hasn't seen a DistoX (or a SAP for that matter) would like to, then come along to the Cave Surveying Group meet this weekend (19th April) at SWCC. Both devices will be on show for comparison underground and a couple of nice Norwegians will be explaining the whole magic distoX+ Auriga on PDA via Bluetooth entirely-electronic surveying method.

Offline sluka

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Re: DistoX : Competition for the SAP ?
« Reply #22 on: April 14, 2009, 08:28:56 am »
the whole magic distoX+ Auriga on PDA via Bluetooth entirely-electronic surveying method.

Wookey, is possible to sketch the map in Auriga now? Or only compass, clino, length, L,R,U,D ?

90 % of the magic of DistoX is hidden in the PocketTopo and Therion.

Martin S.

Offline wookey

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Re: DistoX : Competition for the SAP ?
« Reply #23 on: April 16, 2009, 10:08:48 pm »
I don't know - I really haven't been following this stuff for some time now. I expect to be educated at the weekend.

Offline footleg

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Re: DistoX : Competition for the SAP ?
« Reply #24 on: April 18, 2009, 09:47:07 am »
I have created a download page for my cave survey data converter tool now:
http://www.darkgem.com/wscc/caving-talk/index.php?title=CaveSurveyDataConverter

If you are using it then please let me know how you get on. The conversion from PocketTopo to Survex produces a survex file which contains the passage dimensions data, but usually needs a bit of editing to tidy up this into more than one passage data block before the result looks like it should. The actual survey legs come out fine though. If you find any problems please let me know.

 

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