• Hello From Descent

    The publication date for issue 289 is the 10th of December, meaning subscribers should receive their copies during the week leading up to that date. It is also available from caving suppliers such as Inglesport and Starless River, or from our new website

    New Descent board here:

Disto X2 finally available!


New member
I have been testing a Disto X2 over the past few months in Gaping Gill and it has withstood the ravages of mud and water in there including the notorious NW inlet. I also now have a second DistoX2 completed.

It is based upon the Disto X310 which has IP 65 and shock protection plus a more robust keypad, better than the Disto A3 that was used in the original DistoX.

Assembly is easier than the original DistoX although you will need lead-free soldering but no more soldering of fiddly wires to testpads. Patience is required to desolder the battery terminals from the processor board.

The magnetic sensors are the same as before so you still get a quality magnetic compass but this does require the 56 measurement calibration. One big improvement is the use of an internal non-magnetic Lithium Ion polymer battery which is charged via a micro-USB connector.
Charging has not changed the magnetic calibration over several cycles !!

One awkward bit is that the non-magnetic battery can only be bought in USA and must go via an $80 courier so my suggestion to you all out there is to club together and buy 20 batteries in one go and spread out all the charges which will include HMRC customs duty.

I have 6 available batteries here in UK which are available at what I paid for them, contact me if you are interested.

The Disto X310 is now available in two versions, 80m and 120m. Beat confirms that you can upgrade both.

Costs for a DistoX2
DistoX2 upgrade board 180euro
Disto X310 ?160 to ?210 (depends on where you get it and also which range 80m or 120m)
Non-Magnetic Battery $23 to $120 (www.powerstream.com)
micro-USB breakout board ?1.20 (www.hobbytronics.co.uk)
USB to micro-USB cable ?1 (poundland)

A gear review should appear in the next Descent.



New member
Here are the bits, minus the USB charging cable.



New member
kdxn said:
One awkward bit is that the non-magnetic battery can only be bought in USA and must go via an $80 courier so my suggestion to you all out there is to club together and buy 20 batteries in one go and spread out all the charges which will include HMRC customs duty.

I asked Beat to add to paperless page a list of people they have LiPo for conversion in a particular country. You are right, the acceptable price starts from 20 pcs to order.



New member
When you get your DistoX2 made up, strongly suggest you add a screen protector before first use.

The Disto X310 plastic screen does scratch with wiping mud off it and that could lead to screen cover failure.

Get a large mobile phone screen protector and cut to size, rounding the corners.

Battery performance ?
I have been doing about 500 measurements per day and have got two long days use out of it before the battery failed. I need to do more battery performance tests but am reluctant to do this whilst doing the GG re-survey because I need my time underground to be productive survey-wise.
My early version of the DistoX2 has a battery voltage set point for the third battery symbol very close to battery depletion, I only get 30 measurements after the battery symbol changes from two to one bar. Beat has now modified the battery voltage levels so you should experience more measurements after the battery symbol drops to one bar. 


New member
For those of you considering the 120m version of the X310 for upgrading.
You may want to know about this discount I have just arranged with Sean at Merlin Lazer.


They have done a price match and will sell you a 120m version of the X310 for ?146+VAT which includes next day shipping.

If you want this, then phone up, ask for Sean and say you want the 120m X310 for Cave Surveying and would like the same price as provided to Kevin Dixon.

I will have my two DistoX2 at the Cave Surveying course 22/23 February to be held at Bull Pot Farm and am willing to help with any DistoX2 builds that weekend.


New member
Should do.
Have you noticed any issues ?

The main upgrade for the latest PocketTopo is to permit ranges greater than 100m for the 120m version of the DistoX2.


New member
Moose said:
Thanks Gents, Although if it's just for the extra range then I'll leave it as it is.

..Is that a tactic to guarantee that you find something taller than 100m soon...?  ;)


New member
For DistoX2 builders and people considering getting a DistoX2 in UK and Ireland.

I have a new shipment of batteries on their way and will ship these one way or the other within the UK and Ireland.

I have also been assembling DistoX2 for a few people.
If you are having trouble with assembly or want someone to do it for you, you can PM me.


New member
DistoX2 update.

Beat is now shipping the Micro USB breakout board with the DistoX2 upgrade kit.
So you no longer need to purchase this component separately from hobbytronics.co.uk or other suppliers.


New member
For those of you building your own DistoX2, here is a suggestion about installing the Micro USB breakout board for charging.

A recent DistoX2 build was put in some heavy hands and the breakout board snapped off taking the solder pads with it.

So to fix this, I used some 1mm diameter copper cable through the two mounting holes of the Micro USB breakout board and wrapped round the board. The copper wire is then soldered to the battery terminals making sure that the Disto battery box lid can be fitted without it warping. The GND and VCC pads of the Micro USB board are soldered to the battery terminals by flexible wire.

I have now modified my two DistoX2 as above.

Highly recommend this modification especially if you are going to be taking your DistoX2 on expedition.

As a side note, the EU have recently voted to introduce a common mobile phone charger by 2017 and the front-runner connector option is a Micro-USB.


New member
Beat reports 200 boards about to be delivered to him so get your DistoX2 board orders in.


New member
Hi  :-\

Just curious if anyone managed to reach Beat Heeb lately? I'm trying to mail him for the last couple of weeks but didn't get any respond so far  :confused:



Active member
I appear to have magnetised the screws holding my disto together using a magnetic screwdriver to undo them.
Does anyone know the size of the screws and the type of screwdriver I need to purchase to fix this?



New member
Cant help you on replacement screws but a magnetizer/de magnetizer is a handy little contraption to have in your tool box and they only cost a few quid.