New DistoX in the waterproof Disto DXT

footleg

New member
Info from a surveying email list I am on:

According to http://www.forums.caves.org/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=11155
Beat is considering to build his DistoX module for the new DXT Disto
( http://www.toolstop.co.uk/leica-disto-dxt-laser-distance-measure-70m-range-p13141 ), waterproof,
shockproof and dustproof. This new DistoX module would be incompatible
with the older Disto A3.

Now looking at that post on the US forum, it does not appear to be about the Disto DXT, but rather the original DistoX boards. So I am not sure exactly what is going on. But thought it worth posting this info for further discussion. The contact given for the coordinated effort to get orders together for at least 50 units is the user WVCaver2011 from the cavechat board. But I am not pasting someone else's email address into a forum post here. You should be able to PM him via cavechat.

 

footleg

New member
SamT said:

:-[  :-[  :-[ I did check for recent posts regarding this before starting a new one too. Obviously didn't look hard enough (and no I did not use the search facility). Clearly I am not spending enough of my life reading ukcaving at the moment!

Of course if people posted about surveying instruments in the surveying forum then I would have seen it  :coffee:
 

Duncan Price

Active member
Will the proposed new board work with the D3?  I ordered an A3 but got a D3 and have ended up using this with a SAP.

The D3 does have an inbuilt clino (up to 45?) and a means of measuring heights at a distance with this.
 

kdxn

New member
Beat reports that he has a prototype conversion of the Disto DXT for testing. Hopefully we will hear more about this soon.

We recently used some standard Disto DXT's and D8's on an expedition.

The D8's gave some long legs up to 186m range but they need to be protected from water. Built in inclinometer to 0.05degrees reading very nice but you need to avoid tilting the D8 sideways which can become awkward at steep viewing angles. The camera zoom function was very useful for identifying distant targets. Need something to rest it on for those really long legs.

DXT's have a much shorter range up to 30m and proved useful for passage cross sections and detail plus those small caves that make everyone feel at home. No internal inclinometer but housing more water resistant than D8.

We noted some condensation on both units between the screen and outer plastic cover. Also on the camera lens and laser module of the D8. 

The D8 uses six 5point security torx, not the 'normal' six point to secure the cover down. Thankfully the DXT uses six standard non-security 6point torx to secure it.

The D8 uses a daughter card on its side for the inclinometer - if only Leica could modify this to include a magnetic sensor chip.............and make the unit more water-resistant...........
 

kdxn

New member
Latest update on DXT version of DistoX.

A prototype board has been tested in the DXT by Beat Heeb but the solution requires some rework, hopefully 2-3 monthes.

Check for updates on Beat Heeb's website
http://paperless.bheeb.ch/
 

kdxn

New member
It has been 2-3months so here is what I have been able to find out about the DXT based DistoX development.

Different batteries have been tried but the magnetic sensor drifts with time inside the DXT. Also the DXT internal electronics from Leica have evolved over time. Given the issues with the DXT development, Beat is considering redesigning the old DistoX board (for the A3) to replace the accelerometer that is no longer available.

What do people want ? What is the pent up demand for DistoX ? Is the A3 waterproof and robust enough ? Are there enough A3's available secondhand ? There is a Chinese A3 knockoff but the electronics are very different. There appears to be quite a few people on the NSS forum wanting a DistoX either A3 or DXT.

It would be useful to get some info that can be passed on to Beat.

 

graham

New member
Well, we've broken a few A3s so would appreciate something more robust.

However, there is another issue in that we have broken even more PDAs as well. I don't yet know the answer to that one.
 

kdxn

New member
Are you using an Otter Box with membrane to protect the PDA ?

Trimble Juno or Nomad are ruggedised PDA's. Juniper Systems offer the Archer, another ruggedised PDA but all are expensive.

Some rugged phones now out there - do we need an Android version of the cave surveying software ?
 

graham

New member
kdxn said:
Are you using an Otter Box with membrane to protect the PDA ?

Yes. That's not the problem, it's just ageing kit.

kdxn said:
Trimble Juno or Nomad are ruggedised PDA's. Juniper Systems offer the Archer, another ruggedised PDA but all are expensive.

Very expensive!


kdxn said:
Some rugged phones now out there - do we need an Android version of the cave surveying software ?

Probably we do, yes. We also need the device to have a resistive touch screen rather than the capacitative screens that most phones & tablets have.
 

SamT

Moderator
I think the Eldon DistoX is (surprisingly) still going, but I can imagine it wont last forever due to moisture ingress or a knock so would have thought a DTX version would have been spot on.

Unless someone comes up with something radically different then a DTX version of the disto X would be what I'd want to spend my money on given that it's water tight (resistant) and a 'ruggedized' plus the technology / software is now fairly familiar to many people. If something new has to be developed there will only be a select few that will be up to date with that software and everyone has to learn all over again.

Seems to be a retrograde step to redevelop the board for the A3 when a: the model is discontinued and scarce b: not cave proof.

/2p
 

cavermark

New member
I think it would be good to have a DistoX that can be fitted to currently available Disto's. Ruggedness so much the better.
 

kdxn

New member
Good feedback. Will contact Beat to pass on. We owe him a lot for developing the DistoX - not an easy thing to do.

I have taken a look inside the DXT and have used it a bit. Definitely better than previous Distos for ruggedness and water resistance, reasonably priced and more efficient power usage. 30m range will be okay for the majority of cave surveyors.

Will see if I can help get the DXT version working.
 

kdxn

New member
I passed on your comments about the A3 versus DXT version of DistoX to Beat.

Logical to develop a board in the DXT as it is a modern Disto and has more protection from water and grit. The older A3 is less common second-hand on eBay.

Latest news is that other sensor parts have been tested in the DXT to get a new board working but this has not succeeded yet.
 

wookey

Member
I think it would be good to have a DistoX that can be fitted to currently available Disto's. Ruggedness so much the better
.

Even better would be to build something that didn't depend on a commercial model of laser tape which is guaranteed to have a relatively short shelf-life.

The obvious way to do this is to add a laser tape module to the SAP (or beat's distoX module or similar) but I spent some time finding the relevant person of Bosch to ask if we could get the code to their DLE boards or otherwise collaborate on making an instrument, and after eventually persuading them that they could talk to me _even though_ we hadn't filed for a patent, they said 'not unles you can guarantee sales of 50,000 units - any less than that and you can piss off'. So they're not terribly helpful people. You can of course buy laser tape modules but they are a profesional device and cost several hundred quid.
 

sluka

New member
wookey said:
So they're not terribly helpful people. You can of course buy laser tape modules but they are a profesional device and cost several hundred quid.

As I know it is not so simple. One has to calibrate such instrument. And calibration (as with DistoX) is process which is commercially impassable.
 
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