Third Generation Disto-X Progress

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Re: Third Generation Disto-X Progress

Postby driggs » Jan 31, 2014 9:31 pm

Martin Sluka wrote:Check pictures - it is not so big problem to remove both magnets. I used Olfa cutter:

Image



Is this round metal piece glued into the bottom corner also a magnet or magnetic? The instructions don't mention it; should it be yanked as well?
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Re: Third Generation Disto-X Progress

Postby Extremeophile » Feb 1, 2014 8:43 am

driggs wrote:
Martin Sluka wrote:Check pictures - it is not so big problem to remove both magnets. I used Olfa cutter:

Image



Is this round metal piece glued into the bottom corner also a magnet or magnetic? The instructions don't mention it; should it be yanked as well?

Already discussed in the thread, but no, it is not a magnet and does not need to be removed.
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Re: Third Generation Disto-X Progress

Postby driggs » Feb 1, 2014 9:56 am

You are right, I didn't scroll through enough comments.

Extremeophile wrote:2. The metal disk on the inside corner of the Disto is not a magnet, but the sensor that detects the magnet located in the flip-out extension on the bottom. You can remove it if you like, but Beat did not remove it from his units and any affect it may have can be handled by the calibration.
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Re: Third Generation Disto-X Progress

Postby Adam Byrd » Feb 5, 2014 1:04 pm

Derek,
Can you comment on the adequacy of the 600 mAh battery now that you've used it a bit? I'm kinda worried that it'll run through the battery in less than a full day of surveying.
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Re: Third Generation Disto-X Progress

Postby Extremeophile » Feb 5, 2014 2:51 pm

It does seem like a low mAh rating on the LiPo battery, but a pair of NiMH AAA batteries (what would normally drive this Disto) has a similar amount of energy. I haven't depleted the unit during a survey, but I haven't used it on anything over ~5 hours of survey. Kevin Dixon reports that he can get about 2 full days of survey on a charge, which he also claims is ~1,000 readings. That sounds like a lot, but if you use it for multiple front or back sights, LRUDs, and splays, it's not inconceivable that a single survey shot could encompass about 10 Disto readings. So maybe it's good for the equivalent of 100 survey shots. I've just purchased an Anker rechargeable battery that I may carry as a backup. This could be used to recharge the Disto or Pocket PC/Palm in an emergency, and the mid-sized Anker battery has enough energy to recharge a Palm 5-6 times, and the Disto more than 10 times.

http://www.amazon.com/Anker-Portable-Rapid-Recharge-Dual-Port-Highest-Energy-Efficiency/dp/B00DMWV3EU/ref=sr_1_7?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1391694659&sr=1-7&keywords=anker
Last edited by Extremeophile on Feb 6, 2014 8:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Third Generation Disto-X Progress

Postby Adam Byrd » Feb 5, 2014 6:51 pm

1000 shots on a charge would be great. If it was going to be dying all the time mid-survey my thought was that it would be faster and easier to run AAAs and recalibrate it all the time. I've gone a similar route with an EC Tech 13000 mAh battery that only weighs 30 g more, but I'll get a lighter smaller capacity unit to carry around, shoulda read all the specs.
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Re: Third Generation Disto-X Progress

Postby caver.adam » Feb 5, 2014 11:08 pm

Is there room to fit a larger battery, or a second battery in the old battery compartment? I'm thinking to wire the battery in with a molex connector so you can swap batteries on the fly. (After my tax refund comes in and I can order one that is....)
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Re: Third Generation Disto-X Progress

Postby Extremeophile » Feb 6, 2014 8:15 am

As far as I know there's only one supplier and one model of the non-magnetic LiPo battery, and I'm pretty certain that the dimensions are too large to fit into the standard battery compartment. Other options would be to wire for an external battery pack, but then you lose some of the benefit of the rugged and waterproof case, or to simply use AAA batteries and try calibrating to deal with interference. If you use AAA batteries then the unit needs to be recalibrated with each battery change.

Personally I think the recommended LiPo battery is the way to go, and then use an external battery charger for multi-day expeditions where more than 1,000 readings may be needed.

Anker also makes a tiny 3,000 mAh charger that looks to be about the size of a single 18650 battery, and this has enough power to recharge the DistoX about 4 times, and should do a full recharge in less than an hour.

http://www.amazon.com/Anker-Astro-Mini-Ultra-Compact-Lipstick-Sized/dp/B005X1Y7I2/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1391694586&sr=1-3&keywords=anker
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Re: Third Generation Disto-X Progress

Postby Marlatt » Feb 6, 2014 10:13 am

Extremeophile wrote:Anker also makes a tiny 3,000 mAh charger that looks to be about the size of a single 18650 battery, and this has enough power to recharge the DistoX about 4 times, and should do a full recharge in less than an hour.

http://www.amazon.com/Anker-Astro-Mini-Ultra-Compact-Lipstick-Sized/dp/B005X1Y7I2/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1391694586&sr=1-3&keywords=anker


RadioShack also sells a rechargable 3000 mAh charger that looks about like the Anker, for about the same price.

http://m.radioshack.com/radioshack/product/detail.do?itemId=18660946&categoryId=2862921&cust_categoryId=&path=Home|RadioShack+Collections|GS4+Power|Enercell+3000mAh+Portable+Power+Bank+%28Blue%29

(I'm don't know that it is better or worse than the Anker - but I got one for my birthday, and have been pretty happy with it.)

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Re: Third Generation Disto-X Progress

Postby caver.adam » Feb 6, 2014 3:57 pm

Hmm, takes an order of 1500 batteries to get a different size. http://www.powerstream.com/non-magnetic-lipo.htm
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Re: Third Generation Disto-X Progress

Postby Extremeophile » Feb 14, 2014 12:26 am

I've made a few other small modifications to the DistoX.
Although the unit is somewhat ruggedized, I added a 0.1" Lexan window over the LCD screen to better protect from impacts. This is the same treatment I give Suuntos.
I added a wrist lanyard. I've had a couple instrument people express concern about dropping a $600 piece of equipment, and it seemed like a real possibility especially when surveying on rope.
A small dot of hot melt glue was added to the On/Dist button. This makes it easier to find by feel.
I had some issues with the micro-USB charge connector. The instructions have it soldered directly to the battery connectors but it gets flexed/stressed when closing the battery compartment and when connecting or disconnecting the charge cable. The solder joints just weren't robust enough so I added short lengths of wire so there wouldn't be as much stress on the joints. I originally tried the suggestion of encapsulating the connection in hot melt glue, but this wasn't solid enough to prevent the solder joints from failing, and made a mess. You can see the glue residue in the photo below.


Image

Image

2,200' was surveyed in Carlsbad Cavern with the unit this past weekend. We surveyed in a couple of chimney complexes with probably half the survey shots over 45 degrees vertical. Using this equipment really makes station setting easy and eliminates the bias that often creeps in when trying to get FS/BS agreement on steep shots. I used PocketTopo with a Dell Axim to sketch on one day and a book the other day. For vertically complex areas like this I think digital and paper sketching are roughly equal in speed. For horizontal surveys I believe digital would be much faster. I'm learning to use Auriga and plan to try it in the near future. There's a little more of a learning curve with this software, but it appears to have much more capability, and imports/exports directly in Compass or Walls format, which is a huge benefit.
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Re: Third Generation Disto-X Progress

Postby Martin Sluka » Feb 14, 2014 4:19 am

Extremeophile wrote:I had some issues with the micro-USB charge connector. The instructions have it soldered directly to the battery connectors but it gets flexed/stressed when closing the battery compartment and when connecting or disconnecting the charge cable. The solder joints just weren't robust enough so I added short lengths of wire so there wouldn't be as much stress on the joints. I originally tried the suggestion of encapsulating the connection in hot melt glue, but this wasn't solid enough to prevent the solder joints from failing, and made a mess. You can see the glue residue in the photo below.


Try to solder the board directly to contacts. Look on the pictures:

Image
Image
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Re: Third Generation Disto-X Progress

Postby Extremeophile » Feb 14, 2014 4:29 pm

Martin Sluka wrote:Try to solder the board directly to contacts.

Yes, I did this originally. The micro-USB cable I was using to charge the device had a pretty snug fit so I had to push or pull fairly hard to connect and disconnect. This caused the solder joints to fail. After repairing and repeating 3 more times I tried the hot melt strategy to provide more support, and I had a solder joint fail yet again. This is when I decided to try the wires. We'll see how long this lasts. I think thinner wire is better and allows you to grip the connector while connecting/disconnecting the cable. Maybe using epoxy would work better than hot melt, but then you end up with a connection that is no longer serviceable.
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Re: Third Generation Disto-X Progress

Postby Martin Sluka » Feb 14, 2014 5:22 pm

Extremeophile wrote: The micro-USB cable I was using to charge the device had a pretty snug fit so I had to push or pull fairly hard to connect and disconnect.

Another cable? Another glue (silicone)? :)
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Re: Third Generation Disto-X Progress

Postby LWB » Feb 17, 2014 9:51 pm

Extremeophile wrote: Now that I have a very good calibration (delta was 0.28) I plan to leave that programmed into the device and will go out and do a FS/BS check like this about once a week to determine at what point a recalibration is needed. With an internally mounted, non-magnetic battery, it is expected that the unit should not need recalibration as often as the 1st generation DistoX.


Is your delta of 0.28 typical of what you got during calibration?

I tested the production version of the X2 yesterday. First calibration I got 0.46, so I repeated it and got 0.45 - not good at all by the first generation (A3) Disto X standards. I found if I didn't achieve a delta of 0.22 or better with the A3s, I'd better just recalibrate since it was not going to pass the test course. I didn't take a set of theodolite comparison data since I felt the cal was no good, however the results on the in Cave test course were far better than I expected (within a degree), but worst than the first generation Disto Xs calibrated 2 days earlier

I need to look at the calibration matrix to see if there is evidence of a significant correction offset in one axis. The prototype for previous (Leica 210?) had a significant offset caused the supposedly non-magnetic screw holding the battery compartment closed (thank goodness the 7400 doesn't have that). In the 210 the pin and the springs that hold the end piece in place are magnetic as well - I'm not sure yet with the 7400, but I'm guessing if you want a calibration to last they will have to be removed or replaced.

Also all the screws holding the case together and holding the boards internally are magnetic. And although Beat believes most are far enough away from the sensors to not be a problems, we had significant improvements in the A3 Disto Xs passing the compass Test Course after we replaced ALL the screws and washers in the A3s with brass or nylon.

Unfortunately the 7400 screw sizes are different so our current supply doesn't work, but hopefully we will soon get all of them replaced.
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