Budget Disto/Range Finder?

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Budget Disto/Range Finder?

Postby submassabielle » Jun 28, 2014 11:56 am

Does anyone have recommendations for a relatively inexpensive and sufficiently cave-worthy laser disto or range-finder? So far I am seeing a handful of models on ebay for under $100, but am not sure which of these would hold up in a cave. There are several models from Bosch and some older used Leicas that look interesting (e.g. a slightly cracked Leica A3 or Bosch GLM 40). I realize this has been discussed elsewhere on the forums, but since prices and technology are always changing, some up-to-date opinions would be appreciated.
Thank you!
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Re: Budget Disto/Range Finder?

Postby Chads93GT » Jun 28, 2014 12:40 pm

Goto Lowes and buy a Bosch disto. I use a Stanley but I would buy a new bosch one if I ruined mine.
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Re: Budget Disto/Range Finder?

Postby GroundquestMSA » Jun 28, 2014 1:00 pm

The Kobalt sold at Lowes works as well as all of the various Boschs I have (2 DLR130s and a GLM50). It's also cheaper ($79), smaller, and uses only 2 batteries instead of 4, though this last doesn't really matter. It also has the advantage of having a backlit screen, which can be turned on and off. Finally, Lowe's is very good at replacing all Kobalt products.
No matter what model you get, you will have to deal with protecting it from the cave. I don't know of any low priced disto that is "cave-worthy" in that it is designed to hold up to mud and water. I have dunked both my Bosch and my Kobalt, and both survived, but you will need to take precautions to protect your instrument no matter which one you buy. The main problem I've experienced is corrosion on the battery terminals, but some care and maintenance will help prevent this.
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Re: Budget Disto/Range Finder?

Postby ohiocaver » Jul 6, 2014 6:54 pm

Cleveland Grotto has used a Leica Disto A3 for several years. It's the red one. It's now a bit out of date but available on-line for under $200 used. I have used it a lot. It is rugged. Our cave surveys tend to be short, muddy and wet. It's been dropped, drowned and dirtied. I've done everything but hit it with a piton hammer (and maybe someone else has done that). Battery life is decent. It does both individual shots and cumulative measurement. It has no clino nor compass.
This is not to say the Lowe's models aren't good...I have no experience with them. But the A3 is rugged and has served us well. :cave softly:
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