The final quarter of last year saw Leica Geosystems perform a little housekeeping on their range of total stations. We’ve already talked in an earlier blog post about the new FlexLine instruments, but I think it’s time we took a peak at the replacement for the TS12 (the cunningly titled TS13). We know it’s positioned to be cheaper, and therefore isn’t going to have everything you’ll get if you buy a TS16. So, let’s take a quick look at what you do and don’t get.
It’s available in angular accuracies of 1”,2”,3” or 5” and a with a reflectorless range of 500 or 1000m exactly the same options as the TS16. The ATR range to a prism is slightly shorter (1000m to a round prism as opposed to 1500m in the TS16) but I wouldn’t say that’s a deal breaker for many.
The central differences come in the upgrade options that you’ll need to think about before you purchase. Not all TS13s are created equal after all. There are four important areas that are customisable in the configuration of the instrument.
1- Target Lock: Your TS13 doesn’t necessarily have to come with the ability to lock and track a prism and if it does it will only track it to 600m (as opposed to the TS16’s 1000m)
2 - Radio Handle coms: Your TS13 doesn’t automatically come with the ability to use a radio handle for long range communication to a controller.
3 - Speed search: The TS16 comes with something called “Fast Search” but if you choose the TS13 you’ll have to make do with “Speed Search” which is a full 2 seconds slower to lock to your prism. Again “Speed Search” is an optional extra and isn’t included by default.
4 - Display and keypad: By default, the instrument comes with a four-button keypad which allows you to turn the instrument on, select what coms options you are using and take a measurement from behind the instrument. The keypad is also missing the Fn keys you’ll find on the TS16 (no short cuts here).
It took me a while to figure out what was going on with the TS13 and its customisable options but when you look at the Leica TS range as a whole, it begins to make a bit more sense. For example, if you were wanting to use a manual total station but with the capabilities of the Captivate software you could choose a TS10. However, you could also plump for a TS13 with keyboard AND add the target lock option which would save you having to squint through the telescope all day. On the other end of the spectrum you could plump for a TS16 for your one man surveying kit, but if you’re only an occasional user maybe the trimmed down options on the robotic TS13 could be what you need.
And all the options are added after the original purchase (either through a software license or hardware upgrade through a Leica service centre) so if you want to move from two-man to a robotic instrument you can do that.