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  1. #1
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    Default GPS and laser leveling for small irrigated plots.

    Guy's I am looking into setting up for leveling some small plots for irrigated land. I have been approached about the need for this by a friend and am curious about who may have some exoerience with the gps and laser operated equipment currently available. This would be for small acreage jobs using my 4520 for finish grading. One of my other friends does the big jobs with scrapers and motor graders and feels their is room for a compact tractor setup to handle the small jobs. This will be ongoing jobs for the next few years.

    I am asking about the various brands and cost of leveling and grading electronics. I am curious about which equipment is the best and efficient to use. So far this weekend I have read up on Topcon, Leica and Trimble but would like to hear from others who have experience with this stuff.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: GPS and laser leveling for small irrigated plots.

    Since no one else has responded I will add my 2 cents. In the little bit of research I have done, once you get into the GPS stuff, you are talking big money. Especially since then you are talking mapping software. If you are doing it yourself I would recommend a laser of some kind. If you are talking just about leveling, just a builders level would probably do the trick, or a rotary laser. A pretty good laser should be able to be had for under $2k, or even less. I came across a older leika optical theodolite for some projects I had planned around here, and while it will work for what I need, it adds complexity to the instrument. If you need that complexity for doing angles and whatever else you could also get into a total station which will pair with software to add functionality, but again, add complexity. Most of what I see builders/contractors/excavators using are total stations, while surveyors have gone the GPS route. Most total stations I have seen are in the $5k range. I am not a surveyor, and do not have a lot of experience with this, so take this advice with a grain of salt. Hopefully someone else will help you better. The only things I know are from what sounds like similar research to what you are doing. Maybe give a little more details about what you are trying to accomplish, and someone could probably help you better.

  3. #3
    Ken
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    Default Re: GPS and laser leveling for small irrigated plots.

    Quote Originally Posted by jenkinsph View Post
    Guy's I am looking into setting up for leveling some small plots for irrigated land. I have been approached about the need for this by a friend and am curious about who may have some exoerience with the gps and laser operated equipment currently available. This would be for small acreage jobs using my 4520 for finish grading. One of my other friends does the big jobs with scrapers and motor graders and feels their is room for a compact tractor setup to handle the small jobs. This will be ongoing jobs for the next few years.

    I am asking about the various brands and cost of leveling and grading electronics. I am curious about which equipment is the best and efficient to use. So far this weekend I have read up on Topcon, Leica and Trimble but would like to hear from others who have experience with this stuff.
    What acreage is the small plots. During the WPA days surveyers were able to build terraces to cause water slowly drain off the field and not wash soil away. I have used a water hose with clean tubing on each end put in a stake and attach the one end to high side move dirt until equal fluid in hose. at the ends it is level.
    Now in N.mex. I have seen signs stating Small ranch of 100 sections for sale.
    So each his own on sizing of land.
    ken

  4. #4
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    Default Re: GPS and laser leveling for small irrigated plots.

    Thanks for the responses. What I am looking at is to level small plots of from 2 to 6 acres within about 1/10th of an inch. I am looking into set up for machine operated leveling controls, the Topcon stuff looks good so far and it seems to be about $7000 for a basic setup. This would control the blade height to keep it within specs as you traverse the field. I have a decent builders laser already with stick and receiver but that isn't near good enough for this type work. The gps setup would be more money but I am not yet convinced I would need it for this sized jobs.

  5. #5
    Elite Member dodge man's Avatar
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    Default Re: GPS and laser leveling for small irrigated plots.

    Are you looking at stuff that controls the blade, or that you read and you control the blade? I am a land surveyor and don't personally use machine control, but have been around it a lot. The reason I ask is you can by the rotary laser equipment pretty resonable and the electronics to guide you as you use your machine, but its my understanding thats it costs quite a bit more if you want the laser to actually control the hydraulics of the machine. The big costs is getting the hydraulics of the machine hooked up. I'm pretty sure GPS is a lot more money. I don't know an exact cost, but the system we bought about 3 months ago was 25k for survey grade GPS.

    Take a look at a rotary laser with some kind of guide you can put on your machine, I think that will be in the price range you want.
    Dave,
    BX2350

  6. #6
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    Default Re: GPS and laser leveling for small irrigated plots.

    My uncle owns a construction company and I remember him telling me a couple years ago that he had just bought a gps guided dozer, sounds impressive, but IIRC he said it was around a $50k option from Cat.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: GPS and laser leveling for small irrigated plots.

    Dave,
    Currently looking at a Topcon RL100 laser, LSB110W wireless receiver with machine control output, and a RD100w wireless remote display for the cab. The laser and receiver are about $2300 each and the remote display is $800 all list prices for a total of about $5400, Trying to find the price of the control box to operate the cylinder on the grader box. All of this is for single slope work as that is all that is required. The hydraulics and solenoid valves are the easy part for me, just need the electronics and outputs for the relays.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: GPS and laser leveling for small irrigated plots.

    Quote Originally Posted by mikehaugen View Post
    My uncle owns a construction company and I remember him telling me a couple years ago that he had just bought a gps guided dozer, sounds impressive, but IIRC he said it was around a $50k option from Cat.
    Mike,

    The gps stuff is pricey but does provide some advantages for this work if you are moving alot of dirt. I suspect that the laser setup might be enough for me at least to get my feet wet. Since I would be provided with topo maps of the fields and these are small areas it shouldn't be too difficult to know where to put the dirt I need to move.

    On a more humorous note I told my brother today while discussing this that my gps fishfinder combo could put me within 8 to 10 ft of location accuracy with the maps I have now. While that may not be impressive to a surveyor I have to figure the tractor and box are about 7'x20' so in a larger field that might help.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: GPS and laser leveling for small irrigated plots.

    You are looking at the right equipment for that type of work .GPS really shines when you need to cut several different elevations and need to know where to cut .You are not doing this , I don't see GPS being beneficial .Is your box mounted or pull type ?

  10. #10
    Elite Member dodge man's Avatar
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    Default Re: GPS and laser leveling for small irrigated plots.

    Yeah, I'd say you are looking at the right stuff. I think you will find the GPS stuff really pricey, and then someone has to make a electronic file for the GPS to use as a guide. I don't know about the specific equipment you are looking at but almost all our surveying equipment is Topcon and we like it. I work with someone that does field tile and I know his stuff is Topcon, which is a rotary laser he sets up on a tall tripod.
    Dave,
    BX2350

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