How Often Do Total Stations Really Need Preventative Maintenance?

Use the information in this article to learn why preventative maintenance is important and what can affect the frequency it is needed so you can decide for yourself when your instrument is due for maintenance.

How often should you bring a Trimble robotic total station to a Service Provider for preventative maintenance?

Trimble's recommended preventative maintenance interval, also known as a service or "clean and cal" are as follows.

Trimble SX Instruments: Preventative maintenance interval is once every two years

Trimble S Series Instruments: Preventative maintenance interval should be based on calendar time or hours of use, whichever comes first. The preventative maintenance interval also depends on the hardware revision of your total station. Total stations that were manufactured more recently include a hardware change that extended the recommended preventative maintenance interval. You can tell which hardware version you have using the serial number:

S Series Service Interval Table

Is there any reason I would need to bring my instrument in for preventative maintenance more often than what’s listed above?

If your instrument has endured rough handling or extreme environments, you may need to bring it in for preventative maintenance more often. For example, if the instrument is driven down a bumpy road and the instrument case bounces around inside of the vehicle/truck bed.

Also, keep in mind that local projects or policies might dictate a different preventive maintenance schedule to that of the manufacturer recommendation here.

Why do some instruments have a 1-year preventative maintenance interval while others have a 2 year?

The recommended preventative maintenance intervals are hardware-driven, so the difference is in the hardware!

Trimble SX Instruments

  • The TCXO (Temperature Compensated Crystal Oscillator) is the driving factor for the 2 year preventative maintenance interval on the SX10 and SX12. Over time, this component will start to drift, affecting the PPM value of the EDM accuracy. Bringing your SX instrument in for preventative maintenance every two years will ensure the EDM is performing within specification.

Trimble S Series

  • S Series instruments with serial numbers ending in 50000 or smaller need to have their bearings checked every year. They will be re-greased when required. This ensures that the drive system works smoothly and ensures the angular accuracy of the instrument.
  • S Series instruments with serial numbers ending in 50001 or larger have updated bearings, so they only need to be checked every 2 years and re-greased when required for the same reasons as above.

What is checked or done to the instrument during preventative maintenance?

When an instrument comes in for preventive maintenance a comprehensive list of checks is carried out, and adjustments are made as-required to ensure all components are calibrated and the instrument is within specifications. For example, this includes examining the EDM components and doing a baseline check, examining the angle sensors and servos, reticle, tilt sensor, plummet, camera(s), and the tracker.

When applicable, the instrument firmware is updated as well as any other updates according to Trimble Service guidance.

Check out this bulletin for the full checklist!

How can I tell when my instrument is due for preventative maintenance?

  • Method 1: you can check on the instrument itself in the face-2 display
    • In the “Setup” menu, select “Service info”. The due date and remaining hours will be displayed.
  • Method 2: via Trimble Access field software
    • From the main menu, select “Instrument” > “Instrument settings”, then tap on the “Service” softkey. A pop-up message will display the due date and remaining hours.
    • Note- if your instrument is past due for its regular servicing, a warning will pop-up in Trimble Access on startup.

Are you due for preventative maintenance?

To schedule preventive maintenance, or for more details, please contact AllTerra - 0800 255 8372 or via email.

Trimble Donates Robotic Equipment to New Zealand’s Otago University

Trimble Geospatial recently donated five Trimble S5 robotic total station systems to Otago University’s School of Surveying in Dunedin, New Zealand. University alumnus Derek Shanks presented the donation to this school that has made a tremendous impact on the careers of numerous Trimble employees over the past several decades.

The equipment, which is valued at $260,000 NZD was donated with support from Trimble’s New Zealand distributor AllTerra.

“A significant number of Trimble employees, both past and present, are graduates of Otago’s School of Surveying,” said donation organizer Derek Shanks, Trimble Geospatial robotic total stations market manager, and 2010 graduate from Otago University’s School of Surveying. “I am proud that Trimble is giving back to a facility that set me, and so many of my colleagues, up for our professional careers.”

Sharleen Cole-Swami, Geospatial Consultant at AllTerra New Zealand, delivered five robotic total stations gifted to the School of Surveying at Otago University. Photo's by Sharron Bennett.

The Trimble S5 robotic total station systems will modernize the School of Surveying’s teaching methods and allow all students to have hands-on experience with instruments that are used in the professional field today.

Robotic total stations make surveying work more efficient, and also reduce the number of people needed to perform the work - these stations track and follow the surveyor, instead of a surveyor being positioned behind an instrument with an assistant at a distance.

In addition to the main total station units and accessories, Trimble also donated tablet controllers - complete with Trimble Access field surveying software - to communicate with the robotic stations and store pertinent data.

“It has been a great way to build on the strong relationship Trimble has developed with the Otago Surveying School” said Shanks. “AllTerra NZ and Trimble will continue with future visits to the school to demonstrate cutting edge technology and equipment to students.”

To learn more about Trimble products and solutions, visit here. To purchase Trimble products, contact AllTerra