Annual costs

Andrew

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Huntingdon, UK
We run 3 NH FM 750 screens (Trimble CFX750) all connected to autosteer.

They all run Rangepoint, and the subs are due soon. Don’t know this years price but it was about £900 in total last year. Going forwards this is going to be a big bill. Is there any way to reduce this? I’m guessing there is still subs if you go all the way to RTK?

Long term would we be better switching to a different system? I seem to remember someone saying Greenstars SF1 is similar to Rangepoint but is free. Are they significantly ‘more expensive than Trimble, or any other downsides? Can field maps and AB lines be imported?

What about AgOpen GPS? Can you get them to talk with autosteer controllers? What are correction signals like?

I will say we went with Trimble in the first place as the Fastracs at the time were Trimble ready. You can get them Greenstar ready now as well, before it was a significant cost.
 

Andrew

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Huntingdon, UK
You'll make profit on the first year if you move to your own RTK base, assuming all your fields can be served by a single base.
What’s the operating range of a base station? I would say 15 mile radius would cover us. What would happen if we went out of range? Back to Egnos accuracy?

How would we make a profit? As I understand it with Trimble we’d have £3000 of unlock codes per reciever plus a radio or sim cars setup, plus base station?
 
We run 3 NH FM 750 screens (Trimble CFX750) all connected to autosteer.

They all run Rangepoint, and the subs are due soon. Don’t know this years price but it was about £900 in total last year. Going forwards this is going to be a big bill. Is there any way to reduce this?
As you've said RTX rangepoint is £295/yr per screen. They seem to have put it up a fair bit in the last few years now that a lot of people are on it.

One way to reduce cost of rangepoint rtx or to protect against future price increases in the near future is to take out a longer sub on all or just selected screens. Doesn't save a massive amount but every little helps, Especially if you are planning on keeping them.
If you purchase subscription codes online through Trimble positioning service store, when you renew it, It gives the following options under 'click on service';

1 year sub / screen £295
2 years sub £561 (£280.50 / yr)
3 years sub £797 (£265.67 / yr)
5 years sub £1180 (£236 / yr)
 
I took out a 5 yr sub last year on one screen and it was £1060 (April 2018) equivalent to £212 / yr. So it has gone up a fair bit since then, but in my opinion was worth doing.
 
What’s the operating range of a base station? I would say 15 mile radius would cover us. What would happen if we went out of range? Back to Egnos accuracy?
There’s two main distance related functions you need to consider with RTK...

Radio Range. If using (UHF etc) radio to send out your RTK corrections, the radio range will be the first thing to disappear. That’s why folks build masts or stick a pole on the tallest shed in the yard with an antenna, to blast out their corrections. Blast is probably a bit of strong description, but you can get high power radios that will do 15 miles no probs in good terrain.

RTK Baseline. This is effective “GNSS operating range” - the practical limit beyond which its hard to get a “ fix” and also the precision error degrades too much. With agri using dual frequency receivers, you’re looking about 50 to 60 km from the base as the “practical” max workable distance, beyond which your position errors just get too high on RTK.

(Note also that NTRIP - corrections delivered over the internet, usually last leg to the tractor is by cellular/mobile connection - has no radio distance limit - just the RTK baseline you need to consider)

I’ll cover the business case angle in another post.
 
Location
North
How would we make a profit? As I understand it with Trimble we’d have £3000 of unlock codes per reciever plus a radio or sim cars setup, plus base station?
Sorry, I got the RTX subscription fee wrong, thought it was £900 per year per device (you would not make profit before the second year). Not familiar with Trimble, my AGCO receivers do not ask for any unlocks for the RTK correction from a private base, did not expect that from other brands. Adds many more years "to make profit".

Unfortunately too late for you to consider other brands, would likely be more expensive to swap at this point.
 

Clive

Staff Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Lichfield
We run 3 NH FM 750 screens (Trimble CFX750) all connected to autosteer.

They all run Rangepoint, and the subs are due soon. Don’t know this years price but it was about £900 in total last year. Going forwards this is going to be a big bill. Is there any way to reduce this? I’m guessing there is still subs if you go all the way to RTK?

Long term would we be better switching to a different system? I seem to remember someone saying Greenstars SF1 is similar to Rangepoint but is free. Are they significantly ‘more expensive than Trimble, or any other downsides? Can field maps and AB lines be imported?

What about AgOpen GPS? Can you get them to talk with autosteer controllers? What are correction signals like?

I will say we went with Trimble in the first place as the Fastracs at the time were Trimble ready. You can get them Greenstar ready now as well, before it was a significant cost.

no subs on RTK if you have your own base - ours cost about 12k 10 years ago and its paid back long ago

I believe you can do a RTK base MUCH cheaper with the Emlid stuff for a couple of thousand these days so its a utter no brannier IMO

Not to mention how much better RTK is than any paid for signal we ever used
 

Clive

Staff Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Lichfield
What’s the operating range of a base station? I would say 15 mile radius would cover us. What would happen if we went out of range? Back to Egnos accuracy?

How would we make a profit? As I understand it with Trimble we’d have £3000 of unlock codes per reciever plus a radio or sim cars setup, plus base station?

we get about 25mies east for ours and about 15 west - very terrain dependant, we are on top of a hill
 

Andrew

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Huntingdon, UK
Sorry, I got the RTX subscription fee wrong, thought it was £900 per year per device (you would not make profit before the second year). Not familiar with Trimble, my AGCO receivers do not ask for any unlocks for the RTK correction from a private base, did not expect that from other brands. Adds many more years "to make profit".

Unfortunately too late for you to consider other brands, would likely be more expensive to swap at this point.
I'm not sure. Considering a trailed rather than SP sprayer, so will be down to 2 GPS units. One of the tractors will be due for change in the next 12 months and the other in 3 years, GPS will be changed with the tractor. So if we were to change brands this is the time - we'd just run 2 brands for a couple of years.

As for RTK, we are in West Cambs, we have lots of ridges and valleys formed by glaciers years ago, not sure on the technical term. Our farm is right on the top of the ridge. Roughly East West we can see for miles along the ridges. North East we are the highest point for a couple of thousand miles. But South about 4 miles and there's another high ridge so not sure what we'd be like in that direction.
 
no subs on RTK if you have your own base - ours cost about 12k 10 years ago and its paid back long ago
Definitely no reason to spend this much money nowadays on your own base.

By example a well setup Reach RS2 could do the same thing (probably more) for around a quarter of the outlay, including a permanent base housing and 35 watt radio, should you need that, in the bargain.
 

Uploading....

New Member
All the ‘experts’ stating how low cost dual frequency receivers are going to be a great alternative to major brand base stations without first testing the specs. There’s no P code, L2C only, meaning, out of the box, your Topcon, Trimble etc doesn’t fix on RTK. I know, I’ve spent some time testing it.
 
I've got to finish my testing with these here RS2 receivers. Only done RS2 to RS2 testing with a quick and dirty setup with rtk2go to get stuff moving.

What I know is that RS2 receivers send their base corrections in MSM4 format, so with standard config they will send out 1006 (ARP station co-ordinates), 1074 GPS MSM4, 1084 GLONASS MSM4, 1094 Gaileo MSM4 and 1124 BeiDou MSM4 message types.

Now any receiver that's capable of receiving RTCM 3.2 corrections should be hunky dory as they can understand and decipher MSM4 message types. If the receiver is somewhat older (or the firmware) can only take RTCM 3.1 then you might be out of luck as the more modern MSM4 messages only arrived with RTCM 3.2 (receivers made 2014 and later generally or firmware to run).

Saying that there may be a possibly of parsing the corrections using the PFAT facility within the SNIP caster, but its just a hunch. I've not tinkered with SNIP much and its PFAT facility.

I don't think the lack of L2P code on the receiver is significant as @Uploading.... alludes. L2P is a military code and only some (civilian) receivers track it. L2P will probably will be done away, in a few years as L2C pretty much is the way forward.
 
Location
North
I don't think the lack of L2P code on the receiver is significant as @Uploading.... alludes. L2P is a military code and only some (civilian) receivers track it. L2P will probably will be done away, in a few years as L2C pretty much is the way forward.
The comment on L2P got me puzzled because my knowledge on that area is nil. WIKI says L2P capable receivers usually track L2C first for faster fix and then move to tracking L2P. However, now we are talking about RTK where the receiver does not track any of the codes but the actual carrier wave. While the P code is much more accurate than the C code, there is nothing that would be as accurate as the carrier wave itself.

I understand RS2 could be less accurate than say a modern Trimble, Topcon or Novatel receiver when they operate in a code tracking mode. But when any of these is working in the carrier tracking mode (RTK), the codes make no difference.

Uploading was referring to an issue with an RS2 receiver as an RTK base and a Trimble or Topcon rover. In this case the base is not transmitting any information about the P-code (be it P-code capable or not). I simply do not understand how the P-code capability would affect RTK compatibility in his scenario. Then again, there are so many other things that I don't understand. Anyone please correct me where I was guessing wrong.

Considering the RTCM 1008 issue that Briantee refers to, my VarioGuide (Topcon AGI4) finds an RTK fix from a non-Topcon base even if RTCM 1008 (nor 1007) was not broadcast, but only at times. This Topcon receiver needs RTCM 1008 (RTCM 1007 too recommended by the manufacturer) to identify that the base transmits RTK correction data as specified by the standard (not including a minor deviation as Topcon itself does). This is specifically an issue with a dual constellation (GPS + GLONASS) scenarios.

Now I don't understand why Trimble does not find an RTK fix without RTCM 1008 but does with a dummy RTCM 1008. Perhaps they default to "Trimble like" only after seeing RTCM 1008 but not finding any familiar brand info while Topcon appears to default to "Topcon like" unless an RTCM message specifically names another brand that it identifies.

Hopefully the issues Uploading faced were along the message type format or message set rather than complete incompatibility because of no L2P capability on the RS2.
 
Considering the RTCM 1008 issue that Briantee refers to, my VarioGuide (Topcon AGI4) finds an RTK fix from a non-Topcon base even if RTCM 1008 (nor 1007) was not broadcast, but only at times. This Topcon receiver needs RTCM 1008 (RTCM 1007 too recommended by the manufacturer) to identify that the base transmits RTK correction data as specified by the standard (not including a minor deviation as Topcon itself does). This is specifically an issue with a dual constellation (GPS + GLONASS) scenarios.
If the antenna descriptor messages are a deal killer then they could be added/inserted/changed through the use of SNIP...


Edit - I might just ask the Emlid guys if they can add 1007 and 1008 message output for "legacy" Trimble and Topcon rovers. They will no doubt laugh, but its worth a shot...
 
Last edited:
Location
North
So RS2 neither supports RTCM 1004 or 1012? I doubt my old receiver would understand MSM messages. I would need some kind of a message convert, one mount point serving old format and another one MSM type messages.
 
So RS2 neither supports RTCM 1004 or 1012? I doubt my old receiver would understand MSM messages. I would need some kind of a message convert, one mount point serving old format and another one MSM type messages.
Yep unfortunately as of right now the front end interface, ReachView, in the RS2 receivers only allows the newer multi-constellation MSM style message output (RTCM 3.2) and not the “classic” GPS & GLO only message types found in RTCM 3.1 when in base mode. The underlying ublox chip and the software RTK libraries will however support the original/classic MT’s as well as the newer MSM style messages.

Emlid said that they would consider adding the specific MT’s for antenna descriptor etc to support Trimble/Topcon rover receivers, but really the bigger issue is that all these “old” (and I use that term reservedly) receivers that we have won’t speak the new RTCM 3.2 lingo, which is kind of frustrating but understandable given the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it attitude” in the Precision Ag industry and hey RTCM 3.2 has only been out there since 2013...so give them time to catchup

I just posted a message on the Emlid forum asking if they would consider adding “classic” (or legacy) RTCM 3.1 output in ReachView. Will see what they say.

There is another possible solution on the horizon - that is once SNIP implement the “Create Classic from MSM Message” translation feature in their software it would be possible to use the SNiP caster software to turn “old” from “new”
 

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