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    Trimble SPS85x Series GNSS Receivers - Product Review

    Why you should be using the Trimble SPS855 series GNSS receivers

    Trimble SPS85x compatibility with Rx, SPS and Machine control

    Over the last two decades GPS has become a standard tool for civil construction projects. From surveying tasks to machine control systems, all of the GPS equipment on your site relies on your base station for accuracy. We explain why the Trimble SPS85x receiver is the best GNSS receiver for any project.

    Most projects are built by multiple contractors. Even when one contractor manages the entire project, the survey crew typically uses UHF (403-473MHz) radios in their GPS equipment (for long range), while the dirt guys run 900MHz, license free radios in their GPS rovers and machine control systems. Because of this, most projects run two separate GPS base stations to provide real-time (RTK) corrections either radio choice. 

    The SPS85x receiver can provide real time corrections to multiple radios simultaneously.

    In fact the SPS85x series GNSS receivers can also be configured to provide independent RTK corrections simultaneously to a wide range of GPS equipment, such as a GCS900, Accugrade and MineStar grade control systems - as well as any survey receiver capable of receiving CMR, CMRx and RTCM corrections.  Even other brands of receivers like Topcon, Leica, Sokkia, Javad can utilize the corrections provided by the SPS85x.

    Local GNSS Base Station Corrections:

    Trimble SPS852 GNSS receiver on tripod

    The SPS85x is available with either 900 MHz or UHF internal radios. 

    For dual radio situations (900 and UHF) the SPS85x can transmit out of its internal radio – while also transmitting to an external one.

    This works great for sites where survey and construction crews are running different radio types.

    The SPS85x has a simple to use front panel interface which makes base station setup easy - without the need for a separate controller. 

    The Auto-base feature allows for 1 button operation which can streamline setup on sites where the base station is taken down overnight.

    Internet Base Station Corrections:

    Trimble SPS852 GNSS Base Station as network RTK

    The SPS85x was designed with the internet in mind and is one of the easiest devices to set up on a network. Seriously, this thing was easier to set up than our wireless printer! Within 15 minutes we had it transmitting RTK corrections through our wireless router and over the internet. Trimble's web application provides access to additional advanced futures like remote set up and remote troubleshooting.  That’s right, you can access your base station from anywhere in the world – just open your browser and type in the IP address. 

    Another advantage of the SPS85x is that it can simultaneously transmit corrections over multiple ports, using multiple protocols. For example – you can send CMR+ corrections through the internet while sending RTCM corrections through the internal UHF radio – while also sending CMRx corrections through an external radio – or any combination of the sort. You can even have a 4th port sending via Bluetooth.  This is multitasking in 4 different languages! Not only does it support the latest Trimble rovers like the R12 and SPS986, but offers support for Leica, Topcon, Sokkia, JAVAD and of course just about every Trimble RTK receiver made since the late 90's.

    Two jobsites – One base station:

    Think about this scenario: You have multiple jobs that are close to each other, but out of radio range. The SPS85x can be located on one site, providing corrections locally – while simultaneously sending corrections to the second site through the internet.

    Note: Sending corrections through the internet enables your rovers to receive those network corrections over nearly unlimited distances. This is not the same as a VRS network so we don’t recommend using corrections when you're more than 20 miles from your base station. 

    Rover operation:

    If your running SCS900 or Siteworks software, the SPS85x can be optioned as a rover too. It can be mounted to a survey pole, tucked away in a backpack, or mounted in a vehicle - making it perfect for daily quantity topos.

    **Last we tested, Access software was not capable of using the SPS85x as a rover.

    SPS85x receivers compared (SPS850 through SPS855):

    Trimble's SPS85x series receivers have changed a bit over time.  From the original SPS850, to the SPS852 and the latest SPS855, we provide a short overview of each receiver's capability so you can compare and make an informed buying decision. 

    Here is what you need to know when buying a SPS85x receiver:

    SPS850 Extreme:

    These were the original from back in 2005. They offer GPS and GLONASS tracking as standard options.  Multiple radio options were available: 900 Mhz, 410-430 Mhz, 430-450 Mhz, 450-470 Mhz. L5 tracking, a.k.a "triple frequency" was standard.  Compatible antenna:  Trimble Geodetic Zephyr Model 2.

    SPS850 Datasheet >>


    The SPS851 replaced the SPS850, but is essentially the same receiver - except GLONASS and L5 tracking became optional upgrades (paid). Compatible antenna:  Trimble Geodetic Zephyr Model 2.

    SPS851 Datasheet >>


    This is a 220 channel receiver that gets confusing because everything is a paid option – including the accuracy.  Depending on the options purchased - the receiver can either be a base or a rover or both. GLONASS and Galileo are also options, along with L5 (triple frequency) and data logging. Compatible antenna:  Trimble Geodetic Zephyr Model 2 or Model 3.

    SPS852 Datasheet >>


    This is the most current version - released in 2011 and current through 2021. The 855 uses 440 channels to track GPS, GLONASS, BeDiou and Galileo constellations. (all optional upgrades). The SPS855 is available with an internal 900 Mhz or UHF wide-band radio. Like the SPS852, everything is a a paid option with this receiver.  Compatible antenna:  Trimble Geodetic Zephyr Model 2 or Model 3.

    SPS855 Datasheet >>


    Trimble SPS851, SPS852 GNSS Receiver Base Station

    Trimble SPS850, 851, 852, 855 GNSS

    The Trimble SPS85x (SPS850, SPS851, SPS852 and SPS855) receiver is a modular GNSS receiver designed for harsh conditions.  The SPS85x circuit boards are totally sealed inside its IP67 rated metal housing. Being a modular receiver, the 85x can be installed inside a jobsite trailer or vehicle, keeping it safe from the elements and road-side thieves.

    Configurable as either a base or rover (depending on options), it includes an internal battery (10 to 12 hour), Bluetooth communications, easy to use front panel interface, and internal serial to Ethernet converter for a simplified internet setup.

    Since the receiver is modular, it requires a separate GPS or GNSS antenna to receive satellite signals, preferably Trimble's Zephyr Geodetic Model II or III. 

    Trimble Net R9 GNSS Receiver for VRS

    Trimble NetR9

    The Trimble NetR9 GNSS is grey and color and otherwise looks like the SPS85x, but does not offer an internal radio. The NetR9 was designed for VRS network installations only.

    Trimble R9s

    The R9s looks identical to the NetR9, but the "S" model offers additional configurations like an internal wideband UHF radio for local corrections and supports field configurations through any controller running Access software - which makes the R9s much more versatile - and almost identical to the SPS855 (without the 900MHz option).  440 channels capable of tracking every satellite constellation available today.

    R9s Datasheet >>


    Trimble Net RS GPS network base station

    Trimble NetRS

    The Trimble NetRs receiver was the first to go online, but was difficult to set up and was a GPS receiver only. Additionally the NetRS is not a field receiver and does not have an internal radio. This receiver has a Linux operating system.  Unless you are already familiar with these, our recommendation is to stay clear of the NetRS because of how difficult it is to get set up.

    This article was updated in April, 2021. We put forth our best efforts to ensure accuracy of information listed, but Trimble can change available options overtime. Please use this information as an additional guide to help you make a decision. 

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