First time using BLK360

Trimble SX10, Leica BLK360, C5, C10, P15, P16, P20, P30, P40, P50, HDS8800, HDS8400, Riegl VZ6000, VZ4000, VZ2000, VZ1000 & VZ400i, Topcon GLS2000S, GLS1500, etc
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Jamesrye
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First time using BLK360

Post by Jamesrye » Thu Nov 22, 2018 8:49 pm

I had read the feedback on this scanner, which had put me off using it, but I needed a lightweight and small scanner and it had to have a built in camera. As an RTC360 wasn't available to hire, I took the risk and decided to try the BLK....

The Good
The imagery is very nice. Colours are a bit over-saturated, but the tone mapping is pretty good - certainly better than what the RTC360 prooduced (manual tone mapping did improve the RTC imagery though). The images seemed a little soft compared to the RTC, but better than with the iSTAR.

The data. Very clean - less range noise than the C10. Scans appeared to be level, but as I had survey control to register onto that wasn't really an issue anyway.

Using in the field. It didn't crash all day, just flashed orange when it wanted a battery change - I couldn't use an ipad, so was just pressing start. Very light.

The bad

The tripod. Bit of a joke, way to low. Had to improvise an adapter to use with a proper survey tripod. The standard one is way too flimsy.

Getting the data off the thing! It's impossibly frustrating :shock: I tried using the RECAP app - just for fun when I was testing it. Anything with an Apple logo is a pain in the ass in my opinion. Getting the RECAP project transferred proved impossible.

The Ugly

So that leaves using the WIFI to import to Cyclone. First, I made sure to have the latest version of the software. After the obligatory battle to get past the good old "regcyclone.bat" issue, I got Cyclone running. Then I tried to import the data - 22 scans. Battery was at 100%. I set it off and went off to have some dinner. Came back 1hr later, it had imported 1 scan!! Cyclone had just seized up. I gave up with smart-align and tried again. I went in to look after another hour, it had imported 2 scans and had a warning that it was "failure to read battery level". So, I had to import in batches of 5 at a time. It just kept bringing up the "failure to read battery level" error, so it'd do 2 or 3 and then fail. So frustrating! give us a blasted cable!! It's also almost comically slow to import.

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Re: First time using BLK360

Post by Thomas Goodliffe » Fri Nov 23, 2018 8:01 am

We use the blk download software and it takes nearly as long to download as to scan. On a fully charged battery usually can do up to 30 medium non hdr scans per battery swap. Then import into cyclone. Yes a cable or removable card like other leica stuff would have been a good idea... i am going to use a p40 on a large scan project and am not looking forward to the length of time the photos v scanning time at this time of year!

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Re: First time using BLK360

Post by Jamesrye » Fri Nov 23, 2018 8:51 am

Hi Tom. hire an iSTAR to go with the P40 - so much faster!

I have a question for the BLK users out there...

1:30am, I finally finished downloading the scanner. I had to resort to importing one by one. I also have a 1 year old, who decided to wake up at precisely that moment, so needless to say, my patience with this thing is stretched. Anyway, I also noted that when I tried to batch import more than 2 scans, some of the images had missing black squares, or were super dark. If I re-imported the scan on its own, this fixed itself and the images look great. I ended up using 2 batteries on site and spending 1/2 day on site. I then spent 7.5hrs downloading. Did I hire a duff one? Is using the RECAP app actually better - because you can download using a cable from the ipad?

Ignoring the downloading issues, I'm pretty impressed with the scanner. Nice images, clean data, super light to use in sites where access is difficult...

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Re: First time using BLK360

Post by josteinr » Fri Nov 23, 2018 1:32 pm

I have found that using the BLK360 Data Manager to get the scans off the unit first is the fastest and most reliable way. Then you can import those *.blk files into Cyclone without thinking about battery or interrupted wifi-connection etc.

If only there was a cable, though...

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Re: First time using BLK360

Post by Brett » Fri Nov 23, 2018 3:02 pm

Cable is never going to happen. Nor is a powered battery unit (a battery shell with permanent power supply).

We need a third party to develop one. I reckon every single BLK owner would buy one!
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Re: First time using BLK360

Post by Jamesrye » Fri Nov 23, 2018 5:21 pm

Well, I discovered why I couldn't download from the ipad. Although I had itunes installed, I hadn't signed up - once I made an account, and gave my credit card details, the thing worked great.

Now I just have to export the lot to e.57 and register in Cyclone :lol:

I'll also try with that BLK360 Data Manager.

Smashed out a building survey today with the BLK - very impressive for building surveys. Have to go back to site to do some properly levelled scans, but the scanner isn't the paper-weight that some critics would have you believe. But it needs a download cable......badly.

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Re: First time using BLK360

Post by Scott » Fri Nov 23, 2018 6:41 pm

Jamesrye wrote:
Fri Nov 23, 2018 5:21 pm
Well, I discovered why I couldn't download from the ipad. Although I had itunes installed, I hadn't signed up - once I made an account, and gave my credit card details, the thing worked great.
At least they didn't request your 'first born' -that's a relief ;)

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Re: First time using BLK360

Post by Felix_the_Cat » Sat Nov 24, 2018 7:09 am

I have found that "failed to read battery level" is code for "this download is screwed, try again later!"

Reboot everything delete everything try again

The problem you had getting your files is SOP

If you then got the files easily it is an outlier

I have had many nights where I was unable to clear the days scan data off the scanner, just not enough hours in the day and I have to restrain myself from smashing them against the hotel room wall

It is an extreme exercise in frustration almost always

You will see



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Re: First time using BLK360

Post by Jamesrye » Mon Nov 26, 2018 1:54 pm

I have survey control points and C10 scans to register to, so I can get a sensible output with the BLK data. What's weird is that some scans are level(ish) and an inverted scan that I carried out has been oriented correctly, but some scans are at crazy angles. This means that the registration has to be done by picking three common points - if you were to use the visual registration method, the scans wouldn't register correctly. It's a shame that the visual registration doesn't allow you to rotate the scans to level them up :lol:

Help desk advised that there's an inclinometer in the BLK that should correct the data, but only if the tripod is "roughly level" does anyone have any specs on the accuracy of the inclinometer?

Whilst using RECAP allowed me to get the scans into Cyclone quickly, the actual registration is useless! It looks OK at first glance, but when you slice it, there are all manner of problems. Fortunately, Cyclone Classic can be used to correct the problems.

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Re: First time using BLK360

Post by ScottErnst » Mon Nov 26, 2018 3:56 pm

I've done 100's of scans with my BLK and almost always have a smooth (if slow) process from the scanner through the BLK data manager and into R360. I know that Felix has fits with his set up but I haven't had the problems that he is having. I'm not doing huge projects, more like a couple of dozen scans in a day and it takes a couple of hours to do the WiFi transfer to the data manager. An SD card or cable would be really nice. I let Recap go right away and the BLK app isn't much better, I just use it for changing the scanner settings. I also put a bubble level on the camera tripod that I replaced the Leica tripod with and it gets me close enough for the scans to come in level enough to register them. One time I had some out of level scans but it turned out to be an issue with R360, not the scanner.

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