Is your base set up permanently or are they setting it up each day?
If they are setting it up each day and some days it “works” and other days it “fails to work” then it is likely a base setup problem that causes it to fail.
What does your base setup look like? Is it a post sunk in concrete with a 5/8 thread permanently mounted or is it being set up on a Tripod or similar?
What type of Antenna are you using - you could have a Cable or Connector Issue between the Antenna and the Base Receiver - if that is damaged that could be intermittently causing a problem for example. Are you using a Geodetic antenna with the large ground plane or a small antenna - if a small antenna you may want to try a Geodetic Antenna with a larger ground plane.
Stupid I know but if the base is set up permanently - sometimes birds will sit on them - this can create an intermittent problem (eagles and owls have been known to try to nest on a base station antenna!). You may want to check that also.
If the base is permanent and is not being re setup each day, then unless the base station setup can move, it is not likely to be the base station that is causing a variable success each day unless there is something obstructing the base antenna or you are getting multipath - the effects of GPS signals bouncing off surroundings (buildings, trees, vehicles parked nearby etc.). Your base station location is important - it should be in a clear area away from trees and buildings and any other obstructions. If there are Power Lines overhead or underground, set the base up well away from the power lines and pylons - same for electrical sub stations etc. If you continually get problems and your base is semi permanent try setting it up in a different area of the project - that may fix an external influence issue depending on what the influence is.
You could be getting some type of radio interference on site that may be causing an issue - you can try changing channels - are you running 450MHz or 900MHz radios on your Base / Rover / Machine.
Is the symptom of the issue you are seeing a height issue only? ie when you check in on a point is it a height bust that you are seeing or a position and height bust? What type / size of error are they seeing?
For Siteworks the file format for a Control file is a CSV format - that is not version dependent, the site calibration file format has not really changed over the years, and if you are “failing” at the point check in on the Rover before you get to the machine it has nothing to do with versions on the files. If it was a Machine issue not being able to get a bench in on a known hub that could be a whole set of other issues so I think you have o be sure of your Base and Site Calibration first - the check in on a known point with your Rover is the best way to check this
If your Base is setup, your site calibrated and you take your Rover Pole to a known point (xyz) and measure at that location using the Check Control Point function, then if that checks in correctly then your Base and Rover and Site Calibration is working correctly. If in doubt check two or more points this way - if one is wrong check another - if they are both wrong look at the errors - what is wrong about them - are the heights both off by the same amount or a different amount - try a third point and see what you get there. If all points are off by the same amount then you have a systematic error in ie someone keyed in the Base Height wrong or the Pole Height wrong or you are / are not using the Quick Release adaptor etc. - this will give you a systematic height bust. If the positions are all off but off in the same direction and magnitude then your base likely moved / was set up incorrectly. If the errors are all different and in different directions and by different amounts then it could be that your site calibration is wrong or that you are getting some kind of multipath or interference issue that is causing the errors to be more “random in nature”.
If the Base and Rover checks in but your machine is off then you could have a measure up problem or there could be a sensor on the machine that is not calibrated correctly or that is faulty that is causing the computed elevation of the blade tip o be off e.g. if a cross slope sensor or long slope sensor is mis calibrated then the blade of the machine will likely read the wrong elevation and it will read different elevations for he same point if it comes at the point from different directions - that is a good check on a machine if you use it to check the height of a known point but you come at the point from 4 different positions - if the machine measure up and sensor calibrations were all done correctly then the elevation should be the same from all directions of approach - if something is off then the measured elevation will vary in each position - and that is a red flag.
Versioning of the files on eg GCS900 machines is also an issue - typically an older version file will work on a newer version machine but not the other way around. Remember the Design Files for the machine are surfaces, alignments and linework and typically I would say that they will either load or not, however they will not affect the check in of a machine at a point - that is down to the base, the radio and the machine receivers and the sensors / measure up and sensor calibration of the machine. While different machine software products (GCS900 vs Earthworks) have different file formats (SVD/SVL on GCS900 and DSZ on Earthworks a DSZ is a ZIP file that contains the SVD/SVL file so they really are not that different. On Earthworks the site cal file has a different file extension on GCS900 it was a CFG file and on Earthworks it is a .CAL file but again the content of those files is the same.
The only other possibility that I can think of is the Machine Sensor Types and the Firmware that is on them - If you have the older style blade mounted antennas (MS990 vs MS992) then there are some computability issues between GCS900 and the antennas because Trimble changed the way that they handled the Geoid Files when they changed Receiver types - on MS990 receivers the Geoid was broken down into a very small file that was loaded into the Antennas whereas on the newer receivers they moved the Geoid into the Control Box so there was a significant change at that time and in TBC you have to set the machine up the right way. I don’t believe that Earthworks has any of those types of issue.
Hope that this helps you to diagnose your problem
Please call me if you want to discuss.
My recommendation is start with a process of elimination and that will depend on the type of base setup that you are using.
- Get the base working
- Use a site calibration that you have and that has worked
- Use the Rover to check in at one or more known points to check that your base and site cal are working correctly - if you get a good check in on 2 or more points then I would say that your base, rover and site cal are working.
- Now focus on your machine - bring your machine up to a known point - you can set a hub and measure it with SCS900 / Siteworks and then bring your blade up to the hub and place the measurement point on the Hub - check Blade Center as well as blade tips. Turn the machine around and approach the hub from the opposite direction and check it again - did the values all match for Center and Blade Tips - if yes then your machine is calibrated correctly - if not then you may have a machine calibration issue
If it all works today but tomorrow it fails and nothing changed overnight then you have some kind of external interference is my guess - e.g. radio jamming or interference - try a different Base / Rover / Machine channel or at worst try an alternative radio frequency i.e. 450to 470MHz or 900 MHZ or just a frequency band if you are running 450MHz radios
Work with your dealer and Trimble on the issue - it could be a data issue but for these types of problem it typically is not a data issue because you are not working a model at this stage - deselect your design in this process so you don’t have a model loaded if you are concerned about that or want to exclude it as a potential problem.