Tips to help you in picking the right Laser receiver for the Job
With all of the types, makes and models of rotating laser receivers on the market, make sure you understand the basics of laser receivers so you can make a wise purchase decision. Laser Receivers (sometimes referred to as laser detectors) receive rotating laser signals at great distances. They are sometimes hand held, but most often attach to grade rods with sliding brackets. Laser receivers annunciate distinctly with light, sound and sometimes readable information to indicate when a laser receiver converges on and locates a rotating laser beam. A rotating laser may be visible for a few hundred feet indoors and much shorter distances in daylight, so when used with an appropriate laser receiver the operating radius is extended out to the laser operating range (which, depending on the laser transmitter, can be 175m, 300m, or even up to 500m). A receiver is generally required for outdoor use and for indoor use when there are very long working distances involved. Special receivers are required for line generator units (or other non-rotating lasers). Machine control receivers are addressed separately.
Hand held or rod mounted construction laser receivers range from very basic to very sophisticated, with prices starting at around $150 and ranging up to $500, and up to $700 for the new digital grade rod receivers. More advanced features are available on the more sophisticated units which, as one would expect, have the highest cost.
Below is a summary of features that may be available in laser receivers (laser detectors).
Wavelength received may be red (most common), green or infra red. Laser receivers are specific to the wavelength of light received. Newer laser receivers are universal for the wavelength of laser light received (i.e., a red wavelength receiver/detector should work with all red transmitters). Some laser receivers are universal in that they will receive red, green and infra red light wavelengths.
Vertical reception range: The height of laser reception band, which contains a set of receiving sensors. The more expensive receivers have more sensors closer together to produce the required measurement “resolution.”
Level of precision settings: While the lowest cost receivers do not have multiple settings, more advanced receivers may have from a few to many settings to allow selection depending on the measurement tolerances needed (coarse setting for rough earthwork to ultra fine for precision concrete form work),
Indication for direction to on-grade: Receivers use audio and visual information and annunciation to guide the user to grade. An LCD screen may provide directional guidance and distance to grade, sometimes accompanied by LED lights and sometimes arrows, with green indication when on grade. Receivers typically use sound as well, using sound pulses that increase in speed to a steady beep as the desired grade is reached. Many have adjustable sound levels. More advanced receivers generally have LCD screen on back as well as front of receiver.
Horizontal reception range refers to circular range that a signal can be received. Receivers often have one sided reception. Sometimes models have a reception band on the back side as well and there are also models with three-sided reception.
Out of beam indication: Some of the more advanced receivers provide indication that the receiver is out of the reception area so user are directed which way to move to get back to the beam.
Tilt Sensing & Compensation measures angles and performs plummet distance calculations on a digital grade rod receiver, and automatically compensates when unit is out of plumb (see the new Spectra Precision DR400)
Anti-strobe sensors: Some receivers have filters that prevent interference from heavy equipment strobes that can contribute to false readings
Radio communication: Some advanced receivers can communicate with laser transmitters and some can also communicate with other receivers, such as may be required when working over large areas.
Selectable units of measure: Standard and metric, with varying increments (e.g., ft, fractional inches, mm, cm) depending on the precision required
Weather protection standards: Receivers may have varying levels of protection from the elements, ranging from very limited (e.g., units for indoor use), to weather resistant, to fully weatherproof (sealed against water, dust).
Shock resistance: More expensive units have a higher degree of protection if dropped or otherwise impacted.
Mounting brackets – Some receivers facilitate bracket attachment at two locations for maximum flexibility of use. Some receivers are combination units that can be rod or machine mounted, using magnets. Some interior laser receivers use magnets as well.
By understanding the features available, you can select the right receiver for the type of work you perform.