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June 4, 2017

IDS Opera Duo / Leica DS2000 Review

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The IDS Opera Duo / Leica DS2000 is IDS second generation of dual frequency Ground Penetrating Radar for on-site mark out replacing the Detector Duo. In the transition they have changed the software and upgraded the trolley design, but whilst the electronics have been moved and integrated, they have not been changed (not that there was any need).

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    IDS Opera Duo / Leica DS2000 Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR)

    IDS have made an effort to remove all of the cables so that now the only cable is the LAN connection from the trolley to the controlling laptop and offer the Opera / DS2000 in 2 wheel and 4 wheel options. We have been able to try both.*

    *Based on our experience if you are buying an Opera Duo you should only consider the four wheel option. The two wheel is more difficult to push and adds significant wear to front of the skid trays which need regular replacement and are expensive.

    The new design is made of injection moulded plastic with a ‘moveable head’ which can be locked in position. The battery has been placed in a bag which slots into an to an internal clip within the trolley and is removable for charging. The GPR has a folding and adjustable handle, which gives it a lot of adjustment and makes pushing the GPR comfortable. Unfortunately the handle is metal and it is not comfortable to hold in cold weather.

    IDS Opera Duo / Leica DS2000 Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR)

    The pivoting head is quite nice to use and gives an impression of moving with the ground. IDS have designed encoders into both wheels so only one needs to be in contact with the ground to maintain the correct distance measurement over more difficult terrain. Everything appears to be rugged and robust there are a lot of mechanisms and moving parts which are potential failure points: moveable head, locking mechanism, moving handle, handle height adjustment, battery bag connection, LAN connector etc.

    The antenna box contains the controlling electronics and pairs of 250 and 700MHz bowtie antennas which are the same antennas from the Detector Duo.

    The IDS Opera Duo we tested had flat tyres, this made it much more difficult to push than it should have been and will have affected of the wheels encoders. This the third (that’s 3 out of 3) Opera Duo we have recently seen, used or helped someone with whose tyres were flat.

    The wheels have a deep tread which collects mud and debris, despite the duel encoders, on the long grass, the Opera Duo / DS2000 could not be pushed at all.

    The skid tray beneath the antenna is made of a thin and soft plastic which doesn’t last long, but will be extended by using a four-wheeled opera and allowing it to be suspended slightly above the ground to reduce wear.

    When the handle is flat, the trolley is quite a neat package and can be wheeled like a suit case. This is a very neat solution for storage in a vehicle and quite pleasant to work with.

    The controller is a dedicated Windows laptop. We used a Panasonic Toughbook, although the laptop theoretically doesn’t need to be dedicated for the GPR in practice because of the specific firewall, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Virus scanner settings (switch them all off) it has proven more practical that that is the case. The software is buggy, although it works adequately for onsite surveying and data collection and we could work with it we found it quite annoying. It was particularly annoying that for a dual frequency GPR you can’t display both frequencies at the same time.*

    *You can, but its impractical to do so because you clip the bottom of the scans and miss data or zoom out very far. Most people we met don’t use an Opera Duo with two frequencies on site.

    Based on our experience, we would not recommend the IDS Opera Duo / Leica DS2000: the two frequencies are not really useable as at the same time, the design is full of potential failure points, it is difficult to push and it can’t be used on rough ground. That said, we have used it and can produce good results. Sorry IDS, lots of good ideas but the implementation is not right.

    The Opera Duo / Leica DS2000 is available through any Leica dealer, manufacture and support are located in Italy but it was designed with local support in mind. Consult your dealer for an update on the support they can offer.

    IDS webpage:

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