First impressions of the Disto E7100i and Disto Transfer software:
- The LDM came out of the package, batteries in, Bluetooth on and paired with the laptop, Leica software downloaded and installed, imported measurements to the software all in under ten minutes. I was impressed by how easy it is to figure out.
- The device has four clearly marked buttons that only do one or two things each. It's almost as simple as the remote for the Apple TV. The first function for each button is a single short press, the second function is a press and hold. Press ON, the laser comes on, press it again and it takes a measurement. Hold ON and it takes continuous measurements, updating every half-second or so. Press AREA once, it sets it up to take two measurements and calculate area. Hold AREA and you cycle through the displayed unit options. Pres BLUETOOTH to toggle it on and off. Hold BLUETOOTH to pair. Press CLEAR/OFF to clear the measurement, hold it to turn the device off. That's it. I just wrote the manual for the device.
- The device will display meters to four decimal places (tenth of a mil) and inches to 1/32". I'm not sure what degree of precision the software imports metric measurements, but it converts the fractional inch measurement to 1/16". Actually, the software receives the measurement in meters, and you have to set the units on the software to convert to your preference.
- The unit takes measurements from the base of the device when you press a membrane button on the face of the device. I think I would like it better if the button was on the side. I can also see the value of the E7500's flip-out base that lets you take accurate diagonal corner measurements and hook on to outside corners. The E7100i stands about 1/4" out of a corner, and I will have to rig up some self-stick targets for outside corners. For testing I had a scrap of cereal box with scotch tape on it. Classy.
- There are two control panels for the software. The small, brief, easy one lets you change the imported units. The expanded control panel gives you access to a lot of options, as well as the ability to set key commands to remotely control the LDM. Since the E7100i is pretty basic, this is probably not a feature I'll use. The expanded control panel also lets you set up the way the software communicates with other software.
- It took about an hour of trial and error, but I was able to configure the software to send a measurement to my software's input box, then close the input box. This works consistently. Any time the software asks for a measurement, I go and take it, and it's done.
- I drew my living room with all of the walls, doorways, and windows a few different times to check for consistency I got results that were down to the 1/16", except for measurements from an outside corner, which were within 1/8", but that could be operator error. I was also able to take measurements from the model that I didn't directly take (distance between windows, for example) and confirm that they were correct, within 1/16" of an inch of reality. Even diagonal measurements from the model were within a 1/16" of an inch over 300+ inches, once I accounted for the distance the back of the unit stands out from a corner.
I need to make a set of targets (probably just laminate sample chips), and I also need to work on using the software to create 3D .dwg files. Low-hanging fruit first.