I use a total station occasionally. It's a wonderful device, and amazes me with how easy it is to establish points on a project that are more accurate than anything I can measure any other way. That's a good thing; especially since I have a computer program that allows me to create points, transfer them to the total station, and then stake the points out on a project.
I've had a problem the last few days. My computer, and total station, are not communicating as they did in the past. I suspected many things, and was frustrated, when I had to load points into the total station manually with the onerous keypad. To make things worse, when I thought my problems were over, and I managed to upload field points into my computer, I was not happy with what I saw.
Nothing was fitting as it was supposed to fit, and checking the raw data to what was transferred didn't show the same coordinates. Entering the data manually into the program in my PC led to plots that reflected what was envisioned.
So, after some research, I found my Radio Shack USB to serial converter may have a problem. It appears the chips can have problems, data can be corrupted, and communication between the devices is flaky, if non-existent.
Now, I'll have to find a dependable adapter - I guess. It's the starting point in determining the actual problem. How this plays out is yet to be seen, but it's another one of those problems that make me want to pull out what little hair I have left.