D3aBT..back from the dead!


Leica D3aBT new in 2010 ..scrap 4 years later?

It’s not often obsolete devices come back from the dead but this has happened for the Disto3aBT. Leica have released a new version of their DistoTransfer software that gets it working with Windows 10.

Microsoft killed my Disto. It’s been a couple of years since my trusty Austrian made Disto 3aBT last worked with Windows 7 and my new Surface Pro only comes in Win 10 flavour so I have been resigned to looking for a replacement. There is no trade-in offer from Leica so I was stuck with a hefty replacement cost. It pained me to scrap an otherwise perfect tool for the sake of an operating system upgrade. These things are not cheap and to be forced to replace them makes me feel like a chump for buying it in the first place. At purchase it set me back around £300, not a trivial write off after only 5 years of use..and its re-sale value is rubbish.


The problem is down to Bluetooth version compatibility. Windows 8 & 10 doesn’t support Bluetooth 2.1- it needs a Bluetooth 4.0 or higher device to work with. (Bizarely it does support Bluetooth v2.0. for some devices) I’m thankful I didn’t stretch to a D8 or D10 as the write off would have been worse.

The options were:

  • Revert to Windows 7 and try to reverse the drivers to a pre BT 2.1 state.
  • Rero-fit a BT 2.0 dongle and try to install pre BT 2.1 drivers.
  • Find an old BT 1.0 Disto like the A6.
  • Hack the Disto and attempt to re-chip the Bluetooth Tx
  • Buy another Disto..

The Leica Disto family 2017 (prices are ex VAT)

New drivers save the day! The new, just released,  version (4.75) of Leica Disto Transfer supports the fossil devices. It takes a little patience to set up…

With the Disto in BT mode the software eventually finds it. Select the device on the Left side of the panel and hit the big OK …

…and a data capture panel opens up. Take a shot, send and there it is. Next biggify the panel and you get options on sending the data somewhere useful:

a neat drag and drop target will hook the data into MS Notepad or Excel. To get it to work with CAD it comes with an ARX family in its install folder, load that and ..

Leica DISTO transfer Plugin Version 4.70 BLE
LeicaDisto201764.arx successfully loaded.

…tells you all that’s needed is the ‘LEICADISTO’ command to send Disto data to the command line..

…and get those TheoLt Building Survey tools to work up the plan.


Turn off your Disto and Leica Disto Transfer beeps at you to tell you the connection is lost, nice to know but not half as nice as knowing your old kit works with the new Windows now…


About billboyheritagesurvey

Heritage worker
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1 Response to D3aBT..back from the dead!

  1. Reblogged this on Billboyheritagesurvey's Blog and commented:

    It’s not often incompatible kit gets a reprieve!

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