Used GPS Equipment. How much is it worth?

A reoccurring question that I am asked: “how much is my old equipment worth?” and “How much should I pay for old equipment?”

I have some thoughts…

Consider a ProMark 2 receiver with all accessories. If it were brand new in the box, would it be worth $1,500? (There are several on eBay right now.)

Consider that we are selling X90-OPUS dual frequency static bases for $1,620 brand new. In a case, with good batteries and cables and a 2-year warranty! So if you were to use the PM2 as a base or a static rover, I think the $1,500 answer is clearly — absolutely not. Would you pay $500 for a PM2? Again, I think not. It is worth $1,620 for dual frequency and access to OPUS, so even if you were to give away the PM2, I think it has no value. It is only as a Stop-N-Go rover that the PM2 would have any value. And then, not much

Next consider a ProMark 3, are they worth $1750 for a complete single receiver?

It is the same equation as the ProMark 3, except that the PM3 has additional problems: no IO Pods, no Batteries, no USB connection to 64-bit machines and slow SV tracking. In my book the PM3 only has value as a Stop-N-Go rover.

The other day I saw a ProMark 3 (used in fair condition) sell for $2,800 on eBay. For the record, we sold these receivers brand new, with 1-year warranties for $3,200 in 2006! Can they be possibly worth $2,800 today?

NO. They can not be worth $2,800. That one could sell for that is a mystery of eBay. Someone got very lucky and somebody else got…well…screwed.

Laptops (which are a similar device) have a lifetime of 2 to 4 years. After 4 years, they have little residual value, typically $100 at most.

The GNSS industry changes quickly. New constellations, new processing algorithms, longer life on batteries are a few of the enhancements that we see on a yearly basis.

So with that backdrop, what are reasonable  general expectations for GNSS equipment?

I personally think that professionals should plan on replacing equipment every 4-years.

I believe that the value of GNSS equipment decreases 50% per year. Consider a $12,000 rover:
New: $12,000
12-months: $6,000
24-months: $3,000
36-months: $1,500
48-months: $100

This means that you need to purchase equipment and use it. If you are only going to use a base/rover pair twice per year, you should rent. Even though it costs a fortune to rent.

Now, I know that many of my customers have extremely old equipment that they use everyday. I have two customers who are using GG-24 RTK receivers from the 2002 era! Several customers are running entire fleets of Z-Extremes and Z-Surveyors. I happen to know that these same companies always have the latest desktop computers, software and trucks.

Why do they not purchase new GNSS equipment that at least tracks GLONASS? I suppose their current equipment works good enough to get them by.

But, if you are looking to purchase used equipment, please consider these things:

  • New GNSS RTK pairs are 25% of the cost of  GPS RTK 10 years ago.
  • New devices can be easily fixed.
  • New devices have warranties.
  • New devices are supportable (your dealer can answer questions about them)
  • New devices will pay for them self’s quickly.
  • Financing (often same as cash) is available on new equipment.

If you are looking to sell used equipment, the best advice that I can give you is to sell it as quickly as possible. Every year that you wait reduces the value of your equipment by 50%!


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