Calibration Guide and Construction Review – Topcon RL-H5A

May 6, 2020
Calibration Guide
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Calibration Guide Topcon RL-H5A

Calibration Guide Topcon RL-H5A

Calibration guide and instruction for the Topcon RL-H5A rotating laser level.  After this guide, there is a brief review of the construction of the Topcon RL H5A.

Note the calibration procedure for the RL-H5B is different from the 5A model and can be found HERE.

Topcon Rotating Laser

As with all Topcon rotating laser models to date, they do include calibration instruction in the instruction manual which is very unusual and to be commended. However, it is worthwhile, I believe, to duplicate the instructions here in slightly different words and with extra tips and advice.

As always I am assuming that you know how to check the calibration and know where the correct calibration height is for your laser.  Note the Topcon instructions help with this and you can also check out my post for basic self-checking HERE.

While I’m providing links you can find the calibration guide for the Topcon RL-H4C (previous model) HERE.  Although these two models appear very similar the calibration process is a little different.

First up I am going to refer to the “X” and “Y” axis as you may need to adjust both axis to calibrate your laser.  The image below shows you the direction each of the axis.

RLH5A axis slope

So looking at the control panel X-Axis runs left to right and Y-Axis front to back.

Calibration Procedure

To enter into calibration mode on the Topcon RL-H5A while the laser is powered off press and hold the height alert/tilt button and short press the green power button.  Keep holding the height alert/tilt button for about 3 seconds until the LED lights up above it then let go.

Topcon Control Panel

The red LED above the height alert should be solid and the red LED above the manual button should be flashing.  If this is not the case then you have not entered calibration mode, you can power off and try again.  To continue to calibrate the X-axis press the height/alert button once again and the green LED above the power button will light.  Wait for the laser to spin.

To adjust the height of the beam on this axis press the up and down (right & Left) slope buttons.  You will have to use trial and error to find which button moves the height of the laser in the correct direction.  I find that short presses of a few seconds each time of the slope buttons are best.  Another hint is to wait a few seconds after each press to allow the laser to settle.

To save the new height press the height alert/tilt button.  The LED above it will flash for about 5 seconds and the laser will power down.  The new height for the X-axis should be saved, power up and double-check and re-adjust if required.


The above method covers adjusting the X-axis.  To adjust the Y-axis you press and hold the height alert/tilt button and short press the power button keep holding the height alert/tilt button until the hight alert LED light goes solid and manual LED flashes.  This is the same as with calibrating the X-axis at this point.  Now we need to select the Y-axis, this is achieved by short pressing the right slope button and then the height alert/tilt button.  To adjust the height of the laser beam on the Y-axis using the up and down (right and left) slope buttons.  And save the same as we did with the X-axis by pressing the height alert/tilt button once again.  The LED above will flash for a few seconds and then power down saving the new height.  Again check your results and re-adjust if necessary.

IMPORTANT:  If when trying to save either the x-axis or y-axis the height alert LED flashes quickly and fails to automatically power down.  Then the laser level is outside of the electronic calibration range.  Normally this is as a result of a drop.  The laser will need sending to a suitable service centre for repair which can be costly.

That is the calibration method for the Topcon RL-H5A.  As always if in any doubt do not attempt calibrating and send to a laser level calibration specialist.  The Laser Level Review takes no responsibility for any calibration you may perform on your laser following these instructions.

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Part Two – A Review of the Topcon RL-H5A Rotating Lasers & Build Quality

Whilst calibrating this laser recently, I had the opportunity to open it up and take a look inside. The following are some of my observations.

First, a little background on the Topcon RL-H5A.  This model is, effectively, the entry-level rotating laser by Topcon and replaces the previous model the RL-H4C.  The features and appearance of this newer model are fairly similar to its predecessor.  The RL-H5A is an electronic self-levelling rotating laser which operates for horizontal levelling only.  It is powered by standard “D” cell batteries although rechargeable batteries are available at quite considerable extra charge.


The laser features Height Alert or Tilt which means it indicates to the user if it has been knocked or changed position whilst operating.  The laser level also features a manual slope mode for setting grades.  Although saying this, its a pretty basic and rudimentary slope mode which requires two people.  So if you are looking for a laser to set grade on a semi-regular basis then this laser is not for you.

That’s about it for features.  It’s simple to operate and if you have experience with any of its predecessors it will be very familiar to you.

Topcon rotating lasers have been one of the most popular and trusted brands of lasers on the market over the laser 20 years.  Traditionally they have had a great reputation for being accurate and well built, but, do they still hold up to this reputation?

The first thing you notice when holding the RL-H5A, particularly without batteries, is how light it feels.  Also, the plastic feels very quite brittle, much like the H4C, but saying this, I have seen few with major damage to the casing after minor drops.  The older 3C felt more solid in comparison, this feels a cheaper construction.  So what’s it like on the inside?

Build Quality

The construction is similar to previous models with the main levelling components hanging off the top casing.  This is not my preferred construction method, particular for maintenance and repairs.  I prefer more of a chassis type construction, however, this method for Topcon has not been a reliability issue.

I was somewhat shocked to find so many lightweight plastic components internally.  This is far lighter construction to most competitors on the market.  My guess is cost-cutting to keep competitive with these other brands.  Below are some images of the internal construction for you to make your mind up.


Buying a Topcon RL-H5A

Amazon USA

topcon RL-H5a

Amazon Canada

Topcon RL-H5a

Amazon UK


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