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Thread: underground utilities locating equipment

  1. #1
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    underground utilities locating equipment

    What equipment do you use to do your own locates on underground utilities and waterlines and what experiences good and bad have you had with different equipment, we've been wanting something to locate copper waterlines and private cables and also to run a metal or copper line up tile lines and sewer lines to locate those as well, but have no idea what to even consider, only know of a few that have them and all they tell me is what they have isn't enough and they should have done something different instead but don't know what that is. As they say everyone has to have more knowledge than me as what brands and types to buy and what works best and is the most user friendly and accurate to use. Thanks in advance

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    I've had a Rycom for the last few years and have been happy with it. It's hard to give much advice now because the technology changes so fast that they are out of date in a few years. My general advice is don't skimp. Get the best you can afford. And definitely try it out for a while before buying. I had no problem getting the suppliers to let me try one out for a couple days, as long as they know you are serious. It really takes some time to get proficient with a new locator. With experience you can get to understand the nuances of your equipment and the subtle things it is trying to tell you.
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    Senior Member Dwan Hall's Avatar
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    I use "Radio Detection" brand. it is old, I got it back around 1992 to use with our Power Ram pipe pusher. The new units are much better and user friendly. I still use it once in a while and it has never let me down.
    30 years IUOE Local 302

    www.twhall.net

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    I recently saw GPR, ground penetrating radar work locating a 12" dia pipe. It appears to work but probably not viable for regualr small diameter locates

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    I have a Fisher TW6 which has been around for a long time. I use it mostly for cable locates and it also works well for metal pipes. The ideal is if you can clip the transmitter on to one end of the pipe but it also has an attachment that lets you find a pipe even if you don't have access to the pipe. There is a little art/skill required to do a good job but the more you do the better you get.

  6. #6
    Senior Member sandnsnow's Avatar
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    We have several Mytana pt20's and they have been good for us. Detects about 20 feet deep.

  7. #7
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    I double check all locates with a pair of metal coathangers. bend a 90 degree handle on each one , hold them loosely in, one in each hand. where they cross is where the line is. you need to be careful because it will detect overhead lines as wellband that might interfere with where you need to locate. only do this in conjunction with professional locaters. have had quite a few bad locates by our local locators but it helps to double check. very inexpensive

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    Thanks for the replies now for the next question, since its totally new to me and I have no idea or even heard of these before where do I go to find them and the people with the knowledge to sell/service/demonstrate them? I googled on the internet and came up with ditch witch and a company called 3M I believe and they didn't have an office near me at all. I was demonstrated the ground penetrating radar and the rep told me to forget the idea of locating anything small like wires or copper gas lines so we ruled that out. Snowball we use that for tile lines and some waterlines but you need flowing water to make it work well, if the lines are empty then its almost impossible to locate.

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    I use a tool called Pipefinder.Very inexpensive,about $25,but it really works much to my surprise.It is very similar to snowball's device in theory on how it works,which is a basically a void in the ground.It has a nice sturdy plastic handle with a telescoping steel wand that you keep parallel to the ground,once the tip passes over the pipe,the wand will pivot 90* over the pipe.
    Just remember when the old lady laughs at your expense for trying to sell what she thinks is a worthless piece of garbage"There is an a** for every toilet seat ever made"
    Formerly Skull-Finder-{found the skull to the famous mastodon in Hyde Park,NY in 2000

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    Bought one off these earlier this summer, works fantastic, it found three buried electric (two cable and one line voltage) in a yard for me this summer and it was very impressive how accurate it works.
    Just over 4 G's so not the cheapest but it could save your butt many times that cost just by regularly using it...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMfjqPCfbLE

  11. #11
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    You may want to check the Maverick "Tile Finder". www.hceweb.com

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    Junior Member JD450A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SNOWBALL View Post
    I double check all locates with a pair of metal coathangers.
    Woah, Actually I'm quite glad theres someone else that uses this hi tech system. Makes me feel less of a nutcase.

    The few times I've used one, Its always been a Radiodetection C.A.T. And although there very good at finding Live power cables (Useful for not frying yourself) There utterly hopeless at finding water pipes. To Put this into perspective we had a leak on the stretch of copper water pipe from the mains to our house, so we hired in a radiodetection C.A.T and signal genny, which procceded to completely miss the pipeline, and that was a copper pipeline, these cat's won't work at all on plastic.

    I use the coathangers (well, bit of 1m flex) By preferance. Small simple and portable. Although the obvious is the fact that you don't take a chance and dig carefully

  13. #13
    Senior Member qball's Avatar
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    i find a cat 345c locates all utilities incredibly well
    SO MOTE IT BE.
    the qball fan club
    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref...id=42336642940
    the qball youtube page
    http://www.youtube.com/qball671

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by JD450A View Post
    Woah, Actually I'm quite glad theres someone else that uses this hi tech system. Makes me feel less of a nutcase.

    The few times I've used one, Its always been a Radiodetection C.A.T. And although there very good at finding Live power cables (Useful for not frying yourself) There utterly hopeless at finding water pipes. To Put this into perspective we had a leak on the stretch of copper water pipe from the mains to our house, so we hired in a radiodetection C.A.T and signal genny, which procceded to completely miss the pipeline, and that was a copper pipeline, these cat's won't work at all on plastic.

    I use the coathangers (well, bit of 1m flex) By preferance. Small simple and portable. Although the obvious is the fact that you don't take a chance and dig carefully
    I do the same thing. You feel kind of strange sometimes and people look at you funny but its a good way to double check. Its handy for locating septic fields etc that have moved around after they have been buried. Funny how things are never where the homeowner is "sure" he buried it.

  15. #15
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    Anything that digs dirt locates everything, the hard part is not destroying what you locate, the problem I'm having is to isolate the different utilities, this fall we had nine separate utilities within 20 ft on four sides of a house we needed to redo the septic and water lines and the coat hanger idea didn't work it wasn't accurate enough. We've used the coat hanger thing for decades now to locate tile lines but if there's no water in the lines it basically is useless, it needs flowing water to work the best or electricity being used as well but when you have both in a close area and are under power lines it was useless. Hceweb, does the maverick work as advertised, do you have one yourself or watched the demo at the trade shows? I've talked to one other guy who had one but he just bought it and hadn't had enough time to totally figure it out, he used it for locating tile lines and claimed it worked great for that.

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