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underground utilities locating equipment

Discussion in 'General Industry Questions' started by Randy88, Dec 8, 2010.

  1. Randy88

    Randy88 Senior Member

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    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
     
  2. bpogue

    bpogue Well-Known Member

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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 It's hard to give much advice now because the technology changes so fast that they are out of date in a few years.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.
     
  3. Dwan Hall

    Dwan Hall Senior Member

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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.
     
  4. Drc

    Drc Well-Known Member

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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
     
  5. clay digger

    clay digger Well-Known Member

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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. sandnsnow

    sandnsnow Well-Known Member

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    We have several Mytana pt20's and they have been good for us. Detects about 20 feet deep.
     
  7. SNOWBALL

    SNOWBALL Member

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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
     
  8. Randy88

    Randy88 Senior Member

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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.
     
  9. tuney443

    tuney443 Senior Member

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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.
     
  10. Digger Dan

    Digger Dan Well-Known Member

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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. hceweb

    hceweb New Member

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  12. JD450A

    JD450A Member

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    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. qball

    qball Senior Member

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    i find a cat 345c locates all utilities incredibly well:)
     
  14. BDFT

    BDFT Senior Member

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    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. Randy88

    Randy88 Senior Member

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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.
     
  16. coorecat

    coorecat Well-Known Member

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    The coat hangers don't need water or electric current to work good, you can throw a scrap piece of 3/4 pipe on the ground and close your eyes so you don't know where it is and when you get to it It will still turn 90 degrees. Not arguing with you but I've had to prove this to many times to young engineers and project managers fresh out college.I see what your saying about having a bunch of lines in a small area though as I lay a lot of pipe in water treatment plants and it's not uncommon to have 50 to 100 utilities in the way on a run of pipe:Banghead As bad as I hate to say it we usually break out the shovel and probe rod with a 185 cfm air compressor with a blow pipe if its granular or sandy soil.
     
  17. tuney443

    tuney443 Senior Member

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    The Pipe Finder also does not need water or electric flowing through it either.I always carry sneakers with me in my cab however because it usually will not work with heavy soled work boots.A good friend of mine is the underground utilities manager for a huge engineering firm in our area--everyone of his field crew has one of these in their vehicle to confirm mark outs by others.
     
  18. coorecat

    coorecat Well-Known Member

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    I tried to use the pipe finders but all my crews kept losing them so now they just rip the flagging off the loco flags and use the wire part.
     
  19. Randy88

    Randy88 Senior Member

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    coorecat, I was referring to plastic lines not metal one's, and we've never had any luck locating plastic if there's no water running through them, it also depends on who's doing it my wife and two of my kids are way more accurate than I or the rest of the kids are, I've had others do it and had about the same experience than I've had, some good some not.

    We bought a maverick tile finder, the best investment I've ever made.
     
  20. coorecat

    coorecat Well-Known Member

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    Randy88, I've always been able to pick up any kind of pipe with them but like you say there are some people who can't use them
    or who can't pickup with them. I always try to hold them at least a shoulder width apart and about a foot and a half in front of me,
    also I've seen some people's swing in when they cross a line and some people's swing out it's weird how it works. Good luck any way!