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Old 09-17-2019, 08:42 PM   #1
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Default Underground tracer

So I was a about to buy a slightly used greenlee 501 tracer, then I hear people raving about the Ideal Suretrace which I can’t find anything saying it’s for UG.... yet I’ve read it works flawless in UG situations. It’s also 3 times the cost. Can anyone shed some light on this...

I rather have something more reliable and accurate even if it means spending more.


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Old 09-17-2019, 08:58 PM   #2
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This is the real deal:

https://www.radiodetection.com/en-us...ocators/rd7100

It's what the locate and utility companies use.

We finally bought one after we realized we are in the electrical business for the long haul, and it pays to have good equipment. I'm also not ashamed to bill part of the locator cost out for each job we use it on either.

I think we paid 7k a few years ago.
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:55 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cow View Post
This is the real deal:

https://www.radiodetection.com/en-us...ocators/rd7100

It's what the locate and utility companies use.

We finally bought one after we realized we are in the electrical business for the long haul, and it pays to have good equipment. I'm also not ashamed to bill part of the locator cost out for each job we use it on either.

I think we paid 7k a few years ago.


I will def need to research this one.


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Old 09-17-2019, 11:09 PM   #4
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IIRC we paid around $7,500.oo for the RD8000 model maybe 10-15yrs ago. It's the "Bees Knees" most excellent piece of equipment. When situation gets tricky with multiple 60 Hertz signals, I isolate and ground a conductor, then at the other end put an individual signal either 512, 8000, or 33,000 Hertz. Time consuming yes, but get it spot on every time. If you only need this 2 or 3 times a year, have a locating company do it for you. If you miss something, can get expensive or worse. Don't be this guy
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Old 09-18-2019, 12:38 PM   #5
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Damn ! Is 6k-7k necessary? Greenlee 501 anyone ?


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Old 09-18-2019, 03:46 PM   #6
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I have an ideal one that I payed about $1,500.00 it works pretty good
I have used to trace underground wire and it was very accurate
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Old 09-18-2019, 04:16 PM   #7
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I have an ideal one that I payed about $1,500.00 it works pretty good

I have used to trace underground wire and it was very accurate


Sure trace ?


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Old 09-18-2019, 04:32 PM   #8
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I have a 501, love it. it can take a little patience but works great especially on small wire.
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Old 09-18-2019, 05:29 PM   #9
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I’m leaning towards the ideal suretrace
61-859

It’s about $1500

I’m going to spend another night researching this. Is this just a souped up tone and generator ? Which is what I use to trace wires.

Lately I’ve been dealing with numerous condo communities that have parts of lighting circuits fail due to damaged wires from either landscaping , irrigation, etc. So this needs to work with UG circuits.

I need to make a choice and order by tomorrow as I need this tool yesterday.


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Old 09-18-2019, 06:07 PM   #10
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Sure trace ?


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I have the Ideal 61-959

https://www.zoro.com/ideal-circuit-t...SAAEgJ9A_D_BwE
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Old 09-18-2019, 06:51 PM   #11
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I have a split box tracer made by Fisher which is about all I use. I have a Dynatel 2273 and most of the bells and whistles, including the fault locator. In the end, for chasing faults in UF, I use the split box for route, the Aquatronics fault locator for the faults, and the Ideal tracer to help me get close as I dig down so I don't damage it any further. The megger comes in handy to tell me whether I have actually cleaned up the fault or whether there is other damage.
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Old 09-18-2019, 06:57 PM   #12
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If you were starting from scratch, would you buy the all the same?

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I have a split box tracer made by Fisher which is about all I use. I have a Dynatel 2273 and most of the bells and whistles, including the fault locator. In the end, for chasing faults in UF, I use the split box for route, the Aquatronics fault locator for the faults, and the Ideal tracer to help me get close as I dig down so I don't damage it any further. The megger comes in handy to tell me whether I have actually cleaned up the fault or whether there is other damage.
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Old 09-18-2019, 06:58 PM   #13
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Some of these responses depend upon where you are working and around what other utilities. The high end locators are nice, but probably take some practice at the least or maybe a class to get good at it. I have gotten to be able to tell whether I'm bleeding off onto another pipe, wire etc, but its take some time to get there. If you did it everyday, you'd probably pick up on this fairly quickly.
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Old 09-18-2019, 07:00 PM   #14
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The reason I posted the RD7100 besides what I mentioned already, is it locates underground wire, it finds faults, and it'll give you burial depth.

I can't tell you how convenient it is to go out there, locate a wire along it's length and then go back over it for a fault locate. In the process of fault locating, you can push some buttons and unplug the a-frame and you're back to locating without walking back to the transmitter.

The depth is also VERY helpful to have. We do a lot of ag work, sometimes all we have to do is located the wire and just keep track of the depth while locating. At the shallowest spot, we know where to start digging because that is where the ripper from the tractor caught it underground and tore the wiring in half. It's also nice to know if the customer complains about an issue with underground wiring and a person goes out there and just with the locator, realizes it's only buried 6" deep under a road, etc. You're not out there to repair a fault, just to start digging to make a repair, only to realize it's only 6" deep and the whole wire run needs to be re-ran at a farther depth.
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Old 09-18-2019, 07:07 PM   #15
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Quote:
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If you were starting from scratch, would you buy the all the same?
You know, that's a great question. I may have gotten the Dynatel first in a fit of tool foolness, can't remember. I remember seeing a website about fault locating and the Fisher split box is what they recommended because it was simple. They used a Timco spitfire for the fault locator, which I have used and it worked as well. The Aquatronics model has a battery as well as a 120v input. I'd be willing to bet that there are probably more than a few combinations of fault and underground locators as well as the more common tracer that many of us have that would work. I think the thing like much of what we do is experience. I love it when I land on an obvious hit and the megger tells me its good, reading either direction from the fault. Not always the case. Megger tells me its no good, the whole segment, the ground is dry, somewhere theres a bad underground splice that won't give up its location.

I don't know that I'd change what I have for gear, maybe because I'm not sure what is better.
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Old 09-18-2019, 07:08 PM   #16
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If other utilities are involved -- I dial USA. ( underground service alert )

They'll find the endangered utilities for FREE. By law I'm supposed to turn to them.

The only time I have ever had to mess with tracing -- was for my own SHALLOW stuff.

So I don't see why WronGun ought to shell out for the seriously awesome stuff.
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Old 09-18-2019, 07:21 PM   #17
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If other utilities are involved -- I dial USA. ( underground service alert )

They'll find the endangered utilities for FREE. By law I'm supposed to turn to them.

The only time I have ever had to mess with tracing -- was for my own SHALLOW stuff.

So I don't see why WronGun ought to shell out for the seriously awesome stuff.


Not utility just privately owned lines, specifically lighting.

Some of the larger investments I’ve made on tools usually takes place when I need them. This one is overdue.


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Old 09-18-2019, 07:30 PM   #18
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What I've done with most of my specialty stuff, with fairly good success, is go to ebay. All that stuff I mentioned, was from ebay. I had to source a few items for the fault locator, but it works great. Bought all of this stuff for probably less than half the cost new. There is money to be made if you have clients with a lot of UF. Every so often I have to chase faults in URD where its primary metered and client responsibility.
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Old 09-18-2019, 07:42 PM   #19
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The reason I posted the RD7100 besides what I mentioned already, is it locates underground wire, it finds faults, and it'll give you burial depth.

I can't tell you how convenient it is to go out there, locate a wire along it's length and then go back over it for a fault locate. In the process of fault locating, you can push some buttons and unplug the a-frame and you're back to locating without walking back to the transmitter.

The depth is also VERY helpful to have. We do a lot of ag work, sometimes all we have to do is located the wire and just keep track of the depth while locating. At the shallowest spot, we know where to start digging because that is where the ripper from the tractor caught it underground and tore the wiring in half. It's also nice to know if the customer complains about an issue with underground wiring and a person goes out there and just with the locator, realizes it's only buried 6" deep under a road, etc. You're not out there to repair a fault, just to start digging to make a repair, only to realize it's only 6" deep and the whole wire run needs to be re-ran at a farther depth.
How accurate do you find the depth to be? The split box doesn't give depth unless you do some math. The Dynatel will, but never got around to being any good with it.
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Old 09-18-2019, 08:29 PM   #20
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How accurate do you find the depth to be? The split box doesn't give depth unless you do some math. The Dynatel will, but never got around to being any good with it.
Very accurate. Having the depth also helps with locating, if you're tracing a wire out and you're at a certain depth and then all of a sudden you see a big depth change and the compass indicating wire direction on the display goes wonky, you know you might have gotten off on something else. Our old one just gave you a tone when over a wire, with no depth, so you could go off the wrong direction where some wiring intersected one another and never know you were following the wrong wire until later.

Secondly, having the depth measurement on this over our previous fault locator sped our digging process up considerably. Let me explain.

Standard procedure for us with our old system was two different tools. A locator and fault finder. Locate the wiring and paint the path on the ground. Then go back to the truck, set up the fault finder and run down the painted lines. Find the fault and start to dig. Scratch a little with a machine or by hand, dig some more, explore around some, dig some more, etc. Eventually getting down to the faulted wire which could be 6"-60", you never knew till you got there. If you're hand digging not knowing how deep you're going to go, it can make for a long day.

Now we have the RD7100 locator and a mini excavator with several different types of toothed and smooth buckets.

We verify the depth with the locator and proceed to dig with speed to within about 4-6" of the fault based on the locators depth and then hand dig the last few inches. Now we spend maybe 5-10 minutes digging up the fault, where we used to spend up to 30 minutes or more gingerly digging down not knowing the wire depth and taking our time.

We have gotten so confident with it now, that if say you have some smaller wire in a bigger conduit, say #2's in a 3" conduit that are laying on the bottom of the conduit, we know we're going to come across the 3" conduit about 2" less than the depth measurement on the locator.

Again it's very accurate. Less than an inch off, I'd say.

I realized after I've typed out these couple of posts on here I probably sound like a locator salesman or that I write novels like Telsa, not my intent. I've just spent so much time with an older basic locator and fault finder, walking back and forth on 2500' long wire runs fault locating irrigation pivots for crop circles to then realize there is something better out there for doing the job. It would of saved a lot of time over the years. With the high billable rates electricians charge, it seemed like a reasonable expense weighed against the time saved over the long run. Plus we're always busy now, so anything to cut manhours that will pay for itself usually gets bought in our shop.
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