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Old 02-04-2020, 07:37 PM   #1
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Default underground tracer

Ive been asked to buy the underground utilities crew a tracer that can detect energized wires. They have gpr (ground penetrating radar) which indicates that there is something buried there but they also want to know if its live.

I know most of the tracers are capable of detecting 60 htz but is there one you guys trust to be used as a basic don't dig here something is live. Its either that or i can go with a more expensive unit if it can be used and abused and has a limited amount of buttons.
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Old 02-04-2020, 07:38 PM   #2
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Ive been asked to buy the underground utilities crew a tracer that can detect energized wires. They have gpr (ground penetrating radar) which indicates that there is something buried there but they also want to know if its live.



I know most of the tracers are capable of detecting 60 htz but is there one you guys trust to be used as a basic don't dig here something is live. Its either that or i can go with a more expensive unit if it can be used and abused and has a limited amount of buttons.


If it’s shielded or in metal conduit....


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Old 02-04-2020, 07:45 PM   #3
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If it’s shielded or in metal conduit....


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Probably pvc conduit with un-shielded wires.
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Old 02-04-2020, 07:54 PM   #4
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Can't thy trace the the conduit back to the where it goes underground with the radar ?
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Old 02-04-2020, 08:09 PM   #5
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Can't thy trace the the conduit back to the where it goes underground with the radar ?
The radar is a great tool but its doesn't tell you if its a old water pipe or a electrical conduit. It tells you theirs something and how deep it is.

One of the places they are going to work is a abandoned trailer park so theirs lots of pipes and direct burial that has been cut free. We just need something to stop them digging if there is a live pipe at which point i will deal with it.
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Old 02-04-2020, 08:23 PM   #6
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Just so I'm clear, you are only looking to prevent your crew from digging through energized wires, but you aren't concerned with your crew digging through de-energized wires?

We use a pretty expensive RD7100, that has a "power locating" setting, but there may be something cheaper. I believe we paid $7k for it 5 years ago.

For just basic locating we use this one:
https://www.techtoolsupply.com/Green...r-II-p/501.htm

You may be better off to hire a private locating company to come out and take care of it?
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Old 02-04-2020, 09:36 PM   #7
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Just so I'm clear, you are only looking to prevent your crew from digging through energized wires, but you aren't concerned with your crew digging through de-energized wires?

We use a pretty expensive RD7100, that has a "power locating" setting, but there may be something cheaper. I believe we paid $7k for it 5 years ago.

For just basic locating we use this one:
https://www.techtoolsupply.com/Green...r-II-p/501.htm

You may be better off to hire a private locating company to come out and take care of it?
Its a trust issue.

Doesn't matter if the site was covered twice by a locate company and blessed in holy water they know they are pulling up old water/septic pipes and conduits/direct burial so they want to test again before digging.

Its a large site and everyone's has been on site to make sure that its clear to dig including poco (was overhead), gas (none), telephone (disconnected so they dont care), etc. The perimeter has been checked so nothing is entering or exiting the site except for one water and one septic line. (according to a locate service) so we do not expect to find anything but they want a tracer so i was told to buy them one.

Greenlee looks like it will do the job. Might also ask for a rd8000 for myself while im at it.
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Old 02-04-2020, 09:57 PM   #8
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Ive been asked to buy the underground utilities crew a tracer that can detect energized wires.
Back hoes seem to be pretty good at finding the live ones.
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Old 02-04-2020, 11:37 PM   #9
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'Hoes have a nose for juice, there's no doubt about that.
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Old 02-05-2020, 05:55 AM   #10
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That's an expensive investment for the gpr. I don't know that you have much choice other than to roll the gpr where you are digging, mark it and run the regular locator over in the 60hz mode. Dig it down and use a non contact tester on cables if they are direct burial.
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Old 02-05-2020, 11:15 AM   #11
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most underground cable locators have a 60 hz detection mode for live conductors......But i wouldn't trust that to determine whether a conduit has live wires in it.
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Old 02-05-2020, 06:15 PM   #12
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They said no to the greenlee. They want a screen with depth measurement and all the toys. I tried to explain that if we go with a high priced one they will need a training course which made them even more excited to get one.

I was hoping to get away with one quote, maybe two at a push but it looks like this is going to be a 3 quote purchase.
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Old 02-05-2020, 06:22 PM   #13
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Radiodetection, Vivax/Metrotech and ???? There are others but I can't remember at the moment.
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Old 02-05-2020, 07:01 PM   #14
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Radiodetection, Vivax/Metrotech and ???? There are others but I can't remember at the moment.
Flashy sales video. Hard to find a price
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Old 02-05-2020, 07:17 PM   #15
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I don't know that there is much out there to shop with, have to find dealers and get quotes for these unfortunately. About the only thing you'll see online is used pricing on Ebay which may be an option though you'd be wise to send it out for calibration and testing. Might save some $$$ though.
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Old 02-05-2020, 07:19 PM   #16
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Do you still have access to the wires that are there, and do they intend on preserving / reusing them? Or is this just an exercise in avoiding the back-hoe detection method? because if you have access to the wiring and only want to find wires, not re-use them, then you could use a "thumper" on them. it would likely damage them, but it the purpose is just to avoid finding them the hard way, it would do the job I think.
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Old 02-05-2020, 08:11 PM   #17
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Do you still have access to the wires that are there, and do they intend on preserving / reusing them? Or is this just an exercise in avoiding the back-hoe detection method? because if you have access to the wiring and only want to find wires, not re-use them, then you could use a "thumper" on them. it would likely damage them, but it the purpose is just to avoid finding them the hard way, it would do the job I think.
Tearing out the larger pipes before they mark out new streets and install a new system. At least that's the job that we can pencil the cost of the tracer to.

After that it will be used mainly when they are doing water/septic pipe repairs/installs on private land. They use tracer tape/wire yet they never bothered to buy the tracer.

It comes down to.
Electricians use tracers so they must be experts. We want one so tell the electrician to order a good one.
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Old 02-05-2020, 08:25 PM   #18
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I don't know that there is much out there to shop with, have to find dealers and get quotes for these unfortunately. About the only thing you'll see online is used pricing on Ebay which may be an option though you'd be wise to send it out for calibration and testing. Might save some $$$ though.
Like most places im not allowed to buy used. I also require 2 quotes over 2.5k or 3 over 5k unless a sole supplier owns the sale area. A lot of people would think its fun to be able to buy what ever tools or parts you want but to be honest i hate shopping so its the worst part of my job.
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