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Thread: Input please on this simple locate

  1. #16
    Senior Member CableAvoidanceTool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Input please on this simple locate

    First, I would ask the homeowner if he has one of those annoying underground electric dog fences in his yard. Even if he says no, the previous owner of the house may have had one. They are usually shallow and will grab the attention of your receiver all the time. That could be your weird signal out in the middle of nowhere. Also could be the metallic line to a well or septic system.

    Second, try power passive or radio passive for a double check. Try to put as much electrical load on the line that you are having issues with. Turn on all the lights, run a vacuum cleaner, etc. Then try to switch over to passive and see if you can get a repeatable signal. Passive is frowned upon by most locators, but it takes the transmitter out of the equation entirely. If your trouble is application of electromagnetic signal, then passive may offer some insight.

    I see from your pictures that you are going to heroic lengths to try and get this line located. To be honest, I don't think any of those techniques opening up the electric panel is truely neccessary. Re-connect all lines so the electric works in all buildings on the property. Then just go to power meter on the outside of the house, with the circular glass meter that the electric company reads for usage. Taking your direct connect clips, direct connect your red lead to the metal casing of the power meter, and ground somewhere in the dirt with a screwdriver or whatever grounding stake you want to use. Try a bunch of different frequencies if you want, but 83khz should be great to jump all the bad connections. Try putting your transmitter on 0.25 or 0.5 watt output.

    Make sure you wiggle the red lead on the casing around a little, to scratch off the paint on the power meter, this could get you a better signal.

    Then walk around the shed with your reciever and look for all signs of any signal. I like connecting at the power meter panel because it is the true source of all the electric that comes out of it.

    Electrical lines are usually pretty easy to locate, so don't worry. By their nature, they are forced to be metallic, which is great for locating. I have helped homeowners with private electric before and have not had the difficulties experienced and described so far with a shed feed.

    Post back if any of this actually helps you.
    daman1 likes this.

  2. #17
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    Default Re: Input please on this simple locate

    Thanks CableAvoidance... I appreciate the feedback. My exhaustive efforts with this locate are mainly to do with getting the most out of my learning curve. I will reply section by section...

    Quote Originally Posted by CableAvoidanceTool View Post
    First, I would ask the homeowner if he has one of those annoying underground electric dog fences in his yard. Even if he says no, the previous owner of the house may have had one. They are usually shallow and will grab the attention of your receiver all the time. That could be your weird signal out in the middle of nowhere. Also could be the metallic line to a well or septic system.
    No dog fence. Older home so may very well have older buried object... septic or some such. Currently on city sewer. Could be almost anything buried in the past years. Heating oil tank however documented as removed over years ago so not likely that. Wondering if perhaps metal-containing contaminant perhaps. No matter. I know where the cable is but just trying to learn my gear and processes.


    Quote Originally Posted by CableAvoidanceTool View Post
    Second, try power passive or radio passive for a double check. Try to put as much electrical load on the line that you are having issues with. Turn on all the lights, run a vacuum cleaner, etc. Then try to switch over to passive and see if you can get a repeatable signal. Passive is frowned upon by most locators, but it takes the transmitter out of the equation entirely. If your trouble is application of electromagnetic signal, then passive may offer some insight.
    I do pick up with my Power 60hz frequency setting. Good idea to draw as much current as possible. I believe 3 plugs and 2 lights. Can run electric heater or something to juice the crap out of the line and see if any better. Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by CableAvoidanceTool View Post
    I see from your pictures that you are going to heroic lengths to try and get this line located. To be honest, I don't think any of those techniques opening up the electric panel is truely neccessary. Re-connect all lines so the electric works in all buildings on the property. Then just go to power meter on the outside of the house, with the circular glass meter that the electric company reads for usage. Taking your direct connect clips, direct connect your red lead to the metal casing of the power meter, and ground somewhere in the dirt with a screwdriver or whatever grounding stake you want to use. Try a bunch of different frequencies if you want, but 83khz should be great to jump all the bad connections. Try putting your transmitter on 0.25 or 0.5 watt output.
    Heroic efforts... thanks. I am vying for rookie of the year. Seriously though, as noted, it is more about the experience than anything. But I will try the meter hookup. Keeping in mind that is 2 panels away from shed. Will be curious to see it connect.



    Quote Originally Posted by CableAvoidanceTool View Post
    Make sure you wiggle the red lead on the casing around a little, to scratch off the paint on the power meter, this could get you a better signal.

    Then walk around the shed with your reciever and look for all signs of any signal. I like connecting at the power meter panel because it is the true source of all the electric that comes out of it.

    Electrical lines are usually pretty easy to locate, so don't worry. By their nature, they are forced to be metallic, which is great for locating. I have helped homeowners with private electric before and have not had the difficulties experienced and described so far with a shed feed.
    I know... strange indeed. I am not that experienced but having this early tough experience is actually a plus I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by CableAvoidanceTool View Post
    Post back if any of this actually helps you.
    Will be taking you and others up on that. Very much appreciated. Learning lots and hope to make a good locator soon. Need more miles on my gear which I am doing as often as possible.

  3. #18
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    Default Re: Input please on this simple locate

    There are ghost signals everywhere in the earth and if you turn up the gain on your receiver you can make a line appear anywhere you want it to. In my area we have highly fractured shallow bedrock and I swear these fractures fill up with water and light up like a conductor. This mystery signal could be anything from geologic to an abandoned utility to "it is what it is".

    If you set a ground rod in your direct connection setup, you will have ground signals running all around the house. The house and outbuildings are also grounded. Electromagnetism is lazy and will take the path of least resistance to get back to ground and complete the circuit, taking whatever path it choses, over and across any type of conductor.

    My methodology when locating is to always check my signal strength (generally the signal with the highest mA is the target conductor and wins over all other signals, always walk out signals), also look at signal direction (not always a true-all, but it is another piece of the puzzle), and check signal depth). The vLOC you are using is a great piece of equipment; I use the vLOC5000 and it has a ton of bells and whistles including signal distortion and signal select, designed to help identify the target line which I don't fully understand yet, but you also have to rely on instinct and experience.

    You won't nail down every line at every locate. It depends on how it was constructed, any repairs, site conditions, etc.
    yahoo likes this.

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