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Thread: Tips on locating power

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    Default Tips on locating power

    I was looking for tips on locating power.The problem I am having in my area is when you hook up to a transformer that has lets say for example two mains going north and one main going south.I get great signal going north but barely any going south.I can try to hook up to the next transformer but its so far away that my signal has basically dissapted in the area of conflict.I cant really even try a power sweep due to the fact that the cable main,phone main and power main that is not my clients are in the same general area.Everybody else in my area just says light that b**** up and paint everything.I actually like most of my contractors and don't want to do that to them.Any tips?

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    Senior Member UULC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips on locating power

    It sounds like you have a ground problem on the line going south. I would get with your client and have them open the transformer and THEM ring clamp the cable. If this is happening on more then one transformer I would just paint all hits. FPL had that problem on a lot of their transformers. Just a thought.

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    Senior Member sprayandpray's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips on locating power

    If it's a concentric primary you are always going to have these types of problems. Like UULC said, get the power company to access the transformer and hook up for you.
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    Senior Member Turk182's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips on locating power

    Hook up a transmitter on both ends, I have had a lot of success doing this, it also helps in areas where they have replaced the primary without pulling the old cable out.

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    Senior Member Paint'n & Flag'n's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips on locating power

    Instead of connecting to the transformer go to one of the house meters that is directly behind the transformer. Make sure you unbond everything to reduce the chance of bleed over. If you still dont get a good signal try ringing the meter. A higher freq might help also...I run on 32 or 65 for all my locates. If this doesnt work then you'll need to go inside the transformer as stated but I always try these steps first.

    When doing power mode the catv line will have a different tone than what power has. It takes time and practice to learn the distinct tone but once learned makes doing power sweeps a valuable tool.

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    Senior Member Paint'n & Flag'n's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips on locating power

    Forgot to mention this as well.

    Open loop! What you describe could also be an open loop which is where they have a cable running between two transformers but the cable isnt energized. Its in case the feed that is supplying power is damaged and they can then energize this backup cable to supply power while they work on the damaged cable. A open looped cable is much more difficult to locate. In cases like this you have to go to the other transformer and work your way back to the area you are working.

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    Senior Member ProfessionalLocator's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips on locating power

    If all else fails induce the signal. First determine the location of the other utilities so you can eliminate their signals. As you said you have a signal but it only goes so far. So induce from a known point where you got a good signal and see if you can follow this induced signal.

    If you are not experienced using induced signals ask a tech who is come over and try it. Use this as a learning experience.

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    Senior Member locator00566's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips on locating power

    Pipe Horn!!

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    Senior Member UULC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips on locating power

    I love Pipe Horns. They will lite up everything even the unknown.

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    Senior Member FailedSafetyAudit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips on locating power

    When you direct connect to a transformer, you arn't really getting a true direct connection to the utility like you would with a direct connection on the copper sheathing of a telephone line or cable television line.

    Also be careful of the two main power lines that run close together, this is known as a double leg primary and your equipment will sometimes give you the average centerline between both power main lines.

    You can try using the inductive clamp on a power meter, but you will still bleed off alot. I agree with everybody else in your area, just switch over to power passive and paint anything that lights up. Covers your ass the most in the least amount of time.
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    Member spencer newson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips on locating power

    if all else fails try using transmitter in induction mode ( use no leads) place it on ground outside transformer at regular intervalls untill you get a signal once you have signal place transmitter over marking and you should be able to trace cable away from transformer good luck some times it helps having a second person placing transmitter in different places for you or to do a circular search around transformer

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    Senior Member headcipher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips on locating power

    Quote Originally Posted by FailedSafetyAudit View Post
    I agree with everybody else in your area, just switch over to power passive and paint anything that lights up. Covers your ass the most in the least amount of time.
    Any electric line that is NOT pulling power will NOT show up when trying this(especially a redundant primary or street lights or vacant home). Wanna see just how poorly this will CYA go ahead and try to 60 cycle a primary by a 600 pair and a cable main. I guarantee that you will NOT get a signal right over the primary. Doing this will NOT CYA.

    Run it back from the source, induce it from a non-congested area, or have the vault opened and direct connect/ring-clamp to the line in question. After that document everything tried. If nothing works notify your Sup in a documentable way. That's how you will CYA.

    It's worked for me for the last 9 or 10 years.

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    Premium Member daman1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips on locating power

    Quote Originally Posted by headcipher View Post
    Any electric line that is NOT pulling power will NOT show up when trying this(especially a redundant primary or street lights or vacant home). Wanna see just how poorly this will CYA go ahead and try to 60 cycle a primary by a 600 pair and a cable main. I guarantee that you will NOT get a signal right over the primary. Doing this will NOT CYA.

    Run it back from the source, induce it from a non-congested area, or have the vault opened and direct connect/ring-clamp to the line in question. After that document everything tried. If nothing works notify your Sup in a documentable way. That's how you will CYA.

    It's worked for me for the last 9 or 10 years.
    Wise words there Cipher. I wish they'd just take the 60 cycle sweeps out of the equipment. No one seems to know how to use it properly anyways.

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    Senior Member Enjoythefall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips on locating power

    I don't think passive modes should be removed at all. In highly congested areas you can't trust 'em, or when the line isn't energized... But they are one of the most valuable troubleshooting tools available to a locator. Hell, I know of at least one Power contract for USIC that requires a passive 60 cycle sweep be done after every locate.

    In most circumstances, I wouldn't place a final mark on a passive signal. When you're out in the country chasing a solitary line that runs forever, though, radio or 60 Cycle mode can really save you some time.

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    Premium Member daman1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips on locating power

    I know. I use the passive mode too but too many of us use it just to avoid walking to an access point or as a shortcut. It's for great for trouble shooting. The only time I've used it to put marks down is when I've already marked a line and I'm doing a refresh. Doing a passive sweep at the end of a locate is a great extra safety step but use it for anything else and you'll find out the hard way why you shouldn't.

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