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Thread: Using water in manhole

  1. #1
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    Default Using water in manhole

    Hi Guys...

    I started locating for a local telecom co this year. Our area is very wet and we often have water in manholes.

    I normally clamp to our lines in the manholes to locate (or pedestals above ground).

    For wet manholes, another locator suggested instead simply use my direct connect dropping my red clip into the water if the lines are submerged, ground to my ground stake at other end outside the manhole, and try to create a circuit that way.

    Apprehensively, I did and did get a strong signal, for about 30 seconds... then saw my battery indicator on my transmitter drop to zero before my eyes.

    Now, I will say that this was a shared manhole with a couple of utilities in it and I probably lit up the whole freakin neighbourhood on every utility present, and thus had tons of current flowing through several lines.

    Any input on this technique? Apprehensive to try again.

    Also... whats the danger if my inductive clamp falls in while powered?

    (I use a current model Vivax Metrotech system if that makes a difference).

    Thanks.

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    Senior Member yahoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using water in manhole

    this will work but it will eventually lead to something not being located right . there is one right way to do this job and that is pump the water out of the manhole and hook up to every single unit leaving the manhole . as far as the ring clamp being underwater while you are using it to locate . no big deal it will work as long as both other ends are grounded someplace somewhere.
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    Default Re: Using water in manhole

    Thanks Yahoo... I figured so. In my case, I am only looking for Telecom from the company we are contracted to. Anything else in the manhole we are not looking to locate. It is just that if I push signal into everything via water, then I cannot isolate what I am looking for.

    But it helps to know that doing so is not going to damage my gear or anything. I would not do this on a multi-line manhole again... basically makes my hookup irrelevant.

    So submerging my inductive clamp and clamping it around a specific line underwater should still yield a signal in that specific line? Or will this light up everything in manhole as well? I guess I can always try and find out. And yes, our lines for this client are grounded both ends as a rule... of course there is always the exception.... like cut lines from condemned or demolished buildings... etc.

    Thanks for the feedback. Helpful and appreciated.

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    Default Re: Using water in manhole

    You got it, put inductive clamp onto end of extension pole ans reach in an clamp.

    The vivax clamp is very cheaply made , hollow plastic. Only a little sideways pressure will break it off where the extension pole screws in.

    Also some phone lines are gas under pressure with nitrogen gas which is inert, non-toxic and makes up about 70 % of our atmosphere. The danger is a leak will displace oxygen in the confines of a manhole. You may hear the hissing of escaping gas or see bubbles rising out of the water.

    This is where Federally mandated explosive, toxic gas and oxygen testers are needed. Thing is they are expensive and most locate firms would rather have dead locators than pay for safety equipment. So get and use an extension stick.

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    Administrator TheCableVine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using water in manhole

    I've never heard of this. I guess it would work. I can see how the battery was sucked dry as you were standing there watching it.
    "Change does not always equal progress."

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    Default Re: Using water in manhole

    Thanks ProLoc...

    For my clamp, I actually zip-tied and duct taped a threaded handle to one of the clamp handles so I can screw my extension pole int it versus the sad little threaded receptor built into the handle from factory.

    I've not yet seen gas bubbles or hissing in a manhole but am now in the watch.

    Thanks for input and encouragement. Quite a learning curve I am on but loving every (ok, most) minutes of it.

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    Default Re: Using water in manhole

    Quote Originally Posted by TheCableVine View Post
    I've never heard of this. I guess it would work. I can see how the battery was sucked dry as you were standing there watching it.
    Oh yeah... Lost fresh batteries in under a minute. Gonna try again though with only one or two small lines submerged... Versus 3 or 4 including some heavier lines.

    Live and learn.

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    Default Re: Using water in manhole

    I have done that with a little luck but I would only suggest it if you have already been in that man hole and have a specific memory of what runs through it. That's true for using your hot stick too because some lines can be near the top of the hole where you can't see them unless you're in it.
    Most companies frown on both, so play it safe and don't do either if you are new to the area.
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    Default Re: Using water in manhole

    You could also try general induction, just placing the transmitter alone in front of the manhole, and turning it on. This would broadcast a signal indiscriminately all over the place, but should be strongest with whatever utility is directly below the transmitter. It will light up other things, but should still give a signal on your telephone.

    If you have good maps, you can try using radio or power passive mode as well. Not useful in a very congested area, but in the smaller towns it's easy and works well enough.

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    Default Coupling Under Water

    Quote Originally Posted by RanVan View Post
    Our area is very wet and we often have water in manholes.

    For wet manholes, a locator suggested dropping my red clip into the water to create a circuit.

    Apprehensively, I did and did get a strong signal, for about 30 seconds... then saw my battery indicator on my transmitter drop to zero before my eyes.

    Any input on this technique? Apprehensive to try again. s

    Also... what's the danger if my inductive clamp falls in while powered?
    Greetings RanVan! All coupling works safely and effectively submerged in water. It does not matter what brand of coupler/transmitter is used. The tone followed from underwater coupling will be no different than a tone from a dry coupling.

    In my territory, I have four AT&T manholes that are huge and always full of water. I do not have all day to pump them down just to couple the mainline or the laterals. Instead, I stand on the ladder, with water up to my nipples, reaching out with my coupler on a hotstick clamping individual laterals; all the while the coupler is singing in f8, or f33, while I jump from mainline to lateral or lateral to lateral. Trust me, underwater coupling is safe and shouldn't be a big drain on batteries.




    Coupling is induction locating and the induction signal will not be as crisp as a direct connection signal. Once the target utility is coupled, the first 8 to 15 feet of signal will most likely be mush. The proper technique of following an induction signal is walk away from the coupler 20 feet, or more, to do the sweep. Once the signal is found, follow it out within the scope of the ticket. Upon the return, finish it off with a freelance marking the last few feet back to the coupler.

    Using the red lead, or the black lead (with DC current it does not matter which one you use for a ground) dropped in the wet manhole will, without a doubt, give you a tone, but I would never trust that tone. Just the thought of throwing my lead into a manhole for a tone makes me shudder............ GEEZUS, your buddy needs to be bitch-slapped for even suggesting that technique to a noob. There are many shortcuts available to a locator to locate a duct package, but in my book, throwing a lead down the hole should never be used. When accurate paint is paramount on that duct run, then get your ass down that hole!

    I must admit, I have thrown my lead in a water meter well full of murky water a time or two, but that is a discussion for a later date. Anyway, please post often. Luv Ya Man!


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    Default Re: Using water in manhole

    Do not use general induction unless you have located for over 2 years bro . In my world that is High Profile and you are required to double access all high profile facilities. I have seen way to many noobs get fired because they are afraid to get down into a manhole throwing your red leed in is fine if it is a tree ticket but if its a bore job you have to get down there and make sure you have all the laterals

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