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Thread: Frustrating Water Line Locate

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    Senior Member superman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frustrating Water Line Locate

    Tech, it sounds like you're sqrewed with that water line. Maybe you should turn it over to your sup or utility company.



    Quote Originally Posted by testtech View Post
    Hi Mike: In the location that was excavated, the power was beneath the pipes. This power was a relatively small feed and ground wire. The presence of a ground wire beneath the water line would certainly send the signal where it is not wanted. In other areas, main utility power at 13kv probably runs in or near the water line trench. In other locations side boxing may work. Worth a try.

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    Default Re: Frustrating Water Line Locate

    I can't believe you haven't tried this:

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    Default Re: Frustrating Water Line Locate



    Fisher TW-6 Pipe & Cable Locator





    -------------------------------------------------------------





    -------------------------------------------------------------
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  4. #19
    Mke
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    Default Re: Frustrating Water Line Locate

    Quote Originally Posted by Wingfoot View Post


    Fisher TW-6 Pipe & Cable Locator





    -------------------------------------------------------------





    -------------------------------------------------------------

    I love the split box. I don't use the fisher, I use the aquatronics a-6 tracer. Pretty much the same thing. I was able to locate a 12" water line @ 14' when the 810 couldn't line it out.

    Great machine

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    Default Re: Frustrating Water Line Locate

    I have arranged to receive an A-6 tracer. Thanks for the tip. It sounds promising for this problem.

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    Default Re: Frustrating Water Line Locate

    Update: Found most, but not all of the water lines with GPR. I have been using an RD4000 transmitter with a Seektech SR-60. Ridgid sent me a ST33Q transmitter to try because I was not very happy with the induction performance on this locate. Ridgid claims that the coil design in this transmitter result in dramatically increased current flow on the target utility. I tried it today. As claimed, the induced current was substantially greater than that produced by the RD4000. On one trial, using the ST33Q transmitter at 33khz, induction mode, I followed a line to its shut off valve. At this point, the SR-60 shows 2.4ma of signal current. On the same line, using the RD4000, the signal current at the valve was 0ma. I could still track it, but barely. Very impressive difference in performance. Similar results were found when I followed an underground power line using induced signals from the two transmitters. However, in terms of finding the difficult to find portions of the line, no signal could be induced by either transmitter. I will return again after I receive the split box tracer and see how that does.
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    Senior Member The Big-E's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frustrating Water Line Locate

    GPR's are great for water lines. I use MALA EasyLocator locating water lines, force mains and such. Each type of material shows differently and also depends on soil type.

    But, the more you use it, the better "feel" you get for it in your area.

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    Default Re: Frustrating Water Line Locate

    Hi E: It is all about soil composition, line size and depth and of course, the frequency and therefore resolution of your antenna. In my area, it seems it is mostly soil. In my area, most attempts with GPR fail because of high clay content. It was gratifying that it worked pretty well for this locate. I have a GSSI Sir 3000 with 400 and270 MHz antennas.

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    Mke
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    Default Re: Frustrating Water Line Locate

    Quote Originally Posted by testtech View Post
    I have arranged to receive an A-6 tracer. Thanks for the tip. It sounds promising for this problem.
    Have you tried out the A-6 yet? I see in a later post you have already found a good portion of the lines in question, but was curious how the A-6 treated you?

    I typically use it, "on handle" but the direct connection intrigues me due to the frequency it uses.

    On-Handle, I don't think would work for you in this situation, the other lines will hit on the equipment without any difinitive seperation, but off handle...

    let us know.

    mke

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    Default Re: Frustrating Water Line Locate

    HI Mike: I am told the A6 is on the way. I hope to try it next week. I will let you know if it can find the pipes. Off handle, I don't see any benefit in it. I can replicate its frequency with the Ridgid transmitter.

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    Default Re: Frustrating Water Line Locate

    I received the AquaTronics A6 yesterday and visited the frustrating locate today. After you learn how to null the opposing fields (takes a little practice), the locator easily found the water line. The only problem I had was where the line ran close to and parallel with the building. In these locations, the steel in building footers and walls interfered with the operation of the A6 and the presence of the pipes could not be confirmed. If your line runs near any ferrous mass, such as a car, you won't be able to locate near that mass. I was able to easily distinguish parallel utilities where the separation was on the order of 6'. I found another piece of water line and traced it back to the main meter pit. The locating process was quick and the signal strength changes indicated where the line was changing directions. I found gas lines, water lines, power lines, site lighting power lines. When I was leaving, I noticed a utility locator was marking fiber optic. I went over to where he was working and located the fiber optic lines he had already marked. I presume I was picking up the metal sheath. He had never seen a split box but took a picture of it so he could look into it. Based on one day experience, I think this is a powerful tool for many locate situations and perhaps every day situations. It will be especially useful for blind locates where the objective is to simply determine if there is anything in a particular area. (As long as it is conductive or ferrous.) Also, the support from the company is available by phone and extremely knowledgeable. I should add that the A6 was used in the "on-handle" mode as shown in the photographs posted previously. It can be used in the more conventional separate transmitter and receiver mode. In this mode, it would have failed to trace the water mains due to the mechanical joints in the line.
    Last edited by testtech; April 8th, 2015 at 04:38 PM.
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    Mke
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    Default Re: Frustrating Water Line Locate

    Quote Originally Posted by testtech View Post
    I received the AquaTronics A6 yesterday and visited the frustrating locate today. After you learn how to null the opposing fields (takes a little practice), the locator easily found the water line. The only problem I had was where the line ran close to and parallel with the building. In these locations, the steel in building footers and walls interfered with the operation of the A6 and the presence of the pipes could not be confirmed. If your line runs near any ferrous mass, such as a car, you won't be able to locate near that mass. I was able to easily distinguish parallel utilities where the separation was on the order of 6'. I found another piece of water line and traced it back to the main meter pit. The locating process was quick and the signal strength changes indicated where the line was changing directions. I found gas lines, water lines, power lines, site lighting power lines. When I was leaving, I noticed a utility locator was marking fiber optic. I went over to where he was working and located the fiber optic lines he had already marked. I presume I was picking up the metal sheath. He had never seen a split box but took a picture of it so he could look into it. Based on one day experience, I think this is a powerful tool for many locate situations and perhaps every day situations. It will be especially useful for blind locates where the objective is to simply determine if there is anything in a particular area. (As long as it is conductive or ferrous.) Also, the support from the company is available by phone and extremely knowledgeable. I should add that the A6 was used in the "on-handle" mode as shown in the photographs posted previously. It can be used in the more conventional separate transmitter and receiver mode. In this mode, it would have failed to trace the water mains due to the mechanical joints in the line.
    Glad you had a positive experience with the new equipment. It takes a bit to learn how to calibrate it for on-handle use, but once you do it is a really good piece to have access to.

    Alot of times when you call the company you will get Merle. He's the owner he knows the machine like the back of his hands. He will also talk your Ear off about hunting if you let him.

    In the manual, you will see a picture of using the "on-handle" set up but instead of having both boxes level, you hold the equipment at a 45degree angle. This set up is fantastic for burried Rail, MH's, or Vaults.

    You will also notice that the box will pick up on Powerlines and will even give off that typical 60cycle hum.

    As for using it in the proximity of other metalic features, it is just the way you described.

    mke

  13. #28
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    Default Re: Frustrating Water Line Locate

    The problem with large metallic water pipes is that the conductor is in direct contact with the soil of the earth. So the electromagnetic field you are putting on it with your transmitter will disapate into the natural singularity of the earth. You can usually locate it for a hundred feed or so until the signal dies and you have to reconnect to a closer point or move your transmitter up if you are inducing.

    The problem gets worse the larger the pipe is, because more of the conductor is in contact with the earth.

    I will probably get flamed for this, but try using a radio passive mode. I have found several large water pipes using radio passive mode for the purposes of finding a place to try general induction. Radio detection makes the best passive modes in my experience. They have a tool you can buy that does passive mode only, it's called a Cable Avoidance Tool (CAT).

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    Default Re: Frustrating Water Line Locate

    I agree with all you said. In fact, I used the radio passive mode quite a bit on that job. If found lots of structures. All of the structures that followed the perimeter of the property that I found using radio passive went back to the water service entrance for the building as well as very close to the meter pit. I thought it was the water line. It wasn't. It was power and gas, but not the water line. These utilities shared trenches and at some points, traveled with the water lines. However, much of the water lines were separate. Some of water lines ran within 10-15 feet of the building, which contained lots of steel. Passive radio won't work in those locations. The use of signal not directly originating from the known utility means that you cannot be certain what you are following. My projects are not cable avoidance, my projects typically revolve around finding underground water leaks. To do this, I must find the water lines. So, it is a useful tool but not necessarily as definitive as a signal placed on the utility.

    I just did another project with an 8" water line. Direct connect never got me anywhere. I found much of the line by induction. That worked pretty well. I also used the split box to find other utilities. However, the building has three service entrances: 1 for domestic water and two for the fire system. The water line serving one of the fire system risers contained the leak. The main water for the service entrances ran within a few feet of the building on one side and 20 feet from a large outdoor electrical substation on the other. Nothing I tried could get reliable signal onto the main in this area. There is just too much stuff in the ground or too many large steel structures around the water line. Oh well. At least I found their leak.

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