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Thread: tel duct tracer wires?

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    Senior Member wet_boots101's Avatar
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    Default tel duct tracer wires?

    I have noticed something for a while... in some of the telephone manholes I have entered, on the inside of the neck (just below the lid) there are tracer wire hookups. I know this is so because I hooked to and located off one yesterday, and today the contractor exposed the conduit - dead nuts on where I got a signal & marked the pavement. (The vault was completely filled with water, and I was just confirming another locator's old hard marks.)

    When I was with CLS in IL and did phone exclusively, I remember coming across this a few times and it worked then, too. I never heard a total confirmation that these are indeed tracer wires, has anyone more info on this? Obviously if the duct package is wide / has multiple conduits from the manhole then per company rules we must hook up to more than one out. So then what's the deal, is this a quickie cheat or what?

    Forgive me if this is a newbie question, but I am relatively new (not quite 1 year cumulative) at locating phone. I don't want to make it a habit, but sometimes if you're in a hurry... and you need a second access point...
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    Senior Member underground quester's Avatar
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    Default Re: tel duct tracer wires?

    WETBOOTS

    Cannot help you with your question as I have NEVER seen this in ANY of our telephone VAULTS in the three plus years I have been locating. I have often thought this would be a great idea. Holy smokes I wish they would do that here as the damned vaults always have water in them!!!

    Someone out there is obviously doing it. And, good for them.
    Success is a journey, not a destination...

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    Moderator Goldenboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: tel duct tracer wires?

    In the manholes in our area there are airpipes just below the lid on the collar of the manhole. These work great to hook up to, the only problem like you stated it you don't know which side of the duct package your hooked up to. I know where I work you have to get down in the every MH. They'll show just one run on the records but there is really 3 separate runs or they'll show 3 runs and there's only one. The only way to know is to visually see them.

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    Administrator TheCableVine's Avatar
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    Default Re: tel duct tracer wires?

    I've seen these tracer wire terminals myself. I've never even tried to use them since there is no indication on the record of what duct/cable they follow. The ducts are thrown into a trench that could have been 5 feet wide for all I know and I don't know which duct they are in.

    I will (did) get in the manhole and couple/hook onto a cable that my records indicated were on one side of the duct run and then couple/hook onto a cable that my records showed were on the opposite side of the duct. That I feel is the best way to locate a duct run.

    I always say that if you have any doubt whatsoever, always put it on the shoulder of your supervisor.

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    Senior Member wet_boots101's Avatar
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    Default Re: tel duct tracer wires?

    I can take a picture of this doohickey if anyone is interested, I will be back on that site in the next couple days...

    As far as knowing which direction: There are two contact points I saw. One, the wrong one, took me west from the manhole. The other ran east.

    Which made me think: it is definitely not the contact point just juicing up the water in the duct run, since each lead brought me in a different direction. If it were the water carrying my signal, either lead would give signal in both directions, y'think?

    Also, the signal wasn't too great, but isn't that to be expected with something that small 5 feet under pavement?

    Again let me reiterate: I don't want to make this a habit, nor do I plan to. Company policy says to physically attach directly to a cable's sheathing or ring it out. I just wanted to know if anyone else has seen this. Geez, now I really AM going to have to take a picture! (Bigfoot syndrome!)
    "Aye, verily hath I spoken." - Thor, god of thunder

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    Senior Member UULC's Avatar
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    Default Re: tel duct tracer wires?

    WB

    What size is the tracer wire. On the Fios in Florida, we add traceable mule tape with a wire embedded into it and is connected in the MH to a junction block. I will take a picture tomorrow and post it.

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    Senior Member yahoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: tel duct tracer wires?

    i see all the airpipes in our manholes here most have them not all though......i have never hooked up on to one to locate.....i'm not for sure it can be done....i would venture to say very bad signal..................
    wise men talk because they have something to say and fools because they have to say something....plato

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    Senior Member UULC's Avatar
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    Default Re: tel duct tracer wires?

    Air pipes are connected to the sheath ground on the cable. You will find air pipes on metal sign post marking the phone also. The air pipes are on paper cables to 1) pump nitrogen into the lines to keep water out 2) to pump helium into the lines to find leaks. These are good places to connect to.

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    Senior Member Hurricane9's Avatar
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    Default Re: tel duct tracer wires?

    The air lines are a great way to locate a conduit package. Especially if you can read the prints well enough to see the location of the air line in the package. As for the tracer wire question from Boots, TDS Telecom tends to use tracer wires in their manholes. They are set up on a fiberglass sheet near the top of the manhole, and there is one tracer wire for each direction of duct package. All of the ones that I have seen (not alot, but a few) have had the tracer wire in the dead middle of the package.

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    Senior Member sprayandpray's Avatar
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    Default Re: tel duct tracer wires?

    I have seen tracer wire or drops placed in conduit with sheathless fiber before-only way to locate it, and I personally have bonded tracer wire to splice cases and run them to the top of the manhole in my locating area.This works great but sometimes the Bell techs would cut it off just to be assh__es. I have also dropped my hot lead into the water and re-located off that, but I knew pretty much where everything ran. By the way, when you drop your lead in the water the signal is going to jump on any metallic path and will basically travel out on every line in a splice case- not recommended for use by Newbies or in an area you haven't located b/4.
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    Senior Member Wingfoot's Avatar
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    Default Re: tel duct tracer wires?

    I have telephone drops for tracer wires in many manholes in my area. Just as Spray has stated, my tracers are for the sheathless fibers outside of the duct run (laterals). I have no tracers down a mainline conduit duct run.

    In an old area of mine, I had an AT&T conduit package for 2 miles full of sheathless fibers. To locate this run, I put a safety cone on the lid and straight-lined from the next lid. I asked the AT&T new construction 1st line for a tracer wire for this package, but never got it before I was assigned to another territory.

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    Senior Member sprayandpray's Avatar
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    Default Re: tel duct tracer wires?

    I guarantee if I would have had to locate a Duct Package by straight-lining it would have been wide enough to use as a landing strip!
    I might not be as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was !


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  13. #13
    Senior Member Wingfoot's Avatar
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    Default Re: tel duct tracer wires?

    Quote Originally Posted by sprayandpray View Post
    I guarantee if I would have had to locate a Duct Package by straight-lining it would have been wide enough to use as a landing strip!
    You must have been there to see my work.....

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    Senior Member Hurricane9's Avatar
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    Default Re: tel duct tracer wires?

    LOL it probably looked like ATT located it when they tried to do it themselves a few years back.
    I still laugh when I see faded hard marks of a 4 foot wide duct run, and it's only two pipes. hehe

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