Using A Utility Locator to Find Underground Lines | Engineering Supply - EngineerSupply

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How can an electromagnetic line locator help in plumbing work?

Blog How were maps before planes and satellites A cable and pipe locator consist of a transmitter, which can be picked up by a hand-held receiver. And it’s how underground utility lines and plumbing is located. Conductive wires and pipes that emit radio signals (which may be either active or passive) can be detected. And because of this principle, someone can sweep the area by holding the receiver vertically and in relation to the line’s movement. When the utility locator picks up the signal, he or she will stop to mark its location and depth by using the following process:
  • The receiver is moved left and right over the line to find the signal.
  • The receiver is held near the ground with the blade in a vertical position.
  • The receiver is rotated until the signal is at its maximum level.
  • The receiver is moved slowly from side to side, so the exact position can be found.
Once the exact position has been pinpointed, the ground is appropriately marked. And when the entire utility line has been mapped out in its entirety, the underground utility locator is used again to look for other potential pipes or utility lines.

Techniques for Using a Utility Locator


blog how can electromagnetic line locator help in plumbing

A cable and pipe locator can be used in several different ways (in addition to the single-line pinpointing process), which include:
  • Direct Connection — The transmitter sends out a specific radio signal through the target lines, which can be located and traced out by a receiver that has been set to that particular frequency.
  • Direct Induction — Because many electric, telephone, and cable lines have a plastic housing or are buried directly into the ground without any protection, it may not be possible to connect to them directly. In this case, a special clamp is plugged into the transmitter and is wrapped around the targeted line to send out the signal.
  • Passive Radio and Power — A passive signal can be transmitted by the utility line, which can be detected by an underground utility locator that has been set to “power mode” with the blade being in line with the signal.
  • Detectable Duct Rodding — If a line is made of a non-metallic or non-conductive material, a detectable duct rod is run through the line so it can be found by the receiver.
  • Sonding — Sometimes, radio signals can “bleed” into lines that aren’t being targeted. To resolve this issue, a sonde (which is French for “sounding line”) can be connected to the tip of the duct rod as it’s run through the utility line.
  • Passive Induction — If an active signal can’t be directly applied to the line due to inaccessibility, a utility locator can be used to run a passive induction sweep to find the line. The transmitter has an antenna that will induce a signal onto a nearby utility line if it’s placed directly above it.
If you’re looking for a pipe locator or some other underground location device, be sure to look at what we have at Engineering Supply. We’re sure you’ll be able to find an underground utility locator that’s right for you!
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