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  • locating pvc and wiresbow

    I am looking in to buying a locater but my problem is that where i live most of the plumbing is done in pvc or wiresbow. I have heard that you can use fish tape in to the pipe and use the transmitter to charge the line. but i talked to a guy that does demos for the locaters and he said it can be done because you cant ground the fish tape witch i have seen it done. Has anyone done this or have tried this and have any luck. Need help thanks.

  • #2
    Re: locating pvc and wiresbow

    The theory is that you have to complete a circuit to be able to locate a metalic line using an electro-magnetic locator (like NaviTrack or SeekTech). What that means is that you have to be able to put current onto the metalic line and get it back off into the ground so that it can return to the transmitter... This can be done with fishtape, but realize that a dry pipe and dry soil will hamper your efforts.

    Your best bet for locating a pvc pipe with fishtape is to extend it all the way out. More metal touching the pipe allows for more current to tunnel through the plastic into the ground. The wetter the pipe the better (water surrounds to fishtape and provides good surface contact with the pipe allowing for easier transfer of current through the pipe and into the earth). The last thing you want to make sure you have is a good ground on your transmitter. You can use the ground spike that came with the transmitter, but for a better chance of success, get a larger metal spike (more surface area in contact with the earth makes it easier for current to flow, making for a better circuit, giving you a better chance of success).

    The other thing you can do to improve you ground is to wet it. after you put the ground spike into the earth, poor a couple of cups of water on it.

    All of these tips should help you have success. One last tip: use a medium to high frequency. I primarily locate at and have had success at 8 kHz and 33 kHz. I have also had success using higher frequencies too 200 kHz, 262 kHz and 480 kHz.

    One last tip. If all ealse fails, putting a remote transmitter (sonde) on a push cable would allow you to locate a singel point. Pushing the sonde through the pipe you want located will allow you to locate multiple points and get a good picture of where the pipe goes.
    Mark F. Fleming<br />Product Manager<br />RIDGID/Kollmann

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    • #3
      Re: locating pvc and wiresbow

      if you can attach a copper wire 16 gauge stranded to the fish tape, ou can make your own tracer loop.

      if possible push the wire into the pipe all the way allowing the wire to loop so that you have the wire going all the way in and then back out.

      an example is to buy 100' of wire. find the 50' mark and attach it to the end of the fish tape. the balance of the other 50' will then loop back to you.

      this method will allow you to attach the transmitters 2 wires directly to each end and make a closed loop. this will give you a signal that will be dead on and not bleed being it's an insulated wire in a plastic pipe.

      rick.
      phoebe it is

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      • #4
        Re: locating pvc and wiresbow

        Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK View Post
        if you can attach a copper wire 16 gauge stranded to the fish tape, ou can make your own tracer loop.


        rick.
        I have heard of people having intermittent success this way. Rick do you use this method often? I assume that the wire is insulated? What frequency do you transmit at?

        The issue with this method is that you are sending the signal down and back in close proximity to each other. As each line becomes magnetically charged, typically the signal collapses into itself and no locatable signal is given off.

        I have learned to never say never or always when it comes to locating, but I just haven't had much success using this method. If there is some trick you do to improve success, it would be of great interest.
        Mark F. Fleming<br />Product Manager<br />RIDGID/Kollmann

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        • #5
          Re: locating pvc and wiresbow

          Originally posted by mff View Post
          I have heard of people having intermittent success this way. Rick do you use this method often? I assume that the wire is insulated? What frequency do you transmit at?

          The issue with this method is that you are sending the signal down and back in close proximity to each other. As each line becomes magnetically charged, typically the signal collapses into itself and no locatable signal is given off.

          I have learned to never say never or always when it comes to locating, but I just haven't had much success using this method. If there is some trick you do to improve success, it would be of great interest.
          mark, thanks. i have not have to use this method as i havn't come across a pvc or pex line i needed to trace that small.

          this method was mentioned at the big pumper show in nashville 5 years ago. i too was surprised at grounding the return end of the wire. the rep who was a speaker at the show said it would not cause bleed over and you would only trace the path of least resistence.

          i guess i should try this on a sample pipe mock up first.

          i'll try it and repost how it works.

          thanks,

          rick.
          phoebe it is

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: locating pvc and wiresbow

            I am looking in to buying a locater but my problem is that where i live most of the plumbing is done in pvc or wiresbow. I have heard that you can use fish tape in to the pipe and use the transmitter to charge the line. but i talked to a guy that does demos for the locaters and he said it can be done because you cant ground the fish tape witch i have seen it done. Has anyone done this or have tried this and have any luck. Need help thanks.
            Yes it can be done. Ground the - wire and hook the + to the tape. I do it all the time.

            I just Witch em if I cant get my tape down em. I`m pretty good a witching
            http://www.all-clear-sewer.com/

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            • #7
              Re: locating pvc and wiresbow

              Never done pipe locating but could a snake cable be used instead of a fish tape?
              Buy cheap, buy twice.

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              • #8
                Re: locating pvc and wiresbow

                Originally posted by gear junkie View Post
                Never done pipe locating but could a snake cable be used instead of a fish tape?

                it sure can ben. but his issue was in a smaller pvc, or pex pipe and a snake is probably not good in potable water lines.

                when you do use a sewer machine / snake, make sure to unplug the machine from the power so you don't trace the electrical ground.

                you will need a navitrack transmitter to go along with the scout of yours.

                more tools and toys, your wife is not going to like me

                rick.
                phoebe it is

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                • #9
                  Re: locating pvc and wiresbow

                  Here in oregon all non metallic pipe underground has to have a tracer wire.
                  Brent

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                  • #10
                    Re: locating pvc and wiresbow

                    Metrotech makes a unit which causes a shock-wave in non-metallic pipe and then you use your leak locator and trace the sound.

                    Mark
                    "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                    I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

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