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Locating Contest #1: LOCATE IMPOSSIBLE – Your Chance to Win RIDGID Tools

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  • Locating Contest #1: LOCATE IMPOSSIBLE – Your Chance to Win RIDGID Tools

    This is your opportunity to be rewarded for your utility line or sonde locating skills. Tell the RIDGID Forum about your toughest locate and how you got it done for your chance to win a RIDGID Hand Tool Kit valued at over $200, not to mention the bragging rights. What made it a difficult locate and how did you determine the location of the utility line or sonde? Reply to this thread before Aug 7th to enter. RIDGID will select three finalists and the RIDGID Forum members will vote on the winner.

    Winner will receive a RIDGID Hand Tool Kit (20243)
    Two Runner Ups will receive a RIDGID Fleece

    Enter by Aug 7th and check back after Aug 11th to place your vote for the winner. The winners will be announced on the RIDGID Forum on Aug 19th, 2009.

    Good Luck!!!

    -RIDGID Marketing

    Details: You must be registered on the RIDGID Forum to enter. If you are not already registered you can do so here. To enter, reply to this thread on or before August 7, 2009. Any new threads in this or another RIDGID Forum will not be considered. Three finalists will be selected by RIDGID based on creativity, technical accuracy, and locate difficulty level. The RIDGID Forum will select one winner from the three finalists via an online poll. Winner will be notified via private message on the RIDGID Forum and will receive one RIDGID Hand Tool Kit (20243). The other two finalists will receive a RIDGID Fleece. If the winner or finalists do not respond within 30 days, prizes are forfeited and RIDGID may select a new winner. See the Locate Productivity Contest for another chance to win.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Re: Locating Contest #1: LOCATE IMPOSSIBLE – Your Chance to Win RIDGID Tools

    Well this troublesome locate is one I got called on by another plumber. He had a new Goldak locater and ran the sonde through the catch basin out to the broken pipe, and got a good strong single out in the front of the house. He dug and got deeper than the city sewer and there was no pipe.

    So I broke out the 35 year old Goldak locater and sonde that my father handed down to me. I taped on the sonde to the rodder, and then checked for signal and adjust the tone, before sending the line into the sewer. Once I got the tone I liked we sent the rodder in the line. I went out front and started to look for the null first. I was getting the null in the same exact spot the other guy was. So I switched to locate for the peak signal to try and pinpoint the spot. I could not nail down the spot I wanted, I also noticed the tone was off.

    So I had the guys pull back the rod and take the battery out of the sonde, I wanted to check something. I went back out front knowing I should not be getting any tones since the sonde was removed and off. But sure enough I got a tone, It was all over the place in the front yard but still did get the null where the other guy was digging. So now here is how I ended up finding the line for him. I adjusted the tone of this false signal , then went back to the sonde and had them turn it back on and listen to the difference of the tone from the tone I got from the front.

    Then I had them send the sonde back into the line and I went out and listened for tones. As I was walking between the buildings I started to pick up the tone I set for the sonde, as I got where they where getting the false signal the tone changed to the false tone. So I searched out the peak signal of the sondes tone which was only a couple octaves lower than the false tones. They dug in the spot I marked and came right on top of the pipe after digging down only 5 feet.
    Ron Hasil Lic #058-160417
    Ron's Facebook
    A-Archer Sewer & Plumbing specializing in:
    Tankless Water Heaters | Drain and Sewer Cleaning
    Sump and Ejector Pumps | Backflow RPZ Testing


    • #3
      Re: Locating Contest #1: LOCATE IMPOSSIBLE – Your Chance to Win RIDGID Tools

      I don't know if this qualifies for this contest or not, but a few weeks ago I was working with an electrician who was trying to locate a broken electrical line on my brother's farm. The line was a direct buried 4 wire 220 volt feed from the main panel outside the main house to an old mobile home about 100 ft away. One leg had gone dead in the MH and we concluded the line was broken underground somewhere. The electrician came over, disconnected all the wires, and connected his tone generator (sonde? I'm not familiar with that term) to each of the wires and determined the location of the break to be about six feet from the MH. Well, when I dug up the line there, and in both directions several feet, there was no break. I called him back. His locator picked up no tone changes from that point back to the main panel. We did several voltage tests on both lines in the MH. The bad line would show a voltage of about 9 volts to ground when powered up, the good one about 120 volts to ground. We finally concluded there was a high resistance fault in the bad line somewhere. Enough current would flow through it, and then to ground through light bulb loads in the MH to show the 9 volts at the MH panel box. That high resistance fault provided enough conductivity for the tone signal to pass through and thus did not provide a detectable tone change for the locator to pick up. In this instance the locator failed to provide an answer. The electrician was quite frustrated, but agreed the break wasn't sufficiently clean for the locator to work.

      We gave up and my brother replaced the line with an entirely new run in conduit. At that point actually finding the break wasn't worth any more effort.


      • #4
        Re: Locating Contest #1: LOCATE IMPOSSIBLE – Your Chance to Win RIDGID Tools

        I was working with the locator our firm uses, he was using an older metrotech locator. We were in the process of mapping out what we thought was a ductile iron water main serving a large 20 acre campus. Well it turns out that the line was ductile for about 20 feet outside the building where it turned into transite!

        This posed quite a problem for us. Since we have been looking at the Ridgid SR-60 to do our own locating the idea came to show our firm just what the SR-60 could do, my locator called a buddy that just picked one up with the ST-33 Tansmitter and inductive clamp. By hooking up the inductive clamp to the pipe and changing the frequency of the tansmitter, (sorry metro tech but you cant use 88mHz to locate EVERYTHING), we were able to map out the lines with accuracy and comforablity.

        Ridgid's SR-60 and SR-20's seektech locators will give you the advantage with both passive inductance and variable frequency locates!

        Now i just have to keep begging my boss to get me one!!


        • #5
          Re: Locating Contest #1: LOCATE IMPOSSIBLE – Your Chance to Win RIDGID Tools

          Denny's excavating was trying to find the end of a pipe in a retention pond. I sent the sond out on my cable and gave one of the workers a very quick lesson on how to work the ridgid locator. he went in the bucket over the pond and got a locate. then with him out of the bucket it only took 1 scoop full of pond bottom and the pond started draining. Ridgid locators are awesome.


          • #6
            Re: Locating Contest #1: LOCATE IMPOSSIBLE – Your Chance to Win RIDGID Tools

            This is almost a trick question as I cannot remember ever having a hard locate using my Navitack with a sonde as it is always right on. The confidence level you get from using Ridgid locators takes all of the hard work and stress out of locating. That said I did have a line locate which had a little extra stress added because of the home owners.

            This was a medium size home which was the pride and joy of a retired couple. It was very nicely keep and full of upgrades. The wife would follow everyone around with her cleaning supplies and clean behind you as you walked. Based on a slight increase in their gas and water bill they figured out they had a hot water leak below their slab. This is a post-tension slab and the last home in the world anyone would want to repair a slab leak in. As the subdivision was involved in a litigation with the Developer a reroute was not an option as it was important to collect the evidence and identify the mechanism of the failure.

            Using my leak locating equipment I was able to narrow down the leaking line to the line from the water heater to the kitchen sink which was located in the middle of the house. The problem was there were several hot and cold manifolds in the area and I needed to pinpoint the line. I started out with my Navitrack Line Transmitter at the water heater because I could get a good earth ground at the water heater. Unfortunately, I could not differentiate between the multiple copper lines in the area. Once I moved the Navitrack Line Transmitter to the kitchen sink it was like night and day. I was able to easily isolate the single line with little effort. The down side is I had to cannibalize my extension cord to extend the ground leg of the transmitter to get a good earth ground outside.

            Now that the line was located it was time to find where on the line the pipe was leaking. Using the best of the best in leak locating equipment the readings were there but they were very faint and did not add to my confidence. The last thing in the world I wanted to do was have a sports digging day in this ladies living room and come up dry. To complicate things, the Navitrack had the water line over 3' deep with post-tension cables everywhere.

            I had the construction crew pull the carpet back right next to the marble hearth of the fireplace. They then brought in a core-drill and drilled a 20" hole in the slab staying within the post-tension 24" grid. As the construction crew dug deeper and deeper they started giving me dirty looks because it was about as dry as it gets and they felt the pipe would be directly under the slab. I explained to them the Navitrack does not lie and they still had a couple feet to go to get to the pipe. Right at about 3' we started getting into wet dirt and found the leak exactly where I said it would be. As small as this leak was I may have given up on my quest short of finding the leak had I been using one of my other locators. However, using the Navitrack gave me the confidence to know the pipe would be exactly where the Navitrack said it was.

            Last edited by ToUtahNow; 08-06-2009, 06:28 PM.
            "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

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


            • #7
              Re: Locating Contest #1: LOCATE IMPOSSIBLE – Your Chance to Win RIDGID Tools

              Hello Ridgid Marketing Team,

              The Ridgid SeekTech Sr-20 Line Locator has proven to be an indispensable tool in our daily activities to locate, inspect and repair sewer pipe problems.

              Our primary business centres around repairing underground pipe using a cured in place epoxy liner and no digging, however we are often called in to problem solve in other circumstances. Our locator helps us map what we are seeing below ground (using our Ridgid Mini See Snake naturally) with what is above ground.

              Putting the two sources of information together is of great help in diagnosing what is happening and why. This assists in presenting our customer with accurate and appropriate solutions to their problems. It also helps us in being the professionals we project ourselves as being, and saves considerable time, effort and frustration during our projects.

              Quite often it's merely to show where the tree roots seen in the pipe are on the owner's property. Typically we place locating flags at important points. This helps the owner (and us) visualize where the problems really are. It increases our credibility when they see their problem exists within a few feet of a large tree for example.

              That often leads to further work in lining their pipes to permanently eliminate their problems. But first, we employ the Ridgid K-60 and K-1500 sectional machines to clean out those roots completely!

              Some other, more interesting examples for inclusion in your locating contests #1 and #2 are:

              1. A local plumbing firm contacted us last week for a quote on lining an apparent storm water pipe break they thought was responsible for a large pool of water in the entrance way of a large Wal-Mart store.

              With our locator we traced the path of that drain pipe and found it was well away from the water's appearance and therefore most likely not responsible for the problem. Furthermore, with our better Ridgid camera equipment we determined there was no break in the location they originally thought, but found and located another break. Again, the locating component revealed that break was too far away to likely be the source of the problem.

              Further investigation continues, but the locator saved a great deal of time and effort by providing additional and useful information in reaching a better decision! What's not to like about that!!

              2. A group home for a number of mentally challenged adults encountered a problem with a break in their waste pipe that ran above a basement furnace. The resulting stench permeated an entire wing long after the break was repaired a year ago, despite the furnace being replaced and another apparent break fixed after the plumber jack hammered a 20' square hole in their dining room floor.

              Through extensive tracing of all the waste lines and the heating ducts in the area encompassing two wings of the residence, we located a previously unknown break beneath the kitchen floor that would intermittently overflow and seep into the duct work below grade.

              Our non intrusive work saved the non-profit considerable money in effectively resolving a year long problem that was causing great discomfort to the staff and residents. The locator provided us with important information about where to look for the most likely source of the problem, and also where not to look. This saved time, money and further disruption to their daily living. They appreciated that, and in being able to turn the heat back on!

              3. The electricians had been unable to locate an electrical junction box they thought might exist for connecting multiple parking lot lights in a large mall. They spent a number of days searching with no success and were befuddled on what to do next.

              After hooking up the Ridgid SeekTech ST-305 Transmitter and turning on the transmitter I was "off like a bird dog in a field" across the parking lot according to Tom, the old Scottish electrician who called us in. Within minutes I had located the junction box, hidden in the grass with its top neatly sliced off by a mower, and still live with 440 volts!

              4. A homeowner asked if we could inspect his 1 1/2" pool lines for a suspected leak. We responded "of course", but our locator proved most useful in determining exactly where a previously unknown break had been repaired, but prevented us from moving further along in the pipe to the current break.

              We easily established the depth with our SeekTech and within minutes had dug down and confirmed the situation as a previously unknown repair. We subsequently returned to finish our inspection, after the owner and his son had enlarged the hole and removed the coupling so we could get past that point.

              Time was saved, frustration eliminated and the owner was left most satisfied with the work that was performed by us.

              5. A large commercial factory that makes wafer cream cookies had problems with their process and waste pipes becoming plugged with oils, cream, butter, chocolate and peanut butter.

              Much of it needs replacing, and we've done that with our epoxy lining techniques, without production having to be halted. However, in mapping our the positioning, length, and depth of one particular segment of this piping using our SeekTech locator, we determined that open trenching was a feasible alternative for repair.

              Having the locator was of particular help as we established that an improper slope in the pipe existed. Hence the best option was to lay new pipe, rather than reline, especially since that particular area was mapped by the locator as being easily accessible for trenching.

              6. A municipality contacted us to determine what was the problem in a sewer pipe connecting a commercial building to the main line. Our Ridgid camera soon saw the problem, the 8" PVC had been improperly back filled with large cut stone instead of sand, and the stone had shattered the pipe. Our Ridgid locator quickly found the spot, some 20'+ below the main roadway!

              Unfortunately, a complete blockage occurred soon after and the city had to proceed with an extensive open digging repair...right where we told them the problem was!

              We couldn't do what we do well without the Ridgid SeekTech Sr-20 Line Locator. It's a good, dependable tool thus far, but not perfect...yet. I trust improvements will continue, with input being received and incorporated from users who share their meaningful experiences and opinions.

              Sincerely, Dave


              • #8
                Re: Locating Contest #1: LOCATE IMPOSSIBLE – Your Chance to Win RIDGID Tools

                the locate that made me loose sleep was one i did for another plumbing contractor 9 years ago. before ridgid had their scout locator.

                the other plumber was called out by our local telephone company to clear a drain in the employees bathrooms in the basement level.

                they got out 98' and couldn't clear it. so the contractor called me to camera the line and locate it.

                of course the line was still completely plugged and running a seesnake was just to take advantage of the sonde.

                had no idea where 98' was and it turned out i was out in the street in west hollywood, calif. on melrose blvd. on a very busy trendy shopping district.

                picking up my signal between traffic lights while the drivers were asking what i'm looking for.

                not knowing anything about the system i had to rely on my ridgid seesnake and ridgid locator and trust my instincts

                made a few marks to verify my location and eventually marked the street past the gutter over 9' deep.

                problem was, i was leaving for australia and had no way to re-locate if i was off. also the expense was tremendous as this was in the public street that required traffic controll and lane closure.

                not knowing what they might find, i was worried for my entire trip.

                got back from australia and called the contractor.

                at first he screwed with me and said it was a wild goose chase

                then he fessed up and said i nailed it

                turns out months earlier a directional boring co. was installing conduits up and down melrose. their conduit hit the the sewer and kept on going.

                the street was cut open approx 20' to lift the conduit with wires and raise it above the sewer path. the sewer was repaired and street patched.

                to this day, as i drive down melrose, i look at the asphalt patch in the street and smile

                not being able to see with your seesnake, you have to rely on locating skills and have some luck

                phoebe it is


                • #9
                  Re: Locating Contest #1: LOCATE IMPOSSIBLE – Your Chance to Win RIDGID Tools

                  This job was 7-8 years ago, I was scheduled to clear a main line stoppage

                  at a local AMC, it was a Friday morning, 7am, worked the mainline

                  machine for 45 minutes, was unable to clear the line. Pulled out my Ridgid

                  Seesnake and starting running a video inspection, pushed and pushed and

                  stopped, came back with dirt, pushed again, came back with dirt, the line

                  was collapsed I figured, so next was to push the camera as far as

                  possible, locate, and dig.... Easier said then done......

                  Ran the camera out, pulled the locator out and started a locate,

                  scrammbled signals all over, ok, lots of electronics, lets pull back and

                  chase the camera until the signal scrambles and jumps all over...... very

                  tough, After another couple hours of trying to get an idea reading the

                  signals and marking with blue tape, then finally locating blue prints with

                  nothing on them....

                  I narrowed it down to a 17' foot long section running from on

                  the side of the main snake bar, out 2 doors, well, AMC executives would

                  not allow us to schedule an x-ray, 1/2 the buildings drains and main snake

                  bar were shut down, and the location co couldn't show up until monday,

                  they just wanted the bathrooms back.

                  After rounding up the troops and saw cut, The concrete removal company

                  got in there at 2am to sawcut.... we found out what was making the

                  signal jump.......19 electrical conduits....... went through them all, he

                  didn't stop.

                  Well, long story short, sunday morning we were able to get in and make

                  the repair, the drain was 9' deep, and almost right in the middle of my

                  locate. I felt so good and lucky because after all that happened, it would have been really bad for nothing to be there......

                  Cause, Soda fountain tied into a 3" 1/4 bend and the complete underside

                  was hollowed out from the carbination and caused the drain to collapse at

                  the wye 1/8 connection.

                  I am always worried now when the signal jumps! I have pictures, those of you that come over, remind me sometime.... I hate movie theaters now
                  Last edited by westcoastplumber; 08-06-2009, 10:45 PM.



                  • #10
                    Re: Locating Contest #1: LOCATE IMPOSSIBLE – Your Chance to Win RIDGID Tools

                    My toughest, and only, locating job was at the First Annual Ridgid Roundup.

                    What made the line difficult to locate was being yelled at, ummm encouraged, by my competitive hubby, Plumber Rick, and giggled at by my phone-a-friend, Marky Mark aka ToUtahNow. The pressure was high and the competition was out for blood. It helped to have knowledgable plumbers giving useful tips along the way.

                    The energized line was buried in the yard of the Ridge "Schoolhouse". It was like a million degrees in Elyria that day with minimal shade and high humidity in the open yard.

                    In spite of the challenging work conditions, I was able to trace the line using an SR-20. It was user friendly, even with long nails and limited real-world experience!
                    I love my plumber

                    "My Hero"

                    Welcome, Phoebe Jacqueline!


                    • #11
                      Re: Locating Contest #1: LOCATE IMPOSSIBLE – Your Chance to Win RIDGID Tools

                      my toughest locate was a gas line that ran through multiple properties. it was an old line that had 3 branches ( feeds) of of it. it was steel and had some plastic repairs that were done incorrectly. of course there was no tracer wire. 2 plumbers had tried to locate it before me with no success. i offered to locate and dig it up to verify location-it was under 2 ft deep. i spent 6 hours and dug 6 holes. every hole had pipe . three holes had tees in them. it was confusing because you would constantly lose signal, due to the plastic repairs. we had to verify that none of the taps off of it were being used. with much patience and brainpower, i was able to map it out and dig up the areas i felt were important to see. this all had to be done because they needed a new line and did not want to abandon something that was being used. they needed to know what they would have to reconnect to the new line. i used my sr-20 and transmitter. it was even more of a pain since i had a water main, and a transmission gas line in the close proximity. i was only able to do this in the passive trace mode. noone else was able to do it , as they tried to send signal through the pipe, which did not work at the runs of plastic that were present. it turned out to become a good client i picked up and i now service the properties frequently. i was able to find the 3 taps off the 2" line and what they went to without too much trouble.if i did not have my ridgid equipment, this would not have been possible, as proof was in the other 2 contractors equipment.!!!!