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Remote Pigtails
02-09-2007, 09:30 AM
During my winter boredom i bought a 501 tracker on ebay. I've tried it a few times and need more practice but can anyone give me a reason not to put it back on ebay? I have a 521 and pulser and was hoping the 501 would add another element to my wire repair and valve location.

irritation
02-09-2007, 05:40 PM
I've been using the 501 for about 20 years(same one)and love it.
I tried the 521 a couple of times but it shocked the hell out of me whenever I left it on and worked on the field wiring. ;)

laylow1994
02-09-2007, 07:59 PM
yea ive done that shocked the heck out myself.... kinda learned to go back and turn it off when i was done tracking...

Remote Pigtails
02-09-2007, 08:34 PM
We found that the 521 gave us a better signal over the valve. A lot of buried valves in dallas. Besides not shocking you how is the 501 better?

irritation
02-09-2007, 08:45 PM
I'm not saying the 501 is better because it's probably not. I just find it inconvenient to have to go back and shut it off and on when you're working by yourself. I have located many buried valves with it also.

PurpHaze
02-09-2007, 10:12 PM
With all the talk about locators recently I spent three hours training my partner on the 521 this morning. Ran him through some actual scenarios at a nearby site so he got good experience using it under different conditions. First, last and repeated inbetween advice was "Turn the thing off before touching anything. Wand in one hand, can of paint in the other and you can't touch anything while the thing is on." :laugh:

Repairs
02-09-2007, 11:23 PM
You think the 521 is good, grab a hold of a 2003 pulser with some wet shoes on. :cool2:

irritation
02-09-2007, 11:51 PM
My shoes are always wet, and I've tried them all, most certainly during spring turn ons. :walking:

We need a smilie adjusting a sprinkler head.

aric43085
02-10-2007, 03:15 AM
The 501 will not locate a buried solenoid. It does a great job at tracking wire but leaves you in the dark when trying to find a valve or small nick in wire.

Remote Pigtails
02-10-2007, 09:16 AM
The 501 will not locate a buried solenoid. It does a great job at tracking wire but leaves you in the dark when trying to find a valve or small nick in wire.
Reply With Quote

That was what I was suspecting. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't doing it improperly.

This is bad but kinda funny. I had a wiring nightmare on a job with thermostat wiring. pre solorain days. So to find the nick I kept a 20 dollar bill in my pocket. I had my 521 hooked up and watched these day laborers digging up and exposing the wire. One suddenly jumped and had a state of total shock on his face. I walked over gave him the 20 dollar bill and replaced the nicked area. Felt so bad though I never did it again. Hopefully it won't keep me out of heaven.

SprinklerGuy
02-10-2007, 09:56 AM
The 501 is a Yugo compared to the 521 IMHO.....

I have zapped myself numerous times with the 521.....it will wake you up and you won't do it again......til the next time.

PurpHaze
02-10-2007, 10:28 AM
I've been zapped a couple of times with the 501 but only once with the Pulser... once was enough. :dizzy:

For those trying to locate lost valves with the 521 here's a little trick I learned.

(1) Hook up to the common wire and locate the route, marking it every couple of feet.

(2) Back off the sensitivity on the receiver about halfway and put the 521's nose all the way to the ground right on top of the wire route so all you have is the null (no sound).

(3) Start along the route (making sure you stay in the null area) and the 521 should sing when it gets to a buried valve box due to looped wires in the box and the solenoid.

I've used this method successfully on MANY lost valves.

BTW... The triangulation method of finding the wiring depth in the 521's operating manual works very well.

PurpHaze
02-10-2007, 10:50 AM
For those that have used the Tempo (Progressive) Pulser here's some info from their site.

The Model PE2003 Pulser Fault Locator completes your buried cable trouble-shooting tool set, pinpointing even the smallest breaks in buried cable insulation. The portable transmitter pulses a high-voltage signal that radiates into the earth at fault locations. With the A-frame mounted receiver, a visual analog meter points the way to the source of the voltage and identifies multiple faults on a single wire, indicating the need to replace instead of repair.

In our area we have a tremendous problem with gophers. The problem is so bad that the district keeps two mowers running even over the winter just to keep the gopher mounds leveled down as best as possible. Without them mowing them down the complaints come rolling in. We have two sports fields where the gophers constantly got to our wiring that we went in and ran conduit to each valve to protect the wiring.

I've used the Pulser on many occasions and it will locate even very small nicks in the wire where the insulation has been chewed away. The problem is that that the Pulser is too good by finding every nick. I've had to make as many as 5-10 repairs on a single 14 gauge wire in order to make it viable again. I'd come across an area of the wire that had 6" of isulation stripped figuring for sure that I'd located the culprit, only to find out this wasn't true. Many times I never find a definitive ground fault that was causing the problem, rather a combination of smaller ground faults (nicks) causing the wire to fail.

Anyone that is serious about the 521 Locator and 2003 Pulser needs to understand that sometimes it is not a simple solution and may take quite some time locating problems. Don't get in a hurry and appropriate fees should be charged.

aric43085
02-10-2007, 11:24 AM
Hey people. When you use a wire finder on a service make sure you charge the customer a fee for using your equipment. I charge $60.00.

Repairs
02-10-2007, 11:25 AM
The 501 will not locate a buried solenoid. It does a great job at tracking wire but leaves you in the dark when trying to find a valve or small nick in wire.
Reply With Quote

That was what I was suspecting. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't doing it improperly.

This is bad but kinda funny. I had a wiring nightmare on a job with thermostat wiring. pre solorain days. So to find the nick I kept a 20 dollar bill in my pocket. I had my 521 hooked up and watched these day laborers digging up and exposing the wire. One suddenly jumped and had a state of total shock on his face. I walked over gave him the 20 dollar bill and replaced the nicked area. Felt so bad though I never did it again. Hopefully it won't keep me out of heaven.


That is pretty bad, although I have been known to find a nick or two by watching how high my guys jump.

PurpHaze
02-10-2007, 11:52 AM
You Texas boys sure are sadists. :laugh:

Remote Pigtails
02-10-2007, 02:55 PM
Hey people. When you use a wire finder on a service make sure you charge the customer a fee for using your equipment. I charge $60.00.

You know I struggle with this charge. To me having a 521 is like having a pipe wrench. I wouldn't charge for pulling out my pipe wrench. I use a remote on just about every job I do and I don't charge for the remote and it costs twice what a 521 does. This another endless supply house argument. I know a lot of contractors charge for this. What do you think purp and repairs?

Keith
02-10-2007, 04:12 PM
Does anyone use the Pro-Tech Pro600? I still have not heard any reviews of them compared to the 521. I figured one of you brave souls would have bought one buy now :D

PurpHaze
02-10-2007, 07:28 PM
You know I struggle with this charge. To me having a 521 is like having a pipe wrench. I wouldn't charge for pulling out my pipe wrench. I use a remote on just about every job I do and I don't charge for the remote and it costs twice what a 521 does. This another endless supply house argument. I know a lot of contractors charge for this. What do you think purp and repairs?

I'd classify a remote and the 521 in different "tool" categories. A wire nut is an expendable part whereas a waterproof connector like a 3M DBY/DBR or a Dry Connect may not be. However, you must account for these expendable supplies in the long run via your overall charges or you'll go broke. Same thing with PVC cement and primer. It's an expendable material that ultimately has to be paid for.

Personally, I think it all depends on what the job is and how long it takes. If you're just pulling it out for a quick wire path locate then it could just be another tool. However, if the job is complicated (locating lost valves and broken wires) then you must be able to justify your time, knowledge and experience. If your service fee covers it adequately then you're all set.

Without A Drought
02-10-2007, 07:41 PM
I bill on T/M. no extra charge for the locater. years ago when i worked for a guy using flat rate, there was a locater charge. problem is, if you're a novice with the locater, it can be a big waste of time. personally, if i can't find a valve or break after about five minutes of surveying the site i'll grab the locater.

once you know how to use it, it's one of the biggest time savers in your arsenal.

pg

Repairs
02-10-2007, 08:02 PM
Hey people. When you use a wire finder on a service make sure you charge the customer a fee for using your equipment. I charge $60.00.

You know I struggle with this charge. To me having a 521 is like having a pipe wrench. I wouldn't charge for pulling out my pipe wrench. I use a remote on just about every job I do and I don't charge for the remote and it costs twice what a 521 does. This another endless supply house argument. I know a lot of contractors charge for this. What do you think purp and repairs?

I started out charging a fee to use the locator in the early days. When I started charging fee for service style (more correct name than flate rate) I stopped charging for the locator. My wire tracking fees are appropriate for the tools on the job. I prefer to think of it as supply, and demand. I have a locator that I know how to use very well and they do not. Therefore I should be able to charge a fee for the use of specialized equipment and opertation therof over and beyond a normal service fee. Just this year, I have developed a three phase pricing system for my wire breaks. Starting with simple break needing only a 521, to wire break needing pulser, to non-ground fault breaks needing sections of wiring potholed and re-run. The variable pricing kicks in mostly on the last phase where sections of wiring will need to be re-run. My belief is that wire tracking is one of the most difficult and experience based repairs we do in this business, and those of us that know what we are doing should be paid for it.

Remote Pigtails
02-10-2007, 08:50 PM
Part of my pricing problem is that I'm dealing with people that i've had as customers for 20 plus years. They stuck with me when i was struggling to learn and raising my prices and getting compensated for the "experience factor" has been difficult. I'd love to move to a new place with the same volume of work that i do now and switch to a flat rate. I am going to switch to a flat rate because i think that is the only way to get fairly compensated for running a large (2-3 person) repair crew.

londonrain
02-11-2007, 12:08 AM
I don't charge extra when I have to pull out the 521 or the pulser.

SprinklerGuy
02-11-2007, 10:32 AM
Do not charge extra....

Unless the call comes in that they need to "find a lost valve"...then I quote them $75 for the first 1/2 hour, instead of the normal 65.....if I need it while on site...it is just a tool.

PurpHaze
02-11-2007, 11:08 AM
Part of my pricing problem is that I'm dealing with people that i've had as customers for 20 plus years. They stuck with me when i was struggling to learn and raising my prices and getting compensated for the "experience factor" has been difficult.

Surely they don't expect to get their car fixed (from a reputable mechanic) for the same price it cost them 20 years ago? :)

Repairs
02-11-2007, 11:25 AM
Part of my pricing problem is that I'm dealing with people that i've had as customers for 20 plus years. They stuck with me when i was struggling to learn and raising my prices and getting compensated for the "experience factor" has been difficult. I'd love to move to a new place with the same volume of work that i do now and switch to a flat rate. I am going to switch to a flat rate because i think that is the only way to get fairly compensated for running a large (2-3 person) repair crew.


I understand that problem as we have had it too. Don't forget about your friend supply and demand. The fact is good repair people are hard to find. If you can drop a low paying repair customer and pick up one that pays 15%-20% more, you must. I must for my children as college is not paid for by those customers with good will that I have been undercharging for the last 10 years. My daughter will also appreciate it if I spend one extra hour with her every evening becuase I made a little more money at work that day and didnt have to work as long. That is just my opinion though. JW

londonrain
02-11-2007, 11:54 AM
Surely they don't expect to get their car fixed (from a reputable mechanic) for the same price it cost them 20 years ago? :)
Back in the early 80's we charged $500 a zone(super 600's, nelson valves, green 1800's and nelson controllers) today the going rate is still $500 a zone. I don't understand why but that's the way it still is.

PurpHaze
02-11-2007, 01:18 PM
Back in the early 80's we charged $500 a zone(super 600's, nelson valves, green 1800's and nelson controllers) today the going rate is still $500 a zone. I don't understand why but that's the way it still is.


It would be interesting to see a material and labor breakdown from the 80's to see how that compares to your prices today.

londonrain
02-11-2007, 03:00 PM
It would be interesting to see a material and labor breakdown from the 80's to see how that compares to your prices today.

I found an estimate my dad gave me a few years ago.
This estimate is from 1980-1981.
This was for a manual system.
we rented a ditchwitch for $60

http://webpages.charter.net/nixdiecast/estimate.jpg

londonrain
02-11-2007, 03:26 PM
I know I was paid $25 and my older brother $50 for the weekend.
We installed irrigation on the weekends, my dad was an engineer and we did irrigation on the side. We would pull up to a job in a 1976 Cadillac with the pipe on the roof , pulling a ditchwitch and all tools & supplies in the trunk and all of us piled inside.
That is the real meaning of trunk slammers...lol

PurpHaze
02-11-2007, 03:34 PM
The estimate shows 2 1" "control valves" so this would be for two manual zones. At $500 an "automatic" zone even back then the cost would be $1000?

londonrain
02-11-2007, 03:44 PM
The estimate shows 2 1" "control valves" so this would be for two manual zones. At $500 an "automatic" zone even back then the cost would be $1000? I don't see the final price on the estimate , but I remember my dad would double the materials cost so i am guessing this job was quoted at around $1100-$1200.

bicmudpuppy
02-18-2007, 11:00 AM
Do you charge the customer extra if you have to have a machine to bore/trench/pull new pipe? Machine rates vs labor rates are different for a reason. Your valve locator is a necessary machine. When I a repair job transends to "electrical", this means I need the Locator,toner, etc., then the labor price goes from $40/hr to $60/hr. The first 1/2 hour on site is $40 flat, everything else is in quarters. If I pull the locator out 15 min into the job, the I start taking on the $60/hr. If it is a commercial account, increments are 1 hour.

Remote Pigtails
02-18-2007, 04:52 PM
Do you charge the customer extra if you have to have a machine to bore/trench/pull new pipe? Machine rates vs labor rates are different for a reason. Your valve locator is a necessary machine. When I a repair job transends to "electrical", this means I need the Locator,toner, etc., then the labor price goes from $40/hr to $60/hr. The first 1/2 hour on site is $40 flat, everything else is in quarters. If I pull the locator out 15 min into the job, the I start taking on the $60/hr. If it is a commercial account, increments are 1 hour.

I like your suggestion. It combines hourly rate with equipment and experience factor.

koster_irrigation
02-18-2007, 05:11 PM
I charge for locating. Usually $50 locate fee.

I dont charge to find valves on a system i installed. I love coming back to my old systems to try to find valves without the locator.

Dirty Water
02-18-2007, 05:24 PM
I charge for locating. Usually $50 locate fee.

I dont charge to find valves on a system i installed. I love coming back to my old systems to try to find valves without the locator.

Stop using 6" valve boxes.

:)