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View Full Version : Using Flag Wires to Locate Water Lines


ed2hess
07-18-2008, 11:44 PM
We have resorted to using the ole trick of taking two flag wires and bending a 90degree on the ends to hold in your hands. I was pretty surprised to find that it sorta works. But like the use of the valve finder521 there are probably some tricks to using these wires. Do you have to get a static charge on them first, or do they work better if grounded and charge off them.

Just in case you are wondering what the problem is.....got water on some media but can't find the valve box. Have wiring into the media and used 521 to track wires but nothing then used volt meter across wires to gnd and nothing. There may not be valve boxes but seems unusal that they would put in th rotor and no valve boxes. Definitely water into area found the line but rocky texas soil not practical to dig down the water line in heat.

WalkGood
07-19-2008, 12:10 AM
You found the sprinkler head..... unscrew it and slide a "snake" into the irrigation line (pvc is it?) along with a 2-wire line. Trace the wire.

ed2hess
07-19-2008, 12:47 AM
You found the sprinkler head..... unscrew it and slide a "snake" into the irrigation line (pvc is it?) along with a 2-wire line. Trace the wire.

Kinda good idea but snake will follow the pvc line and probably wouldn't go into the valve box tee. In Texas we hook the valve to the water line then out of the valve a tee is usually installed to run in two directions unfortunately. But maybe I misunderstood your suggestion.

WalkGood
07-19-2008, 01:06 AM
Kinda good idea but snake will follow the pvc line and probably wouldn't go into the valve box tee. In Texas we hook the valve to the water line then out of the valve a tee is usually installed to run in two directions unfortunately. But maybe I misunderstood your suggestion.

Keep tracing the the wire. Use a probe to poke for the valve box along the path.

Waterit
07-19-2008, 01:08 AM
We have resorted to using the ole trick of taking two flag wires and bending a 90degree on the ends to hold in your hands. I was pretty surprised to find that it sorta works. But like the use of the valve finder521 there are probably some tricks to using these wires. Do you have to get a static charge on them first, or do they work better if grounded and charge off them.

You don't need a charge on them, no ground, and there are no tricks. The flags can be old nasty rusty ones. My understanding is that it works off the electromagnetic field that exists inside a pipe. I've found sewer, gas, electrical conduit, our own sleeves, laterals, etc.

Doesn't seem to work for everyone, and works to varying degrees for some people. I have one buddy that it works for sometimes, and another that it never works for, even over a pipe in an open trench.

JDUtah
07-19-2008, 02:19 AM
Wonder if steel toed boots cause interference... 'otta try and see.

JimLewis
07-19-2008, 02:43 AM
Ya! You know what else works??? Hire a witch doctor and have him place dust from the ground up bones of a mongoose on top of some gypsy tears and mix it up. Then take the mixture and throw it along the ground. It's freakin' amazing. As soon as you do this, you'll notice the spill sort of takes the shape of an arrow. Dig right in front of the arrow and I swear you'll find the water line every time!!!

:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Daily Lawn/Landscape
07-19-2008, 03:04 PM
I'm having a hard time finding gypsey tears:confused:

Ya! You know what else works??? Hire a witch doctor and have him place dust from the ground up bones of a mongoose on top of some gypsy tears and mix it up. Then take the mixture and throw it along the ground. It's freakin' amazing. As soon as you do this, you'll notice the spill sort of takes the shape of an arrow. Dig right in front of the arrow and I swear you'll find the water line every time!!!

:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

irrig8r
07-19-2008, 05:57 PM
In my experience black cat bones work better than mongoose bones.

Get your mojo workin'...

irrig8r
07-19-2008, 05:59 PM
And then there's this...

http://www.armadatech.com/temp_proditem.php?prodid=bpn39

ed2hess
07-19-2008, 07:46 PM
And then there's this...

http://www.armadatech.com/temp_proditem.php?prodid=bpn39

Thanks might try that. We did find some buried sleeves at a resturant site and that is where we got started with these. My son seems to be better than I am but I was shocked when I tried and seen the darn things work.

CAPT Stream Rotar
07-19-2008, 08:12 PM
hey ed, is it possible that you could get a video of this happening?

YardPro
07-19-2008, 08:22 PM
i use the divining rods quite often and they work suprisingly well.

CAPT Stream Rotar
07-19-2008, 08:23 PM
i use the divining rods quite often and they work suprisingly well.

video request=sent

FIMCO-MEISTER
07-19-2008, 09:58 PM
I'm in the no merlin h2o camp. Why not burn incense while you are at it.

WalkGood
07-19-2008, 10:16 PM
I'm in the no merlin h2o camp. Why not burn incense while you are at it.


"incense"??? Is THAT what you call ganja?

FIMCO-MEISTER
07-19-2008, 10:18 PM
"incense"??? Is THAT what you call ganja?

No we call it "dope"

redmax fan
07-19-2008, 10:32 PM
ive spent alot of years digging footings (residential construction) and several installing sprinklers . and have come across many instances where we were looking for something below ground and in a pinch tried the flag method and sometimes it worked and other times it didnt . and the times it worked we'd test it over and over once we found the below grade line / pipe / wire and it would be right on it .

juststartin
07-19-2008, 10:41 PM
yes it works almost every time, how I don't know. I have shared this with a few people and they laugh at me.... My teacher told me if you don't belive in it it won't work for you? Maybe thats whats holding you back Fimco?

FIMCO-MEISTER
07-19-2008, 10:57 PM
yes it works almost every time, how I don't know. I have shared this with a few people and they laugh at me.... My teacher told me if you don't belive in it it won't work for you? Maybe thats whats holding you back Fimco?

ditto...... I like pure science. The world of sorcery, witchery, guessery, whatervery, ain't my tea party.

ed2hess
07-19-2008, 11:34 PM
ditto...... I like pure science. The world of sorcery, witchery, guessery, whatervery, ain't my tea party.

Okay Fimco.....how do I find this valve box when no wires are attached to it and the ground is solid as a rock. By the way I doubt that these rods will do the trick but I am pretty darn certain I have found where the end of the main water truck is and I plan to dig that up Monday....used the rods to find. See I doubt that somebody would put in all thr rotor(found most of them) and not have a valve box. But I have poked a grid with sharp tools until I am black and blue and sweaty. This is a 20ft. wide media about 100 ft long between two major streets. I got nine medias that are watered and this one isn't and I have found the wires for this media but....not the valves.

Waterit
07-19-2008, 11:46 PM
Didn't know someone had developed one that was professional-grade, and for only $32 and change. And here I've been using 6-cent flags all these years...

FIMCO-MEISTER
07-20-2008, 12:09 AM
Okay Fimco.....how do I find this valve box when no wires are attached to it and the ground is solid as a rock. By the way I doubt that these rods will do the trick but I am pretty darn certain I have found where the end of the main water truck is and I plan to dig that up Monday....used the rods to find. See I doubt that somebody would put in all thr rotor(found most of them) and not have a valve box. But I have poked a grid with sharp tools until I am black and blue and sweaty. This is a 20ft. wide media about 100 ft long between two major streets. I got nine medias that are watered and this one isn't and I have found the wires for this media but....not the valves.

Out of curiosity have you tried running water backwards through a head location? Sometimes the only solution is to dig up the lines using educated guesses. Water soak it down to make it easier.

EagleLandscape
07-20-2008, 12:25 AM
I use metal coat hangers, works every time.

FIMCO-MEISTER
07-20-2008, 06:47 AM
I use metal coat hangers, works every time.

I want a demo. I'll set it up. We'll go to a system that shows no sign of ditches or head locations.

EagleLandscape
07-20-2008, 10:10 AM
Sounds like a plan man. That's how we found the sleeves at our house, how I find a 4" broken sewer line at my house in CS. What my dad always used to use.

I don't know how it works, but it works (most of the time):).

CAPT Stream Rotar
07-20-2008, 01:16 PM
Sounds like a plan man. That's how we found the sleeves at our house, how I find a 4" broken sewer line at my house in CS. What my dad always used to use.

I don't know how it works, but it works (most of the time):).

jwing-video request= sent.

EagleLandscape
07-20-2008, 09:09 PM
nice location csr

dhess
07-21-2008, 12:03 AM
heres the other weird thing about the wire trick that I ran into..

Sometimes only one hand works. Holding two flags sometimes the wire on my right hand would move, but not my left....I switched the wires, still the same thing.

weird...I'm not sure what the science is around that one though.

Anyhow as my Pop said I tried doing this trick on recent install to find sleeves 4-5 ft down under paved parking lot.


http://www.n-siderecords.com/lawnsite/chuys_medians.jpg


It worked ok, except sometimes I would find other lines (electric lines instead). It would have been nice if the guys that did the sleeving 3-4 months in advance would have marked them with a simple stake, but instead it took us 2 days to find them all (lot of rock).

EagleLandscape
07-21-2008, 12:35 AM
elbow up, and 2' above grade. cap off without glue. keep the caps when u do the install.

walaa!

Waterit
07-21-2008, 12:51 AM
elbow up, and 2' above grade. cap off without glue. keep the caps when u do the install.

walaa!

Works until curb guy or electrician yanks your capped pipe out.

Here they usually use a curb machine for straight runs and hand-pour the radius. We get in after straights are done but before radius is formed and paint the back of the curb. Another thing we learned long ago was to stay out of the middle of an island, that's where the light poles go and electricians could care less about ripping our stuff to pieces.

irrig8r
07-21-2008, 02:34 AM
I'm a natural born skeptic... I'd like to see it done too. I have heard of using branches of trees like willow for water... but maybe not for wires...

WalkGood
07-21-2008, 02:49 AM
Here they usually use a curb machine for straight runs and hand-pour the radius. We get in after straights are done but before radius is formed and paint the back of the curb. Another thing we learned long ago was to stay out of the middle of an island, that's where the light poles go and electricians could care less about ripping our stuff to pieces.

What does "paint the back of the curb" mean? Apply pigments (paint) to the cement? Or ???

Waterit
07-21-2008, 09:47 AM
What does "paint the back of the curb" mean? Apply pigments (paint) to the cement? Or ???

Take marking paint and spray a spot on the back of the curb at each end of the sleeve:hammerhead:

WalkGood
07-21-2008, 10:12 AM
Take marking paint and spray a spot on the back of the curb at each end of the sleeve:hammerhead:


And when the turf/mulch covers it? :hammerhead::hammerhead: backatcha

Waterit
07-21-2008, 10:24 AM
When we install sleeves on a new project, long before any turf or mulch go in, even before islands get backfilled.

TforTexas
07-21-2008, 10:56 AM
I used to be a skeptic too when someone first suggested it to me. But I worked on a golf course for years and we used it all the time. I got very good at it and it worked every time. Dont ask me how or why but it flat out does.
One of the projects I had to do was resurrect some irrigation that was buried and forgotten twenty year prior and using 2 old irrigation flags it was a breeze. It was real good at finding ceramic drain tile as well.

WalkGood
07-21-2008, 11:11 AM
When we install sleeves on a new project, long before any turf or mulch go in, even before islands get backfilled.

I understand you paint it first. But to find it years later it will be covered if it's on the turf/bed inner side.

I've seen the markings on the other, visible side of the curb. Dots. "V" for valve box. Helpful on large commercial properties.

dhess
07-22-2008, 12:41 AM
I understand you paint it first. But to find it years later it will be covered if it's on the turf/bed inner side.

I've seen the markings on the other, visible side of the curb. Dots. "V" for valve box. Helpful on large commercial properties.

my pop and I both try and paint in all the valves on all our properties on the curb with some type of marking. On that project I painted the backside of the curb down to the sleeves. The sleeve work on that property was done before any of the curbs were put in too so it made it that much more difficult to find (another company did the sleeves).

Get this also after the project was done 2 months later the electric/lighting guys finally decide to finish the parking lot lights...so this whole time while the sleeves holes were open (a good 3-4 weeks) they didn't bother to check their lines.

Bottom line they had to first FIND (with my help) and then dig up some of the sleeves again and I had to go and fix what they broke in the process.

heres one for you guys. How do you go about marking or doing this..

I had to add a head (new tree bubbler) to one 250 ft run with 3x 1" lines laying together. Problem was all three shared same hole on the install, so which one do you cut (this is of course after we filled in all the dirt). Now on some runs I marked some of the lines with paint, but I stopped doing that at one point worried that the markings of the paint might interfere with gluing process one day if I had to do repair work. I couldn't believe turning on the line you couldn't tell which one was actually running by touching the pipe.

Someone tell me the trick to this?

I thought maybe running it on for a little bit maybe condensation might build up on the pipe, but that didn't work. I couldn't feel it when the water was running through the pipe either.

So basically it was a gamble.

I lost...I had to repair one pipe but my 2nd guess was right.