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jshimmin
08-28-2008, 09:48 PM
Any suggestions on a cable fault locator? An increasing volume of repair calls on systems I did not put in has me thinking about adding the test equipment.
I would like something I could put a tone on then sweep for the wire runs.

David Gretzmier
08-28-2008, 09:58 PM
If you have a local irrigation distributor, they often rent or loan these machines to contractors that buy goods from them. Also, some rental companies that rent lifts, tractors, pumps etc, sometimes rent fault locators. try/rent a few, and you'll land on one you like. also, once you charge customers for your time and rental cost on the machine, you will learn whether this type of work generates enough income to make purchasing a machine worthwile. too often the people who own these machines just charge their regular rate per hour. Figure out if you can make more $$$ per hour by investing in the machine.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
08-28-2008, 10:55 PM
Good tools don't cost you money, they make you money.

The Tempo Model 508S works just fine and is about $300.

http://www.tempo-textron.com/prod_detail.cfm?cat=800&subcat=802&pid=10442

Chris J
08-28-2008, 11:13 PM
I have a 521 locator and it has paid for itself numerous times over. That was the single best investment I have made. The cost was around $650 (if I remember correctly) but the time it has saved me has been enormous.

Mark B
08-28-2008, 11:20 PM
I think you might be able to find one on ebay. I have a toner and a 521 both work out good. Just be sure that when locating a LVL wire for a break do both wires.

Chris J
08-28-2008, 11:22 PM
Oh, and make sure you turn the thing off before you go sticking your hands in the dirt to dig up the cut wire. The 521 will put you on your arse!

Mark B
08-28-2008, 11:51 PM
Yeah you will only do that one time. Been there done that.

Keith
08-28-2008, 11:52 PM
No joke. A locater can pack a punch. My ProTech has bitten me a couple of times.

While a locater might possibly be used to find some bigger faults with an experienced user, the Tempo Pulser is more of a fault locater. A cable locater is definitely worth owning though, and much cheaper than the fault locater.

http://www.tempo-textron.com/prod_detail.cfm?cat=800&subcat=802&pid=10412

Chris J
08-29-2008, 12:01 AM
With the Pulser, don't you have to know where the path of the wire is first? I looked at something like that when I purchased the 521, but found out I had to first locate and mark the path of the wire run before I could go down the line with the fault locator. With the 521, I just go down the line and test voltage once I have a suspicion of where the cut is. Actually, once I tone the path I can usually figure out where the cut is just by using logical thinking. In other words, if your toning the wire and see that it's path runs across what looks like a freshly planted shrub or flower, that is usually the first place to look. I do have one question though for anyone that knows: Do you have to turn the power off at the transformer in order to use the 521? Sometimes it's easier to hook the machine up at the end of the run and work your way back to the trans. I always disconnect the trans, but it would be nice if I could just leave the juice flowing so I could check the voltage without have to go back to the trans to turn it back on.

Mike M
08-29-2008, 08:08 AM
I bought the device James referred for less than 300. I recommend it for it's price for finding breaks--I got it to find where I went through an invisible dog fence wire. I can use it well enough for those kind of applications, but now I want to know more about the more sophisticated instruments.

Do the more expensive models locate changes in quality, such as a poorly made connection that is still working (hardly)? I referred a customer to an electrician to locate a faulty hardwire job somewhere on his circuit (below grade somewhere). I've already found at least one hack job and an EC put in a junction box there. New walkway and circular drive, three outlets in the yard.

Chris J
08-29-2008, 08:27 AM
Never mind, the link was already posted. I was just going to say that the Pulser will find every nick and scratch in the wire through the use of the onboard meter.

AI Inc
08-29-2008, 08:31 AM
I have a 521 locator and it has paid for itself numerous times over. That was the single best investment I have made. The cost was around $650 (if I remember correctly) but the time it has saved me has been enormous.

They dont make the 521 anymore. It has been replaced with a 521A and that sells for around $850

Chris J
08-29-2008, 08:32 AM
What does the 521A do that the 521 didn't? Has there been significant upgrades?

AI Inc
08-29-2008, 08:35 AM
Not realy , It gets correct depths a little better. Works real well but looks like it will fall apart in under a yr. We took ours out of the box and I told my foreman " dont throw out that box , this thing is going back" Used it , took it back and sent my 2 521,s in for rebuilds.

Mark B
08-29-2008, 08:56 AM
Someone on the irrigation board someone just got there 521 back. They were pleased.

Also if you start getting funny readings check your batterys

AI Inc
08-29-2008, 08:59 AM
Someone on the irrigation board someone just got there 521 back. They were pleased.

Also if you start getting funny readings check your batterys

That was me , $120 each for the rebuilds , best $ I ever speant.

Mark B
02-24-2010, 08:51 PM
That might be a great locator. BUT it doesn't look as cool when you pull out the 521. :cool2::cool2:

Pro-Scapes
10-27-2010, 08:43 PM
Lets bring this back up.

My 521a is no where to be found. Funny I know. I cant locate my locator. I am trying to decide between the Armada 700 pro and a new 521a. I cant use the cheaper ones that just beep. I need something with an meter on it. Also does anyone know of an induction one that is reasonable where you can just clamp on to the wires vs clipping on to them?

Mayor_tx
10-27-2010, 11:03 PM
I bought a wire tracer made by Armada for around $200 and it has worked like a charm everytime I've used it. I'm not sure which model it is though.

A little trick I've used the wire tracer for that I haven't seen posted yet. When you have to get your wires under a driveway or sidewalk. Find an irrigation valve on the opposite side of the irrigation controller, connect your tracer to one of the leads on the solenoid, and trace it back to where it goes under the driveway/sidewalk. Then just dig down and there is your conduit.

This has saved us lots of time and money.

I'm sure that idea has been posted before and I know I'm not the first one to think of it, but just wanted to help out where possible.

bcg
10-28-2010, 12:52 AM
This is where those of us with irrigation backgrounds, especially in areas that spread valves out, have a real advantage. I use my 521 to find a wire path and my A-Frame ground fault locater to locate a nick or other ground fault. It's something that an irrigator will need ot do pretty frequently and the skills are a natural transition into LVL troubleshooting. After all, a wire is a wire is a wire.

1idejim
10-28-2010, 01:38 AM
With the Pulser, don't you have to know where the path of the wire is first? I looked at something like that when I purchased the 521, but found out I had to first locate and mark the path of the wire run before I could go down the line with the fault locator. With the 521, I just go down the line and test voltage once I have a suspicion of where the cut is. Actually, once I tone the path I can usually figure out where the cut is just by using logical thinking. In other words, if your toning the wire and see that it's path runs across what looks like a freshly planted shrub or flower, that is usually the first place to look. I do have one question though for anyone that knows: Do you have to turn the power off at the transformer in order to use the 521? Sometimes it's easier to hook the machine up at the end of the run and work your way back to the trans. I always disconnect the trans, but it would be nice if I could just leave the juice flowing so I could check the voltage without have to go back to the trans to turn it back on.

pardon me if i just jump right in;

when using a fault locator/ A-frame, you do have to know the wire path, that can first be located by a wire tracer 521/pro-700, 508s, 501, pro-290, pro-871 ect. or you can, with some practice, use the pulser/gfl-3000 to locate the the wire path. in order to locate the wire path with a pulser/gfl-3000 you connect the transmitter, walk about 20' away from the transmitter and place the a-frame at about a 45 degree angle towards the suspected location of the wire path, follow the kick until it reverses. by zig-zaging you can get close enough to mark the path. it's not as difficult as it sounds and after doing it a few times it's fairly fast.

without the fault finder you can be pretty accurate with the 521/pro-700 by using the 6" offset method suggested in the 521 section of the pei link below.

yes you have to turn the transformer off, here is a link for the tempo 521 manual, it includes the 501, 508, 528, 521 and pulser operating instructions;

http://www.lashen.com/vendors/tempo/Manuals/trblsht.pdf

these instructions and tips also work for the pro-700 and so on.

in regards to your statement about the ease of voltage testing with the transformer on, we are using the 521/pro-700 transmitter to test voltage drop on 2-wire irrigation systems.

i'm assuming that you use a leakage clamp meter, i just bought a pro-92 which i have really gotten to like.

another tool that i have been using to troubleshoot with is the TDR, with a TDR i am able to diagnose the condition of the wire path and as a plus it will give me the distance to a compromise. TDRs however cannot be connected to a live system but it will see the distance to a broken wire or compromise. i have found the TDR to be one of the most important tools i have ever used.

1idejim
10-28-2010, 01:41 AM
This is where those of us with irrigation backgrounds, especially in areas that spread valves out, have a real advantage. I use my 521 to find a wire path and my A-Frame ground fault locater to locate a nick or other ground fault. It's something that an irrigator will need ot do pretty frequently and the skills are a natural transition into LVL troubleshooting. After all, a wire is a wire is a wire.

good for you :waving:

Pro-Scapes
10-28-2010, 08:19 AM
I bought a wire tracer made by Armada for around $200 and it has worked like a charm everytime I've used it. I'm not sure which model it is though.

A little trick I've used the wire tracer for that I haven't seen posted yet. When you have to get your wires under a driveway or sidewalk. Find an irrigation valve on the opposite side of the irrigation controller, connect your tracer to one of the leads on the solenoid, and trace it back to where it goes under the driveway/sidewalk. Then just dig down and there is your conduit.

This has saved us lots of time and money.

I'm sure that idea has been posted before and I know I'm not the first one to think of it, but just wanted to help out where possible.

Joel that is a good trick. I cant remememeber if its been posted but its a regular practice for us. You have the Armada where you just swing the probe back and forth ? Does it have any kind of visual indicators or just the beep ?

Mayor_tx
10-28-2010, 10:17 AM
It only beeps louder as you are closer to the wire. I've even used it over concrete to trace wires.

bcg
10-28-2010, 11:05 AM
You guys listen to 1idejim, he's forgotten more about troubleshooting wire problems than I'll probably ever know. He's a great guy to boot, he's helped us out over the phone a couple of times on tricky problems and saved us a lot of time and head scratching.

Mark B
10-28-2010, 11:08 AM
I agree with what bcd said.

I have used my 521 to locate lighting wire that was broken. I just forgot to put locator wire on BOTH wires..lol that was a learning experience.

Jim I'm going to get that TDR one day. This forum is not as good/funny as the irrigation forum.
Posted via Cup and string Device

Mark B
10-28-2010, 11:30 AM
oops I meant bcq.. The iPad and my fingers messing up.
Posted via Mobile Device

1idejim
10-28-2010, 01:37 PM
You guys listen to 1idejim, he's forgotten more about troubleshooting wire problems than I'll probably ever know. He's a great guy to boot, he's helped us out over the phone a couple of times on tricky problems and saved us a lot of time and head scratching.

thanks for the compliment bcg, means a lot to me.

you are the only person that i have talked to that i didn't have to drive the importance of the wire is a wire concept into, it really simplifies troubleshooting. i look forward to another conversation.

I agree with what bcd said.

I have used my 521 to locate lighting wire that was broken. I just forgot to put locator wire on BOTH wires..lol that was a learning experience.

Jim I'm going to get that TDR one day. This forum is not as good/funny as the irrigation forum.
Posted via Cup and string Device

i stole the TDR from the telecommunications industry and adapted its use in irrigation, other guys are using them in lvl with great success. the TDR can almost replace the dmm for most issues and read distance to fault to boot.

buying a TDR will be the best $200 you ever spent, it was for me. my next purchase will be a graphical model, i'm hoping it will read all events at once, now that would be a time saver.

i don't rep but i will suggest the model i have, it's the only one i have tried so i know that it does work and it's cheaper than others that i have seen. pm me before you buy and i'll tell you what i know.

1idejim
10-28-2010, 08:57 PM
Lets bring this back up.

My 521a is no where to be found. Funny I know. I cant locate my locator. I am trying to decide between the Armada 700 pro and a new 521a. I cant use the cheaper ones that just beep. I need something with an meter on it. Also does anyone know of an induction one that is reasonable where you can just clamp on to the wires vs clipping on to them?

Joel that is a good trick. I cant remememeber if its been posted but its a regular practice for us. You have the Armada where you just swing the probe back and forth ? Does it have any kind of visual indicators or just the beep ?

armada has the 871-c http://armadatech.com/temp_proditem.php?prodid=re9lm

i'm thinking that the 521/pro-700 could be adapted to a LED dot or bar readout with out much trouble, i was actually thinking that an adapter could be made that would just plug into the headphone jack to read the signal strength. it might be worth contacting armada.

http://www.national.com/mpf/LM/LM3915.html#Overview