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muddywater
11-14-2011, 10:28 PM
We have been tracing wires for last couple days. Are these valves supposed to ping when the solenoids are bad? Found 7(all with bad solenoids), but had to do alot of pokin' because the things just will not sounds off. Once the new solenoids are installed they sound off, but I do got a loud reading when I go over a valve with bad solenoid. And I know we have been over them several times with the wand. Tried zone wires, then common. No difference. Also, we using a Greenlee 521 with fresh batteries.

Is this what yall do, just trace wires and bring a damn pokin' rod when the solenoids are bad? or am I missing a trick?

bcg
11-14-2011, 10:40 PM
Shorted solenoids will not scream. To find them, I trace out the common wire path and flag it, then go back to the clock and put the red wire on the zone wire and the ground on the common. Follow your wire path, you should get no feedback at all until you get past the valve, then you'll start to see the normal signal-null-signal. Back up just a little and you'll find your valve.

Takes some practice but once you get it it's not too difficult.

FIMCO-MEISTER
11-14-2011, 10:45 PM
Shorted solenoids will not scream. To find them, I trace out the common wire path and flag it, then go back to the clock and put the red wire on the zone wire and the ground on the common. Follow your wire path, you should get no feedback at all until you get past the valve, then you'll start to see the normal signal-null-signal. Back up just a little and you'll find your valve.

Takes some practice but once you get it it's not too difficult.

Best explanation in a while. I try to say the same thing and it takes 4 paragraphs. Read carefully and follow BCG to a tee.

muddywater
11-15-2011, 07:15 AM
Shorted solenoids will not scream. To find them, I trace out the common wire path and flag it, then go back to the clock and put the red wire on the zone wire and the ground on the common. Follow your wire path, you should get no feedback at all until you get past the valve, then you'll start to see the normal signal-null-signal. Back up just a little and you'll find your valve.

Takes some practice but once you get it it's not too difficult.

Thanks I will try it.

txgrassguy
11-15-2011, 01:05 PM
I agree with Pete and bcg. Also make sure you have a deck screw or a pair of splinter tweezers in your 521 case.
Sometimes you will not be able to acquire a ground at an indoor mounted box if you need to trace from the controller. The screw or tweezers will easily fit in the ground receptacle of a house plug so you can get a decent ground needed for a reliable signal.
Also cuts down on the rubbernecking know-it-all homeowner who might insist on "supervising" your tracing efforts. I know from first hand experience they retreat real quick when they grab the red lead on the 521 to "help" you during tracing events.

txgrassguy
11-17-2011, 10:24 AM
Just had one yesterday, a valve locate with a "helpful" client.
Hooked up the 521 to the common in the clock chassis (indoor mount controller), grounded the 521 to the house and tracing I went. Until:
I hear a loud "snap" emanating from the garage immediately followed by a yell of "S-O-B!" -so I go back into the garage.
And see the ever so helpful dude standing there shaking his right hand. Seems he just knew I hadn't hooked the 521 to a proper ground and moved the deck screw from the receptacle ground port to the hot lead side.
And got the livingshit zapped out of his hand.
I just stood there looking at him trying not to laugh out loud when he muttered something again so I just busted out laughing at him.
He stood there for a moment, then shook his head and walked into his house.
I overheard him say to his wife "That guy is really weird, knows hisshit though, but really weird".
And the wife gave me the check when I was done.

1idejim
11-17-2011, 02:41 PM
I agree with Pete and bcg. Also make sure you have a deck screw or a pair of splinter tweezers in your 521 case.
Sometimes you will not be able to acquire a ground at an indoor mounted box if you need to trace from the controller. The screw or tweezers will easily fit in the ground receptacle of a house plug so you can get a decent ground needed for a reliable signal. Also cuts down on the rubbernecking know-it-all homeowner who might insist on "supervising" your tracing efforts. I know from first hand experience they retreat real quick when they grab the red lead on the 521 to "help" you during tracing events.

sorry Steve but when I trace active power, I connect the transmitter to either the metal body of the panel or the building ground (rod or wire) and then establish an independent earth ground, I can then trace the power from the panel to the transformer (example), the problem with this method is that I am also putting signal on every utility that is grounded to the building.

If you are using the grounding peg of an outlet you are doing the same thing, you are now putting signal on the entire system. The signal will travel from the transmitter on the target conductor, through the earth to the electrical ground rod up into the panel, through the house to the outlet and to the transmitter, then the signal reverses course travelling from the transmitter to the outlet, through the house to the panel, down to the ground rod, back through the earth to the target conductor which travels back to the transmitter, just to reverse its course and do it all over again, 1748 times a second.

You'll get a lot cleaner signal by using an independent earth ground, in fact, every user manual that I have ever read states that the most important transmitter adjustment that you can make is the earth ground.

I borrowed this from Dynatel for an example, hope they don't get grumpy;

3.3 Place the ground rod as far away from the cable path as possible (90 degrees from the suspected cable path). Never ground to water pipe or other services in the area. The returning signal on these services may mislead the trace.

you will find a statement similar to the above in nearly if not all user manuals

TGG, I like and respect you, if your method works for you, that's great. Muddywater appears to be a fledgling locator and should learn proper basics first.

muddywater
11-18-2011, 08:30 AM
So when tracing a valve in this particular situation, what is a better ground? Common wire, grounding with screw driver, or receptacle?
Posted via Mobile Device

bcg
11-18-2011, 09:25 AM
You only want to use the common as a ground when looking for a shorted valve where you already know the wire path. When you hook it up that way, you're not going to be abel to trace the wire until after the valve you've got your red lead on.

The point of using the receptacle is to get a good Earth ground when you can't get one with the included stake. I've never not been able to get a good ground with the stake so I've never grounded to a receptacle.

So, in short -

To trace a wire to a valve, get a good Earth ground.
To find a shorted solenoid after tracing the wire path, ground to the common.

muddywater
11-18-2011, 01:08 PM
What is the trick to find a nicked wire? Patience?
Posted via Mobile Device

Mike Leary
11-18-2011, 01:39 PM
What is the trick to find a nicked wire? Patience?

It's like "how do you get to Carnegie Hall?" practice, practice, practice. Russ found a couple of nicks for me with the 521 at the clock and a el cheapo vom that was non-ranging. We backtracked from the valve and found them. In most cases, nicks are in the area of a splice or at the valve box. The 521 will find them, but you gotta be on your game.

FIMCO-MEISTER
11-18-2011, 02:20 PM
What is the trick to find a nicked wire? Patience?
Posted via Mobile Device

A Fault finder that uses an A-Frame is indispensable for that. It will put you right on top of it. 521s will work but it doesn't pinpoint it as accurately.

txgrassguy
11-18-2011, 03:45 PM
Jim, when I use the house ground none of my trace runs over 200'.
So I am able to discern quite readily what feedback may exist amongst the usual signal.
I got to this point because I got tired of having to run a separate ground 30' or so out of the garage on those times I had to trace. These properties all had the multi-strand in conduit exiting the garage then buried in a box under a bunch of landscape.
I got sick and tired of being poked by all those damned plants plus I'm sure the occasional "S-O-B" yell wasn't too pleasing to the client.
Practice helped a bunch but I agree the more independent and "clean" the ground is the better the trace.

Muddy, you can find a nicked wire with the 521 but it takes a bit of practice to differentiate the signal. Bear in mind I have been getting shocked by 521's for almost twenty years now so I can interpret the signal pretty clearly. I know this doesn't help much but stick it out if you don't have the bucks to buy an A frame like Peter suggests.

bcg
11-18-2011, 09:21 PM
Nicks are tough. If it's just a small nick but the wire is still somewhat intact, you'll sometimes get a very subtle difference and sometimes it will trace like the wire is fine. Best thing for finding nicks is to use an A frame ground fault finder.

1idejim
11-20-2011, 01:19 PM
What is the trick to find a nicked wire? Patience?
Posted via Mobile Device

as you trace a wire you will sometimes encounter "hotspots" that aren't really loud like a solenoid is, these are usually the result of earth contact with the conductor.

when you encounter a hotspot, back up a little and hold the receiver just above the ground and about 6 inches to the side of the wire path.

you will be receiving a peak response at this point, parallel trace the wire path through the hotspot while maintaining the 6 inch distance, as you move through the hotspot the signal will reverse its response, changing from peak to null.

the null will signify the location of the nick or break.

this works for broken wires as well, it does take some practice but isn't oo difficult to do.

if you just slow down and spend a few minutes, pay attention to the audio signal as well as the needle, you won't be digging up ghosts

best of luck :waving:

1idejim
11-24-2011, 03:32 PM
Jim, when I use the house ground none of my trace runs over 200'.
So I am able to discern quite readily what feedback may exist amongst the usual signal.
.

please feel free to explain your technique, i have digital depth, current measurement, multiple frequencies, reception modes and power levels on the dynatel that help eliminate false signals and non-target wire paths but the dynatel is slightly more sophisticated than the 521 / 700.

muddy water;

here are a few locating vids on youtube, there is more relitive information on these than you can imagine, you just need to take them at face value and with a grain of salt

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUa4njKIoUc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bwxMru1Wp8&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mQDujby6l4&feature=related


best of luck :)

txgrassguy
11-25-2011, 03:37 PM
When I connect to a house ground I also disconnect both the common(s) and the defective solenoid power wire as well as killing power to the controller.
The deck screw goes in the ground socket of the nearest electrical receptacle then I view the signal meter on the 521. If the meter starts "bouncing" I know I am getting some sort of feedback through the socket so I either change sockets or flip the breaker for that socket.
Then I put on the cans and go tracing. Occasionally I will receive signal interference especially if fluorescent lights are on in the garage so I have to remember to turn those off as well.
With decent batteries and this type of ground I have located faults over 500' away from the controller and found 4' deep buried valves as well. Beats finding a valve box then kneeling down to connect everything. My knees aren't what they used to be.
Usually I have found the house ground provides a cleaner signal than the stake ground so if I have a socket with in reach of the ground cable I prefer to use it verse the stake.

Waterlogged
11-26-2011, 01:32 PM
Hey 1idejim hows the book going.

1idejim
11-26-2011, 01:44 PM
When I connect to a house ground I also disconnect both the common(s) and the defective solenoid power wire as well as killing power to the controller.
The deck screw goes in the ground socket of the nearest electrical receptacle then I view the signal meter on the 521. If the meter starts "bouncing" I know I am getting some sort of feedback through the socket so I either change sockets or flip the breaker for that socket.
Then I put on the cans and go tracing. Occasionally I will receive signal interference especially if fluorescent lights are on in the garage so I have to remember to turn those off as well.
With decent batteries and this type of ground I have located faults over 500' away from the controller and found 4' deep buried valves as well. Beats finding a valve box then kneeling down to connect everything. My knees aren't what they used to be.
Usually I have found the house ground provides a cleaner signal than the stake ground so if I have a socket with in reach of the ground cable I prefer to use it verse the stake.

i thought i would get a better response than that.

let's call it a day on this subject.

send me a pm muddywater, and i'll send you some locating pdf's

1idejim
11-26-2011, 03:08 PM
Hey 1idejim hows the book going.

wrassling with drawings and pictures mostly, i may live long enough to finish it.:laugh:

Mike Leary
11-26-2011, 08:40 PM
wrassling with drawings and pictures mostly, i may live long enough to finish it.:laugh:

Am I going have to come up there and kick your lazy butt?

1idejim
11-27-2011, 11:46 AM
Am I going have to come up there and kick your lazy butt?

prolly so :cry: