Using the 521 Tracker/Locater

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by TennTexan, Apr 3, 2004.

  1. TennTexan

    TennTexan LawnSite Member
    Posts: 38

    I have been using this tool from Progressive Electronics for many years. It took awhile to learn how to use it correctly, but I am pretty good at it now. This thread is for anyone who is new to it or is having a specific problem tracking or locating with it. I will offer any tips I can from my many hours of experience.
     
  2. Harry0

    Harry0 LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Posts: 223

    Tenn: I just received mine from Ebay-It seems to be working but it came with no manual. Do I need one? Last year I had to hire someone for $125 to find a zone valve. So when I saw it for $250 I bought it. I will test it in my yard to get a feel for it. Any pointers will be grerat thanks- Harry
     
  3. TennTexan

    TennTexan LawnSite Member
    Posts: 38

    First of all, if you got a good working 521 locator for $250, you got a good deal!
    A manual would be good, but it's only a few pages. If you want one, you could probably contact Progressive Electronics and get one for no charge.
    The first thing is that there are basically two functions: tracking wires and finding valves. To track a wire path, you attach the red lead from the tracker to a valve hot wire or the common wire. The black lead from the tracker needs to be grounded...the tracker comes with a probe that you stick in the ground, or just use a screwdriver, and clamp the black lead near the top and stick it in the ground. If the controller is too far from the great outdoors, you can strip a couple inches from a piece of wire, coil it around the ground probe/screwdriver, shove it in the ground and then run the wire to your tracker and hook to that. Turn the sending unit on and check the needle. The tracker has five settings plus a "test" setting...you should set it to where the needle reads between 4 and 8. Below 4 it is hard to pick up the signal, and above 8 it is likely to bleed over into TV cables, phone lines, etc. While I am on the subject of the signal gauge, I should say that in the "test" position the needle should read above 8. If it only reads 8 or below 8, it won't work and you need new batteries.
    Turn on the receiver and put the headphones on. You track the wire by following the "null"...that is, you will hear the signal pulse on either side of the wire and it will be silent when you are directly over the wire. Just sweep it back and forth and follow the "null" down the wire path. This is useful for locating the main and wires--I often use this function for when a customer is putting in a pool, for example, and we need to relocate part of the main line. This is also the method used to find a cut wire. The signal will die when you come to where the wire is cut. Often that will be at a newly planted tree, fence post, etc.
    To find a specific valve, the hookup is slightly different. Hook the red lead to the valve hot wire and the black lead to the common. If the solenoid is good (reads continuity at the controller) just go to where you think the valve might be. The signal will absolutely "scream" in the headphones when you are over the solenoid. Walk around in the area and move towards where the signal seems to be getting louder. When it "screams", turn the receiver down to almost off and move the probe around. You should be able to pinpoint the valve.
    If you have no idea where the valve is, use the wire path method first. Often you will be able to find the valve that way...the receiver will hopefully still "scream", just not quite as loud as the other method.
    The hardest thing to find is a valve where the solenoid is shorted...the signal goes right through the solenoid into the common wire and will take you right past the valve. I don't have a good answer on that one. I usually dig up the line near where I think the valve should be and count the wires to figure out if I am past the valve or not. Another thing to try is to locate a working valve in the same area...sometimes the valve you are looking for will be right next to it.
    Hope that helps to get you started.
     
  4. Harry0

    Harry0 LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Posts: 223

    Tenn: I printed out your post and will keep it with my 521-Thanks for taking the time to type this detailed post.-Harry
     
  5. Harry0

    Harry0 LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Posts: 223

    I tryed getting a copy of manual from company but progressive was bought by another company so I am still trying-Harry
     

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