Armada pro800

Discussion in 'Professional Discussions' started by woodlawnservice, Sep 6, 2019.

  1. woodlawnservice

    woodlawnservice LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,394

    New to locating ... always had my buddy locate valves and wires if I needed it done. Last 4 yrs I hadnt need it to much. I'm more and more needing to find buried boxes etc... broken wires... so I've creep on here a bit about locators and determined a pro 800 was prob the best and most cost efficient I could use right now.... I actually picked one up for $450! That being said what or where should I start with this guy on leaning to trace wires and find valves?
    hort101 likes this.
  2. Love the Green Biz

    Love the Green Biz LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,215

    Wire and valve tracing is more of a nuanced art than a straightforward "do this and then that" type of procedure. And it is exactly the same as how to get to Carnegie Hall-practice, practice, practice!

    Now that the laughs are over the real work can begin-go to:

    There you will find user manuals and videos for the Pro 800. Good choice by the way-I've been using the Pro 800 for many years. Today I used the next gen-the Pro 900 Digital-to trace out 1100' of wire adjacent to a 3" mainline prior to my excavating drainage swales. The 900 is better at filtering out most underground electrical fields than the 800.

    Good luck and don't be worried by setbacks-if you read the instructions and watch the vids (and practice) you will get the hang of it soon enough.
    Srlance31, Cam15, mitchgo and 3 others like this.
  3. benhargreaves

    benhargreaves LawnSite Member
    Messages: 127

    Which is exactly correct. When looking for a valve, the general steps I try to get across to my techs are:
    1. Use multimeter to check continuity. Makes sure the wiring is in order so that you can actually find the valve you are looking for.
    2. Quick turn each zone on if you have access. This will get you an idea of the system layout and can help you narrow down where the valve is likely at.
    3. Locate the mainline using the unbalanced method; hot locator wire to common, ground locator wire to ground. Mark any hotspots you find along the way.
    4. Locate the solenoid using the balanced method; hot locator wire to common, ground locator wire to zone wire. Start with receiver volume turned up high, find a hot spot, slowly turn down volume, and utilize the cross pattern to pinpoint the solenoid. Don't forget to utilize the meter on the receiver as well.
    In the end, it's a lot about practice. It can help to have a plan and some idea of where you think the valve may be. Armada also has several guides and YouTube videos that you should take some time to look at. If you have a site you can practice on, do it.
  4. 1idejim

    1idejim LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,741

    Both the pro 800 analog and pro 900 digital are the finest irrigation specific locators on the rock but they fall under the same rules and measures “big boy” utility locators do.

    Do yourself a favor and read: XYZ TrainingSeminarV3.ppt

    Then create a test grounds using a familiar system (such as your own irrigation system) and practice, practice, practice.

    I believe in the 7-P’s approach Perfect Practice Prevents Piss Poor Performance to locating and I also believe one can never practice enough.

    In the 20 years I’ve been locating I have yet to not find a target regardless of the condition of the wiring. I believe this has been directly a result of constantly trying to improve my skills through practice.

    Learn the 2 step method to locating a valve and become proficient at locating before taking any shortcuts.

    Buy a good milliamp clamp meter and learn to analyze the wiring from the controller to the valve as well as to the controller from the valve. Personally, the time I spend diagnosing a system speeds my locating time tremendously.

    If you run into a bind or have a question while you’re locating, gimme a call and I’ll see if I can help you out. :)
  5. 1idejim

    1idejim LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,741

  6. OP

    woodlawnservice LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,394

    I've watched the videos which seem very straight forward for locating oaths and solenoids.... my about short circuits or cut lines? Is there a way to pinpoint the damaged location?
  7. 1idejim

    1idejim LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,741

    Too bad real world locates aren’t as easy as videos lead one to believe. Any video I’ve seen on locating is based on the fundamentals of locating an EMF.

    Read the manuals, locating open lines is addressed thoroughly as is locating shorts (even though the term short isn’t used).

    The main difference between the pro 800 and a more sophisticated locator is power, big boy locators push more power on the conductor.
  8. Love the Green Biz

    Love the Green Biz LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,215

    Excellent advice-thank you for sharing it.
    woodlawnservice likes this.
  9. 1idejim

    1idejim LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,741

    Ben, Jim Carefoot uses the terms “balanced/unbalanced” to describe the 2-step or what I refer to as “closed/open loop” method, have you met Jim? He’s a wonderful guy who back in the day was project manager on the TR4110 cable drop locator.

    There are numerous terms and descriptions for the same ol wire to wire and earth return configurations for tracing wire paths and locating solenoids. These are explained in the tempo manual I posted a link for earlier.

    The reason we change the wire connections is solely due to EMF/receiver antenna orientation and wire proximity effects.

    Some folks consider an earth return configuration adequate for locating solenoids, but of the hundreds of “locators” who’ve called me over the years have learned differently.

    With an earth return, the orientation of the receiver antenna coil and the EMF are at the same angle which results in a null response. This is the configuration for tracing wire.

    By connecting one wire to the common and the other to the zone wire (closed loop) the proximity of the wires results in a noise canceling effect similar to twisted pairs for extension cords, appliance cords and communication cables. This is the configuration for locating solenoids.
  10. benhargreaves

    benhargreaves LawnSite Member
    Messages: 127

    I have never met Jim Carefoot. I think I got the terms from his videos and/or manuals. I might start using "closed/open loop" with my guys. That seems a like it would be easier to understand for them; they get the 2 methods confused quite often.

    I agree that the open loop method is unreliable for locating solenoids. That's why I teach my techs to use the 2 step process. You can save a lot of time in digging and clean up if you take a little time and use the closed loop method once you have located the mainline. It's impressive how accurate you can get with the closed loop method, with a little experience.

    I have found, if you take a minute to run through a system prior to locating, using only the closed loop process can be pretty efficient on a smaller yard. But I always use the 2 step process if one of my techs is with me. Take the time to save time. That's also why step 1 in locating is always USE YOUR MULTIMETER FIRST. You need to know what you are looking for before you start looking. Don't waste time looking for something you can't find.
    Love the Green Biz likes this.

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