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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.
 

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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.
 

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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
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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
 

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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.
 

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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?
 

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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.
 

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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.
 
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