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Cable Fault Locator

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by jshimmin, Aug 28, 2008.

  1. jshimmin

    jshimmin LawnSite Member
    Messages: 99

    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.
  2. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,645

    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.
  3. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

  4. Chris J

    Chris J LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,843

    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.
  5. Mark B

    Mark B LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,020

    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.
  6. Chris J

    Chris J LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,843

    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!
  7. Mark B

    Mark B LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,020

    Yeah you will only do that one time. Been there done that.
  8. Keith

    Keith LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,979

    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.

  9. Chris J

    Chris J LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,843

    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.
  10. Mike M

    Mike M LawnSite Bronze Member
    from usa
    Messages: 1,988

    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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