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Locating live underground 240v lines

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by WalkGood, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. WalkGood

    WalkGood LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,910

    Un-related to my other thread concerning pulling pvc for high voltage.

    What can be used to locate buried "live" 240v lines? I know of someone on a budget trying to find said wiring from house to outbuilding/garage. They live on left coast. Said util co wants to charge for a locate since wiring is the home owners wire.

    Will a metal detector work? Would a high current draw help the locate? i.e. run an electric heater, pool pump and electric oven.
  2. SoCalLandscapeMgmt

    SoCalLandscapeMgmt LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,144

    Jim will know! Wouldn't a 521 pick up the 60 cycle hum?
    Posted via Mobile Device
  3. WalkGood

    WalkGood LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,910

    These are people trying to not have to buy a 521 or hire a locate company.
  4. mitchgo

    mitchgo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,946

    Not trying to dis them if they are your friends but they should just deal with it and have someone locate. There is a reason why all these companies have all this equipment- the right tool for the job ?

    Jim will be able to answer this but I'm going to say that any kind of metal detector won't be able to detect the frequencies the power of the wire is putting out.

    They could rent a 521- turn off the power to the outbuilding and trace it out or have a company come in with a utility locator.

    Or they could dig up the entire line :)
  5. WalkGood

    WalkGood LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,910

    Hey, if a metal detector would work ..... why shouldn't they try it first before hiring a locate company?
  6. UfoPilot

    UfoPilot LawnSite Member
    Messages: 105

    That is about the stupidest thing I've ever heard. They don't want to pay to locate it? What do they think it's going to cost when someone digs back there and gets electrocuted? If they turn the power off and someone digs there and cuts the line, they'll have to replace the whole line! I'd tell them to do it right or to not involve me in ANY way. There are some corners that can be cut, but that ain't one of them.
  7. ARGOS

    ARGOS LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,808

    Jim is the man...but I want to chime in and Jim can correct me.

    As Mitchgo said turn power off at the power source. Does power need to be disconnected? Set up transmitter (tone line), detect. Right Jim?

    I want to say it would be a mistake for a home owner to rent a 521 and locate themselves. Sounds dangerous. UFO summed it up.
  8. greenmonster304

    greenmonster304 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,681

    I have had luck tracing live wires by clipping the 521 on to the ground wire. As long as it is shielded or n conduit it traces quite well. I have traced services that way for my brother when he is using his tree spade. I sometimes stick a small piece of wire in the ground part of an outlet if I have no other way of connecting to the ground wire

    Messages: 18,668

    I'd definitely upgrade from a metal detector to a locating company on this one.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. txirrigation

    txirrigation LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 977

    Turn power on to out building do not hook up the transitter to anything and follow the fuzz.

    Use the flaw of the 521 to your advantage. It will have static on each side of the line and fall silent when you are right over it. It will just not beep like it does on a legit locate with the transmitter.

    Had a locate last week with all kinds of power lines that had just been installed. It was interesting bc I knew where the lines were bc of the new trenches and I could see how the 521 reacted.

    All this being said... get it located by a locating service.

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