Question for Jerry

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Rotor-Man, Nov 3, 2004.

  1. Rotor-Man

    Rotor-Man LawnSite Member
    Messages: 126

    Can you give me your thoughts on the Progressive 528 Wire & Valve Tracker. I know it's not the 521 model, but can get my hands on a 528 for a good price, and would like your thoughts on how it works compared to the 521.I have always used a Metrotech [rented] to track valve wires and would like to buy one for myself to track wires and locate valves.
  2. jerryrwm

    jerryrwm LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,274

    The 528 is a version of the 521, and is very capable of tracking wires and locating valves. The only downfall is the audible part of the locating process. If you are in areas of excessive noise it is a little harder to hear the changes in tone especially when the signal is weak. You really have to watch the meter a little closer.

    Other than that it is a good machine.

    Check out Progressive Electronics website for the operating instructions for the various models.

    If you can get it for a good price, go for it.

    I lucked out on a 521 on ebay a while back - got it for $220.00! Guess everyone was sleeping when I bid on it. It was in pristine condition and has been working fine for the past two years.

    Jerry R
  3. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,209

    How often do you guys use your trackers? i've had a 521 for 3-4 years and used it once. Most of our systems here (residential anyway), don't have mainlines. Manifold right near the BP. Or if they do they have multistrand wire with 1-3 extras. If I had more commercial properties to maintain it might be different.

    Just curious.
  4. jerryrwm

    jerryrwm LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,274


    I use that thing at least once a week, and some weeks several days.

    Since we don't have much freezing down here everything is put on a mainline, residential and commercial. Most of the valve boxes are lost under the turf - San Augustine mainly, and it is a must. Many valves are located in haphazard manner so there is no logical approach to finding them. If I drag it out to locate a single valve, it is a $25.00 line item for the locator. For commercial work involving locating multiple valves there is up to a $45.00/day charge for the locator and labor is additional. Some supply houses have locators for rent at $45.00/day ($25.00/half day- 4 hrs) hence the pricing.

    We have systems put in by two companies (one is no longer in business) that buried valve boxes 2"-3" below grade. Their sales pitch was that there would be "no ugly valve boxes visible in the lawn." What they were doing in actuality was building in a "must call them for service work" into the system. They had an accurate 'as-built' of the yard, and when they were called to service the system, they knew exactly where the valves were. They would drag out the locator and wander around the yard for a while and then miracuously find the valve. If the homeowner wants a copy of the as-built, it is a $150.00 charge.

    I'm still trying to learn how to efficiently use that Pulsar - 2003. I haven't quite learned all the nuances of it yet. I do have a friend that works for the phone company that said he will show me how to use it as they have machines that are almost identical to the 2003. Once you know the wire path, that Pulsar will put you right on a wire nick. Saves a lot of digging.

    Until I learn how to use it, it's going to be my 521 and my Station Master 24.

    Jerry R
  5. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,570

    i have a 521 and use it often.
    ther are other things you can use it for as well.
    we use it to locate power lines, and other utilities.

    when you have to follow a pipe, we cut into a pipe, run a metal fish line and track that to follow the pipe

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