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Precision Underground Pipe and

Cable Locator
What are we Locating?

RD Locator do not detect Pipe or


It locate Magnetic Fields.

Magnetic Field

The magnetic field is created by an AC

current carrying conductor.

This magnetic field forms a cylindrical shape

around the line and is known as the signal
which can be detected by a receiving coil.

Principle known as electromagnetic

Where are they used?

Where are they used
What cant they Find
What we want to Avoid?
How do we Locate?
1. Passive Signal
Detect the pipe and cable which already
have magnetic fields.

These occur naturally on cables and pipes

No need additional source (Transmitter)
The main purpose is for avoidance
Relatively easy
Passive Signal (Power)

50/60 Hz radiating from loaded

power cables
50/60 Hz signals induced into
These signals travel along
metallic cables or pipes
Enables most, but not all
power cables to be located
Passive Signal (Radio)

Very low frequency (long wave)

radio waves from distant
Ground provides return paths
for energy
Metallic lines form preferred
Passive Signal Disadvantages

Hard to identify Same signal may appear on any nearby conductor

Live line with load switched off no current flow

- so no detectable locate signal remains a danger

3 phase cables can be difficult to locate

- High voltage are better balanced and cancel their fields
- Radio mode valuable complement to Power mode

All passive signals can change without warning, have no control on the signals
How do we Locate?
2. Active Signal
A signal produced by a transmitter and
actively applied to a cable or pipe.

Purpose is for
Tracing and identifying
Measuring depth
Measuring current
Active Signal

There are three ways to actively apply a signal to a target line...

Direct Connection


Signal Clamp
Active Signal
(Direct Connection)
Requires Three component
Metallic Conductor - Ensure good electrical connection and remove paint or rust)
Return Path (Ground) - Ground stake should be placed at 90 to the cable and as
far away as possible (use water)
Active Signal
(Direct Connection)
The ground return point is the
back door where the outgoing
signals will return to.

What you ground to and where

you place the ground will affect
the measurement

If ground stake too close to the

Less range
Some signal transfer/loss
Active Signal
(Direct Connection)

Ground stake place near other

conductor will cause more signal
transfer to the unwanted

Grounding to a structured which

is already grounded might
produce multiple signals.
The signals return to every
conductor that share the same
Active Signal
(Direct Connection)
Good ground position give better/
accurate locating.
Ground stakes at right angle and
at 5 10 from connection point
and direction of conductor.

Lastly, sweep a complete circle

around signal source.
Measure and mark all occurrences
of signals.
Repeat for more accuracy.
Active Signal (Clamping)

Function in a way similar with

direct connection.

Does not require direct contact

with conductors. Signals provide
through clamp.

Clamping produces more reliable

signal identification.
Active Signal (Clamping)

The applied signal moves away from the

nearest ground to a distant ground.

Signal is more focus on a specific conductor.

Place the clamp below the earth bond.

If there are no bonding strap, the clamp may

not transmit a signal.
Active Signal (Induction)

Transmitter signal can be applied

without connection.

Applied a locate signal quickly and

easily by placing transmitter on top
of a known conductors.

Signal is generally less than that of

connection methods

There is a tendency for signal to

couple onto adjacent metallic lines
Active Signal (Induction)
Active Signal (Induction)

Minimum distance of 15 meter between

receiver and transmitter.

To avoid the receiver detecting the signal

directly from the transmitter.

Will induce signals to all surrounding


Not useful for finding specific conductors.


What are we locating ?



Ways of applying signal

Receiver Mode

There are four type of method which we can use to detect the signals:

Receiver Response (Peak)

- Most Accurate
- Ideal in congested areas
- Depth & current readings
- Compass
Receiver Response (Peak)

This is a typical signal response over a buried


Maximum signal on peak response occur

when the receive is directly over the center
of underground conductor.

Peak responses provide position and

Receiver Response (Null)
- Left Right arrows
- Compass
- Audio tone change
- No depth or current
- Not so good in congested areas
Receiver Response (Null)

Minimum signal is encountered exactly

over the center of buried conductor.

Maximum signals will be detected on each

side of minimum. If both shoulders is
symmetrical, the null point is accurate.

Less effective when use in congested area.

Receiver Response (Null)
Receiver Response (Peak/Null)

- Simultaneous Peak & Null

- Very popular
- Useful to check for distortion
- Compass
- Depth and Current
- Left & right proportional arrows
Locating Technique

When pin pointing, keep the

bottom of the receiver blade
close to ground and swinging
left and right to look for the
maximum signal.

Always pivot the receiver in

circle to make sure that you are
detecting on a correct

Radiodetection underground pipe and cable

locating products come with a wide
selection of frequencies variable depending
on the models.

Using the optimum frequency is very

important to get the most accurate results.

Different application might required

different frequency.

Low frequency (200Hz to 1kHz)

Direct connection only

Less likely to bleed off
Signal carries further
Unlikely to couple onto other nearby lines
Will not jump insulated joints
Difficult to apply to high resistance applications

Mid frequency (8kHz to 33kHz)

Good all round frequency

More likely to bleed off
Moderate distance
Unlikely to couple onto other nearby lines
Less difficult to apply to high resistance applications
Cables and pipes
Direct, clamp and induction

High frequency (65kHz to 200kHz)

More likely to bleed off

Shorter distance
Will jump insulated joints
Easy to apply with high resistance applications
Will couple to adjacent lines
Good for induction

In a short summary:

Higher frequency = shorter range

Better for induction onto small or
short length conductors such as
telephone drops, CATV or street lights

Lower frequency = longer range

Better for connection on locating
longer metal pipes and cables.
Common Problems

Locators do not find cables or pipes, they find magnetic fields

Therefore anything that affects the magnetic field radiating from a buried
conductor will cause a problem or result in some form of error

- Distortion
- Change in direction
- Change in depth

When there are multiple current

carrying conductor next to each

The magnetic fields will interfere

each other.

Resulting in a distorted field

which is no longer cylindrical.

Distorted field lead to poor locate

results and reduce in accuracy.

Current carrying conductor induced unwanted signals to nearby conductors.

The receiver will also detect the signals on those unwanted conductors.
Increase difficulty on pin pointing specific conductor.

Reinforcement bars pick up and re-radiate signals


The fence is a very good

earth but

The return signal will flow

along the fence, this could
be very strong and may
interfere with target line.

Recommended action to reduce the effect of distortion:

Raise receiver 0.5m

Reduce sensitivity
Reduce transmitter output
Careful with frequencies
Change in Direction

Changes in direction can be a


If the signal disappears within a

short distance, move back to a
position where it can be located.

From this position walk in a circle

until the signal is found again
Change in Depth

Changes in target line depth can

cause problems.

Walk in a circle from the last

locatable position until the
signal is found again.

If the signal is not found, turn

the receiver gain up until it can
Current Measurement

Why do we need CM ?

The diagram shows the

conventional locator response
for the same signal on three
adjacent conductors buried at
different depths.

It is only when CM is used that

the correct target line can be
Current Measurement
Current Losses

Any sudden or abrupt current change indicates that the line or its
condition has changed.

There are multiple factors which will cause the current loss along the
conductors which are:

Current losses returning to source

Current loss due to poor insulation
Current loss due to tee connection
Current Losses Returning to
Current Loss due to Poor
Current Loss due to Tee
Depth Measurement

The Radiodection locator come with capability to estimate the depth of the
buried pipe and cable locator.

However, the measurement had its limitation and will not be able to provide
accurate measurement on condition below:

Near the change in direction

Near a Tee
Too close to the other conductor
Near a depth change
Near an Inducing Transmitter
Depth Measurement Limitation

Near change in direction Near a Tee

Depth Measurement Limitation

Too close to the other conductor Near a depth change

Depth Measurement Limitation

Near an Inducing Transducer


Receiver mode selection

Which frequency ?

Current measurement

Location problems

Depth Measurement limitations

Locating Non-conductor
Tracing non-conductor
Plastic or concrete pipes, ducts and
drains cannot be located
electromatically, unless a tracer wire
is inserted or laid along pipe

Sonde - self contained transmitter

Frequency can be chosen to match


Size dictates detection distance -

transmitting power

Sondes produce a different field.

Locator should be in line with


Locate ghost signal.


There are multiple choices of sondes which are designed for different
FlexiTrace & FlexiRod

FlexiTrace FlexiRod
Sondes Locating

Sonde on the end of a FlexRod

Sonde on the end of a


* Notice the orientation of the

Sondes Locating
Marker Ball

Simply place the Marker into the ground

(trench, excavation etc.) at the point to
be marked and backfill

The Marker can then be located at a

later date using the EMS Type locator

Depth Range 1.5 meters

Radiodetection Products
Tools for locating buried cables and pipes
RD7000/8000 (Locator) & Tx (Transmitter)
C.A.T 4 (Locator) & Genny4 (Transmitter)

Used by Utilities/Mapping and Contractors

The End