FAQ

  • 1. Cable Fault Locators
  • 2. Cathodic Protection & Pipeline Products
  • 3. Electronic Marker Locators
  • 4. Gas and Water Leak Detection
  • 5. GPS Solutions
  • 6. Ground Penetrating Radar
  • 7. Inspection Cameras
  • 8. Line Construction
  • 9. Metal Detectors / Magnetic Locators
  • 10. Pipe and Cable Locators
  • 11. Specialized Locating Accessories
  • 12. Air Powered Excavation Equipment
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  • 1. What Type of Cable Fault Locators do we Offer?
     

    We sell three (3) types of Cable Fault Locators:
    a) Riser Bond TDR (Time Domain Reflectometer), also called Metallic TDR or Cable Radar
    b) Radiodetection A-Frame or ACVG (Alternating Current Voltage Gradient)
    c) Radiodetection/Bicotest T272 – High Resistance Fault Bridge

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  • 2. Can the faulted cable be energized during the test?
     

    NO, the cable to be tested must be disconnected and must not have any voltage during the test. There are some exceptions. Please contact Eastcom Associates for further details.

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  • 3. What kinds of Cable Faults can I Find with a TDR?
     

    A TDR is used to identify “Opens” and “Shorts” in twisted pair cable (telecom and signaling), coaxial cable, and any kind of cable where two (2) conductors are present such a power distribution cable with a center conductor and a concentric neutral.
    The TDR will indicate the distance to the fault.

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  • 4. My TDR is consistently off by ### feet every time I use it. Should I return it for calibration?
     

    A distance-to-fault error is most commonly caused by either:

    1. an error in the VOP (Velocity of Propagation) selected for the cable under test;
    2. or by the fault being far away.
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  • 5. How do I correct VOP errors on my TDR?
     

    Make sure to use the correct VOP for the cable under test. The proper VOP for the cable tested in the field can be found in two ways:

    1. by testing a known length of the same type of cable back in your shop or warehouse, and adjusting the VOP on the TDR until the value read on the screen equals the length of test cable laid out on the floor – minimum 100 ft.
    2. by “creating” a fault somewhere along the cable in the field, for example disconnecting a tap and shorting it, then accurately measuring the length of cable between the TDR and this shorted tap, and re-adjusting the VOP until the measured value is shown on the TDR’s display.
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  • 6. How can I reduce Distance Errors in the TDR?
     
    1. Place the Cursor at the Beginning of where the trace deviates from the horizontal reference line, NOT at the center of the fault.
    2. Try to get closer to the fault. Distance errors are measured in Percentage. A 1% error is:
      1. 10 ft in a fault shown 1000ft away
      2. 1 ft in a fault 100 ft away
    3. Shoot the fault from both ends.
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  • 7. Do TDRs require calibration?
     

    Even though there is a calibration service offered by Radiodetection/Riser Bond for TDRs, it is normally not required. Calibration is more often performed at the time of replacement of the two (2) internal batteries: a NiMH rechargeable battery, plus a “button type” back-up battery on the main board. This should happen approx. every three (3) years.

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  • 8. What faults can I find with an A-Frame?
     

    An A-Frame will accurately locate faults to ground of 2 MOhms (MegaOhms) or less. The fault must have a path to ground, earth/dirt, for the A-Frame to be able to locate it.

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  • 9. How Accurate is the A-Frame?
     

    An A-Frame will locate faults to ground of up to 2 MOhms and within the length of the A-Frame (21 inches – 53 cm). More frequently, the user will be able to pinpoint faults to within 6 inches (15 cm).

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  • 10. Do I need to prep the cable prior to using the A-Frame?
     

    The cable to be tested must be de-energized and then disconnected from both ends.

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  • 11. Do the spikes of the A-Frame need to touch the ground?
     

    YES, the metallic spikes (or probes) must make very good contact with the ground. If the ground is very dry, or if you are working over asphalt or concrete, it is recommended to wet the ground around the spikes with some water in order to increase the ground’s conductivity and get more accurate readings with the A-Frame.

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  • 12. Do I need to probe the ground exactly on top of the cable?
     

    It is preferable to probe the ground above where the cable is. However, one can be 5 to 10 ft to one side or the other and still get meaningful results. This is particularly true if the cable lays under pavement or concrete, and you are probing a patch of dirt or grass some feet away from the cable.
    Also, it is good practice to probe in cracks in the pavement or concrete.

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  • 13. Is the A-Frame applicable if the faulted cable is inside a non-metallic duct?
     

    In theory, the A-Frame is not applicable if the cable is inside a non-metallic duct. However, in practice, if the cable developed a fault it is probably related to some damage that occurred to the duct work which in turn damaged the cable inside. In this case, the damage to the duct created a “path to ground” which is what the A-Frame is designed to accurately pinpoint. It does not hurt to try it.

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  • 14. What is a High Resistance Bridge?
     

    Also known as a Wheatstone Bridge, it is a fault finding device that allows the user to locate cable faults up to 200 MOhms.

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  • 15. When is a High Resistance Bridge typically used?
     

    It is typically used to locate faults in electrical primary and secondary cables, where faults are usually high resistance, and where the use of a “thumper” is not recommended in order to preserve the integrity of the cable.

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  • 16. What are the differences between a TX5 and a TX10 transmitter?
     

    5 Watt vs 10 Watts, but it is a bit more than that.

    Tx10 offers the 4 kHz-CD frequency to use with RD8100-PDL.

    Furthermore, more power will allow you to locate further away from the transmitter and still get a good locate signal, very useful if you locate pipelines or cables with few access points to connect the transmitter’s leads.

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  • 1. What is Cathodic Protection?
     

    Cathodic Protection (CP) is a technique used to control the corrosion of a metal surface by making it the cathode of an electrochemical cell.[1] A simple method of protection connects the metal to be protected to a more easily corroded "sacrificial metal" to act as the anode. The sacrificial metal then corrodes instead of the protected metal. For structures such as long pipelines, where passive galvanic cathodic protection is not adequate, an external DC electrical power source is used to provide sufficient current.

    Cathodic protection systems protect a wide range of metallic structures in various environments. Common applications are: steel water or fuel pipelines and steel storage tanks such as home water heaters; steel pierpiles; ship and boat hulls; offshore oil platforms and onshore oil well casings; offshore wind farm foundations and metal reinforcement bars in concrete buildings and structures. Another common application is ingalvanized steel, in which a sacrificial coating of zinc on steel parts protects them from rust.

    Cathodic protection can, in some cases, prevent stress corrosion cracking.

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  • 1. What is Ground Penetrating Radar?
     

    Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) for Utility Locating is a geophysical method that uses radar pulses to identify buried utilities (pipes and cables) and other objects of interest such as reinforcing bars (rebars). This nondestructive method uses radio-frequency bursts in the microwave band (MHz), and detects the reflected signals from subsurface structures.

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  • 1. How do Pipe and Cable Locators work?
     

    They work by locating an electromagnetic field, a “radio frequency” field that propagates from an underground conductor. For more information about the Theory of Locating, please refer to the Publication entitled “ABC & XYZ of Locating Buried Pipes and Cables” which can be downloaded from our website HERE

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  • 2. What kinds of Pipe or Cables can I locate?
     

    Pipe and Cable Locators locate only metallic pipes or cables. For example a Copper or galvanized steel water service line, cast iron water mains, a steel pipeline, a telephone cable, a power line.

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  • 3. Can I use a Pipe and Cable Locator to locate a plastic water line?
     

    For all locating purposes, water is NOT a good conductor of electricity. Drinking water is approx. 100 million times less conductive than Copper. It is not possible to use a Pipe and Cable Locator to locate a non-metallic pipe or duct, unless a DuctHunter (detectable rod), a FlexiTrace, or a sonde are inserted into the pipe. More information HERE.

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  • 4. What can I use as ground, I am working on a paved parking lot?
     

    You can use a ground extension wire to help you reach a good ground. Otherwise look for signs with metallic posts, fences, guard rails, a manhole’s rim, or other metallic structures that may be contacting the ground underneath the pavement. You can also try to wet the pavement with water and place a metal plate over it, then use this metal plate as your ground. The latter may require you to use a higher frequency on your locator (33 kHz or higher).

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  • 5. How do I know if my ground is good?
     

    The transmitter will indicate the quality of your connection to both the target line and also to ground. Some transmitters produce an audible tone that changes to a lower pitch once a good connection is made. Others show its output in units of electrical current – mA (mili Amps). If you make all connections and the transmitter’s tone does not change, or your current output shows 0 mA, then your connection is not good.

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  • 6. How do I improve my direct connection?
     

    Make sure the RED alligator clip makes good electrical contact with your target utility, and that the BLACK alligator clip makes good contact with ground. It is often necessary to use a small wire brush to remove rust and improve contact. If the ground is very dry, pour some water around the ground stake enhance the conductivity of the soil.

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  • 7. My locate signal is not good, what can I do?
     

    Three (3) changes and one (1) move:

    i) Change Your Ground
    ii) Change Your Frequency
    iii) Change How You Apply the Signal

    iv) Move Your Transmitter

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  • 8. How can I improve my locate range?
     

    Here are some steps you can take. (Also refer to “My locate signal is not good, what can I do?” elsewhere in this FAQ Section.)
    1) Make direct contact with the target utility (unless locating cables which may be energized,

      DO NOT TOUCH ANY ENERGIZED CONDUCTOR

    ).
    2) Make sure that the points of connection are clean.
    3) Extend your leads completely AND at 90 degrees with respect to the target line.
    4) Increase the output of your transmitter and verify its audible indication or mA readout.
    5) Use a lower frequency if available.

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  • 9. What Frequency should I use?
     

    If your locator offers multiple frequencies, then start somewhere mid-range. For example if your locating kits offers 512Hz - 8kHz - 33kHz - 65kHz, then start at 33 kHz and see if it works for your particular locate site. If it does not, move up or down the available frequencies based on the general rules that follow.
    LOWER your frequency if:
    There is too much bleed-over to adjacent utilities.
    You need to increase your locating range.
    INCREASE your frequency if:
    Your are using induction mode ("dropping the box").
    You are dealing with a bad conductor such as Cast Iron pipe or a broken tracer wire.
    You want to locate a mains as well as service laterals.

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  • 10. What are the differences between a RD7100 and a RD8100?
     

    The RD8100 adds the following features to the RD7100:
    i) Broader range of frequencies
    ii) Power filters (1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th harmonic) for areas with heavy AC interference
    iii) Five (5) user programmable frequencies between 50Hz and 1000Hz
    iv) Multiple Current Direction frequencies for difficult locates in congested areas
    v) High Frequency Current Direction (4 kHz-CD) for high impedance lines such as tracer wire, detectable tape, and other target lines. (Requires T10 transmitter)
    vi) Broad peak mode for very weak signals or deep target lines (over 30 ft)
    vii) Optional long range Bluetooth link between Receiver and Transmitter (up to 1400 ft) for remote control of transmitter’s functions. (Requires Bluetooth enabled Transmitter)
    viii) Optional Built-in GPS with internal memory to store up to 1000 locate points.

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  • 11. Should I get rechargeable batteries, or should I stay with Alkalines?
     

    Rechargeable batteries make sense for users that use the locator several times per week. We developed that chart that follows to help you determine if Rechargeable Batteries make sense to you.

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  • 12. What are the differences between a TX5 and a TX10 transmitter?
     

    5 Watt vs 10 Watts, but it is a bit more than that.

    Tx10 offers the 4 kHz-CD frequency to use with RD8100-PDL.

    Furthermore, more power will allow you to locate further away from the transmitter and still get a good locate signal, very useful if you locate pipelines or cables with few access points to connect the transmitter’s leads.

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  • 13. What size clamp should I get 2”, 4”, 5”?
     

    The performance of all clamps is identical, clamp size is dictated by your application.

    You may encounter space limitations when trying to go around a cable, a conduit, or a pipe.

    4” is the standard clamp, most widely used.

    5” is becoming the new standard due to its ability to do everything that the 4” clamp does, plus being able to fully clamp around a 4” conduit.

    2” clamp is useful when working in small spaces such as a street light post, an electrical cabinet, or other small pedestal or enclosure.

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  • 1. Air Powered Excavation Equipment
     
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