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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  • 17. What is "maxV" in a Transmitter's Menu?
     

    This feature built into the Radiodetection "Tx" Series transmitters (Tx-3, Tx-5, and Tx-10) is very useful when dealing with poor conductors such as broken tracer wires, cast iron pipes. high resistance cables, and also poor ground conditions. It allows the user to temporarily increase the output voltage from 30 V up to 90 V. Many times this allows more mA to be "injected" into the target line to be located. Check out our YouTube video demonstrating how to use this feature:  https://youtu.be/g0eWzKpjScY

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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 an Electronic Marker?
     

    An Electronic Marker is a small passive detectable device which is permanently buried at points of interest that the user may have to return and excavate sometime in the future. They don't have any batteries or other user serviceable components inside, and have a usable life that is measured in decades.

    They are typically used to mark specific points of an underground infrastructure such as buried cable splices, water or gas valves, corporation stops in non-metallic lines, butt ends, diameter changes, or any other point underground that the owner of the utility may have to return to in the future.

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  • 2. Can I use a pipe locator to locate an electronic marker?
     

    Most pipe and cable locators do not have the extra "loop antenna" that is used to locate an electronic marker. Check your device's User Manual to see if this option is included in your device.

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  • 3. How do I locate an electronic marker?
     

    There are two types of device to locate buried markers:

    1. stand-alone/dedicated electronic marker locator;
    2. combination pipe/cable locator with an electronic marker antenna.
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  • 4. What is the depth range of electronic markers?
     

    Different types of markers have different nominal detection ranges:

    1. "PEG" style markers - 39 inches;
    2. UniMarker discs - 60 inches (5 ft);
    3. OmniMarker balls - 60 inches (5 ft).
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  • 5. How do I locate a Camera Head or a Sonde?
     

    You locate a camera head in the same way that you locate a Sonde:

    1. the Receiver's blade has to be parallel to the camera head or sonde;
    2. the frequency on the Receiver has to match the camera or sonde's own frequency;
    3. the SONDE ICON must show in your receiver's display.

    Typical frequencies for cameras or sondes are 512 Hz or 33 kHz. If your frequency does not show up in your Receiver's display, then you may have to enable it through the Receiver's Menu options. For more details on how to access the Receiver's menus please refer to the Receiver's User Guide or contact Eastcom for help.

    Pinpointing the location of the camera or sonde is a two (2) step process, the Receiver's "blade" has to be parallel to the camera/sonde, and in the PEAK mode.

    STEP #1

    Due to the shape of the signal that a camera or a sonde emits, you will be locating three (3) peaks spread out longitudinally along the path of the camera/sonde, the center peak being much stronger than the two outer peaks (which are also called "ghosts").

    STEP #2

    After locating the center peak walking ALONG the path of the camera, you now need to start locating ACROSS the path. Move in one direction ACROSS and see if your bar-graph grows or falls. Follow the direction of growth until you find the absolute peak.

    The camera or sonde will lay directly underneath the center peak response. Observe the DEPTH that your receiver indicates.

    Please contact Eastcom if you have any questions or you need help in locating a camera or sonde.

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  • 1. What kind of Water Leak Detectors does Eastcom sell?
     

    We sell a full range of leak detection equipment, ranging from a simple ground/contact microphone to a digital leak noise correlator.

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  • 2. How do Water Leak Detectors work?
     

    Water leak detection equipment can be broadly divided into three categories:

    1. Sound - the detector allows the identification of the leak noise produced by pressurized water escaping the pipe.This is the oldest and most widely used method.

    2. Tracer gas - the detector picks up traces of a gas, normally Helium or a mix of Nitrogen (approx 97-98%) + Hydrogen (2-3%). Good alternative to sound in noisy environments or small leaks.

    3. Temperature - the detector identifies small temperature differences in the ground caused by the water leaking - only works when there is enough differential between the water and the ground around it. Useful in hot water systems where there is enough temperature diferential.

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  • 3. What are the Pros and Cons of different Water Leak Detection Methods?
     

    1) SOUND - Listening sticks, ground microphones, correlating loggers, leak noise correlators.

    PROS: easy to use, reliable results, technology very well understood having been in use for many decades.

    CONS: small leaks, or plastic pipe, or low pressure don't produce enough noise to be picked up from some distance away at a nearby valve or hydrant, or to travel effectively through the ground.

    Noise generating features in the water pipe such as partially closed valves, and Tees, many times will show up as a leak.

    2) TRACER GAS

    PROS: Only looks for the presence of gas on the ground, independent of ambient noise.

    Very effective at identifying small leaks, or leaks in plastic pipe.

    Helium and mix of Nitrogen+Hydrogen are safe to both humans and are inert (no chemical interaction with gaskets, pipe material or the water).

    CONS: need to inject Helium or Nitrogen+Hydrogen upstream into the line.

    May require service to be interrupted.

    Practical for pipe diameters up to approx. 10-12 inches

    Time consuming.

    3) THERMAL IMAGING

    PROS: Very easy to use.

    CONS: There must be enough temperature difference between the ground and the leaking pipe in order for the system to detect the leak area.

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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. What Pipe Diameter can I Inspect?
     

    Our inspection cameras can inspect pipes from 1.5" to 100+".

    Push rod cameras range from 1.5" to 24", crawler cameras from 6" to 100+".

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  • 2. How far can I Inspect a Pipe?
     

    With a tethered camera, maximum range is 1000 ft for a crawler system.

    Push rod cameras range from 100 ft to 500 ft.

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  • 3. How do I locate a Camera Head or a Sonde?
     

    You locate a camera head in the same way that you locate a Sonde:

    1. the Receiver's blade has to be parallel to the camera head or sonde;
    2. the frequency on the Receiver has to match the camera or sonde's own frequency;
    3. the SONDE ICON must show in your receiver's display.

    Typical frequencies for cameras or sondes are 512 Hz or 33 kHz. If your frequency does not show up in your Receiver's display, then you may have to enable it through the Receiver's Menu options. For more details on how to access the Receiver's menus please refer to the Receiver's User Guide or contact Eastcom for help.

    Pinpointing the location of the camera or sonde is a two (2) step process, the Receiver's "blade" has to be parallel to the camera/sonde, and in the PEAK mode.

    STEP #1

    Due to the shape of the signal that a camera or a sonde emits, you will be locating three (3) peaks spread out longitudinally along the path of the camera/sonde, the center peak being much stronger than the two outer peaks (which are also called "ghosts").

    STEP #2

    After locating the center peak walking ALONG the path of the camera, you now need to start locating ACROSS the path. Move in one direction ACROSS and see if your bar-graph grows or falls. Follow the direction of growth until you find the absolute peak.

    The camera or sonde will lay directly underneath the center peak response. Observe the DEPTH that your receiver indicates.

    Please contact Eastcom if you have any questions or you need help in locating a camera or sonde.

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  • 1. How do I locate a Camera Head or a Sonde?
     

    You locate a camera head in the same way that you locate a Sonde:

    1. the Receiver's blade has to be parallel to the camera head or sonde;
    2. the frequency on the Receiver has to match the camera or sonde's own frequency;
    3. the SONDE ICON must show in your receiver's display.

    Typical frequencies for cameras or sondes are 512 Hz or 33 kHz. If your frequency does not show up in your Receiver's display, then you may have to enable it through the Receiver's Menu options. For more details on how to access the Receiver's menus please refer to the Receiver's User Guide or contact Eastcom for help.

    Pinpointing the location of the camera or sonde is a two (2) step process, the Receiver's "blade" has to be parallel to the camera/sonde, and in the PEAK mode.

    STEP #1

    Due to the shape of the signal that a camera or a sonde emits, you will be locating three (3) peaks spread out longitudinally along the path of the camera/sonde, the center peak being much stronger than the two outer peaks (which are also called "ghosts").

    STEP #2

    After locating the center peak walking ALONG the path of the camera, you now need to start locating ACROSS the path. Move in one direction ACROSS and see if your bar-graph grows or falls. Follow the direction of growth until you find the absolute peak.

    The camera or sonde will lay directly underneath the center peak response. Observe the DEPTH that your receiver indicates.

    Please contact Eastcom if you have any questions or you need help in locating a camera or sonde.

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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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  • 14. What does a Transmitter do?
     

    A Transmitter is a radio frequency generator that produces a signal that, when applied to a target conductor that needs to be traced underground, can be located from the surface with a compatible Receiver.

    One can think of a Transmitter as analogous to an AM/FM radio station. It generates a radio signal, that travels through the air, and then reaches a Receiver (your car radio) that transforms it into music/news/etc.

    In a Pipe and Cable Locator, the transmitter's signal travels along the metallic utility that we need to locate, and the receiver picks up that signal off the buried utility.

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  • 15. How do I locate a Camera Head or a Sonde?
     

    You locate a camera head in the same way that you locate a Sonde:

    1. the Receiver's blade has to be parallel to the camera head or sonde;
    2. the frequency on the Receiver has to match the camera or sonde's own frequency;
    3. the SONDE ICON must show in your receiver's display.

    Typical frequencies for cameras or sondes are 512 Hz or 33 kHz. If your frequency does not show up in your Receiver's display, then you may have to enable it through the Receiver's Menu options. For more details on how to access the Receiver's menus please refer to the Receiver's User Guide or contact Eastcom for help.

    Pinpointing the location of the camera or sonde is a two (2) step process, the Receiver's "blade" has to be parallel to the camera/sonde, and in the PEAK mode.

    STEP #1

    Due to the shape of the signal that a camera or a sonde emits, you will be locating three (3) peaks spread out longitudinally along the path of the camera/sonde, the center peak being much stronger than the two outer peaks (which are also called "ghosts").

    STEP #2

    After locating the center peak walking ALONG the path of the camera, you now need to start locating ACROSS the path. Move in one direction ACROSS and see if your bar-graph grows or falls. Follow the direction of growth until you find the absolute peak.

    The camera or sonde will lay directly underneath the center peak response. Observe the DEPTH that your receiver indicates.

    Please contact Eastcom if you have any questions or you need help in locating a camera or sonde.

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  • 16. What is "maxV" in a Transmitter's Menu?
     

    This feature built into the Radiodetection "Tx" Series transmitters (Tx-3, Tx-5, and Tx-10) is very useful when dealing with poor conductors such as broken tracer wires, cast iron pipes. high resistance cables, and also poor ground conditions. It allows the user to temporarily increase the output voltage from 30 V up to 90 V. Many times this allows more mA to be "injected" into the target line to be located. Check out our YouTube video demonstrating how to use this feature:  https://youtu.be/g0eWzKpjScY

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  • 1. What is the depth range of electronic markers?
     

    Different types of markers have different nominal detection ranges:

    1. "PEG" style markers - 39 inches;
    2. UniMarker discs - 60 inches (5 ft);
    3. OmniMarker balls - 60 inches (5 ft).
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  • 2. How do I locate a Camera Head or a Sonde?
     

    You locate a camera head in the same way that you locate a Sonde:

    1. the Receiver's blade has to be parallel to the camera head or sonde;
    2. the frequency on the Receiver has to match the camera or sonde's own frequency;
    3. the SONDE ICON must show in your receiver's display.

    Typical frequencies for cameras or sondes are 512 Hz or 33 kHz. If your frequency does not show up in your Receiver's display, then you may have to enable it through the Receiver's Menu options. For more details on how to access the Receiver's menus please refer to the Receiver's User Guide or contact Eastcom for help.

    Pinpointing the location of the camera or sonde is a two (2) step process, the Receiver's "blade" has to be parallel to the camera/sonde, and in the PEAK mode.

    STEP #1

    Due to the shape of the signal that a camera or a sonde emits, you will be locating three (3) peaks spread out longitudinally along the path of the camera/sonde, the center peak being much stronger than the two outer peaks (which are also called "ghosts").

    STEP #2

    After locating the center peak walking ALONG the path of the camera, you now need to start locating ACROSS the path. Move in one direction ACROSS and see if your bar-graph grows or falls. Follow the direction of growth until you find the absolute peak.

    The camera or sonde will lay directly underneath the center peak response. Observe the DEPTH that your receiver indicates.

    Please contact Eastcom if you have any questions or you need help in locating a camera or sonde.

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