Tech Upgrade Enhances Utility’s Locating Program

April 2009 Vol. 64 No. 4

With the SR-60, users can locate at the broad frequency range of 10 Hz to 490 kHz, and can tune the frequency 1 Hz at a time, allowing the SR-60 to be used with any pre-set frequency transmitter. The unique passive search mode can be used to search all broadband passive frequencies at once, allowing for easy identification of unknown metallic lines in the target area. These features have allowed Joyce to gain a much more comprehensive and accurate understanding of the Unitil underground infrastructure.

“I’ve programmed my unit to 120 Hz and now the signal doesn’t bounce off the coupler. The frequency that the cathodic protection rectifiers output is 120 Hz; by following the line with the RIDGID SR-60 set at 120 Hz, we are able to tell where the signal drops off -- indicating that we have an open coupling. We’ve been able to accurately locate the dressler couplings, and as a result save time and money,” Joyce said. “The SR-60’s display screen also helps streamline the locating process because all the information I need is on one, easy-to-read screen. I like seeing the peak and null and continuous running depth all on one screen. I don’t have to push multiple buttons to change screens for the information that I need. It’s all in front of me, all the time.

“Locating the couplers is a long, labor-intensive process, and before we starting using the newer equipment, we randomly pot holed to verify utility lines. Now, I can narrow in on the couplers and dig only one hole, rather than multiple holes, to verify a utility line,” added Joyce.

The SR-60’s accuracy also has reduced the need for a vacuum truck to pot hole. When Unitil used the high-frequency locator, a vacuum truck was needed for three to five days, so that it could dig up multiple points.

“We’re now saving a fortune because we don’t need the vacuum truck as long because the locate marks are accurate, and therefore we don’t have to dig a lot of holes. We also don’t need the crew on the job as long because we’re more efficient since we know exactly where we need to dig,” Joyce added, “It used to take all day to locate a joint, and now with the SR-60, it only takes half an hour to locate per coupling.”

The RIDGID SeekTech ST-33Q transmitter also helped Joyce reduce time on the jobsite. The ST-33Q transmitter induces a stronger signal onto a utility line at a lower frequency, and when used in induction mode, it induces at 8 kHz and 33 kHz.