Utility cable, pipe, and line locator instrumentation

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Utility cable and pipe locators from Dynatel, Radiodetection, Pipehorn, and Aqua-tronics

Utility locating concepts:

Most underground utility locating equipment transmits an electromagnetic pulse at a frequency selected by the operator. The signal is either applied to a metal conductor using a clamp or by inducing a signal on to a line, cable, or pipe. A better portion of the electromagnetic signal follows the paths of least resistance through the ground and/or conductive metal pipes or wire.

The easiest utility locating method involves directly connecting to a known metal conductor with a clamp or inductive coupler. For example, a user may directly connect to a fire hydrant to find a water line. Better installations of non-conductive pipes or utilities provide a tracer wire that the utility locator can directly connect to. With good site conditions, this approach is likely to ensure the most accurate tracing.

Other times, a user may not be able to directly connect to a cable, pipe, or line when searching for unknown utilities. In these cases, the operator often uses a utility locator with a transmitter that induces a current on to a line. This current produces a signal on to the line for the instrument’s receiver to trace. While this method can be very good for locating, it is important to remember that unwanted nearby metallic objects may also be receptive to an induced signal, which can be misleading.

Utility cable and pipe locator Dynatel 2273
Dynatel 2273 cable and pipe locator

Dynatel 2273 Utility Locator Specifications:

Warning: the instrument specifications below are provided as a courtesy. Actual values may vary and need to be confirmed via the manufacturer.

Receiver Specifications:
Modes: Directional, Peak Directional, Null, Special Peak, Induction Peak
Frequency Response:
Active: 577 Hz,8 kHz, 33 kHz,200 kHz
Passive: 31.5 kHz (CATV), 9 – 30 kHz (LF)
Power: 50 Hz, 5th and 9th harmonic of 50 Hz 60 Hz, 5th and 9th harmonic of 60 Hz (100 / 120 Hz) rectified power
Auxiliary: 333 Hz, 512 Hz, 560 Hz
User Defined Frequencies: Four
Display: LCD
Gain Control: Manual and Automatic
Weight w/batteries: 4–5 lbs. (1.8–2.3 kg) (model dependent)
Battery Qty. and size: 8 AA (LR6)
Battery Life: 30 hours average
Depth Accuracy:
±2% ± 2 in. (5 cm) for 0–60 in. (0-1.5 m)
±6% ± 2 in. (5 cm) for 60–120 in. (1.5–3.0 m)
±10% ± 2 in. (5 cm) for 120–180 in. (3.0 m–4.5 m)
Depth Range: 0–360 in. (0–914 cm)
Marker depth accuracy: ± 15% ± 2 in. (5 cm)
Maximum Program Range:
Near-Surface 6 in (15 cm)
Ball Marker: 12 in (30 cm)
Full-Range: 24 in (61 cm)
Read Range:
Near-Surface: 3 ft (0.9 m)
Ball Marker: 5 ft (1.5 m)
Full-Range: 8 ft (2.4 m)
Detection Depth 3M Non-iD (Passive):
Near Surface: 2 ft (0.6 m)
Ball Marker: 5 ft (1.5 m)
Mid-Range: 6 ft (1.8 m)
Full-Range: 8 ft (2.4 m)

Transmitter Specifications:

Trace Mode: 577 Hz, 8 kHz, 33 kHz, 200 kHz
Fault Mode: (2273M models only)
10/20 Hz – Fault signal
577 Hz / 33 kHz -Trace signal
Note: The fault locating limit is 2.0MΩ although the transmitter’s ohmmeter mode can display a fault resistance up to 10MΩ.
Tone Mode: 577 Hz and 200 kHz pulsing at 8 Hz
Induction Mode: 8 kHz (only available on 12 Watt Transmitter), 33 kHz, 200 kHz
Output Power (in Direct Connect mode):

3 Watt Transmitter Model
Normal setting: 0.5 W
High setting: 3 W @ 577 Hz, 8 kHz, 33 kHz; 1 W @ 200 kHz

5 Watt Transmitter Model
Normal setting: 0.5 W
High setting: 3 W @ 577 Hz, 8 kHz, 33 kHz; 1 W @ 200 kHz
Maximum setting: 5 W @ 577 Hz, 8 kHz, 33 kHz; 1 W @ 200 kHz
(with external DC power source)

12 Watt Transmitter Model
Normal setting: 0.5 W
High setting: 3 W @ 577 Hz, 8 kHz, 33 kHz; 1 W @ 200 kHz
Maximum setting: 12 W @ 577 Hz, 8 kHz; 10 W @ 33 kHz; 1 W @ 200 kHz (with external DC power source)

Output Voltage: (Maximum) 70 Vrms
Output Protection: 240 Vrms
Weight w/batteries: w/ alkaline batteries only: 5.2 lbs (2.4 kg) w/ rechargeable battery (2200RB) and alkaline batteries (5W and 12W transmitters only): 9.2 lbs (4.2 kg)
Battery Qty. and size:
For Normal and High Output Power: 6 “C” size, Alkaline (LR14)
For Maximum Output Power: Rechargeable Battery (2200RB), 12V-6AH, Sealed Maintenance-Free Lead (Pb)-Acid Battery
Battery Life: Normal Output Power level: 50 hours typical
High Output Power level: 10 hours typical
Typical transmitter specified battery life (listed above) is increased by 40% when using the 2200RB Rechargeable Battery (12 volt). Using the 2200RB bypasses the alkaline batteries.
Maximum Output Power level: 4 hours typical (Maximum Output Power level achieved using 2200RB Rechargeable Battery.)
External DC Power: 9–18 V DC
Rechargeable Battery fuse: 5 Amp / 32 Volt, Littelfuse MINI® Blade # 0297005
Cigarette Lighter Adapter Cable fuse: 4 Amp / Fast Blow 250V

Radiodetection RD8100 Utility Locator Specifications:

Sensitivity: 6E-15 Tesla5μA at 1 meter (33kHz)
Dynamic range: 140dB rms/√Hz
Selectivity: 120dB/Hz
Depth measurement precision: ± 3%
Locate accuracy: ± 5% of depth
Active Locate filter bandwidth: ± 3Hz, 0 < 1kHz ± 10Hz, ≥ 1kHz
Start-up time: <1 second
Maximum depth readout:
Metric: Cable / Pipe: 30m Sonde: 19.5m
Imperial: Cable / Pipe: 98′
Sonde: 64′
Locate Functions:
Active Locate Modes: Five: Peak, Peak+™ (choice of combined Peak & Guidance or Peak & Null), Guidance, Broad Peak™, Null
Gain control:
Guidance Mode: Automatic
Other modes: Manual gain using “+” or “-“ with one touch to return to center (50% of Full Scale)
Custom locate frequencies: Up to 5 additional frequencies in the range 50Hz to 1kHz at 1Hz resolution
Active locate frequencies:

Utility locator RD8100 configurations

Fault Find:

Current Direction™(CD) Signal Pairs:

Utility locator RD8100 current direction

Passive Locate Modes:

Utility locator RD8100 passive mode

Power Filters™ function:

Utility locator RD8100 filters

Information displayed:
Signal strength – moving bar graph and numeric value
Mode indication (Peak, Null, Guidance, Broad Peak, Peak+ with option of Guidance arrows or Null arrows)•
Line or Sonde locate type
Proportional left/right indication
Compass: full 360° line direction indicator
Accessories in use indication
Accessory specific custom screen
Depth and current readout (Line location)
Depth readout (Sonde location)
Gain level (in dB)
Frequency selected
Battery condition
Speaker volume
Operating frequency
Bluetooth status
GPS satellites in view (where fitted)
GPS status (where fitted)
Configuration menu and submenus
Software version
Last calibration date
Survey measurement counter
Current Direction mode indicator
Current Direction arrows
Fault Find mode indicator
Transmitter communication status
Transmitter standby status
StrikeAlert™ warning
Overload warning

Audio output tones
Power Passive Avoidance / Radio modes:
Real Sound™ derived from detected electromagnetic signalPeak
Peak+ modes and CPS / CATV modes:
Synthesized audio tone proportional to signal strength
Guidance mode: Continuous tone when locator is to the left of target, intermittent tone when to the right of target
Null mode:
Synthesized Audio tone proportional to signal strength. Low pitch to left of target, high pitch to right of target
StrikeAlert audio warning:
Audio feedback for menu navigation

Accessory locate functions:
Locator clamps: Used to identify individual target cable(s) in a bundle or cabinet using signal strength read-out
Stethoscopes: Used to identify individual target cable(s) in a bundle or confined space such as a cabinet using signal strength read-out
CD / CM clamp: Used to measure locate current and to confirm target cable using Current Direction

Locate Function Enhancements:
StrikeAlert:Audio and visual warning when a cable or pipe less than 30cm deep is detected. Operates in Active and Passive locating modes
Dynamic Overload Protection™: 40dB, automatic •Automatically manages the system gain to compensate for strong signals e.g. from mains power or substations, to enable accurate locating
Current Direction™ (CD):
Measures the direction of current flowing in buried pipes or cables to ensure that an operator is able to identify and follow the target utility
Provides operator with arrows indicating the direction of current flowing in the located pipe or cable to confirm that they are following the target utility
Metric: Remote transmitter control from up to 450m away
Imperial: Remote transmitter control from up to 1400′ away
Control transmitter frequency, power level and SideStep
Enables locating where other signals are interfering, and without compromising the optimum locate frequency
Remotely shifts the locate and transmitter frequency by several Hz, out of the bandwidth of other locate signals that may be interfering with the locate
Simultaneous depth and current readout: Both utility depth and locate signal current are displayed simultaneously, giving the operator more information to help them to follow the target utility
Survey Measurements: Store up to 1,000 survey points within the locator, and append GPS data from internal GPS (if fitted) or external GNSS sources over Bluetooth®Export data immediately or as a batch over Bluetooth
Fault Find:
Apply a Fault Find signal with a Tx-5 and Tx-10 transmitter, then use an accessory A-Frame to detect and pinpoint insulation faults Fault find accuracy:
Metric: 100mm
Imperial: 4″
4.9 4kHz locate frequency and 4kHz CD:
Designed for tracing higher impedance lines such as twisted pair telecoms or street lighting over distance
Combine with Current Direction to help trace the target utility through dense or complex infrastructure
Peak+ mode: Use the accurate Peak bargraph, and add either proportional Guidance arrows for faster locating, or Null arrows to check for the presence of distortion
Integrated GPS option: Faster surveying using integrated GPS – no need for a separate hand-held device

Power options:
Alkaline2 × D-Cell (MN1300 / LR20) alkaline batteries (standard)
Custom Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) battery pack
2 × D-Cell (MN1300 / LR20) Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries
Battery run-time (continuous):
4Li-Ion pack: 35 hours
2 × Alkaline D-Cells 13 hours
Battery chemistry identification
Lithium-Ion pack: Automatic sensing
NiMH / Alkaline: Software switchable
Charging options (Li-Ion pack)
Mains charger: 100-250 Volts AC, 50/60 Hz
Automotive charger: 12-24V DC
Charging time (Li-Ion pack): 3 hours to 80% from empty with maintenance trickle charging thereafter

Physical Characteristics:
Design: Ergonomic, balanced and lightweight design for comfortable use during extended surveys
Construction: Injection Molded ABS Plastic
With Lithium-Ion battery pack fitted:
Metric: 1.8kg, Imperial: 4.0lb
With D-cell alkaline batteries fitted:
Metric: 1.9kg, Imperial: 4.2lb
Ingress Protection rating: IP65, Protected against dust ingress and jets of water5 applied from any direction
Display type: High contrast custom made monochrome LCD
Audio options:
Built-in waterproofed speaker
3.5mm headphone socket
Operating temperature: Metric: -20°C to 50°C, Imperial: -4°F to 122°
Storage temperature: Metric: -20°C to 70°C, Imperial: -4°F to 158°
Unit dimensions: Metric: 648mm × 286mm × 125mm, Imperial: 25.5″ × 11.3″ × 4.9″
Shipping dimensions: Metric: 700mm x 260mm × 330mm, Imperial: 27.6″ x 10.2″ x 13″
Shipping weight (with batteries fitted): Metric: 2.6kg, Imperial: 5.7lb

Pipehorn Specifications:

Utility cable and pipe locator Pipehorn
Pipehorn cable and pipe locator

High Frequency (480 kHz)
Low Frequency (9 kHz)
Modes: Inductive, Conductive, Signal Clamp
Batteries: Eight C Alkaline included
Weight: 3.3 lbs
Output: Instantaneous, audible from built-in speaker, visual from fast response meter
Sensitivity: Smart Control (semi automatic)
Batteries: Two 9 volt Alkaline included
Unit Weight: 3.4 lbs

Aqua-tronics A-6 Specifications:

The Aqua-tronics A-6 is a basic split-box type locator. This instrument with its on-handle configuration is often understated. Many misconstrue the lack of a multi-function display and variable frequency configuration as being old fashion. For hard core operators, those who understand the physics behind metal locating, the basic design frequently produces outstanding results, especially when searching for unknown buried metal.

Aqua-tronics split box A-6 cable and pipe locator configured as a on-handle unit
Aqua-tronics split box A-6 cable and pipe locator configured as a on-handle unit

Typical packing list of items received when renting a Dynatel 2273 Utility Locator:

1 x Dynatel 2273 Utility Locator Receiver
1 x Dynatel 2273 Transmitter
1 x 12V Cigarette Lighter Attachment
1 x Induction Coupler
1 x Cable for Induction Coupler
1 x Direct Connect Cable With Clips
1 x Spike
1 x Carry Bag
1 x Paper Manual
1 x Shipping Box (32”x12”x16”, 21 lbs)

Typical packing list of items received when renting a Radiodetection RD8100 Utility Locator:

1 x Radiodetection RD8100 Utility Locator Receiver
1 x Radiodetection RD8100 Transmitter
1 x Induction Coupler
1 x Cable for Induction Coupler
1 x Direct Connect Cable With Clips
1 x Spike
1 x Carry Bag
1 x Paper Manual
1 x Shipping Box (TBD)

Typical packing list of items received when renting a Pipehorn H800 Utility Locator:

1 x Pipehorn H800 Utility Locator Receiver
1 x Pipehorn H800Transmitter
1 x Carry Bag
1 x Paper Manual
1 x Shipping Box (TBD)

Typical packing list of items received when renting an Aqua-tronics A 6 Split Box Utility Locator:

1 x Aqua-tronics A6 Utility Locator Receiver S/N
1 x Sonde With New Battery
1 x Direct Connect Cable With Clips
1 x Plate
1 x Split Box Plastic Case
1 x Manual
options are on-handle assembly and sonde
1 x Shipping Box (Dimensions: TDB)

Suggested Items:

Large clamping pliers or other accessories for connecting to lines. Spool of wire and stake for remote ground spike. Water for improved coupling of a grounding plate.

GPS for mapping marked facilities.

Items you may need to provide:

Marking paint.

Software provided:


Rental Rates:

All of our Pipe, Cable, and Utility Locators rent for $50 per pay or $1,200 a month with a $50 prep fee.

*** As a courtesy, we do not charge rent if the equipment is shipped on a Friday and in-transit with FedEx or UPS over Saturday, Sunday, and/or an approved holiday (only valid for rentals less than a month). In its sole and absolute discretion, Geophysical Equipment Rental LLC and/or K. D. Jones Instrument Corp reserve the right not to extend this courtesy.

Get an estimate to rent a Utility Locator.

User Manuals:

Visit FedEx or UPS for shipping costs.