How To Identify The Layout Of Underground Wires, Cables And Pipes?


Before embarking on any outdoor project, such as digging for a swimming pool, planting a garden bed, or constructing a BBQ area, the age-old adage "call before you dig" always applies. Working outdoors without proper guidance and tools can be dangerous and should be avoided. Hiring a company to handle this task can be costly and time-consuming. Moreover, utility companies often lack precise information on the location of underground cables. In such cases, using household tools that can quickly help you identify hidden or buried underground wires and cables is the best solution.


An underground cable locator tool is specifically designed to detect and trace the paths of underground cables. It also accurately measures the depth of hidden cable lines that are not visible to the naked eye. An underground cable locator consists of two components: a transmitter and a receiver. The transmitter is an AC generator that provides signal current to the underground cable being traced. Typically, the transmitter sets the signal at a specific frequency.


The cable locator operator can track the traced cable by following the direction of the transmitter's electrical signal applied to the cable and received by the receiver.


Have you ever wondered how to identify the arrangement of subterranean wires, cables, and pipes? Allow me to present the Noyafa NF-826, a cutting-edge technology for detecting underground wiring and pipelines. This fantastic solution outperforms traditional methods with its cost-effectiveness, user-friendliness, and the absence of any supplementary equipment. The Noyafa NF-826 functions effectively in various soil types, enabling you to quickly and effortlessly determine the layout direction, whether on land or underwater.


Features of the Noyafa NF-826: Expert Underground Cable, Wire, and Pipeline Locator


The Noyafa NF-826 is a specialized underground locator designed to identify the arrangement of wires, cables, and pipes beneath the ground. This user-friendly gadget can be managed by a single operator. Its key features include circuit tracers, an electrical tracer wire, an integrated battery, a backlit LCD screen, and data storage capabilities.


Circuit tracers collaborate with the electrical tracer wire to locate deeply buried cables. The inbuilt battery guarantees users can accomplish their tasks without relying on power sources like wall outlets or car chargers.


The backlit LCD screen offers all the necessary data, such as current position and signal strength, while simultaneously saving the information for future analysis on a computer or laptop when no signal is available.


The electrical tracer wire and circuit tracers can be purchased independently. The Noyafa NF-826 comes with a user manual and doesn't necessitate prior experience with electronics or circuitry knowledge. Moreover, the stored search parameters remain intact even if the battery drains, allowing for task continuation later.


Lightweight and easily transportable, the Noyafa NF-826 can be carried into confined areas or over long distances. It boasts a high sensitivity range and has undergone rigorous testing to confirm its accuracy. With these attributes, the Noyafa NF-826 offers a straightforward method for swiftly determining the direction of underground wires, cables, and pipelines.


Functions & Capabilities


The Noyafa NF-826 is a wire tracking device that aids in identifying the layout of underground wires, cables, and pipelines. It comes equipped with a real-time color LCD screen, making it simple to operate.


With a built-in battery capable of up to 4 hours of continuous use, this tracker is also IP54-rated for water and dust resistance, ensuring durability in any setting. A convenient belt clip allows for effortless transportation when not in use.


In addition, the package contains a clip, an instruction manual, and a calibration certificate for each product. The Noyafa NF-826 offers the following features:

1)Detection of all electric field sources

2)Integrated backlight functionality

3)Adjustable sensitivity levels

4)Simultaneous tracking of two cables and measurement of their relative positions

The Noyafa NF-826 can detect all sources of electric fields and features a backlight function to illuminate dark spaces while searching for buried lines or pipes. Users can also customize the sensitivity levels to suit their needs and preferences.


The device can even detect and measure the relative positions of two cables simultaneously. This versatile, compact tracker is lightweight and easily portable. Remember to calibrate your Noyafa NF-826 before powering it on to ensure accurate results.


Calibration & Testing Process


Before utilizing the device, it's essential to calibrate it. To perform calibration, locate an object that is a minimum of 10 meters in length and place it on the ground. After doing so, press the calibration button on the device.


In a few moments, the device will emit a beep, and the LED will change to green, indicating it's ready for use. Press the power button again to initiate the testing process. Holding the device, walk along one side of the object while observing any LEDs that illuminate.


If no lights are observed, proceed to the opposite side of the object and repeat the process until all sides have been inspected. If the LEDs remain unlit, ensure you're using an object at least 10 meters in length.


It's also possible that nearby underground cables – even if not directly connected to the object – may be affecting the results, so continue searching. If no lights appear after examining both sides of the object, contact our customer support team, providing as much detail about your project as possible (including dimensions). This will help us ascertain whether there is an issue with the device.


If you notice lights flashing while walking around the object, the layout direction of the wires, cables, or pipelines is toward the location where you were standing when pressing the buttons on the device. If no lights flashed during this process, but they were active before walking around the object to test each side, it indicates that the wires are extending away from where you were positioned when pressing the buttons earlier.


If no light flashes occur and you've examined both sides of the object without seeing any, it might indicate that the wires are either too deep for detection or that there is a malfunction with the device. You can attempt connecting the device to your computer's USB port to check for software updates, or contact our customer service team for further assistance in troubleshooting the issue.

Utilizing the NF-826 (Tester) Efficiently


First, ensure that the tester is appropriately calibrated. Once the calibration is complete, you can start testing by powering on the device and positioning the probe against the wire or pipe you wish to examine. The display will reveal the direction of the current flow, which can help you ascertain the layout of underground wires, cables, and pipelines.


If a cable extends from north to south, the needle on the NF-826 will move clockwise. Conversely, if a cable stretches from east to west, the needle will rotate counterclockwise. In situations where multiple cables run in various directions, the NF-826 will test all of them simultaneously.


For instance, if two cables intersect at right angles, with one heading northeast and the other southwest, the needle will oscillate based on which wire it is in contact with. The more needles that move in a specific direction, the more robust the signal becomes.


If three signals emanate from an area and all of them rotate clockwise, it indicates that they follow each other, forming an imaginary circular pattern. This doesn't imply that they continually move in circles, but rather that they generate enough rotations to create a circular shape.


Keep in mind that the signal's strength can also depend on your proximity to the cable and whether any obstructions exist between your position and the signal's origin. When searching for wires behind walls, always attempt probing close to outlets or switches, as these tend to produce strong magnetic fields due to their electrical components.

To effectively use an underground cable locator, it's crucial to understand its basic functions. This knowledge will enhance your ability to trace cable distances, depths, and locations accurately. There are two primary methods for locating buried wires and pipes, and in both cases, the underground wire must be electrically conductive. In other words, they should be made of metal.

Active Detection:


In active cable detection, the target cable is electrically charged, and a receiver identifies the resulting signal. There are two connection methods—conductive (direct) or inductive—used in this type of detection to create an electrical circuit that allows current to flow. A transmitter with a controlled and pre-set frequency is introduced in this process.


Passive Detection:


Passive detection involves determining the exact location of an underground utility by detecting existing radio signals or frequencies. In this method, locators search for electromagnetic signals that the utilities reemit. However, unlike active detection, passive detection cannot differentiate between service lines.


Next, we will explore five types of wire detection devices, including Noyafa's NF-826, a professional underground cable/wire/pipeline detection tool.


1)Noyafa NF-826

2)Mastech MS6818 Wire Tracker

3)Leica DD 230 Utility Locator

4)Ridgid SR20 Underground Utility Detector

5)TEMPO Communications 501 Tracker II

These wire detection devices offer different features and capabilities to help you locate underground cables, wires, and pipelines effectively and safely.

Noyafa NF-826:


The Noyafa NF-826 is a cutting-edge locator designed to detect concealed underground assets such as wires, power cables, heating pipes, or buried lines. This device quickly pinpoints cable locations before any excavation work begins, making it an affordable alternative to competitors like the Leica DD 230 and Mastech Wire Tracker.


The NF-826 features a transmitter and receiver, two compact handheld devices with built-in batteries for optimum portability. It is an ideal tool for detecting cables both outdoors and indoors, including communication cables, power cables, building pipeline construction, power supply lines, and electric heating lines. The transmitter comes with test leads that can be attached to a wire or pipe using an alligator clip or test pen. Additionally, a grounding rod connects to the underground environment when no ground wire is available, increasing the test signal and ensuring safe and easy operation in various conditions. The transmitter also includes a built-in flashlight for locating power cables in poorly lit areas, such as dark basements.


Mastech Wire Tracker MS6818:


The Mastech Wire Tracker MS6818 is a cost-effective solution for locating underground assets. It consists of a transmitter and receiver, two lightweight handheld devices with a combined weight of 1.55 pounds. The transmitter's test leads can be attached to a pipe or cable using the included alligator clips. Equipped with a grounding rod, the MS6818 ensures safe operation in diverse situations. Additionally, the transmitter features built-in lighting, which, while not capable of tracing a wire, can assist in locating one in a completely dark space with no electricity.

Leica DD 230:


The Leica DD 230 is a high-performance tool engineered to detect underground assets more accurately, quickly, and at greater depths. Equipped with the advanced DX Shield software, this device provides a comprehensive range of detection options for utility workers and others involved in excavation projects. The DD 230 SMART locators are highly scalable and feature Bluetooth technology for wire-free connections to field controllers and mobile devices.


Ridgid Underground Utility Locator SR20:


The Ridgid SR20 is a heavy-duty underground utility locator designed for outdoor applications. Weighing in at 3.97 pounds, its all-in-one design is a bit more challenging to handle with one hand. However, this weight comes from the unit's integrated transmitter and receiver, which simplifies the process compared to two-part systems. While the Ridgid SR20's lower price is an advantage, the downside is that you need to access one end of the wire or pipe. Nonetheless, this device can locate any underground conductive material without the need to attach a transmitter.


TEMPO Communications 501 Tracker II:


In contrast to the Ridgid underground utility locator, the TEMPO Communications 501 Tracker II features a more traditional design, consisting of a separate frequency transmitter and receiver. The transmitter sends a signal that is picked up by the receiver through a wire or other conductive material. The 501 Tracker II's straightforward operation is due to its lack of complex features, making it user-friendly. However, it does have a limitation: you must have access to one end of the wire or pipe, meaning you cannot use it to find unknown pipes or lines. On the other hand, it is highly effective at locating breaks in concealed cables.


In Conclusion


Selecting the best underground cable, pipe, and wire locator ultimately depends on your specific needs and usage scenarios.


The Noyafa NF826 is the first and most cost-effective multi-functional device on our list, covering most requirements for the average homeowner. It swiftly locates underground cables, wires, and heating pipelines with an easy-to-use interface. While affordability may suggest compromised safety, the NF826 has passed RoHS, FCC, and CE compliance tests, ensuring reliability and adherence to safety standards.


The second device, the Mastech Wire Tracker, focuses on its primary function: wire tracking. While it doesn't offer hidden cable location or pipe tracing, its budget-friendly price makes it a suitable choice for homeowners seeking basic wire location capabilities.


The Leica DD230, our third option, is more expensive and complex than the previous alternatives. Designed with electronic engineers in mind, its features and operating system cater to professionals familiar with intricate terminology in the electronics and power sectors.


If you seek a comprehensive wire locator, the fourth option, the Ridgid Underground Utility Locator, excels in locating live or dead wires. However, its high price tag makes it more suitable for contractors or businesses specializing in electronics rather than average homeowners.


Lastly, the TEMPO Communications 501 Tracker II offers a mid-range pricing alternative. While less expensive than the Ridgid SR20 and Leica DD230, it caters to ordinary homeowners. Its limitation lies in its inability to locate dead wires or pipes without current flow, but it is relatively simple and effective in detecting wire breaks.


By considering the specific features, usability, and budget requirements of each device, you can confidently choose the ideal underground cable, pipe, and wire locator for your needs.

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