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Novice Trying To Locate Underground Pipes And Power Lines


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Hi,
I've got a Whites v3i that I've barely used but need to (hopefully) leverage to find the perimeters of a well (i.e. outgoing water pipes (copper & steel), incoming power lines, pressure tank) so I won't have to dig up the whole area before trenching for a new power line. Is there a way this detector can locate a power line in PVC conduit?
 
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The PVC affects nothing as it’s invisible to a metal detector. It simply depends on the diameter of the power line and the depth. It’s likely buried deeper than the V3i will reach, and therefor more a job for a line tracer.

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Depending on the building code where you are located those lines are likely more than 18” below the surface. As Steve said, probably too deep for a V3i… If you want to give it a try enable TX Boost in the options menu and crank up the sensitivity to maximize the depth of the V3i.

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Maybe a silly thing to say but I know where the underground power lines are in a sports field I detect by using my Teknetics T2, as I approach them it starts to go crazy, right on top of them its out of control so while it can't detect the actual lines I can tell where they are by how unstable it gets, I can walk along the line knowing where it is.  Never used a V3i but the T2 sure lets me know where they are.

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What Phrunt talks about is EMI interference and can be used to trace an active power line. The V3 has a frequency offset control that you normally adjust to make it quiet to EMI; instead, you want to get near a powerline and adjust it for maximum interference. Try it in MF mode and each SF mode to see which is most sensitive, my guess would be the 2.5kHz mode.

If you have access to an end of a pipe or cable you can inject your own signal and trace it, again using interference. The signal generator needs to have fairly precise control because you want to tune it to the operating frequency of the detector (say, 2.5kHz) and then move it a few Hertz off for maximum interference. Connect the (+) signal to the pipe/cable, and connect the (-) signal to a ground probe that's 10-20 feet perpendicular to the pipe/cable. Obviously, never use this method on a live cable.

If you need to trace a PVC pipe, it alone can't be detected but sometimes smart installers lay a tracer wire in with the pipe. Where the pipe comes out of the ground, look for an unconnected wire sticking out. If you find one, go thank the guy who installed it.

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You don't say where you live, but in my state you call a number and the power company sends someone out to locate the line and spray paints the ground where it is - free. 🤔 Keeps people from getting killed digging holes for bushes and such.

My Equinox and Deus both go nuts over and under power lines, but I wouldn't use them for accuracy.

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  • 1 month later...

https://www.groebner.com/product/Vivax-Metrotech 480B

I used a similar unit years ago,  Most town water departments have them.

On the one I used I could place it next to the well and you could trace the elect. and water pipe as long as the water pipe is not plastic. The conduit will have no effect on it tracing the wire.

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A couple bent wires will work better than almost anything else for locating underground gas, water, sewer, and electrical lines, even in PVC pipe. I have seen this, and done it myself, over and over, on the ground, in the field. It simply works, usually better than anything else, including tracer signals. Anyone who works with underground utilities knows this, likely has a pair of bent wires stashed in their truck.

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