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Buried-cable detector

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Michael Gilligan03/06/2022 18:01:48
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20289 forum posts
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Can anyone kindly recommend a good device for detecting/tracing U.K. domestic mains cables that are buried in plaster ?

For the procurement specialists amongst us … my outline requirement is:

MUST be suitable for hand-held operation

MUST be capable of detecting a dead, or a live, cable buried 30mm deep within plastered block-work

MUST be capable of locating the cable location to +/- 30mm

NICE TO HAVE the ability to discern between dead and live cables

NICE TO HAVE a reasonable price point [not necessarily low, but capable of being reasoned]

OPTIONAL either a commercial item or a DIY design

Thanks

MichaelG.

bernard towers03/06/2022 19:16:54
691 forum posts
141 photos

I use a Draper one that can tell the difference between nails and screws and power cables

Steambuff03/06/2022 19:25:05
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539 forum posts
7 photos

I use the "Bosch Pro Stud Finder GSM120" Not cheap but has worked for me.

Currently on Amazon (Follow link for details) Bosch GSM-120

Dave

Michael Gilligan03/06/2022 19:50:23
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20289 forum posts
1064 photos

Thanks, both

… I will have a look at those

MichaelG.

old mart03/06/2022 20:49:00
3908 forum posts
268 photos

Visit an electrical firm which supplies electricians and ask them what the options are. I had a little gadget that worked very well and could be checked against known wiring easily. I got rid of it as soom as it became unreliable.

Nicholas Farr03/06/2022 20:58:05
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3421 forum posts
1592 photos

Hi MichaelG, the Bosch Truvo TL19792 in cpc.farnel's list might be worth looking at. I've not had or used one, but reading the technical docs, it seems to cover your depth requirement and is a reasonable price that I would pay.

Regards Nick.

Andy Stopford03/06/2022 21:02:20
166 forum posts
25 photos

I have yet to find one of these gadgets that works reliably.

I presume the very expensive (£300+) ones work - these all seem to use a separate transmitter and receiver, and some work by injecting a signal into the cable so that it functions as an antenna (the ones you see being used to find buried cables in roads work this way).

Here's an example of a posh one - I have no idea whether it's actually any good:

https://www.gnwshop.co.uk/collections/cable-detectors/products/ca6681-cable-detector

Michael Gilligan04/06/2022 06:44:56
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20289 forum posts
1064 photos
Posted by Nicholas Farr on 03/06/2022 20:58:05:

Hi MichaelG, the Bosch Truvo TL19792 in cpc.farnel's list might be worth looking at. I've not had or used one, but reading the technical docs, it seems to cover your depth requirement and is a reasonable price that I would pay.

Regards Nick.

.

That looks promising, Nick yes

**LINK**

https://youtu.be/LfeUel3dT8w

MichaelG.

.

.
But there are mixed reviews on the B&Q website …
 

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 04/06/2022 06:55:11

Michael Gilligan04/06/2022 07:47:24
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20289 forum posts
1064 photos

The Bosch ‘Professional’ may be worth the incremental cost, but it is physically large, and I note that it is specified for use on ‘Drywall’ : **LINK**

https://www.bosch-professional.com/gb/en/pdf/productdata/gms-120-sheet.pdf

My present requirement involves plastered blockwork … dont know

MichaelG.

Joseph Noci 104/06/2022 08:24:23
1099 forum posts
1317 photos

I have an oldish Bosch - PDO Multi and it works well, even does a good job of detecting wood 20mm inside a wall...! I have found sensor orientation has some influence on the center of detection - hold the unit vertical battery down gives a sense centre that is approx 15mm lower than if the unit is vertical battery up - the average of the two seems always to work..Left / right position is good, irrespective of unit held up or down.

Live cable sense very good, dead cable sensed in metal detect mode and depends on cable thickness - 2X14 gauge copper wires detect easily at 30mm below plastered wall. 50mm panel-pin head detects @ 25mm.

The PDO is no longer available and Bosch intimates the GMS120 is its successor - I would go for that.

Bosh PDO Multi Manual

Bosch GMS-120

Nicholas Farr04/06/2022 08:39:32
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3421 forum posts
1592 photos

Hi MichaelG, that Bosch Truvo one is significantly cheaper in B&Q, but a similar price to CPC/Farnell's one in Screwfix, the mind boggles sometimes.

Regards Nick.

Michael Gilligan04/06/2022 15:41:13
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20289 forum posts
1064 photos
Posted by Nicholas Farr on 04/06/2022 08:39:32:

… the mind boggles sometimes.

.

It does indeed, Nick

MichaelG.

Clive Brown 104/06/2022 15:57:09
866 forum posts
47 photos

I bought one of te cheaper brands from a DIY shed. My need was to detect wall studs, I was not very impressed. Positional indication was vague, tapping the wall with my knuckles seemed just as good. When I tried it for mains wiring results were just as unimpressive. I certainly wouldn't trust it to avoid hitting a buried wire.

Michael Gilligan04/06/2022 15:57:17
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20289 forum posts
1064 photos
Posted by Joseph Noci 1 on 04/06/2022 08:24:23:

I have an oldish Bosch - PDO Multi and it works well, […]

The PDO is no longer available and Bosch intimates the GMS120 is its successor - I would go for that.

.

Thanks, Joe … I welcome your opinion yes

There are only two things stopping me from rushing out to buy one

  1. It is, as I mentioned, rather large at 200mm tall, and I can see that presenting some difficulty in confined spaces.
  2. Although the ‘Truvo’ is unlikely to be as rugged, I do wonder if it might be a more modern implementation of the Bosch circuit design [i.e. more integrated] because it runs on three AAA cells instead of the 9v brick. That would maybe explain the smaller size and cheaper price

I can’t justify buying both, just to find-out, though

I will probably just waste a few more days on “Research” before buying blush

MichaelG.

Dave Halford04/06/2022 18:55:27
2093 forum posts
23 photos

There's a bloke Bristol way who use a drill the find the power cable in his front lawn. So much for 3 ft down.

Samsaranda04/06/2022 20:09:02
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1484 forum posts
7 photos

Definitely use an instrument to find buried cables in your walls, about 30 years ago I was refitting our kitchen and believed that I knew where all the buried cables and pipes were, Sods Law I found a cable buried where there was no reason to suspect one, I was drilling with a mains powered drill and suddenly there was an almighty bang and flash of light, I had hit a ring main cable. With luck the drill had penetrated dead centre on the twin and earth cable thereby sending most of the current straight to earth, the blow was powerful enough to destroy the main input fuse, requiring the electricity company to attend for the renewal. My masonary bit that I was using had vaporised, I considered myself extremely lucky to have not suffered any injury, the wife was out when it happened, you can imagine what transpired when she came home!!! Dave W

Michael Gilligan04/06/2022 23:28:19
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20289 forum posts
1064 photos

Joe,

may I just ask if this is consistent with your experience of the earlier model ?

.
I am still a little concerned by the specific reference to drywall
MichaelG.
Joseph Noci 105/06/2022 08:33:06
1099 forum posts
1317 photos

Michael,

That tool does everything mine does, and a lot more! If I were still mucking around building my house I would ditch mine and get one of those. I think the Drywall reference is for our American friend's peace of mind - I have found on numerous older reviews the American have regularly asked if it works with drywall - since that is the primary construction method there I guess.

Here are some reviews that show it's ability against brick and concrete as well. ( Forgive the patronising video - not my doing..)

**LINK**

**LINK**

The dielectric constant of the materials do play a role in the detection capability, and drywall tends to be air or foam etc in the cavity and the detection signal is less masked compared to when in concrete/brickwork, so the unit is perceived to be more sensitive - meaning that a 'conventional' detector would probably battle to localise the detection area due to the heightened sensitivity. The self calibration of the unit held against the drywall would correct for that I guess.. A the risk of placing myself in the line of fire, I would recommend that unit - if you can live with the size in your application.

Michael Gilligan05/06/2022 09:49:20
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20289 forum posts
1064 photos

Brilliant response, Joe … just what I needed to hear !

Thanks

MichaelG.

ega05/06/2022 09:54:50
2567 forum posts
203 photos

Buying a replacement 9V brick (or block) battery for this kind of device seems to be something of a minefield, particularly if you are considering a rechargeable one.

My Bosch DMF 10 detector is quite fussy about voltage but I understand that some devices will tolerate much less than the nominal 9V.

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