New Hand-Held Tool Promises Easy Location Of Buried Pipes

Tech Notes
By Jeff Griffin, Contributing Editor | April 2009 Vol. 236 No. 4

The SubSurface Inspector 07

SubSurface Instruments Inc. has introduced the Inspector 07, a lightweight, handheld instrument for locating buried utilities and other objects.

The unit is able to locate all types of mains, laterals and other objects, including those made of nonmetallic material, said Ron Davenport, owner of SubSurface.

"You name it, and it can probably be located with the Inspector 07," he said. "What really defines this product is that we've never had before . . . one that can detect items that could never have been detected with any hand-held locators. It is the only all-materials locator available."

The Inspector 07 is a one-piece, hand-held unit rather than a separate transmitter and receiver.

"Although multiple signals are sent and received, the technology used is not ground-penetrating radar," said Davenport. "The technology is proprietary and patents are pending."

To confirm locations before boring or excavations, the locator operator moves to the area where a utility line or object is believed buried. Davenport said the instrument detects almost any object to depths of approximately 13 feet and can find large objects at greater depths.

Simple Operation

"There is no setup," Davenport promised. "No wires or clamps to connect, no plugging in cables, no installing ground stakes, no trying to run a snake, fiche or sonde up a nonmetallic pipe. No squiggly lines to try to interpret. No need to be an engineer to operate it. Pull it out, turn it on and start detecting."

For identifying the locations of underground objects, extremely high-frequency signals are transmitted and received in line with the front of the instrument, processed and reported to the operator by flashing red light-emitting diodes (LEDs). When both LEDs "lock" on the target, a red laser pointer spots a direct line to the target on the ground as if it were a laser sight on a gun.

"Just imagine where the target is, think, scan, find and confirm the target," summarized Davenport. "There have been many cases during testing and demos where we found the target in a matter of seconds. Of course, the responsibility of locating/detecting, safety and confirming the target, as always, still lies with the operator. Like any tool, the more you use it, the better you get."

Davenport said the locator will be sold directly to customers and by selected longtime special SubSurface distributors who can properly demonstrate and support the product.

"Once the product is established, it will probably be sold by the majority of our dealers," he continued. "We are concentrating on the domestic market, Canada and Australia before going into other international markets. We have international distributors for our other products around the world, and will probably sell through them once we go fully international."