On a construction site, before the building can even be planned out properly, there is a plethora of procedures that need to be done in order to ensure that the process will go smoothly and there will be as few unforeseen problems as possible. One of the most dangerous safety hazards that need to be taken care of in the beginning is the possibility of an underground utility that might be present at the designated dig site. While these can endanger the lives of the workers if they aren’t noticed, there are luckily cable location tools that can be used to ensure no one gets hurt.
When it actually comes to the cable locating, there are two basic methods by which it can be accomplished. The first is the passive method which involves simply picking up an electro magnetic field which might already be generated by a present utility. The other is the active method, and it entails using a transmitter to generate a specific frequency which can later be traced in order to find the underground utility.
The passive method of cable location is much simpler, since all you really need is a receiver which you can use to find the signal with. However, there is a downside to this method. The electromagnetic field you will be looking for is generated by the AC current that passes through the electrical wires. This means that if the current is cut off, or if you are looking for any sort of utility other than a power line, the receiver will effectively be rendered useless.
In order to cover up the weaknesses of the passive method of cable locating, the active method teams the receiver with a signal transmitter. This transmitter will send a signal or an electrical current through any underground utility that is present, which will allow it to be traced. The most reliable way to send the signal is to make direct contact with the utility you need to locate. However, if that is not possible, a signal will simply be sent into the ground and will be picked up by any utility in close proximity to the transmitter.
While you can chose to use one method or the other depending on the circumstances you are faced with, it would be a good idea to always have everything you might need on stand-by, even if you end up not using it. Additionally, seeing as how these tools are relatively inexpensive(especially for construction equipment), there would really be no reason why you wouldn’t have both.