Cable Avoidance Tools & Signal Generators

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As the UK's Location & Detection Specialists, The Tape Store is proud to supply a comprehensive range of professional cable avoidance tools and signal generators from the World's leading manufacturers. Designed to save lives and keep you compliant in the process, all our CAT & genny equipment comes with Free Delivery and our 100% Money Back Guarantee.

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Cable Avoidance Tools & Signal Generators

Cable Avoidance Tools, as the name suggests, help users to detect, locate and avoid buried services prior to breaking ground. On their own they have the ability to pick up power and radio signals that are emiited from or are being induced down buried services. In combination with other pieces of equipment (such as signal generators, flexible tracing rods, sondes and so on) they also have the ability to pick up plastic gas and water pipes, ceramic pipes, metallic pipes and so on.

Signal Generators

A signal generator (otherwise known as a signal transmitter or genny for short) is the essential tool designed to complement your cable avoidance tool. Providing you use one from a reputable manufacturer, designed to work specifically with your CAT, it's widely believed that using a signal generator in conjunction with a CAT can help trace up to 50% more services than by using the CAT on its own.

Given that the whole point of these tools is to protect workers, organisations and the public from the damaging effects (both health and financial) of service strikes, it's no wonder that best practice demands a signal generator's use.

By passing signals across a range of frequencies along a service (either by transmitting the signal through the ground or connecting directly to the service) the user is able to trace that service quickly and accurately from above ground using a cable avoidance tool. This is incredibly useful when dealing with services that don't produce their own power (e.g. metallic pipes).

Gennys are available in a range of guises with different versions producing more power than others (thereby extending their range) and others producing additional, super low frequencies allowing them to transmit signals over even greater distances.

All signal transmitters available through The Tape Store come with free delivery and a 30 day money back guarantee. All are produced by global market leaders in the field of utility detection (Cable Detection and Radiodetection) and all will be instantly acceptable on any site (of any standard) anywhere in the country. Many of the Cable Detection range are also approved for use on Network Rail infrastructure.

Not sure which one is right for you? No problem. We're ready and waiting to give you all the expert buying advice you need. Yes, we're a business, but we'd much rather sell our customers the right tool rather than simply the most expensive. Why not drop us a line on 0800 023 6200

When should I use a CAT?

Breaking ground doesn't just mean digging a hole either by hand or by mechancial excavator, it's simply refers to any activity whereby the surface of the ground is penetrated. This can be anything from digging trenches or trial pits, even down to hammering in commercial tent pegs for circus tents or teepees at music festivals. Best practice (and frequently local or organisational regulations) state that a thorough ground surveying should always be carried out using cable avoidance tools whenever there is to be excavation.

Why should I use a CAT?

Best practice dictates that you should always carry out a thorough ground survey with appropriate equipment prior to excavating. Because of this, and to increase safety and reduce insurance claims, local authorities and large organisations are now insisting that such a survey is carried out before anything is excavated or knocked into the ground. It is no exaggeration to say that serious injury or death can result from a cable strike. The financial cost of a near miss or a strike can be astronomical with insurance and compensation claims having the ability to close down many firms.

Do I need a signal generator / genny?

The simple answer is yes. Unless you're purely looking for charged power cables and power cables alone then you should always use a CAT in conjunction with a genny. There is powerful evidence to suggest that, by using a cable avoidance tool with a generator, an operative can trace up to 50% more services than by using the CAT in isolation. These are sobering figures, especially when you consider that anything you do hit has the potential to incur, best case scenario, huge financial cost and, worst case, serious injury or even death.

What are the various operating modes?

There are, on the whole, four modes that almost all cable avoidance tools can operate in. The first two (Power and Radio) can be used in isolation without a signal generator. The second two (Generator and Flexible Tracing Rod) require a compatible signal generator.

  • Power - In this mode the devices detects signals emitted by sub-surface power cables. All cable detectors will help you locate them from above ground, some will even help you detect how deep they are.
  • Radio - In this mode the tool picks up radio signals that become attached to and radiated back out from sub-surface metallic cables and pipes that do not emit their own power signal. Examples can include (but this is not guaranteed) telecoms, cable TV or gas mains etc.
  • Generator - The generator is either connected directly to a service (using clamps etc.) or is placed on the ground above it. A signal is generated and passed along the service on a particular frequency. This frequency is usually 8khz or 33khz but some more advanced CATS have additional frequencies available for even longer range tracing. The CAT can then detect the signal running along the service from the surface.
  • Flexible Tracing Rod - Different manufacturers have different names for these tools but, in essence, they are very similar. The flexible rod is connected to your signal generator and the integral sonde is then pushed down a hollow hollow service, right along the pipe. The sonde emits a signal which can be traced from above ground by the cable locator.

How can I look after my cable avoidance tool?

These are professional, high quality tools and, as with any other tool, they need to be treated properly to guarantee 100% functionality. There are a number of simple rules that, if followed, will keep your cable avoidance tool in working order, keeping you safe in the process.

  1. Only ever use your CAT and Genny in the way directed in your user manual or CD-ROM
  2. Store and transport your tools in a suitable carry bag. Whilst they may have a soft skin they will ward off the majority of damage
  3. As with all tools using this type of power source, alkaline batteries can leak if left for prolonged periods of time. Be sure to remove the batteries if you won't be using the device for a few days.
  4. Keep the tool clean at all times. Clean all areas sympathetically after each use. Be sure to do this under cover before opening any battery compartments. Do not use any cleaning chemicals
  5. Store in a dry place at room temperature. Avoid excessive heat or cold.
  6. At no point should a CAT or any other part of your kit be immersed in water.
  7. Clean the LCD screen only with non-corrosive cleaners such as computer screen wipes or glass/mirror cleaner (a very small amount on a soft dry cloth - do not spray directly onto the screen). The screens can easily scratch and it is possible for components to be damaged by chemical ingress.
  8. Treat carefully and gently. Do not drop, knock or treat roughly. Look after your tools and they will look after you.
  9. Ensure that you get your unit calibrated and serviced every 12 months. Not only will your clients insist upon seeing this, in the case of a near miss, cable strike or insurance claim, all working methods and tools will most likely be inspected.
  10. Ensure all operatives have the proper training to enable them to use these tools to their maximum ability.

I scanned the area but still missed a service. How is this possible?

Unfortunately, when cables and other buried services are missed during a ground survey, most of the time this is down to user error. Whilst the new generation of cable avoidance tools sold through this store are far more automated and sophisticated, the vast majority of cable strikes are as a result of inexperience or insufficiently trained users who do not know how to switch modes and use the various accessories properly.

Whilst proper training by a truly experienced operator / trainer will provide far more detail than this, the use of the proper accessories (clamps, cables, rods etc.) in the correct way can really improve your success rate.

I need training. Can you help?

Yes, we certainly can. We offer a wide variety of training options, each supplied by a highly experienced, qualified cable avoidance specialist. Whether you want to train just one person, or a group... become a trainer for your own team or simply want an introduction to the technology and its abilities, we are ideally placed to help you out. Simply call 0800 023 6200 and we'll go from there.