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Electrical Cable Detector

chuffchuff
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Electrical Cable Detector

Any recommendations for a sensor to find electrical cables in walls etc, something under £50 or so, one that you have used that works well?

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Re: Electrical Cable Detector

Well, I would not recommend my Electric Drill....

 

it has been absolutely useless at finding electric cables, or water pipes....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It hasn`t found any yet....     so I still don`t know where those utilities run in my walls.......Cheesy

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Re: Electrical Cable Detector

I have a cheap  Black and Decker one that is not very good, but when I needed to track a cable in the kitchen, I borrowed a mates Bosch GMS120 which was great. They are a bit over your budget, £69, but can often be had on eBay for less second-hand.

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Re: Electrical Cable Detector

I can second the GMS120

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Re: Electrical Cable Detector

Don't bother with the Stanley fatmax range:

 Absolutely useless (£40 from B&Q). It detects wooden studs brilliantly and will tell you the centre position... BUT (and this is a big but) it will tell you the entire wall is one big AC cable along with metal being everywhere. I had AC cables in wood, door posts, doors, my metal toolbox, my desk.. It's so unreliable that it's dangerous. I took it back for a refund and while removing my battery the PP3 connector broke!

 

I tried the cheaper draper version too:

 

This one comes out under various brands but they're all the same unit made by the same cheap chinese place thats getting money for old rope. It was slightly better at giving me a rough idea of cables but still utterly useless in giving me any real decent idea of where to avoid. It's also a real pain to get setup and calibrated and once it thinks its found something it won't stop bleeping (including when you take it away from the wall) so you have to recalibrate it... and then it picks up nothing. Again I took it back.

 

I've not tried any others but those are two I'd recommend you avoid.

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Re: Electrical Cable Detector

There are a number of apps that can be used on your phone/tablet to detect studs or cables in walls.

True they might be rubbish but some users have claimed they work and cost little.

Looking at some of the very expensive models on Amazon there are a number of customers who claim they do not work.

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Re: Electrical Cable Detector

The apps pick up magnetic fields and yes they do work but I couldn't say they're reliable enough for wires and cables in the wall.

They can't detect wooden studs as there is no sensor on the phones capable of that AFAIK
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Minivanman
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Re: Electrical Cable Detector

I have used these, but never trusted them to be honest. A bit of common sense usually worked for me although having said that I did drill through a cold water pipe once - but who the hell buries water pipes in a wall?

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Re: Electrical Cable Detector

And who runs gas pipes up a wall when there is no need for gas in the bedrooms ?

putting an extractor fan above our electric cooker years ago I drilled through a gas pipe, phoned british gas and they were there within the hour, just charged me a few pounds to repair it.

When I mentioned feeling a bit foolish doing it the guy said it was usually the professions who he was called out to as a result of their failure to check first.

As for studs in walls or the ceiling a cheap way to do it is to tap the wall and the tone changes if you tap where a stud is, on a ceiling I once saw a joiner tap in a long thin nail into the plaster board to check where a stud was, this was before the fancy electrical gadgets available today.

Just out of interest if there was a live cable in the wall would a compass detect it ?

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Re: Electrical Cable Detector

Would a compass detect it.... answer.... NO...

 

I just put my little map reading compass across a live lead running an electric fan... and not a movement from the needle at all..

 

Minivanman
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Re: Electrical Cable Detector

Why did you have a cooker in your bedroom?  

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Re: Electrical Cable Detector

Our previous (Victorian) house in London had been owned by the handyman from hell. At some point he'd buried a live twin pair wire in the wall to power a clock. Checking with cable finders had been inconclusive. True to form my trusty Black & Decker power drill found the cable. It had been run diagonally across the wall to the clock from a wall box and then plastered over. A suitable fireworks display ensued as the unfused spur tried to vaporise my drill bit. 

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Re: Electrical Cable Detector

A similar thing happened to me except that the cable was to power two wall lights and had been hard-wired into the mains plug. They had removed the lights at some time and wallpapered over but left the ends of the wires exposed although hiddenShockedCrazy2

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Minivanman
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Re: Electrical Cable Detector

Thank heavens it is now illegal (or I think it is) to do any electrical work of that kind in the UK unless you are fully qualified. I wired up a couple of houses in France and was having kittens when it was sold because houses there have to have an electrical survey done before they are passed for sale. Close call! 

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Re: Electrical Cable Detector


Minivanman wrote:

but who the hell buries water pipes in a wall?


Coming from the man who drilled through one I'm surprised you need to ask!!!

 

It doesn't seem so common these days but a lot of older properties do have all sorts buried in the walls. I guess back then they didn't envisage amateur DIYers having access to powerful drills and long drill bits that can reach through a 1ft thick wall...

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