How to Use a Wire and Valve Locator Tool

By Adreana Young on May 9, 2019 in BlogNo Comments

How to Use a Wire and Valve Locator Tool graphic

When it comes to breaks in a system, it can be challenging to find the exact location of the problem. With a wire and valve locator tool you can easily find the broken or damaged issue and spend more time repairing it, rather than searching for it.

Depending on your jobsite’s specific needs, there are a variety of locator tools you can choose from.

If you haven’t used a wire and valve locator tool before, here’s how:

Step 1: Hook up the tool to the system

Red WireFirst, you will need to hook the wire locator to the irrigation system. You will find two leads, or clamps, on the tool. The red lead attaches to the field wire at the irrigation clock and the black lead attaches to a spike that will be inserted into the ground.

This will allow the electrical current from the clock to pulse throughout the wire and valve locator tool. Many wire and valve locator kits come with the spike needed for this.


Step 2: Turn on the locator tool


Next simply turn the tool on and test the battery system and set the output intensity. According to the manufacturer, your wire and valve locator’s batter should be above 8—you’ll see this on the gauge above the dial. If your battery is powered correctly, move on to the tool’s output intensity. Again, the manufacturer suggests the output be between 4 and 8.

Screen Shot 2019-05-08 at 8.38.48 AMStep 3: Locate the wire

Once you’ve set up your tool, you can search for the wire by waving the end of the locator receiver just above the ground. When you’re directly above the wire, the locator tool will emit a null and the gauge will indicate you are above it. Check the manufacturer information for exact instructions and specifications.

Step 4: Dig up the wire

90 degree angleAfter you’ve found the location of your problem wire, the locator tool can also tell you how deep the wire is. Place the receiver’s end directly on the ground where you’ve located the wire, turn it perpendicular and then drag the receiver along the ground until the gauge hits 0 again. The distance from where you first placed the receiver on the ground to how far you’ve dragged it is how deep the wire is in the ground.

Wire and valve locator tools are simple to use, save time and labor in the field. For step by step instructions on how a wire locator tool, you can also watch this Ewing video:

How to Use a Wire and Valve Locator Tool graphic
Adreana Young
Adreana Young is a customer insights specialist at Ewing Irrigation and Landscape Supply. She can be reached at
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