voltage detectors

Good morning,
Following an unfortunate incident where I drilled through a cable, I am looking for a slightly better detector than the zircon stud detector that I was using at the time (before you ask - I did have it set to AC rather than wood and the cable was only just below the surface)!
I thought Zircons were supposed to be the best for stud detection but IME it hasn't been very useful.
What do you recommend for voltage (domestic AC) detection and what about metal detection for avoiding pipes? Are the brand names more reliable than the no-names?
What about these no contact voltage pens? Are they any good for finding wires in walls?
TIA, Fred
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Fred wrote :

Probably as good as your Zircon = useless.
The cable has to be very close to the surface and with the live wire nearest the voltstick (voltage pen). The larger the live surface area, the further away it can be detected.
Despite the above, well worth having one in your tool box for their intended use - get a Fluke voltstick, they are the best one I have found.
--
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Harry (M1BYT) (L)
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Back in the 60s, I used a converted old hearing aid with a coil on a bit of wire to detect the hum from a mains cable as it wandered around a wall. it worked better than I expected,indeed, better still if a load was on the other end of the cable at the time. I don't know how these new fangled devices work, but it may well be that if a load is on said cable, the magnetic flux around the wire will be easier to detect. Brian
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Brian Gaff laid this down on his screen :

They will detect a live wire end with no current flowing, so I would guess they must work via capacitive detection rather than magnetic.
--
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Harry (M1BYT) (L)
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Harry Bloomfield wrote:

Yep - they detect electric fields not magnetic. Static sets them off too - eg rubbing the tip over matt emulsion will cause it to flash.
--
Tim Watts

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Well that is no good is it. it would not be expensive to build both kinds of detector into a unit I'd have thought. Brian
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Fred wrote:

Just triued my Fluke voltstick. My cables are under 1/4"-3/4" plaster inside oval conduit and some in round. I know exactly where they are because I put them there. No foil lined plasterboard - just regular plaster on brick.
The Fluke has two indications - red=very strong and blue=near and the flush pulsates with a frequency related to E-field strength.
Result
1) 3/4" deep - zero indication.
2) 1/4-1/2" deep - some slow pulsating blue, flashing fastest dead center of cable.
Conclusion - if it can see the cable at all, I would give it +/- 2" for locational accuracy.
It is highly likely to miss deeper cables. Ifyou have plasterboard, or worse, foil backed PB, forget it.
It's not what voltsticks ar edesogned for - they are for detecting very short range E-fields through a bit of plastic.
HTH
Tim
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wrote:

Thanks for experimenting. They were just one thought I had. What about other devices, such as these:
http://www.screwfix.com/p/stanley-deep-read-metal-sensor/49740
which has poor reviews, or
http://www.screwfix.com/p/bosch-pd06-digital-detector/37920
or any similar device?
TIA, Fred
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On 30/10/2011 14:44, Fred wrote:

Where did you find the reviews Fred?
--
Dave - The Medway Handyman www.medwayhandyman.co.uk

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The Medway Handyman wrote:

On the link that he gave, in the bit that said "product reviews"?
Just a guess:-)
--
Adam



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On Sun, 30 Oct 2011 16:23:27 -0000, "ARWadsworth"

You guessed right ;)
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wrote:

I had one that was far too sensitive for use in a junction box, but would have been excellent for finding buried cables. It would light up at least 50mm from a live cable. It was replaced by a Fluke jobbie that only lights within a couple of mmm of a cable.
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Fred wrote:

I have one similar to this http://www.screwfix.com/p/megger-vf1-vf2-vf-ac-voltage-detector-pen/2393 2 but coloured yellow ... Excellent at checking if the mains is on at a plug, socket or along a cable/wire .. I doubt I'd trust it on a cable buried in the wall, though I've never tried .. might give it a test later!
--
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wrote:

That's exactly the same as I had, that went too sensitive for normal use.
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