Locator Adds Wireless and GPS Features

Smart device compatibility of RIDGID SR-24 improves locating accuracy and saves time.
Locator Adds Wireless and GPS Features
RIDGID Territory Manager Joe Borneman (left) explains the features of the SR-24 underground locator and RIDGIDtrax app to an attendee at WWETT 2015. The locating system offers compatibility with smart devices. (Photo by Craig Mandli)

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Smartphones, tablets and GPS devices are becoming everyday tools in the workflow of locating professionals. With an understanding of this dynamic, RIDGID has integrated wireless and mapping functions into a new underground locator – the SR-24 – unveiled at the 2015 Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment & Transport (WWETT) Show.

The SR-24 essentially adds wireless and GPS features to the company’s popular SR-20 utility locator. It uses wireless Bluetooth communication to connect to external devices such as GPS units, compatible signal transmitters and smartphones. The free RIDGIDtrax app makes most smartphones and tablets compatible, visually displaying GPS line traces in real time.

“It was designed to easily replace inaccurate hand sketches and drawings, creating a digital representation of pointers underground,” says Eric Huber, senior product manager with RIDGID. “Not only does the system leverage tools that most professionals likely already have, it allows them to quickly share accurate information with customers.”

The mapping features can be utilized in several ways. The SR-24 connects wirelessly to most high-accuracy submeter GPS hand-held devices with Bluetooth. In this mode, the GPS hand-held device is the primary data capture point to obtain the most accurate position information, obtaining depth and signal information wirelessly from the SR-24.

The unit has its own GPS antenna for applications that do not require detailed submeter position information. It has a nominal accuracy of less than 8 feet and gets more accurate with clear line of sight to GPS satellites overhead. This level of location resolution can be used to create reference maps of underground assets, but not exact dig points. It records GPS and locating information on its onboard microSD card at the press of a button. The universal KML file created can be viewed on GIS mapping programs such as Google Earth.

“It enables the operator to go back to the exact spot they need to after mapping is complete,” Huber says. “This system is going to appeal to utility and municipal excavators, utility locators, plumbers and even facility maintenance crews.”   

The RIDGIDtrax app enables operators to view positional information in real time to document underground assets. Just select a utility type and record “digital yellow paint” as you walk the line. The finished KML map is easy to share by email for quick viewing, providing an easy way to document the layout and depth of underground lines.

“We did demos for RIDGIDtrax almost constantly at the WWETT Show this year,” Huber says. “It was an extremely popular attraction for us, especially when people saw how it integrated with products such as the SR-24.”

The unit is also compatible with the ST-33Q+ signal transmitter, which can be controlled remotely from the SR-24 keypad up to 200 yards away. Eliminating the need to walk back to the transmitter to change frequencies and power settings saves time during difficult locates, a feature that Huber says came directly from customer feedback.

“Our goals attending shows like WWETT are not only to get our new product info out, but also to solve problems that techs deal with in the field,” he says.
Huber was thrilled with the turnout at WWETT 2015 and promised that RIDGID would be back with several new developments in 2016.

“This is really our target audience and core customer base,” he says. “It’s such a huge show for the plumbing and drain cleaning profession. It’s a huge date on our calendar.” 800/769-7743; www.ridgid.com.



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