Magnetomatic Pipe and Cable Locator

The Magnetomatic Pipe and Cable Locator is a highly sensitive instrument designed to locate pipes and cables underground or underwater.

Starting at $7.90

Magnetomatic Pipe and Cable Locator
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Carry Case for Magnetomatic Pipe Locator by Farwest Corrosion
Magnetomatic Pipe & Cable Locator by Farwest Corrosion


The Magnetomatic Pipe and Cable Locator is a highly sensitive instrument designed to locate the following pipes and cables underground or underwater:

  • Iron or Steel Pipe
  • Plastic Pipe (PVC) with or
    without magnetic tracers
  • Electrical Cables
  • Telephone Cables
  • Fiber Optic Cables
  • Conduit
  • Ceramic Pipe
  • Transit Pipe
  • Concrete Pipe
  • Asbestos Cement Pipe

The Magnetomatic Pipe Locator has been designed, engineered and field tested to ensure reliability and accuracy. It is sold worldwide and is being used successfully by municipal water and sewer departments, contractors, excavators, telephone companies, plumbers, Rent-All shops, rural water systems and many others.

The principle of the Magnetomatic Pipe Locator has been successfully used for centuries employing a variety of materials with varying degrees of effectiveness. Skill is required to use the instrument, but operation is relatively easy to master if the recommended instructions and practices are followed. Easy-to-follow instructions are included with each unit.


  • No dials

  • No batteries

  • No intricate mechanisms to fail

  • Only one moving assembly

  • Collapses into a neat package to fit in your hip pocket or on your belt in the optional case. 


Practice Prior to Use

The Magnetomatic Pipe Locator is delicately balanced. Twenty to thirty minutes should be spent in getting the "feel" of operating this instrument. Do not attempt to operate or test before reading the instructions. Testing above ground is recommended before using on the work site. For maximum sensitivity the indicator MUST be balanced. The operator's hand must continuously make minor adjustments to maintain proper balance as he or she walks across an area (this is easily accomplished with practice). When properly balanced, the indicator will "float" and respond quickly to the attraction of the pipe.

It is suggested that a three foot or longer length of pipe (PVC or Metal) be placed on top of the ground where there is no buried pipe to interfere with the practice. Approach the pipe from different directions and angles, observing carefully the indicator's action in each set of circumstances. The Operator frequently has a natural tendency to walk too fast when using the Magnetomatic Pipe Locator. When the indicator begins to move, the operator should proceed very slowly, allowing the indicator time to attract to the pipe.

Following the "above ground" practices, a known location of buried pipe or cable should be chosen and several practice runs made under actual operating conditions. The location, when found, can be marked by a stake, keel mark on concrete or asphalt, or by a squeeze bottle of common carpenter's chalk. This instrument may be used in the interior of structures, as well as outside to locate pipe, conduit and cable. There are some individuals who cannot use the Magnetomatic Pipe Locator. If an operator during the test of the unit cannot get any movement from the indicator after repeated attempts, a new operator should be chosen.


STEP 1 -- Extend the indicator to its full length (24") (Figure 1).

STEP 2 -- Carefully fold the Indicator over to an exact right angle (90°) with the handle (Figure 2). This removes friction on the shaft and allows the indicator to rotate freely on the rim. WARNING: Do not tamper with the retaining screw at bottom of locator. This is not an adjustment screw. Tampering will void warranty.

STEP 3 -- Grip the handle firmly and hold the instrument at a comfortable arm's length with the indicator parallel to the ground surface and pointing straight in front of the operator (Figure 3). For the purpose of illustration, the object being sought will be referred to as "pipe."

STEP 4 -- The operator should walk slowly across the suspect area. As the operator passes over the buried pipe, the indicator will begin to swing in the direction the pipe is running (Figure 4). PROCEED VERY SLOWLY AT THIS POINT.

As the handle is being moved directly over the pipe, the indicator will lay parallel to the pipe (Figure 4). If the operator continues beyond the pipe, the tip will point back. By moving forward or backward very slowly the operator can accurately determine when the indicator is laying exactly parallel above the pipe.

To trace a pipe to its terminus, point the indicator in the direction the pipe is running and walk slowly. The tip will remain over the pipe. When the handle passes beyond the end of the pipe, the indicator will make a 180° turn and point backward toward the terminus. If the pipe proceeds in another direction through a "T" or elbow, you can check to each side of the terminus point and locate the new direction of travel.

NOTE: Proper balance in the operator's hand is important. If the indicator is tilted to one aide, gravity will overcome the sensitivity of the indicator. Shoes with thick soles that insulate the operator from the ground may cause the pipe locator to operate improperly. Nylon clothing, such as a jacket or raincoat, may cause static electricity which could affect the sensitivity of the indicator. If this is suspected, remove the nylon garment(s).

Care of Instrument

Important.  To retract the antenna after use, turn it straight up, in line with the handle. Put the bottom retaining screw against the heel of your hand (just below the palm). Gripping the handle with your fingers, press and hold the screw up against the bottom of the handle with the heel of your hand. With the other hand, grip the second and third segment from the handle and push them down toward the handle. Shift your hand up to the fourth and fifth segments, and push them down. Next push the sixths segment down. Finally push down on the tip of the antenna, continuing until the entire antenna has collapsed into the handle.

By holding the bottom screw against the bottom of the handle, you eliminate the antenna pushing down against the inside top bushing. By collapsing the antenna in several steps, you eliminate the potential of putting a bend in the upper portion of the antenna.

Warnings.  Do not tamper with the retaining screw at the bottom of the locator. Do not attempt to operate or test before reading instructions. Test above ground. Tampering will void warranty.
Cautions.  Do not leave this instrument in direct sunlight for an extended period of time (i.e., on dashboard or in a metal tool box in the back of an open truck).


The Magnetomatic Pipe Locator may be returned for full credit within thirty (30) days if you are not completely satisfied with the results. Guaranteed for one (1) year against material and/or workmanship. Note: In no event shall Farwest Corrosion be liable for implied warranties, merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose or for consequential, incidental or special damages pursuant to the Magnetomatic and its warranty.