Mastering the RIDGID® Scout®: A Comprehensive Guide

Mastering the RIDGID® Scout®: A Comprehensive Guide

Finding underground utilities can only happen with the right tools and the know-how to use them effectively. The RIDGID® NaviTrack Scout® is a powerful little locator that can help you find pipes, cables, transmitters, cameras and other underground items. While it’s a user-friendly tool, our technology tutorial can help you learn the ins and outs of the RIDGID Scout and ensure reliable, accurate readings.

What Is the RIDGID Scout?

The RIDGID Scout is a compact professional locating tool that accommodates the most demanding requirements. It uses multi-directional antenna technology to continuously view the entire signal and eliminate nulls or false peaks. With a micro-mapping display, it verifies positioning by marking poles on either side of the target. You can use it to find equipment such as:

  • Video inspection cameras, like RIDGID SeeSnake™️
  • Sondes
  • Remote transmitters
  • Energized lines

RIDGID offers more advanced locators, but Scout is a compact, user-friendly choice for regularly locating sondes and occasionally locating energized lines. It guides the user toward the target, doesn’t require gain adjustments and automatically calculates your depth over the target. It can trace energized lines at four frequencies and passive AC.

While Scout is an intuitive tool, it isn’t foolproof. Operators must understand the limitations of locating systems and the context of their environments. Accurate readings are crucial for maintaining safety on the job site, minimizing unnecessary work and making reliable plans. All operators should be properly trained in utility locating and the Scout system before completing work.

How to Use the RIDGID Scout

Operating the RIDGID Scout is relatively straightforward. Follow these steps in our user guide for setting up, using and interpreting the results from Scout.

1. Set up Your Device

In your RIDGID Scout box, you should find:

  • The Scout unit itself
  • Markers and a mast holder
  • Four alkaline C-cell batteries
  • The operator’s manual
  • A training video

Optional components might include additional markers, a NaviTrack transmitter, an inductive clamp, a battery sonde or a float sonde.

Start by turning the Scout over and opening the battery compartment underneath the display screen. Turn the knob on the cover counterclockwise, then pull straight up to remove the door. Insert your batteries, replace the door and turn the knob clockwise while pressing down to close the compartment.

2. Learn the Interface

Before diving into operation, spend some time familiarizing yourself with the interface.

Press the power button on the keypad, then press the menu key. Use the arrow keys and the select button in the center to check the frequencies you’d like to search. You can choose from a range of sonde and line trace frequencies between 8 kilohertz (kHz) and 874 hertz (Hz). You can also press the sonde/trace/frequency mode key on the bottom left of the keypad to cycle through these scanning modes.

Within the menu, you can also head to the Tools Menu to adjust which sounds the Scout emits and whether it uses feet or meters for measurements, plus backlighting and contrast settings.

3. Perform and Interpret the Scan

With your device on and set to the appropriate frequency and scanning mode, you can start locating the sonde with these steps:

  1. Localize the sonde: Extend the receiver in front of you and sweep it in an arc. Find the point where the signal is strongest.
  2. Pinpoint the first pole: Point the receiver to the ground and walk toward the spot where the signal was strongest. You’ll see icons that represent poles and the equator of the sonde’s signal. Hold the receiver level and close to the ground, and move until you can center your crosshair on the first pole. Once you find it, mark its position by placing an orange chip on the ground.
  3. Pinpoint the second pole: The second pole is on the opposite side of the equator. Using the readings on the Scout’s screen, walk across the equator until you reach the other pole. Center your crosshairs again and mark your second pole.
  4. Pinpoint the equator: Move back to the equator and find the center point, right between the two poles. Your sonde should be at this location. Mark it with a yellow chip.
  5. Verify the location: Move the receiver away from the point in all directions and confirm that the signal weakens when you do.
  6. Measure the depth: Position the receiver directly over the equator, and touch the lower antenna ball to the ground. Keep the receiver level and rotate it in the direction indicated on the screen. A measurement should appear. Rotate the receiver 180 degrees and repeat this process to confirm the depth.
Best Practices for Effectively Using the RIDGID Scout

Best Practices for Effectively Using the RIDGID Scout

Proper operation is just one part of using the RIDGID Scout. If you use it often, it can be a significant part of your workflow and deserves special attention. Keep these best practices in mind to make the most of your Scout scanning device:

  • Keep detailed records: When applicable, write down all of your readings to reduce unnecessary work.
  • Always verify your findings: It can be tempting to take readings at face value, but always confirm accuracy with verification steps, like measuring your depth twice.
  • Watch for interference: Interference is a common problem during locating. You might see it at the same frequency being used or in other frequencies. Significant sources of noise include power transformers, lines and large electric motors or generators. Try to avoid these areas if possible.
  • Consider other factors: Location technology isn’t perfect. Nearby utility lines, lines with Ts or splits, a low signal strength and certain soil conditions can all make it hard to get a good reading. Watch out for these factors and try to mitigate them wherever possible. For example, overly saturated soil can block the signal, so try to wait for a dry day.

Resources and Further Learning

For more information on using the RIDGID Scout, explore these resources:

  • Video walkthrough: This video walkthrough from RIDGID shows you how to perform the scan we outlined earlier.
  • Official user guide: The official NaviTrack Scout user manual provides more detail on the locating technology, along with detailed instructions for locating a sonde, locating a tilted sonde, tracing a line and troubleshooting your Scout.
  • Our support team: Whether you have questions about the product itself or need some help troubleshooting a problem, the team at MTech Company can help. Contact us online, by phone or by email to talk to a knowledgeable team member.
Make the Most of Your Scout Locator With MTech

Make the Most of Your Scout Locator With MTech

The RIDGID Scout is an exceptional tool for quickly finding sondes with user-friendly equipment. As a proud partner of RIDGID, MTech can help you get started with the Scout. We’ve been serving the sewer, street and safety industries since 1975 and have experienced professionals ready to help you buy or use your RIDGID locator.

Reach out today to talk to a sales representative or get support for the RIDGID NaviTrack Scout.