The CableSniffer2™ was originally introduced at the 18th International Conference on Electricity Distribution in 2005 hosted by CIRED. CIRED are the leading forum where the Electricity Distribution Community meets.

More recently, the CableSniffer2™ was awarded an 2014 IET Innovation Award held in London on Wednesday 19th November.

Back in 2004, Colin said “it typically costs £600 to £1000 ($1088-$1813) to dig each hole, so a CableSniffer2™ unit can easily pay for itself in a single day. Operators who currently have to dig many holes each year to locate underground faults can make significant cost savings. CableSniffer2™ has proved so sensitive that we can virtually guarantee ‘no reading, no fault’ on fresh faults, with a very good chance of locating older faults.” Read the complete press release at PEI Power Engineering International.

Below Colin shares his memories.

“I started life at EA Technology in 1991 and quickly found that by asking my customers what their main issues were with locating cable faults, a common theme immerged:

  • Service Disruption
  • Costs
  • Regulatory Penalties

So I set to work and with the help of our talented scientists and power engineers, we came up with the simple idea of an instrument that could literally sniff out cable faults. We eventually called this the CableSniffer2™, an instrument which, as they say, “does what it says on the tin”!

For the uninitiated, the CableSniffer2™ is now considered to be a revolutionary instrument in locating faults in underground cables… and fast. Instead of having to rely on excavations with “cut and test”, it samples and analyses the gases emitted when cable insulation starts to break down via a series of very small holes. The highest concentration of gases are found directly above the cable fault.

What makes this exciting is that cable faults can usually be located in under an hour and to an accuracy of a few centimetres!

This diagram easily explains the concept:

On average it’s possible to save 50% on the costs of fault location and re-instatement and of course, an even bigger saving where there are regulatory penalties for disruption.