"X" Marks the Spot

Drill-spotting tool helps electricians take the guesswork out of drilling

Electricians can easily rupture water pipes, destroy conduit, or damage cabling when drilling blindly through a wall or ceiling.

Now, rather than wasting valuable time and materials to make unnecessary repairs, an electrician can use First Edition Products' DrillSpotter to locate the exact drill exit point, measure the wall thickness, and identify the presence of conduit and pipes with a built-in metal detector.

A record number of manufacturers submitted entries for the 2003 EC&M Product of the Year competition. After a panel of judges narrowed the field down to 20 finalists, EC&M readers named the DrillSpotter the 2003 winner because of its practical applications for the electrical industry.

“I believe this will save countless hours,” says EC&M reader Michael Urbine, senior electrical instructor at Penta Career Center, Perrysburg, Ohio. “The DrillSpotter has many applications for one of the most time consuming and problematic jobs in our industry.”

A team of German engineers designed and manufactured the product in the late '90s, and First Edition Products introduced it to the U.S. market in 2000. Contractors in both Europe and the United States are now using the tool to minimize drilling errors and improve efficiency on jobsites.

Electricians can quickly identify hidden metal in walls and ceilings by placing the tool's transmitter directly over the area to be drilled. A continuous tone will indicate the presence of iron beams, metal cables, or pipes.

“If a contractor needs to drill a hole, and it needs to come out in one exact spot on the opposite side of the wall or flooring, this allows them to avoid hitting any type of electrical conduit or rebar,” says Liza Feicht of First Edition Products.

By using the DrillSpotter, electricians can save time and money and ensure accuracy in drilling applications, she says.

“Workers used to have to go back and forth between different sides of the walls or ceilings to take measurements,” she says. “Now they can work around cabling as opposed to drilling blindly through walls.”

Visit www.firsteditionproducts.com for more information.

How to Use the DrillSpotter
  1. Mark the drill exit point.

  2. Correctly place the transmitter, adhere it to the wall, and turn it on.

  3. Switch on the receiver to detect the signal on the other side of the wall or ceiling.

  4. The direction arrows light up and a continuous beep sounds until the correct position is achieved.

  5. Mark the drilling spot, read the thickness of the wall or ceiling, and select the proper length drill bit.

  6. Switch off the transmitter and receiver, remove them from the wall or ceiling, and put them away in the provided protective carrying case.

  7. You can now drill in a safe location.

Speaking Out

Here's what some of the voters had to say about First Edition Products' DrillSpotter.

“I have done electrical work for more than 30 years and drilling through walls is always a problem. Even when measuring, it's just too easy to make a mistake and have the drilled hole come out in the wrong location.”
— John Atkins, plant engineer for Craig Adhesives, VERTIS, Newark, N.J.

“This device will pay for itself by preventing costly mistakes. It's a great invention.”
— Dick Statham, teacher for Guilford Technical Community College, Jamestown, N.C.

“I have often wanted a device that would tell where a bit would come out on other side of a wall or in basement or attic.”
— Gerhald Maass, owner of Maass Electric, Buffalo Center, Iowa

“It saved me time and guesswork, and I was confident I would not drill through critical plant controls.”
— Jeff Kobinsky, facility manager for the Spring Street Group, Inc., Eau Claire, Wis.

Product Specs

Transmitter: 3.15 in. wide x 4.7 in. tall x 1.2 in. thick
Receiver: 3.15 in. wide x 4.7 in. tall x 1.2 in. thick

Weight (including batteries)
Transmitter: 5 oz.
Receiver: 6.7 oz.

Transmitter frequency:
4.096 kHz to 65.5 kHz.

Transmitter effect (max):
10mW max.

Auto shut-down function after the lighted arrows shut off:
Transmitter: 8 min.
Receiver: 3 min.

Range (maximum):
40 in.

IP 53

Power supply:
Alkaline 9V battery or 9V rechargeable battery

Contest Winner

Drew Brejda, owner of If It's Electric in Augusta, Ga., won $100 for voting in the EC&M Product of the Year competition. EC&M randomly selected the winner from the hundreds of votes that were received.