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 making 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.

Because of its practical applications for the electrical industry, EC&M readers named the DrillSpotter the 2003 Product of the Year. “I believe this will save countless hours,” says EC&M reader Michael Urbine of Penta Career Center. “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.

“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.

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. The metal detector has a depth range of 6 in. with steal beams and large metal surfaces; 3 in. with individual steel reinforcing bar, cables, and metal pipe and conduit; and 2 in. with small reinforcing bar or rebar grids spaced a minimum of 4.8 in. apart.

The DrillSpotter is made up of a receiver and a transmitter. The receiver uses a magnetic field and optical and acoustic signals to align precisely with the transmitter. To operate the instrument, the installer must first mark the drill exit point, adhere the transmitter to the wall or ceiling, and turn the transmitter on. The installer then needs to switch on the receiver and place it on the other side of the wall or ceiling. Upon activation, the transmitter sends a magnetic field to the receiver. When the receiver picks up the position signal, the direction arrows light up and the instrument beeps continuously until it’s placed in the correct position. The installer can then mark the drilling spot, read the thickness of the wall or ceiling, and select the proper length of the drill-bit.

Electrical contractors can use the DrillSpotter to locate the exact drill exit point when installing a junction box in a pre-existing wall. The product can save time and money and ensure accuracy in many applications involving drilling, Feicht says.

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

For more information, visit www.firsteditionproducts.com