How to Use Underground Pipe & Cable Location Systems

C.A.T & Genny (Cable Avoidance Tool & Signal Generator) - What are they & how do they work?

CAT and Genny Cable and Pipe Location

C.A.T. (Cable Avoidance Tool)

Buried services represent a major hazard to all construction workers the world over. Poorly planned excavations can cause cable or pipe damage resulting in costly repairs, delays and personal injury. Cable location is a must for anyone involved in groundwork. The cable avoidance tool known as CAT is used to locate these services so that they can be avoided. The CAT is a cable locator and can detect signals naturally radiating from metallic services or in conjunction with a Genny that applies a distinctive signal that the CAT can detect. The CAT can be used in 3 modes: Power (P), Radio (R) and Genny (G). The CAT can detect most buried cables and conductors however some cables and conductors (even live ones) do not radiate signals. This applies to plastic pipe work however if used in conjunction with the Flexi trace or Sonde these can be located.

CAL Services provides Cat & Genny training UK nationwide - call 01934 424467 or send a message via the Contact Form.

Power (P)

In the power (P) mode the CAT can detect ‘power’ signals that are being radiated by loaded cables. This is used to detect, locate and avoid buried electricity cables.

how to detect underground pipes and cables

Radio (R)

In the radio (R) mode the CAT detects VLF radio signals re-radiated by buried metallic pipes and cables. This is used to detect, locate and avoid other buried metallic pipes and cables i.e. gas, phone & communication lines, ducts & water services.


Genny ( Signal Generator ) (G)

In the Genny (G) mode the CAT detects a tone radiated by the Genny to a buried conductor. This is used to detect, locate and avoid all services as a direct connection to the source i.e. plug sockets, water valves or  Flexitracegas valves. The Genny usually transmits a signal of 8 or 33kHz.




CAT and Genny service and calibration is recommended every 12 months - Click Here to find out more about Calibration or Click Here to book a collection now.

CAL Services can also offer CAT and Genny Training Courses if you require.



The flexitrace is a flexible fibreglass coated rod with a built in Sonde incorporating wire conductors for locating small diameter non-metallic pipes and ducts to depths of approx 3000mm. Pipes or ducts with diameters as small as 12.5mm and with bend radius of 250mm are easily rodded with the Flexitrace. It is used in conjunction with the CAT cable locator and Genny signal generator. The Genny generates a signal through wire conductors running the full length of the Flexitrace (50-100M). The CAT cable locator detects the signals generated from the Flexitrace to locate underground non-metallic pipes and ducts. This is useful to trace plastic water & gas services and plastic or clay ducting.

The most common types of CAT and Genny Cable and Pipe location equipment available and in current use are:

Radiodetection CAT and Genny Range:

C Scope CAT and Genny Range:

  • C Scope C.A.T & Genny
  • C Scope CXL & SGA Kit
  • C Scope MXL & MXT Kit
  • Tomkat CAT & Genny Range:
  • Tomcat & Signal Generator Kit
  • Tomkat 2 & Sigen Kit

Leica CAT & Genny Range:

  • Leica DigiCat & Digitrace Kit
  • Leica EziCat & Ezitrace Kit
  • Leica EziCat iSeries
  • Seba / Metrotech / Vivax:
  • Seba Easyloc Kit
  • Vivax-Metrotec i5000
  • Vivax vLoc Pro Kit
  • Vivax vLoc Pro Series 2 Kit
  • Vivax vScan

Care & Use of Cable Location Equipment:

  • Use CAT and Genny equipment only as directed in this User Handbook
  • DO NOT immerse any part of this equipment in water
  • Store in a dry place and keep out of the rain.
  • Keep equipment in the case or bag provided when not in use
  • If left for prolonged period of time – remove alkaline batteries to avoid leakage and corrosion.
  • Keep unit clean and free of dust and dirt.
  • DO NOT repeatedly charge the batteries (where applicable) without using the equipment for at least 10 minutes to avoid overcharging
  • DO NOT leave the unit on charge for an excessive period of time (>12 hours)
  • Protect against excessive heat.
  • Avoid dropping and rough treatment whenever possible
  • When cleaning only use water, a mild detergent or non corrosive products.
  • Wipe dry. DO NOT use harsh chemicals or abrasives – particularly in the display/pushbutton areas.
  • Wipe the display only with glass cleaner or pads used to clean computer displays.
  • Please Note: Cable Avoidance Tools are highly sophisticated pieces of electronic equipment and should be treated with care and serviced at regular intervals to ensure peak performance.

Use a CAT & Genny

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CAL Services CAT & Genny Training Brochure 1,867kb Download
HSG47 - Avoiding Danger from Underground Services 1,416kb Download


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