Photo by Vulcan Line Tools
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Wave Timer Measures Sag, Tension, Temp in Overhead Conductors

March 16, 2022
The tool was created by Vulcan Line Tools, a company that specializes in devices for use in the electric utility industry

Knowing the sag, tension and temperature of overhead conductors is crucial in the construction and maintenance of properly designed power lines. Currently, a majority of constructed power lines are built without knowing if they meet the proper specifications, partly as a result of current tools being slow, expensive and a burden on the workflow.

The Wave Timer, a device developed to replace these tools, helps line crews ensure that power lines are properly sagged and will not overstress the power pole.  It combines three tools into one small, lightweight device that can fit in the palm of your hand.

The tool was created by Vulcan Line Tools, a company that specializes in devices for use in the electric utility industry. Zac Young, the company’s founder and president, developed this tool after working with his dad, a 30-year veteran worker in the utility industry and developer of pole loading software PoleForeman and SagLine.

After developing a prototype and then the final product for line crews to use, Young received a slew of positive feedback.

“Our customers have told us this tool is a lot quicker and faster than other competing devices,” Young said.

Wave Timer quick facts:

  • Replaces dynamometer (tension) sag watch (sag) and a wire thermometer (temperature)
  • Faster than any other competing device (records sag, tension, and temp in around five seconds)
  • Works on most any full-tensioned span, on most span lengths.
  • Built tough – drop and water resistant
  • Can be used on energized conductors
  • With the click of one button, saves and stores a PDF document detailing a report of the job

Overstressed power poles lead to pole failures which can result in expensive liability for electric utilities. By using the Wave Timer, utilities can be safer and also more efficient.

According to Young, one of the device’s most helpful features is the ability to record and store data on a cell phone (the product is currently compatible with iOS devices only). This helps utilities keep a consistent record of important information related to constructing and maintaining power lines.

“Once you get these measurements on the power line, you click one button and the device can store a record document showing all of the information that was just collected: who worked on it, what time they worked on it, coordinates etc,” Young said.

Using the return wave method, the Wave Timer calculates sag in the power line. Once span length and conductor type are specified, conductor tension is shown. The device can be used on any size conductor as long as you can send a wave down the line. If using the device on very large conductors, an extra-long strap can be provided. The Wave Timer can measure up to 250 feet of sag, regardless of span length. Sag and tension are displayed within 5 seconds. Results are accurate to within 1 inch. Automatic updates keep the Wave Timer app up to date. No calibration required.

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