The Electrician’s Stud Finder: Reinvented

Second generation of “advanced” and easy to use stud finder utilizes multiple sensors and
sophisticated signal processing to filter out false positives – by Del Williams

To work safely and productively, most electricians rely on stud finders to find or avoid
wood studs since most of the work involves remodeling rather than new construction.
The challenge is that electrical contractors have long utilized stud finders with a design
based on unrefined capacitive technology that identifies changes in density behind the walls.
While this technology can indicate the location of wood stud framing, it also discovers metal,
plastic, wiring, and other objects in walls just as easily. Hypersensitive “deep scanning” modes
further increase the potential for “false positives,” objects inaccurately identified as studs. The
result is that traditional stud finders frequently chirp or flash LED lights to indicate something
was sensed.
Now, newer, and more refined technology is being introduced to this popular tool
category that promises to redefine and even reset the standards for stud finder performance and
accuracy. The next generation “intelligent” models incorporate multiple sensors and
sophisticated signal processing technology to filter out “false positives.”
These technologically advanced stud finders locate wood studs as intended, while
filtering out non-wood objects such as plumbing, conduit, straps, brackets, screws, protector
plates, ductwork, plastic pipe, PEX tubing, and wiring behind the walls.
For professional electrical contractors, this innovative technology will provide a more
accurate representation of what is behind the wall and significantly improve confidence that what
is detected is truly a wood stud. The benefits are significant: minimized rework, less damage
created, and increased safety.
As an example, an advanced, second generation, stud finder by Zircon Corporation
utilizes multiple sensors and sophisticated signal processing to filter out false positives.
The company’s latest innovation is the Wood Stud SuperScan® advanced stud finder
with Target Control® Technology + FILTERz™ cancellation. By analyzing the complex data
streams from multiple sensors and controlling the result using sophisticated intelligence, the stud
finder can find wood studs and filter out metallic objects such as plumbing, conduit, straps,
brackets, screws, protector plates, or ductwork in the wall. Additionally, the technology alerts the
user to the presence of other low signal-strength, non-metallic targets, like plastic pipe, PEX
tubing, and wiring, and alerts to the presence of live, unshielded AC electricity.
The stud finder has a new and improved user interface that provides an intuitive “go/no
go” indication in response to what is being sensed. With a new haptic vibration and a patented
SpotLite® Pointer that shines an arrow-shaped beam on the wall, users can clearly understand
the target’s location and areas to avoid.
By filtering out false positives, electrical contractors can be confident they have located a
wood stud and not something else. Given the opportunity for a much clearer picture of what is
behind the wall, electricians would do well to upgrade their existing stud finder with an
affordable, next-generation model that is sure to become the new standard in scanning. It would
be the “intelligent” decision.
For more information, visit:
Del Williams is a technical writer based in Torrance, California.

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