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Ansonics Inc, formerly Techsonics


Son-tector product description and photos



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SON-TECTOR and SON-CASTER are trade names of Ansonics, a division of Taos Techsonics, Inc.

Manufacturing ultrasonic detectors since 1963   Home  |  Contact Us  
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Applications & Industries

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Additional information about uses for the Son-Tector ultrasonic detector in:

Building Maintenance, Hospitals, Public Utilities, Shipping, Power Substations, and Corona Discharge

The SON-TECTOR may be used to spot operating system maintenance problems during routine checks. It eases the load on maintenance personnel by finding problems while they are small, thus avoiding later, costly, system breakdown. Should a breakdown occur, the SON-TECTOR locates the source of the problem quickly and easily.


It is simple to use the SON-TECTOR to locate the source of high or low pressure steam leaks. The leak is found by moving the probe in a wide arc. The probe “hears” the leak and allows the operator to quickly home-in on the leak. Headphones may be worn to exclude surrounding noises. In extreme cases, where even the headphones cannot exclude competing noises, the meter gives a visual indication of the leak’s location.


Experienced maintenance personnel are familiar with the characteristic sound difference between the passage of steam or the passage of condensate. These differences are faithfully reproduced by the SON-TECTOR. If there is sound all the time, the trap is stuck open, and if there is no sound, the trap is stuck shut–nothing could be simpler!

Pre-SON-TECTOR methods for finding steam trap malfunctions included listening for the sound of passing steam with a screwdriver and using hot melt crayons on the up-stream and down-stream sides of a trap. The SON-TECTOR eliminates the mess and uncertainty of these old-fashioned methods.

Another class of trap, the modulating trap, is more difficult to monitor because there is a constant flow, even in a good trap. If there is no sound, the trap is clearly bad, stuck closed. The best way to verify that the trap is not stuck open is to use the contact probe on a known, good trap of the same type. Adjust the volume control for 1/2 scale on the meter, then test the trap in question. A reading of 3/4 scale or more indicates a strong probability that the trap is stuck open. A lot can be learned from the characteristic sound pattern of a good and faulty trap — readily evident to the user with experience.


Water jackets should be fully drained so as to have access to the ends of the condenser tubes. Next, the steam side of the condenser is isolated and pressurized with air to between 2 and 4 PSI. This can usually be accomplished using existing compressed air supplies.
Leaks are found by using the SON-TECTOR hand probe to scan the tube ends. The Sound Concentrator is used to determine whether the leak is in the rolling at the end of the tube or down inside the tube—indicating a possible split. Leaks on the order of .003 to .004 inch diameter can be located.


This equipment is often hydraulically operated. The Contact Probe will instantly spot valve malfunction and internal system oil leaks. In addition, the Contact Probe quickly checks bearings for condition and proper lubrication.


Air leaking into a large vacuum condenser of turbo generators can increase costs by hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. These leaks are impossible to find by conventional methods and the engineer defaults to a routine shellacking in hopes of sealing leaks he can’t find. Since the SON-TECTOR is sensitive to the acoustic energy generated by a vacuum leak, it can readily find these leaks, cutting off another source of major losses.


Many buildings have systems involving compressed air, oxygen, and natural gas, often with several secondary systems. The SON-TECTOR package will find leaks in such systems without closing down the systems in question or inconveniencing a tenant. A quick scan along the system will quickly find the leak.


Often, live steam is discharged into a forced air heating duct to maintain proper humidity levels. Without the SON-TECTOR it is almost impossible to tell if the nozzle is working. With the Contact Probe, it is a matter of a few seconds-noise means it’s OK, no noise means it’s plugged!


Place a SON-CASTER in a room suspected of having leaks to the outdoors. It will saturate the room with ultrasonic sound without disturbing the occupants. The SON-TECTOR is placed outside to rapidly spot points of sound (and air) leakage. This method is particularly effective around most doors and windows.


Ethylene oxide gas is widely used in hospitals as a sterilant for instruments and equipment. The gas is an irritant and is carcinogenic. Some extreme precautions, including housing the equipment in evacuated rooms with air locks on the entrances, have been proposed because of the difficulty in maintaining consistent gas-proof seals in sterilization chamber doors.

Regular, daily use of a SON-TECTOR to check chamber door seals and cylinder piping and valving will substantially raise confidence in the operational condition of these components. It will make practical an operator protection system not requiring major building redesign work. In one instance, the SON-TECTOR found a leak created by a single hair that was caught on a door gasket during the routine daily cleaning! Removal of the offending hair returned the system to safe status.


Any system involving high voltages, as in a large building or power sub-station, is subject to corona discharge problems. These waste expensive power and interfere with tenants’ radio, TV, and telephone equipment. The Hand Probe of the SON-TECTOR may be used to rapidly and safely locate the exact point of trouble.


With the proliferation of sensitive FM receivers and color television came an increasing awareness of the problems posed by corona discharge causing interference in reception. Once it has been established that the interference source is not a nearby motor or other appliance, the problem is one of rapid location of the source of the corona interference.

Years ago, the accepted procedure involved two men. One man remained on the ground to operate a standard RF detector while the other climbed the pole to probe suspect components with a “hot stick”. The object was to find a component of the transmission system which caused a noticeable change in RF emission when probed. In some stubborn situations, it was necessary to go over an entire local system, tightening all components when the exact noise source could not be located. This procedure, of course, consumed a lot of unnecessary man-hours.

The SON-TECTOR 112 Package changed all this by eliminating one person and vastly speeding up the whole operation. The RF detector is still used to locate the pole or immediate area of trouble, but once this has been accomplished, the inspector switches to the SON-TECTOR 110M with hand probe. Sounds heard through the SON-TECTOR as a result of corona sound much the same as in a RF detector, but the unit is far more directional. Often the faulty component may be located exactly from the ground. Occasionally, it may be necessary to partly climb a pole or use the POLE MOUNTING AMPLIFIER, available as an accessory to the SONTECTOR 112 Package.

Being light (15 ounces) and compact, the SON-TECTOR 110M may be easily carried while patrolling a right-of-way. The built-in speaker offers a safety feature In that the headphones need not be used in situations where the operator may be exposed to traffic and possibly need the use of his or her ears to detect an approaching vehicle. If windy day conditions must be simulated, the pole is struck with a sledge hammer and the resulting corona noted with the SON-TECTOR.

Additionally, the contact probe, included in the SON-TECTOR Package, is highly effective in locating internal arcing in transformers. The probe is merely held by the inspector at right angles against the transformer case. For safety reasons, be sure to ground the case first.

In high voltage cable manufacturing, the insulation of a reel can be tested with normal “hi-pot” tests applied to each conductor. It is now necessary to locate the exact fault point so that the cable can be repaired. Usually, equipment is available which can locate the approximate fault location utilizing resistance measurements involving, again, high voltage. We need, however, to find the fault to within an inch or so!

This is where the SON-TECTOR comes into play. The cable is unwound from its reel on to another until the suspect area is exposed over a span of 15 feet or more between the reels. Standing behind a safety barrier, the tester uses a POLE MOUNTING AMPLIFIER on a suitable insulated “hot stick” to locate the exact source of maximum arcing sound.

Once the fault has been located in this manner, the high voltage is removed and repairs can be readily effected. Prior to recoiling the cable, a final test is usually made in the same manner after repairs are complete to be sure that they have been fully effective.

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