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#67462 - 07/05/06 09:09 PM portable wire meter?  
Jps1006  Offline
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 615
Northern IL
With today's wire prices, my brother was asking me if I have ever seen a portable wire meter (like the ones the supply house uses for precut orders) used to measure length. He wants something he can measure #12 or #14 THHN off the spool as he pulls it off the wire caddy. Has anyone seen such a thing?

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades

#67463 - 07/05/06 09:43 PM Re: portable wire meter?  
JoeTestingEngr  Offline
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 791
Chicago, Il.

#67464 - 07/05/06 09:47 PM Re: portable wire meter?  
gfretwell  Offline

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,140
Ask the supplier where he got his. If I get up to the Home Depot or Ace Hardware I will get the name and model off theirs

Greg Fretwell

#67465 - 07/05/06 11:01 PM Re: portable wire meter?  
Jps1006  Offline
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 615
Northern IL

Yes, something like that except small, and would work off a portable caddy with a spool of wire.

gfretwell (greg is it?),
good place to start. Who knows, maybe the full blown version would work too.

#67466 - 07/06/06 12:26 AM Re: portable wire meter?  
Sixer  Offline
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 265
I priced out a wire meter at my supplier and it was $500. Instead, my apprentice suggested weighing the wire. I bought a $35 digital bathroom scale, and set up a spreadsheet with conversion factors to meters for each wire size and length of spool. Full spools (or boxes of RG6, Cat 5, & speaker wire) are a pre-determined weight, and then we write on the side of the spool the weight that's left. The difference is converted and then charged to the customer. The weight that's left will also give us a length so we can be sure there's enough left on the spool for a particular run.

Once we got the system set up and got used to working with it, we found it saved us lots of time and is very accurate...way more accurate than pacing the runs off. The best part is it's CHEAP (like me [Linked Image] )! If you're interested in this send me an email and I'll forward the conversion factors I've worked out for the common spools we use.


"Will it be cheaper if I drill the holes for you?"

#67467 - 07/06/06 12:50 AM Re: portable wire meter?  
gfretwell  Offline

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,140
I can't imagine why these are so expensive. It is just a reel counter with a wheel, pinch roller and a gear train that gets you to feet. Maybe you are paying for "legal for trade" accuracy/insurance.
You could probably cobble something up electronically cheaper than the mechanical deal. You just need a slotted disk with an opto detector and the pinch rollers. Getting that down to "feet" is just a choice of "divide by" counters. It could run on AA cells or a 9v.
I can't imagine someone doesn't sell that.
Call Greenlee, We could get rich.

Greg Fretwell

#67468 - 07/06/06 01:40 AM Re: portable wire meter?  
e57  Offline
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876
Why not count your sticks of pipe X 10', deduct scrap and multiply times the conductors = pretty accurate. Add some for in the box, or just for fun factor.

The model shown on that link is also for conductors 1"-2" diameter.

They have other smaller versions, may be cheaper.

Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason

#67469 - 07/06/06 04:43 AM Re: portable wire meter?  
walrus  Offline
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 680
Bangor Me. USA
I've seen a meter where you look it up to both ends on the reel and it will tell how much is left?? not sure how accurate. You were supposed to be able to use it find a break in a wire also. not sure who made it, a ggogle search might find though

#67470 - 07/06/06 05:01 AM Re: portable wire meter?  
iwire  Offline
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
North Attleboro, MA USA
Greenlee sells one it works with 16 AWG to 1000 kcmil.

It's only about $2000.00

I found another one by UEi for about $500.00

I like the $35 scale idea. [Linked Image]

[This message has been edited by iwire (edited 07-06-2006).]

Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician

#67471 - 07/06/06 09:22 AM Re: portable wire meter?  
renosteinke  Offline
Cat Servant
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Blue Collar Country
I'd be happy, if only the fish tape had foot markings on it!

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