The New 8500 Guidance System

PERRY, Oklahoma ” The Ditch Witch organization, the industry leader in the design and manufacture of underground construction equipment, announces the release of an advanced, more precise electronic guidance system for tracking horizontal directional bores.


The new 8500 guidance system”which consists of an 8500T tracker, 8500D display, and 850-series beacons”features an intuitive interface with easy-to-understand graphics. In designing the 8500, simplifying the usage of the system was among the main priorities, according to Ditch Witch Electronics Product Manager John Bieberdorf. The user interface is amazingly intuitive, he says. It guides the user throughout the tracking process. It even tells you how to calibrate.


From its unique shape to its long list of innovative features, the 8500 is like nothing else on the market. There are several features that make the 8500 more accurate and easier to use than any other guidance system out there,Âť says Bieberdorf. One is its offset locating and depth-reading ability. With this feature, the user can determine depth and horizontal offset alongside the beacon. So you can track along the side of a road while drilling next to it, and track around trees, brush, and other obstacles.Âť


Bieberdorf says the 8500 provides readings even on inclines of up to 20 degrees, so the operator can track up the sides of ditches and on other uneven terrain.


The 8500 is also ideal for situations in congested areas. With the system™s exclusive drill-thru mode, the tracker can be placed at a given point and the operator can drill not only to that point but also beyond it, on a planned path. When drilling under a multi-lane highway, for example, the tracker can be strategically placed in the middle of the road”shutting down one lane of traffic”and the drilling operator could drill all the way across without having to shut down lanes to take depth readings. In drill-thru mode, the 8500 provides both current and predicted depth.


On the clockface, the 8500 has 60 roll positions”the nearest competitor has 24”and a five-roll-per-second output. With 60 roll positions, the drill operator has access to more detailed information, resulting in a more accurate bore. The 8500 also has exceptional resolution on steep inclines to make it easier to match entry and exit plans and keep the bore on track.


Interference from metallic objects, electric lines, and other radio signals can interrupt the progress of tracking a bore. This is why the 8500 has two frequencies built in: an ultra-low (ULF), 1.75-kHz frequency and a very low (VLF) frequency that can see through signals generated by objects in the vicinity, such as rebar, underground and overhead lines. The choice of two distinctly different frequencies increases the operator™s ability to drill in high-noise areas, so they can be more productive, says Bieberdorf. In addition, the communication between the 8500T and 8500D gives you 15 channels to choose from, which maximizes communication capability and helps prevent cross-talk with other nearby drills and electronic devices.


            The 8500 is equipped with a USB connection and a secure digital (SD) card on the remote display. With these, the operator can plug a laptop directly into the display and copy data, or pull the SD card out of the display and take it to the office.


Even with its sensitive electronics, the 8500 is built for durability and reliability. Specially designed padding surrounds the electronics and battery connections in the beacon. This isolates battery connections and electronics from the shock and vibration that come with extreme drilling conditions.


Other features of the 8500 guidance system include an improved beacon battery life indicator; standard C-size alkaline batteries for the 8500T (off-the-shelf, rechargeable C batteries can also be used, but runtime will be less); molded, soft-touch hand grips that provide greater operator comfort; and balanced weight that makes it easy to use the 8500 over the course of a long day.


The Ditch Witch organization specializes in the design and manufacture of high-quality underground construction equipment. The company is a one-stop source for trenchers, vibratory plows, pneumatic piercing tools, backhoes, electronic guidance and locating tools, horizontal directional drilling systems, drill pipe, downhole tools, vacuum excavation systems, excavator-tool carriers, mini skid steers, and Zahn family of trenchers.


All of these products are recognized around the world for their advanced design, rugged construction, long-term durability, ease of use, and reliability. This product line represents the most complete range of equipment for installing utilities underground.

The Ditch Witch name is one you can trust for your equipment and financial needs. Ditch Witch Financial Services (DWFS) is a full-service provider, offering a wide variety of finance and lease options to meet your individual requirements.  

For more information about the new 8500 guidance system, please call 800-654-6481 or visit

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