If the FAQ below does not provide answers to your questions, contact us.

Customer Service: (940) 759-2525

Questions about the drills & parts

What is the difference between the PROTEK SRS and the PROTEK II?
The PROTEK II was originally designed as a drill interrupter for use during residential termite-control operations. The redundant safety features found in the PROTEK SRS make it attractive for use at safety-conscious sites such as nuclear power plants, DOE labs, industrial facilities, and construction sites.

Must my drill have a ground wire in its power cord?
Yes.  The ground wire in a drill’s power cord is an important part of the control loop which Protek drill interrupters use to interrupt power to the drill when a drill bit contacts grounded metal.  For additional information, or to obtain a copy of a list of grounded rotary-hammer drills that should work with Protek drill interrupters, please contact customer service, at (940) 759-2525.

Why doesn’t my PROTEK trip when I test the drill and PROTEK on my metal desk?
The PROTEK interrupts power to the drill within milliseconds after the drill bit touches grounded metal. Grounded metal would include building components such as metal water pipes, electrical conduit, and certain types of reinforcement steel. If properly installed, all of these materials are “electrically” grounded to the ground bus in the breaker panel.

Metal desks, metal door frames, or pieces of metal laying on the floor or ground are probably not electrically grounded, so the PROTEK cannot detect when the drill bit touches them.

Does the PROTEK protect against drilling into copper pipes?
Often it does. But many types of copper piping and tubing are so thin-walled that even if the PROTEK does trip when the drill bit touches the tubing, by the time the drill bit stops turning, the weight of the operator on the drill and the momentum of the drill bit can be enough to allow the bit to puncture the pipe.

Are there any situations where the PROTEK will not prevent drilling into a pipe?
Unfortunately, there are several scenarios in which the PROTEK will have a difficult time preventing drilling into a pipe. For example, old corroded piping or poorly installed piping with poor joints and fittings may not allow enough control current through the control loop to trip the PROTEK. Piping systems that have been repaired with plastic sleeves or joints are also difficult to protect.

As mentioned above, protecting against drilling into thin-walled copper tubing can be difficult for the PROTEK. Obviously, the PROTEK cannot prevent drilling into PVC or non-metallic pipes. And, sub-slab radiant floor heating ducts and piping are also difficult to protect since many of the metal components in these systems are not grounded.

In other words, the PROTEK cannot guarantee that a drill bit will not penetrate a metal pipe, conduit, or reinforcement rod. The PROTEK can, and does, help a drill operator avoid drilling through most grounded metal objects.

Experience has shown that the proper use of a PROTEK is effective in reducing damage to metal pipes and conduit in the vast majority of situations in which rotary-hammer drills are utilized. Due to extreme variability in building design, however, the PROTEK Drill Interrupter should only be considered as an aid to drill operators to help avoid drilling through pipes, conduit, and reinforcement steel. All normal precautions should be taken – including the use of building plans, estimation of piping and conduit routing, and the use of a PROTEK – to help reduce the possibility of pipe or conduit breakage while drilling.

What does the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) receptacle do?
The GFCI (where the drill power cord is plugged) is a very sophisticated shock-protection device. It senses when current leaks from the hot wire in the drill’s housing or cord and immediately shuts off power to the drill to reduce the possibility for electrocution.

The GFCI has two places to plug in a drill. Can I use two drills with the PROTEK at the same time?
The PROTEK II has a current rating of 13 amps and the PROTEK SRS has a current rating of 15 amps. You can use two drills simultaneously, but it may shorten the lifespan of some of the components in the PROTEK. Additionally, when drilling with two drills plugged into the same PROTEK, if the PROTEK trips, you don’t know which of the two drills is hitting grounded metal.

What is the most common repair problem?
The PROTEK has proven to be quite reliable and durable. Repair rates are very low. The most common repair problems include breakage due to very rough handling, moisture and chemical contamination, and exceeding recommended current ratings.

How can I get a PROTEK repaired?
See Service

What is the Control Loop?
When the drill bit encounters grounded metal, the Control Loop is completed (closed), and the PROTEK stops power to the drill. All segments of the Control Loop must be in place for the PROTEK to function properly. If the Control Loop is interrupted at any point, the PROTEK will not shut off power to the drill when the drill bit encounters grounded metal.

Control Loop