Tip & How-To about Measuring Tools & Sensors

How to operate a stud finder

Hi There,

Sometimes the LED type readouts on stud finders aren't as intuitive as one would hope. This will help clear up what you are seeing.

There are usually four LED's and a button on the device. The LED's indicate an increased density in wall, but increased from what? Each time the unit is used it needs to go through a short calibration to get a frame of reference.

This is the procedure:

  • Place the unit flat against the wall.
  • Press and hold the button.
  • The LED will come on for a second or two then go out.
  • Slowly move the unit laterally until the LEDs come on again. You're getting near a stud.
  • When they top out (all four lit), that is the beginning of the stud. Mark it.
  • When they start to go back down, that is the end of the stud. Mark there too. The stud should be between the marks.
That's about it.

It beats knocking on the wall or drilling test holes.

Best regards

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how to use a stud finder

The stud finder works by picking up density of the product it is pressed and slid on..Turn your stud finder on make sure the ok light is on...then slightly press it against the wall or surface you are working with,,then slowly moved it right or left still against the surface. As the finder starts to detect more density "thickness" it will. Glow or beep depending what type you have..It will get brighter,louder or what ever it signals are while crossing the stud beneath the surface..keep moving until it stops then move back
again until it stops.....mark or note the position where the signal starts then find the middle...2x4's are 1 1/2 inches across...so center should be 3/4 of an inch...good luck..

Aug 04, 2014 | Stanley 77-720 Stud Sensor 200

2 Answers

I need help finding a stub behind drywall

The stud finders are not expensive but you can sometimes use a magnet to find the nails. Also you might try shining a flashlight across the wall. The putty put over the nails will sometimes show up. Last resort is to tap on the wall and try and hear the areas that have support under them.

Jan 26, 2013 | Drywall

1 Answer

I have a 9-volt Strait-Line Stud Finder with 3 red LEDs and 1 green LED at the top end to mark the Stud Edge. I would appreciate it if I could receive step-by-step instructions on how to use the stud finder to locate studs behind my dry wall. (What does a constant tone mean when you have scanned an area better than 6 inches wide?) Thank you for help in this matter.

I suspect there are several models but I have one model. 1) Turn on the unit (if the green light is blinking replace the battery). 2) Calibrate the unit by holding it flat against the wall for 5 seconds until the red light goes off and the beep stops. Make sure you do not move the unit during the calibration or position the unit over a stud (try a spot 6-12" away from the corner of the wall - most studs are on 16" or 24" centers and the wood/metal stud is 1 1/2" thick). If the unit keeps beeping or the red light doesn't go off during the calibration, move the unit sideways 5-8" in case you are above a water pipe or other reason for "too deep a surface" for the unit.

3) Do not lift the unit off the wall or you will need to recalibrate it. Slide the unit across the wall. When the upper red light comes on and the beeping starts, that marks one edge of the object in the wall (stud). Continue until the red light goes off and the beeping stops. Mark the other edge of the stud by moving the stud finder in the opposite direction and marking when the red light comes on and the beeping starts. The center of the two marks is the center of the stud for securing anything to the wall.

If the beep persists over a 6" range, I'd check if you have any old cast-iron pipes or a door/window that was relocated in that wall. Repeating the test in a few places vertically along that spot of the wall will tell you there is a consistent large object in that location. Neither a filled in window or door will run the entire length of the wall but you could be finding the headers (the vertical framing of the opening would probably be ~4-6" wide (double or triple stud depening on the needs of the house design)).

I hope this helps.

Cindy Wells
(on another stud-finder that I borrow, you press the buttons on the right and left side to turn it on. Calibrate by holding it to the wall for a short while and then slide it across the wall. Note when the top red led lights and the beep starts. Repeat in reverse to find the other side of the stud.)

Sep 17, 2010 | Garden

1 Answer

How to operate the Stanley Stud Finder

Hi Gene,

  • Place the unit flat against the wall.
  • Press and hold the button.
  • The LED will come on for a second or two then go out.
  • Slowly move the unit laterally until the LEDs come on again.
  • When they top out, that is the beginning of the stud.
  • When they start to go back down, that is the end of the stud.
That's about it..

Best regards

Jun 04, 2010 | Stanley 77 115 Intellisensor Plus Stud...

1 Answer

how do I know when i am on the stud

These usually need to be calibrated in a stud-less section of the wall so that the LED just goes out. Slide the finder over the wall slowly until the light turns on--that is the first edge. Continue moving and the LED should go out--that is the second edge. These two points should be marked lightly with a pencil and the midpoint between the marks locates the center of the stud. Note that these tools will respond to wiring in the wall the same way. Hope this helps!

May 07, 2010 | Strait-Line Strait Line 6041706 Stud...

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