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Old 11-21-2002, 03:20 PM
  #31
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Cord,

Actually, the break is AFTER the meter, so with the meter pulled the line will be dead. I found a guy who says he can pinpoint the break for $75. Then, depending on where the break turns out to be, I will make my decision on how to repair it.

Thanks again for all the advice!
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Old 11-21-2002, 09:57 PM
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Budman

Just a thought, do the repair and at the same time move the meter to the house. Then any other problems from pole to house falls on electric company.

Like I said just a thought
 
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Old 11-21-2002, 11:00 PM
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Default Getting thru the weekend

You could disconnect the phase that you have lost power on at your main panel in your home, install a jumper over to other side/phase, turn off all 220 circuits & atleast have power in your home for the weekend. I know you won't have heat, range & dryers working but it will atleast you can get through the weekend. Remember this, you will probably need atleast 2 splice kits on one conductor. Chances are you will have to cut out a portion of the wire and splice the 2 halves together.
200 Amps Residential Al wire is a 4/OTT XLP USE type wire for underground burial, real cheap to buy from a supply house. As I said I unfortunately get to repair this type of situation regularly. If you decide to with a contractor, get a solid bid with a complete price, however I would honestly say go ahead & do it yourself.
Get the guy to locate the break in the conductor & start digging.
This should keep you busy for only a couple hours.
Have Fun e-mail if you need any help or suggestions John
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Old 11-22-2002, 01:08 AM
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You can meet code requirements by splicing with a splice kit approved for direct-burial cable. 3M makes one that, after you splice the conductors, has a plastic 'form' that covers the splice and a liquid compound is poured in which will quickly cure into a plastic jacket, encapsulating the splice. Talk to someone at an electrical supply and they should be able to help.

The success of pulling that old wire out of the ground without damaging it further is questionable, depending on how deep it is. You might try to pull it up starting at one end, digging carefully as you proceed. If it has been down for years tree roots may really screw this all up.

Also the crimping tool, etc, required to connect the conductors may end up costing a good bit of cash unless someone can help out on that stuff. You will probably have to replace a section of cable, not just repair 1 spot.

In order to avoid suprises, I would plan on having to replace the cable in case it can't be repaired, and make sure someone has it in stock with conduit, etc. and start early in the AM. You should have the wire out in an hour or 2. If it is wasted, head for the supply house.

When you get there......

You will need 2- 3/0 phase conductors and 1- 2/0 neutral conductor. You also should run a bonding ground- I think #8, which is cheap. this will connect to the meter pan box and your breaker/disconnect box.

The proper stuff to put in underground conduit is wet location rated cable such as TW, THW, THHW, THWN or equivalent.

The closest prices I could find were on Home depots site, for THHN type wire- this is not the exact type wire, but the price should be close.

3/0 AWG THHN is listed at 77 cents per foot, and 1/0 AWG 69 per foot. You wire cost will be 2.23 per foot, about $250 or so per 100 ft run.

2 inch schedule 40 PVC is listed at Lowes at 2.99 per 10 ft stick. this means another $30 or so for 100 foot. Add some for misc. fittings required at each end. It needs to be buried 18 inches deep. You can rent a ditch-witch, kind of like a giant chain saw, that will make the neatest trench. You glue the PVC conduit together- its easy.

This job could be done in 1 day- if you have a friend that does electrical work get him to look things over and double check your work.

Just remember to pull the meter and double check to make sure it is safe to work on. Do it during the weekend, and call the power company 'immediately' after, and tell them you had to have an emergency repair done that required the meter to be pulled, and they will replace the seal on your meter.

I really hate to see you go through life without those Merlins-my 540's have 345 VR marines on them and I get sentimental to think that god let me have 2 pairs of them....

Email me if you need more details, or call at 1-985-893-3831, and good luck!

Ronnie AKA Bulldog (Electrical Engineer with damaged brain cells)
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Old 11-22-2002, 05:28 PM
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Unhappy Here we go...

The guy came out with the "toner" and located the area where he thinks the fault is at. Good thing is it is not under any driveways, sidewalks, trees, etc. Bad news is it is almost 48" deep!! I thought I was digging a hole to China just to get down to the cable. Then all we could do was look at it - I am going to have to dig a HUGE hole just to get down to work on this thing. Might have to rent something to help me dig. Then there is no guarantee that this is the actual fault; or that if I splice this fault another one won't show up a few days, weeks, or years down the road. I guess I will be taking a gamble splicing this thing, and I'm not much of a gambler.

I considered just replacing the whole underground service with one that is in conduit, but that will cost $800 - $1000, maybe more. If I have to spend that kind of loot, I would prefer to have the power company bring in overhead service (like the rest of the neighborhood). That way it will be them footing the bill in the future, and I can go ahead and run 100 amp service to the pole barn that we built this summer. Sounds like a better way to go. In the meantime, I think I'm just going to splice this ***** so that we can get our hot water back. I'm tired of taking cold showers!
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Old 11-22-2002, 05:39 PM
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Sounds like the 500 bucks is probably worth it. If I remember correctly you have an Aluminum Service...Thwn & th range of wires are Copper. As for a crimp, just use a mechanical butt splice which uses a Allen type "grub' type bolt to apply the pressure. Good luck
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Old 11-22-2002, 05:52 PM
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Thanks, Johno,

That is exactly the kind of splice that one electrician suggested. He said that it has a capsule of some sort that is filled with some kind of special silicone that clamps around the joint. I am thinking of taking a stab at it myself. I figure I can cut it with some bolt cutters or a hacksaw, then strip the insulation back with a boxcutter. Digging the hole and getting to it will be the hard part. I might try to see if my buddy that has the landscaping business can get a couple of his Mexican helpers out there for a little extra "dinero por cerveza".

So you say you have fixed a lot of these splices? Is this a pretty common failure? What would cause this to suddenly happen? The guy who did the survey said that he has seen new faults occur days or weeks later on lines that were spliced. This worries me a little - spend all of this time/money fixing the damn thing only to have it happen again!
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Old 11-22-2002, 06:42 PM
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Most time a fault shows up is shortly after it was installed. Once you are past that time then any movement in the earth can cause a rock to did into the insulation. One the insulation is penitrated it is only a mater of time before the wire corrodes in two.

Watch out for when your help helps you, 1 cut/nick in wire from shovel will show up in short time & you will be right back where you are now.
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Old 11-22-2002, 10:05 PM
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Dam ! lots of electricians in here ! Well here is my two cents . Electrical engineer by the way , not that means anything . Splices done properly are very reliable , however I only allow them when there has been a mechanical failure such as digging , trenching or drilling . If your failure was due to roots (very common ) your splice wont fail , another root will penetrate .When there is leakage or a low volt condition as opposed to a no voltage condition the cable will be affected in a large area as opposed to one spot that could be spliced ( ie mechanical failure as stated above) When insulation has been breached , especially with aluminum cable , moisture is pulled by capillary action in both directions and will affect the entire length of cable . Again the splice will not fail the cable will fail elsewhere . A splice will be a temporary repair . If you plan on living there more than a year dont splice . Your meter should be at the house . The power that is arching to ground is billable . You are paying for it !If you have trees dont go under ground without rigid conduit . Without knowing specifics on your property I would guess that going overhead and relocating your meter would be the most cost effective solution . Consult a reputable local electrician . Dont get a friend to do it as a side job , it will cost you more in the long run , and insist on relocating your meter .
Wiring is no hobby , use a liscensed electrician
Good luck
Jim Capie
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Old 11-22-2002, 11:32 PM
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I'm not an electrician but I play one on TV.... Get an orange power cord and plug into your neihbors house. Done deal. (and cheap) Make sure it is a fat one to handle the power
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