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OT - Need advice from an electrician...

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Old 11-23-2002, 06:36 PM
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I sell these products to utilities and can confirm some of the prior discussions. Utilities use primarily Al cables on all services, both primary and secondary. The cable they run from the transformer to your service is called "Sweetbriar" it's a code name for 4/0 triplex and has an 80 mil XLP jacket over it to eliminate the need for conduit. You may have that or UF (underground feeder) cable which is commonly used by contractors as it costs less. Splices will work fine, finding the fault will be the challange. Use the mechanical splice as mentioned in other posts. 3M and Raychem make the gel filled splice/cover kits. Utilities use a compression connector with a rubber slide on jacket and have no problems. You would need a hydraulic tool to install them which I doubt you have access to. The problem with mechanical connectors is the possibility of loosening due to heat cycling.
I suggest asking the utility to move your meter. You may und up with overhead service or they will charge to put it underground the right way, then they have responsibility to maintain it. Good luck.
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Old 11-25-2002, 10:38 AM
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I took the bull by the horns and dug down to it and installed a splice in it this weekend. I had a hole in the ground that was big enough to bury a horse! Sure enough, the break was right up next to a root for some vibernum bushes growing nearby. I used two of the rubber boot-type splices that use the allen bolts to clamp down. Apparently these have some type of glue/sealant inside of them that bonds to the insulation - all you do is strip back the insulation, shove the wire into the boot, and tighten down the allen heads. There are two caps that cover the allen heads. A couple of the electricians that I talked to recommended them - said they were easier and more trouble free than the heat shrink type. I had to splice in a two-foot section of cable. For good measure, I cut a piece of plastic conduit open and slipped it over the spliced area, hopefully to protect it somewhat from further root intrusion. Jcap, I did see what you are talking about with the corrosion working its way up the wire. As you mentioned, I am considering this a temporary repair. I am going to pursue the overhead hookup, and relocate the meter while I am at it. I just had to get our service back before the holidays.

Thanks for all the advice. I guess I saved several hundred dollars by doing it myself. Unfortunately, Santa still might not bring me those Merlins, since it is very likely that I will be spending some $$$ to switch to overhead in the near future. Oh well, I'll be stuck with a slow boat for a while longer, but at least I have hot water!
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Old 11-25-2002, 11:55 AM
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Let there be light!!!!

Been following your saga. Good work. Sounds like you saved some $$$ until you can implement a more permanant solution.
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Old 11-25-2002, 09:53 PM
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hey budman ,
sounds like you did good ! just remember its temporary , you know the next root will penatrate when the inlaws are over and and its cold out and your in the middle of watching a great ball game ! murphys law and all .
Have a great holiday! ?
(save some room on the credit cards and just charge them merlins )

jim capie
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