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I accidently ran dry wall screw into a 220 cable entering in to my breaker box

I accidently ran dry wall screw into a 220 cable entering in to my breaker box

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  #1  
Old 09-21-05, 02:41 PM
melkwegstudios
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I accidently ran dry wall screw into a 220 cable entering in to my breaker box

Dumb move!!!!!!!

I accidently ran dry wall screw into a 220 cable entering in to my breaker box on the bottom.

Sparks flew, burnt some insulation, I took the screw back out as soon as it happened, what should I do next???? I left the power on, It seems to not be
shorted, not sparks.......but I am not comfortable about the wire.
Nor do I want to call a electrician!!!!!!! Help!
 
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  #2  
Old 09-21-05, 02:46 PM
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Do you know what this cable is? Do you know what gauge the wires are? Is your main breaker on the top or bottom?

To start, you need to cut away the drywall so you can get a clear view. This is a major screw-up, so don't plan to get off cheap.
 
  #3  
Old 09-21-05, 02:47 PM
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Turn that circuit off immediately. If you don't know what circuit it is, turn everything off.

How do you know it's a 240 volt line?

The only solution is to remove that piece of cable.

If, per chance there is enough slack in the line to cut it where you messed it up then you could simply cut it and reconnect it. However, this is probably not the case.

Other options include replacing the wire for it's entire distance or installing a junction box and then replacing the last few feet of the cable.

What circuit is it, how long is the circuit run, and is there any slack in the cable?
 
  #4  
Old 09-21-05, 02:48 PM
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You need to replace that piece of cable.
 
  #5  
Old 09-21-05, 02:59 PM
melkwegstudios
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dumb move!!!

I was in a hurry, and screwed up, I had to go to work, wife needed the power on. So I left it on. That was probally stupid also. Electrician at work,
said to cut power off to house and undo the wire where it was penetrated,
look for damage, broken multi strands, or other damage? I don't know any more information about the wire, I'm lucky to have not been shocked, I can't believe it did'nt bite me when I took it out......man i'm nervous!
 
  #6  
Old 09-21-05, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by melkwegstudios
Nor do I want to call a electrician!!!!!!!
That would be the first thing you should do!
 
  #7  
Old 09-21-05, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by melkwegstudios
D I left the power on, It seems to not be
shorted, not sparks.......but I am not comfortable about the wire.
Nor do I want to call a electrician!!!!!!! Help!
You need to call an electrician, yesterday.

If you don't feel comfortable with electric, i am not sure you should try to repair it yourself anyway.

Otherwise, you need to take the cover off the panel and see what that wire is connected to. Then turn the breaker off that those wires are connected to.

Lets ask this silly question, does your service feed enter from above or below the panel? If its below, you need to shut everything down and get an electrician in there now.
 
  #8  
Old 09-21-05, 05:16 PM
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You are lucky you are alive to tell about. Turn it off...call an electrician. Don't do another stupid thing.
 
  #9  
Old 09-21-05, 05:17 PM
melkwegstudios
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this is the DIY forum......right

this is the DIY forum......right!

....now to the biz of fixing this, the panel is a subpanel in a utilty closet off the back of house, wire comes in from the bottom. The main breaker is at the meter on the end of the house, (1950's Ranch), I have removed all the wall sheathing, no drywall, I did that in 3 minutes after I saw smoke, but I think that was from the arc ( screw in then screw out), it looked like a welding rod in the wall. i think what I'm going to do is replace the whole length back to the main breaker panel, besides upon removing the wall material, I also had to remove the 220 dryer receptical, and it's in pretty sad shape also (brittle copper wire).......any thoughts???
 
  #10  
Old 09-21-05, 05:27 PM
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If this is the feed from a main panel to the sub panel, then turn off the breaker in the main panel that feeds this sub panel. Do not turn it on again until the problem is fixed. It doesn't matter what's on it, don't turn it on again until you fix the problem.

If this is the feed from the main breaker then turn the main breaker off and do not run it on until an electrician does it for you. Do not in any way mess with a main breaker that is outside connected to the meter. This would not be a DIY job.

If the cable is from a main panel (not main breaker) that you can shut off then and if it easy enough to do then the best solution is to replace the entire cable. When you replace the cable, use the same size and type cable that is presently there. Connect the wires exactly as the existing wires are. Make notes and/or take digital pictures so you know exactly how the wires are connected to the panels. Replace the cable with ALL the power off. That means with the main breaker outside turned off, so that there is no way you can electrocute yourself from either panel.

Don;t even worry about the replacing the dryer receptacle until you fix the bigger problem.
 
  #11  
Old 09-21-05, 05:53 PM
melkwegstudios
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ok...ok...main panel

Well what wire usally comes in to the bottom of a subpanel?
It's from the main panel, then beyond that is the main breaker and meter,
that sound like the chain of command right???
 
  #12  
Old 09-21-05, 05:59 PM
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If this wire is between the main panel and the sub panel, then it is the feed for the sub panel. There should be a breaker in the main panel that feeds this sub panel (you should know this). Turn this breaker off. Do not turn it on again until the problem is fixed.
 
  #13  
Old 09-21-05, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by melkwegstudios
Well what wire usally comes in to the bottom of a subpanel?
There is NO answer to this question.

If it is the feed from the main panel (regardless of where it enters) into this sub-panel you are probably better off replacing it rather than repairing it.
If you are comfortable doing this that is fine.
 
  #14  
Old 09-21-05, 06:09 PM
melkwegstudios
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yes this sounds right

as you described, it's between the sub panel and main panel, you say turn it off till it can be repaired, ok.......MY question iscan i repair it???????

[email protected] things been on for nearly 7 hours now....
 
  #15  
Old 09-21-05, 06:11 PM
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Is there slack? Can you shorten it?
 
  #16  
Old 09-21-05, 06:21 PM
melkwegstudios
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yeah a little slack, that why my screw hit the stupid thing, it is swung over an up to go in the sub panel, but if I cut it, I doub't enough to run it back in the sub panel. ***How about the idea of or installing a junction box and then replacing the last few feet of the cable** or my work electricains idea of cutting everything off, cutting open the wire bundle and inspecting for damage??????
 
  #17  
Old 09-21-05, 07:17 PM
melkwegstudios
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thank you

Thanks for all the help, seeing how the power is still on at home. I must be brave or just a idiot. I think luck was with me today. I am going to add a,
junction box and run it up to the subpanel, this is all I can afford to do at this time, then fix the drier recept., and then the wall, gees all the trouble...
All of you are right, for the concern, given my error with the drywall screw.

"nice thing about this forum is that you can tell everyone about all the dumb things you do, and knowone will raz you about it latter"

thanks
 
  #18  
Old 09-21-05, 07:25 PM
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[QUOTE or my work electricains idea of cutting everything off, cutting open the wire bundle and inspecting for damage??????[/QUOTE]


You already know something is damaged.....hence the sparks. I think unfortunately you must rule out any thought of just leaving it alone. Using a junction box to splice in a section of new cable seems like the best all around idea. Remember, the junction box must be left accessible; you must not "bury" it in the wall.
 
  #19  
Old 09-21-05, 07:26 PM
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Be sure that your junction box remains accessible. Do not cover it with sheathing or gypsum board.
 
  #20  
Old 09-21-05, 08:04 PM
melkwegstudios
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ok...I won't cover it up, I think I am going to get a larger box, and repair the feeder, and wire out for the drier recept.

I also am going to use those U-clamps for the connection, wraped in rubber electrical tape, instead of wire nuts. Does this sound correct. but like I said it
is still connected with power on, the repair would give me piece of mind. I think i must have hit a 1 power wire, and a ground (like 110), because no breakers tripped when the screw went through........wheooo
 
  #21  
Old 09-22-05, 01:29 AM
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You should turn off the power.
Any carbon scorching from the short can start a fire over time.
Just like some unoccupied cars catch fire from carbon build up in the key switches,

If the wire is aluminum, it will require connectors made for aluminum wire.
 
  #22  
Old 09-22-05, 07:53 AM
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I also am going to use those U-clamps for the connection, wraped in rubber electrical tape, instead of wire nuts. Does this sound correct
No, it doesn't... Experts??

Glad you plan to repair this ASAP (or sooner). Please don't think just because everything's still working and there hasn't been a fire yet that everything's okay. My first fire (when I joined the fire department many years ago...) was caused by a wire in the attic that was pierced by a staple when the house was built. It sat for years as it was until one hot humid day when conditions were just right.

Doug M.
 
  #23  
Old 09-22-05, 10:36 AM
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First things first.

What exactly is the wire. Size and cu or al? What does it say on the sheath?
Let's go from there.
 
  #24  
Old 09-22-05, 12:19 PM
melkwegstudios
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Smile tell me how to splice this thing

tell me how to splice this thing!!!!!!!
this is a old cable which is, aluminum I think its a size 6 (a red wire and a white wire with a ground wrapped around it), and it enters the box and goes in a 30 amp breaker because, I can't read the sheath.......I inspected the damage of the wire, 4 ground strands where burnt into, then i taped it up, saturday i will fix this.

Which of these is a good splicer in a junction box?????

http://www.gardnerbender.com/whats_n...onnectors.html
 

Last edited by melkwegstudios; 09-22-05 at 12:58 PM.
  #25  
Old 09-22-05, 12:56 PM
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In that case I would NOT use split-bolts. They must be done perfectly to last and be safe.
I would use something like these Ilsco insulated connectors.

#6al on a 30 doesn't sound right. Is this panel very far from the main?
 
  #26  
Old 09-22-05, 12:58 PM
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I just re-read your post.
If this is only two wires and a bare ground(ed) conductor I would seriously consider replacing the whole thing.
This cable was never legal to use as a feeder to a sub-panel within a same structure. It should be replaced with the proper 4-wire cable.
 
  #27  
Old 09-22-05, 01:01 PM
melkwegstudios
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it's about 30 ft plus from the main panel
 
  #28  
Old 09-22-05, 01:02 PM
melkwegstudios
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maybe legal in 1953, right
 
  #29  
Old 09-22-05, 01:05 PM
melkwegstudios
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i'm not sure its a feeder anymore, there is another wire in the same box,its bigger, anyway it comes into a mechanical lug not a breaker i think that one is the feeeder. the one i screwed through might go to the stove
 
  #30  
Old 09-22-05, 01:10 PM
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Please figure out which wire you damaged before going any further.
 
  #31  
Old 09-22-05, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by melkwegstudios
i'm not sure its a feeder anymore, there is another wire in the same box,its bigger, anyway it comes into a mechanical lug not a breaker i think that one is the feeeder. the one i screwed through might go to the stove
That makes more sense. If this is a sub there is a very good chance it would be fed to lugs as opposed to a main breaker.
Also, yes, the cable in question was legal and widely used to feed stoves.
 
  #32  
Old 09-22-05, 01:55 PM
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You can certainly fix this yourself. However, the advice to call an electrician was based on the assumption that your wife would not put up with no power to the house for the time it's going to take you to figure this job out and do it. If you and your wife don't mind a considerable time without power, then go for it. But if you're still "risking it" by leaving the power on while you investigate and ponder, then you're a much, much bigger risk-taker than most of us.
 
  #33  
Old 09-22-05, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by John Nelson
You can certainly fix this yourself. However, the advice to call an electrician was based on the assumption that your wife would not put up with no power to the house for the time it's going to take you to figure this job out and do it. If you and your wife don't mind a considerable time without power, then go for it. But if you're still "risking it" by leaving the power on while you investigate and ponder, then you're a much, much bigger risk-taker than most of us.

I had a reply drafted and thought better of sending it. John, were much more eloquent than I was going to be.
 
  #34  
Old 09-22-05, 03:19 PM
melkwegstudios
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Originally Posted by Speedy Petey
In that case I would NOT use split-bolts. They must be done perfectly to last and be safe.
I would use something like these Ilsco insulated connectors.

#6al on a 30 doesn't sound right. Is this panel very far from the main?

thanks speedy pete, I really don't think this is as big a problem, as others have suggested, I'm not a electrician, and hardly a carpenter, I am for now just going to turn the breaker off to the stove........and keep on keeping on!!!
 
  #35  
Old 09-22-05, 04:36 PM
melkwegstudios
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i think this would be a bigger problem

I think this would be a bigger problem. T hanks to all, even the peanut gallery.


http://www.aaanimalcontrol.com/deadratstove.htm
 
  #36  
Old 09-22-05, 05:26 PM
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"The kitchen was ground zero for a stench that made this home uninhabitable. After a bit of searching, I discovered a very large dead rat had climbed up inside the wiring behind the stove, chewed, and got electrocuted and died. Fried rat is not as tasty as it sounds."

How did a dead rat (large or small) climb up anything?
 
  #37  
Old 09-22-05, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by racraft
How did a dead rat (large or small) climb up anything?

It apparently died a second time, so they must have two lives...seven shy of cats.

 
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