USE-2 XLP aluminum ok inside?


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Old 11-16-08, 06:03 PM
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USE-2 XLP aluminum ok inside?

This is kind of a follow-up of sorts to an earlier post I had, "Copper to Aluminum?", for anyone who may have contributed to that. I'm running a feed to a detached building subpanel, part of which will run across the basement ceiling to connect to already placed 2-2-4 Alum.(+ #6 copper gnd wire) in ug conduit. Just want to double-check, and make sure I'm correct in the type I can use for the indoor portion before I proceed.

Picked up a pre-cut remnant today for a discount, so hope it will work. It's 2-2-4 Alum. individually twisted with no outer casing and here's how the #2 wire is labeled, word for word: "SOUTHWIRE (UL) AWG 2 AL TYPE USE-2 60 MILS XLP INSULATION 600 VOLTS MAY/22/2008" .

Is this acceptable to go across my basement from my main panel, fastened directly to the ceiling joists, to tie into the ug portion (which is exactly the same product as it turns out)? Will also have the separate #6 copper gnd wire along with that.

Thanks!
 
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Old 11-16-08, 08:15 PM
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That sounds like service entrance cable. The only wire you can run in a dwelling that doesn't need to be in a "raceway" is Non-metallic(romex) or MC-cable.
 
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Old 11-17-08, 06:09 AM
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Type USE cable is not for use within a building. It is for underground service. It does not have a flame retardant overall jacket.
 
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Old 11-17-08, 06:18 AM
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USE-2 Outdoor Use Only

This cable is rated for Underground Service Entrance (USE) only and cannot be used inside of a building [NEC 338.12(B)(1)].

The most common product used as a feeder inside a dwelling is SER Cable (Service Entrance Cable). This is a jacketed product which is installed using the same rules as NM-B Cable when used as a feeder or branch circuit.

Posted comments are my personal opinion and should not be considered as a Formal Interpretation of the NEC or an official position of Southwire Company.
 
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Old 11-17-08, 07:21 AM
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Can he use this if he pipes it?
 
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Old 11-17-08, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by mercierc View Post
or an official position of Southwire Company.
Do you actually work for Southwire?
 
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Old 11-17-08, 09:25 AM
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Following is some information I had gotten towards the end of my "Copper to Aluminum" thread, which led me to believe that USE-2 w/ the "XLP" component in the insulation made it ok for indoor use.

Since the cable I bought was labeled as such, I thought it might be ok. Please add any thoughts regarding that. If that doesn't fly, can I run it through conduit (metal or pvc?) in order to be able to utilize it?

Thanks.

***************************
There are an awful lot of gotchas here, but I'll try to summarize:

URD: outdoor, underground use only. The "R" means that the cable is rubber-based which is flammable.

USE/USE-2: outdoor use only if the underlying wire insulation is not type XLP. USE-2 cable that is made from XLP insulation is usually allowed indoors. The difference is that XLP is flame-retardant.

SE/SER: indoor use or above-ground outdoor use is acceptable.
 
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Old 11-17-08, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by markev_diy View Post
USE-2 cable that is made from XLP insulation is usually allowed indoors.
You have to ask your inspector if this is the case in your jurisdiction. Sorry if I wasn't clear that this was something you needed to check on.

You would definitely need to use conduit as these are individual conductors.
 
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Old 11-17-08, 07:08 PM
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No apology necessary ibpooks, as you did recommend SER 2-2-2-6 or 2-2-4-6 farther down in that post that I referenced, for the indoor. My mistake on interpretation.

I found out that the local Home Depot stocks 2-2-2-4 aluminum SER, so that's the only size SER I've found readily available. Will that work ok to connect to my already buried ug conduit run of 2-2-4 aluminum USE-2 (+ add'l #6 copper gnd), since the neutral and ground wires aren't going to be an identical match in conductor size? FYI, I have no need now, or ever foresee a need, to go with anything larger than a 60A breaker for this feed.

Hopefully I'm getting close here, I'm running out of options (short of busting my budget to hire a professional).

Thanks.
 
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Old 11-17-08, 11:31 PM
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You still need to put it in pipe or some other "raceway". You can't have loose conductors traveling through the basement unprotected.
 
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Old 11-18-08, 02:27 AM
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SER would not need a conduit. It is a complete cable system.
 
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Old 11-18-08, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by markev_diy View Post
I found out that the local Home Depot stocks 2-2-2-4 aluminum SER, so that's the only size SER I've found readily available.
That will do the trick.

since the neutral and ground wires aren't going to be an identical match in conductor size?
The #6 copper and #4 aluminum are equivalent when used as equipment grounds (tbl 250.122) and both are suitable for feeders up to 199A, so no trouble there. Copper is a more conductive metal than aluminum so smaller wires can be used for equivalent current.

The only thing to be careful of is make sure that you use a mechanical connector which is rated for both copper and aluminum. Extra care is required when connecting dissimilar metals to prevent corrosion of the splice. In addition to using the right connectors, liberally apply no-ox grease to the aluminum and copper before splicing.
 
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Old 11-18-08, 10:12 AM
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Glad to know I'm finally on track here. I think the only other questions I can think of are with regard to the connections. As far as the splice between indoor/outdoor, I obviously will need some room to work with the large wire sizes and keep things separated. I saw 6x6 or 8x8 pvc junction boxes, which I'm assuming are just a wide open box inside, is that the sort of thing I'll want to mount on the outside wall of the house?

I bought 4 "GB" brand aluminum splices for Al/Cu, which are just a mechanical butt connector more-or-less, and I do have a tube of anti-oxidant. Do I wrap/cover those connectors with an insulation of some sort to protect from possible contact within the box. If so, what's recommended?

At the main breaker panel, it appears that the #2 neutral & #4 ground wires will be too large to fit in the holes of the corresponding bars. I saw something near the ground bars at the store that looked like they would attach piggyback on the existing bar with a screw and accept a larger size conductor. Sound right?

Thanks again to all who helped me out here!
 
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Old 11-18-08, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by markev_diy View Post
I saw 6x6 or 8x8 pvc junction boxes, which I'm assuming are just a wide open box inside, is that the sort of thing I'll want to mount on the outside wall of the house?
Yes, that will work. I wouldn't go any smaller than 6x6 -- more room is always nicer when working with bulky splices.

I bought 4 "GB" brand aluminum splices for Al/Cu, which are just a mechanical butt connector more-or-less
Do they crimp on or have a threaded set-screw?

Do I wrap/cover those connectors with an insulation of some sort to protect from possible contact within the box. If so, what's recommended?
You usually use a few layers of heavy-duty electrical tape. Wrap the first layer sticky side out, so that if you ever need to disconnect the wires the connector isn't covered in goo.

At the main breaker panel, it appears that the #2 neutral & #4 ground wires will be too large to fit in the holes of the corresponding bars. I saw something near the ground bars at the store that looked like they would attach piggyback on the existing bar with a screw and accept a larger size conductor. Sound right?
Sounds right, it's usually called a neutral lug kit. The #4 may fit on the bar; that's a common maximum wire size for built-in bars. The #2 will need a lug kit.
 
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Old 11-18-08, 04:52 PM
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The connectors do have set screws.

I think I'm now ready to tackle the indoor half of this project, and with luck can get at least one outlet and a light fixture wired in the shed before it gets too cold.

Should do it for this thread. Thanks again, truly appreciate all the advice.
 
 

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