Connecting Service Entry Cable to Aerial Triplex

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Old 09-17-13, 11:51 AM
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Connecting Service Entry Cable to Aerial Triplex

Hi All,

Newbie here--new to this forum and to DIYing. Moved to an old 1946 farmhouse and my husband and I will be doing the renovations ourselves.

First project is moving a subpanel so we can demo/rebuild the garage. The whole wiring will be updated within the year, but we need to move that panel so we have enough power to work. I realize nothing is up to code--the subpanel is wired without a ground, and grounds and neutral are tied into a single bus bar.

We have aerial triplex (aluminum) running from the main panel to the 100A subpanel. We have to shorten that to the new subpanel location. We can use a split bolt or parallel groove clamp to connect the SE cable to the triplex (no barrel crimp or H-tap available). I read in 1 place that the power company used to use parallel groove clamps for this and wrap with tape and that is what appears to be on the PoCo side of the main panel. I read in another place a split-bolt actually meets NEC code. Is that correct? Any votes for one or the other?
Any difference in which connector should be used for the messenger wire versus the hots?

Second issue. The SE cable is old and worn to the point nothing can be read on it; it is an older SEU style cable (2 hots and a return). We could only find SER 2-2-2-4 (SE cable type SER with XHHW-2). Are we better off using this new cable and cutting back the ground wire or using the old cable and just taping till the whole system is updated?

TIA,
CJC
 
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Old 09-17-13, 11:54 AM
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Use 2-2-2-4 SER, and replace the triplex with quadruplex.
 
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Old 09-17-13, 12:23 PM
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We can't replace with quadruplex just yet. We are still quite a ways out from getting permits to replace our main panel. Can we use both the return and ground wires in the SER as returns (ie tie both to the return bus in the panel and clamp both to the return on the triplex? Can we just leave the ground unattached (and taped) at both ends so we can reuse the SER once we get a proper subpanel and grounding rod in the final location? The plan is to replace the main panel and hopefully run underground to the sub, but we have to rebuild the garage first. Thanks again, CJC
 
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Old 09-17-13, 12:57 PM
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The plan is to... run underground to the sub, but we have to rebuild the garage first.
Really? If you know where you want the sub in the new garage, why not lay in the feeders at the beginning and use those for temp power as you work?

We are still quite a ways out from getting permits to replace our main panel.
I suggest you check with your local jurisdiction. In most places a permit is required for the work you're planning to do now. Doing any work that requires a permit before getting the permit can result in unpleasant consequences.
 
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Old 09-17-13, 01:16 PM
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cjc17,
I'm also in the early stages of an incremental reno and needed to move the service entrance. My jurisdiction allowed me to run the new 4-wire SE cable from the new meter enclosure into a 6x6 junction box and inside there connect to the old 3-wire cable to my subpanel using split-bolt connectors. Everything ahead of the junction box is code, everything after it is old, untouched, and not to code (but as safe as was standard for 35 years ago).
Inspectors all have their own preferences.
My jurisdiction also allows the homeowner to do his own work but a change to the service entrance must pass inspection before the poco will switch drop location.
YMMV.
 
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Old 09-17-13, 04:30 PM
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Nashkat,
We are taking the garage down to the slab. We thought about a temp power pole, but there is no protection from winter snows there (till we rebuild). So we opted to move the subpanel to a covered location. We're okay with the building dept as far as the demo, and need to start ASAP because it will take us a while. We're still waiting on the engineer and want to be ready as soon as we get final build permits. We do have a someone in the construction industry guiding us through this, but he's not a general contractor. So we are doing this owner builders.
 
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Old 09-17-13, 04:41 PM
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Guy,
Thanks for the split-bolt vote. So did you tape the connections? What did you do with the 4th wire from the SE?
 
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Old 09-17-13, 05:10 PM
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OK. I would use the new cable. I would not cut any of the conductors back. You can connect all four at each end and configure your relocated subpanel properly. See Sub Panel Diagrams.

I tape split-bolt connections with three layers of tape: rubber, cloth (friction) and high-quality vinyl. I prefer, though, to mount a box or trough large enough that everything can be made up with insulated terminal blocks.
 

Last edited by Nashkat1; 09-17-13 at 05:29 PM.
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Old 09-17-13, 05:34 PM
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Any difference in which connector should be used for the messenger wire versus the hots?
I prefer the parallel groove connector for hots and neutral (messenger). The connectors typically are made of tin plated aluminum and are rated for copper to aluminum, copper to copper or aluminum to aluminum. My opinion is they are a bit easier to tape than split bolts. Check out these single bolt Type PAA connectors from Blackburn. You only tape the two hot connections, the neutral connection can remain bare.

http://www.tnb.com/ps/fulltilt/index.cgi?part=PAA109

If you choose split bolts, they must be rated for aluminum.

http://www.tnb.com/ps/fulltilt/index.cgi?part=1AAW

I want to add that since this is temporary, I'd continue using the triplex for the temporary service only.
 

Last edited by CasualJoe; 09-17-13 at 07:02 PM.
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Old 09-17-13, 06:37 PM
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What ?!?!?!? No vote for Polaris bugs Good for temporary and can be reused in the future.

http://www.polarisconnectors.com/pdfs/NSi/IT_series.pdf
 
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Old 09-18-13, 01:55 PM
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Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the help!!!!!

Okay, I still have a question about service panel wiring--lots of conflicting info out there. I had read that a subpanel in a detached structure gets its own ground rod in lieu of a ground running back to the main panel, but I'm gathering that is incorrect. So to sum up my current understanding (NPI)... a subpanel in a detached structure gets its own ground rod AND a ground wire connecting back to the grounding bus bar on the main, a subpanel in the same building as the main panel only needs the ground wire back the main (not its own ground rod). In either case, the subpanel's grounding and neutral bus bars are unbonded. A main panel has its grounding and neutral bus bars bonded. Do I have that all correct so far? Does the term "detached" refer more to whether or not the structures are connected by metal water/gas lines? Or is it the common meaning? I ask because our main panel is in the well pump house which has metal water pipes connecting to the main house.

To add to the confusion, I read somewhere that there are instances in which a subpanel is allowed to be wired like a main panel with bonded or shared grounding and neutral buses. Is that ever the case?

Lastly, can anyone tell me how to read the clamp ratings? I get solid and stranded, but not sure what 8 sol 6 AR means. Also there is no indication of size on the wires I'm connecting (have to re-use the existing SE cable for now), is there any other way to make sure the connection is safe? If I use a parallel groove clamp and the wires fit easily and hold firmly, will that be a reasonable indication that I'm okay?

Thanks again,
cjc17
 
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Old 09-18-13, 02:44 PM
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had read that a subpanel in a detached structure gets its own ground rod in lieu of a ground running back to the main panel, but I'm gathering that is incorrect.
The ground rod is connected to the GEC, Ground Electrode Conductor. It provides protection from atmospheric electrical charges. The EGC, Equipment Grounding Conductor provides a path to clear shots by providing a low resistance path back to the panel that will cause the breaker to trip. Both are needed.

Does the term "detached" refer more to whether or not the structures are connected by metal water/gas lines? Or is it the common meaning? I ask because our main panel is in the well pump house which has metal water pipes connecting to the main house.
Detached means not built as part of the same structure. Water lines and such do not make a structure attached.

I read somewhere that there are instances in which a subpanel is allowed to be wired like a main panel with bonded or shared grounding and neutral buses. Is that ever the case?
That is old code. It is now never code compliant but an installation may be grandfathered till any work or changes are done. At that point it must be brought up to current code.
 
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Old 09-18-13, 05:24 PM
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I get solid and stranded, but not sure what 8 sol 6 AR means.
8 sol means #8 solid. Not sure what 6 AR means, but it obviously is #6. Could it have been "ACSR"? Where did you see these designations? That may help to figure the "AR" out.

Also there is no indication of size on the wires I'm connecting (have to re-use the existing SE cable for now), is there any other way to make sure the connection is safe? If I use a parallel groove clamp and the wires fit easily and hold firmly, will that be a reasonable indication that I'm okay?
For sizing, you could cut off a short piece of the SE cable insulated conductor and match it up at any supply house. As far as your connectors, I think it is a reasonable assumption that you'll be OK for a temporary drop if the conductors fit and hold within the parallel groove clamps.
 
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Old 09-18-13, 05:37 PM
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I had read that a subpanel in a detached structure gets its own ground rod in lieu of a ground running back to the main panel, but I'm gathering that is incorrect. So to sum up my current understanding (NPI)... a subpanel in a detached structure gets its own ground rod AND a ground wire connecting back to the grounding bus bar on the main, a subpanel in the same building as the main panel only needs the ground wire back the main (not its own ground rod). In either case, the subpanel's grounding and neutral bus bars are unbonded. A main panel has its grounding and neutral bus bars bonded. Do I have that all correct so far?
Very close. It's subtle, and it may just be in how you said it. Here's the point:

In a subpanel, the the grounded conductors and the equipment grounding conductors - commonly called the neutrals and the grounds - are not connected to each other. They are terminated to separate bus bars. The grounds, including the separately derived ground - the ground rod or water pipe bond or both - if there is one, are bonded to the enclosure - the panel box. The neutrals are kept isolated. They are on an isolated bus and they are only connected to the neutral feeding in from the upstream panel.

Maybe that's what you meant and I just wasn't hearing you as well as I would like to. If so, let's just take this as clarifying the point.

Also, as I said earlier, see Sub Panel Diagrams.
 

Last edited by Nashkat1; 09-18-13 at 06:40 PM.
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Old 09-18-13, 08:36 PM
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Hope I'm doing the little bubble quotes correctly.

Also, as I said earlier, see Sub Panel Diagrams.
I actually looked at the diagrams several times. That is how I realized my original understanding wasn't quite right. (I was mistakenly under the impression that because the subpanel's ground bus was connected to a ground rod it didn't need the forth "green" wire back to the main panel. But thank you all very much for the further clarification. I really like understanding the "why's" of what I need to do.

Where did you see these designations? That may help to figure the "AR" out.
The package for the parallel groove clamp specified conductor range for main and tap as:
2/0 ACSR - 8 SOL 6 AR. I thought AR stood for armor rod, but still not really sure exactly what is being specified. It would be great to understand for future reference.

But....for now, "Houston, we have contact" My socket tester shows correct wiring. I've dried 3 loads of clothes in the dryer and no smoke, sparks or problems. I feel so emPOWERED by the DIYing!

Cheers to you all for your help, cjc17
 
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Old 09-18-13, 09:55 PM
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The package for the parallel groove clamp specified conductor range for main and tap as:
2/0 ACSR - 8 SOL 6 AR. I thought AR stood for armor rod, but still not really sure exactly what is being specified. It would be great to understand for future reference.
Yep, that's what Thomas & Betts puts on their parallel groove clamps. That said, I have No Idea what they mean by "AR."

Glad you got the dryer going OK.

More emPOWERment to come.
 
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Old 09-18-13, 10:02 PM
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ACSR: All Copper Stranded ?.
 
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Old 09-19-13, 09:14 AM
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ACSR: All Copper Stranded ?.
No, Aluminum Conductor Steel Reinforced. The best example I can give is the neutral/messenger of larger triplex or quadruplex. Do Not try to cut through this with cable cutters! Don't ask me how I know this.
 
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