Safely capping power line?

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  #1  
Old 05-17-14, 05:51 PM
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Safely capping power line?

I apologize if my terminology is off on this one. I'm far from an electrician.

We had a mother in law house in our back lot that was removed. The person who was removing it did a poor job and wound up leaving halfway through. I finished it up and got it down to the slab.

All that being said, this MIL house had power to it. There was a line from the house to a breaker box in the house. The "contractor" I had before just cut the lines and capped them, so we've got wires next to the slab that are just capped and taped. It's just an accident waiting to happen with kids and animals.

The line runs from the house, down an exterior wall on my garage, and underground to the slab where the house was.

I'd like to safely cap this line. I do not know the voltage, but I'm guessing 220v? It's shielded with three wires (IIRC), circumference about the size of a dime.

I can easily access the wire either through my attic of via a cutout on my garage wall. I'd like to pull some of the wire up, with enough slack for future use (30A for an RV plug) in the garage, and safely store it.

What would be the best, safest way to accomplish this? Kill power, cap the wires, and store it safely?
 
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Old 05-17-14, 05:53 PM
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If you can find the end in your panel you can turn the breaker off and disconnect it.
 
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Old 05-17-14, 09:01 PM
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I thought about doing that, but would like to keep it in place for a 30A, 110v drop in my garage for an RV plug. If there is no way to safely cap the wires, then I will remove it. But in a perfect world, I'd like to keep it up there ready to be used once I finish the garage remodel this fall.

Thanks!
 
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Old 05-17-14, 09:15 PM
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You don't have to cut back or physically remove anything. Just disconnect from the breaker, cap and label the ends in the box.
 
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Old 05-17-14, 09:47 PM
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Ok, when the house was first knocked down, we were trying to find the circuit for it. The only one we found that worked also killed power to the entire house. This was in the same panel with a few other circuits. I guess that brings me to my question. How can I figure out what wire is the one I'm trying to disconnect? Trial and error? (If you know me, that's a valid choice for many things! haha!)

I'm uber-paranoid with electricity, so I apologize if these are dumb questions. It comes from my lack of knowledge, and the fact that I have been zapped a few times to have a healthy fear of it. It would put my mind at ease just to have a schematic of the existing wiring.

I'm attaching a picture of the wire in case that helps at all. The wire is that size all the way around.

Thanks folks...I really appreciate all the help.
 
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Old 05-17-14, 11:00 PM
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The only one we found that worked also killed power to the entire house.
We need to see a picture of the wires on that breaker. It sounds like they double lugged it. Also give us a view of all the wiring in the panel.

The simple answer to your question is put it in a 4X4 box and cap the wires but it sounds like you may have a code violation that may be unsafe and needs to be corrected.

Terminology: Wire is a single conductor. Cable (what you have) is two or more conductors in a metallic or non metallic sheath.
 
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Old 05-18-14, 02:01 PM
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Ah, thanks Ray2047.

Well, after racking my brain this morning, I decided to "chase wires" and figure out how it is powered. I went out to the box outside and verified the same breaker that killed power to the house is the one that killed power to the line. While staring at it and thinking for a few minutes, I saw what looked like a faint writing in pencil. After moving around several different angles, I saw it looked like "Panel". Light bulb went on...

I went to the interior panel and looked around a bit. There were several breakers that were unlabeled. One was a 60A. Just for grins I grabbed a radio, went out to the slab where these wires were cut, threw a meter on it, and radioed to my wife to turn on the breaker. Boom! We had power! I tested both Red/Black and White/Black. Power on, meter showed it. Flipped breaker, meter was 0's.

I found it! I almost felt like I knew what I was doing.

So, at least now I can rest easy knowing there isn't a live line sitting outside waiting for an accident to happen. I was able to cut the cable, pull up the slack that was underground, and loop it up in the attic for future use.

Was I correct that this was a 220V? There were three wires and a ground. White, Red, and Black. Two 110's and a Neutral with a common ground? Seeing that this is in the panel on a 60A breaker, is it safe to assume I could have two 110v/30A plugs (not that I'd need it...just idle curiosity)?
 
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Old 05-18-14, 02:41 PM
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Was I correct that this was a 220V?
Not exactly. It is 120/240. Your house does not have 220 or 110.
I could have two 110v/30A plugs
Not unless you changed to a 30 amp breaker and only if they were not general purpose 120 volt receptacles. If you want to use it for regular receptacles 20 amps is the maximum breaker size.
 
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Old 05-18-14, 07:43 PM
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I was able to cut the cable, pull up the slack that was underground, and loop it up in the attic for future use.
It must have been cable in conduit, direct burial cable wouldn't be easily pulled out of the ground. What kind of cable is it? What are the markings on the cable?
 
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Old 05-19-14, 09:24 AM
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Correct, it was in conduit.

It's a 3 wire (Red, Black, and White) with a copper ground. There are no markings that I saw. Each of the colored wires had three or four smaller copper wires in it.
 
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Old 05-19-14, 10:16 AM
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Is the jacket color gray? Are the wires embed (not loose) into the jacket?

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Old 05-19-14, 07:51 PM
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Is the jacket color gray? Are the wires embed (not loose) into the jacket?
That's a good description of today's UF cable, but older UF cable wasn't always gray. I haven't used UF cable in many years, but the older stuff was pretty fragile and wasn't known for longevity.
 
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Old 05-21-14, 07:51 PM
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Apologies for the delay. It was not embedded wire like the picture above. They were four individually shielded wires. Each wire looks like this: http://i00.i.aliimg.com/img/pb/906/9...948906_126.JPG (Red, Black, White, and a single copper wire)

The four wires were loose in a single cable with thin shielding. Much like you'd see on CAT5 cable where each wire is loose by itself (granted, on a larger scale).
 
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Old 05-21-14, 08:48 PM
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Then it was never suitable for the use for which it was used.
 
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