Open fault underground to Garage Sub Panel

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  #41  
Old 06-14-15, 09:46 PM
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these lugs do accommodate two #4 wires
But that isn't the key factor. It is are they designed for two wires. If they aren't the the connection may be compromised even if the wires fit. If you don't know then better to connect the two wires to a pigtail and the pigtail to the lug. A second problem is if the house wires are copper and copper wires should never touch aluminum. The third problem may be if the lugs are as large as you say the wires might be smaller then the lugs are rated for.
 
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  #42  
Old 06-15-15, 06:22 AM
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Simply because two conductors fit in the lug does not mean it is rated for two conductors. Also the AL should not be touching copper in the lug.

I agree that water has corroded the AL and you have a high resistance problem in the one hot leg.
 

Last edited by pcboss; 06-17-15 at 05:33 PM.
  #43  
Old 06-15-15, 08:03 AM
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You are dealing with aluminum conductors. I'd put money down that you have a hot conductor that has a fault in the inslation and the moisture that has entered through the insulation has oxidized the aluminum wire into white powder, aluminum oxide. My guess is that IF you can pull the three conductors, only part of the wire with the fault will come out.
hello casual joe. Indeed. That is exactly what I suspect has happened. But I can pull out both parts if it separates as I have access to both ends of the conduit. I'm also suspecting the conduit may have become pinched and cracked between the roots of a small tree that is about 2 feet away from the conduit half way of it's length. We'll see if it is. If I can't pull the wires, that will tell me, and I'll dig around that area.

But that isn't the key factor. It is are they designed for two wires.
I understand. Frankly, who knows. This panel is old.



If they aren't the the connection may be compromised even if the wires fit.

Hmmm, didn't think about that. But then, if it were compromised, why would I measure 120v between the actual aluminum wire at the post fuse terminal, and the actual aluminum neutral wire at the neutral buss?

If you don't know then better to connect the two wires to a pigtail and the pigtail to the lug. A second problem is if the house wires are copper and copper wires should never touch aluminum.
Wait, that doesn't make sense. If the garage aluminum wire is compressed against the house copper wire within the lug, they would also be touching at one end of the pigtail. Right?


Ok guys, at this point this is what I'm going to do. First, disconnect the aluminum wires at each end of the feed. Then do a continuity check on all three wires. If one has an actual fault..I'll pull them. If not, I'll disconnect the copper house wires, reconnect the aluminum wires and see what I get.
But I still suspect there is a fault. The voltage measurements is what tells me there is no compromise at the lugs. The only other questions regarding the wiring itself, is if I can re-use the remaining good insulated wire and the bare wire. I plan on also adding the 3rd insulated wire, and upgrading the sub panel later when I have more money. When I do, at that point, I'll bond the bare wire to the grounding buss, and run another bare wire to a new grounding rod, and bond the third new insulated wire to the neutral buss in the new panel.

Regardless, I've decided to buy a small disconnect box with two sets of master breakers. The only problem is deciding what amperage breakers for the house, and the garage. The existing fuses are 60 amp. So, I would guess the house breakers should also be 60 amp, because originally, there was NO garage. The circuit to the garage was added later. So, since the sub-panel is rated at 30 amps, I'll go with a double 30 amp master breaker for the garage. How does that sound?
 
  #44  
Old 06-15-15, 09:13 AM
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Wait, that doesn't make sense. If the garage aluminum wire is compressed against the house copper wire within the lug, they would also be touching at one end of the pigtail. Right?
No you would use a connection method such as a special split bolt connector for copper and aluminum that keeps them apart.
But then, if it were compromised, why would I measure 120v between the actual aluminum wire at the post fuse terminal, and the actual aluminum neutral wire at the neutral buss?
That could be due to load at the time of measurement.
The only other questions regarding the wiring itself, is if I can re-use the remaining good insulated wire and the bare wire. I plan on also adding the 3rd insulated wire, and upgrading the sub panel later when I have more money. When I do, at that point, I'll bond the bare wire to the grounding buss, and run another bare wire to a new grounding rod, and bond the third new insulated wire to the neutral buss in the new panel.
That is a bit hard to follow so let me say it another way. You need four wires to the garage not three. There is no way to know if any of the existing wires are good or if they were ever rated for use in a wet location. (Buried conduit is wet a wet location.) Since they are an unknown they shouldn't be reused. I seem to recall you said the conduit was 6 inches deep. It must be 18" deep minimum if PVC.
So, since the sub-panel is rated at 30 amps, I'll go with a double 30 amp master breaker for the garage.
They don't make 30 amp subpanels so I'm not sure what you mean.
 
  #45  
Old 06-15-15, 10:53 AM
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OK GUYS! DONE DEAL, EVERYTHING IS MOOT NOW.. I found it. Just like I thought. But it's worse. Even the bare wire was almost corroded through..in half a dozen spots. And yeah, it was soaking wet 3/4 of the cable. Uck. Muddy, corroded and shot.

So, I'm biting the bullet today and buying a complete 4 wire setup.. 3) #4 USE and #4 bare ground. 70 feet. A new outside rated 100 amp Lug center with 6 slots for breakers, (1)double 60 amp master house breaker, (1)double 30 amp master garage breaker, and a single 20 amp water pump breaker. The new garage sub panel will have to come next month. I'll connect the old sub panel temporarily as it was, and connect the 4th wire to the new sub panel when I get it.

However, I have a question.

1. Since this new #4 USE wire is rated for direct burial, and the conduit is doing didley squat to protect the wire, and given it's only 6-8" underground, I'm going to dig a trench 18" deep and go the direct burial route. Trouble is... how does that affect the "bare wire ground"? Or do you use the same USE wire for a ground as well? It would seem to me, using a bare wire ground is asking for trouble down the road, no?

Time is slipping away daily. Gotta get this going. I'll be back. I just hope I'm not jumping the gun here. But I don't think so. I found the problem. I found the solution..THANKS TO YOU GUYS!!

HIP HIP HOORAY FOR YOU GUYS!!!! YOU'RE THE BEST!! I'll be back.
 
  #46  
Old 06-15-15, 11:11 AM
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Stop. Update. I decided to wait before I buy anything. I still have questions, but for the moment, I want to organize them to get every question I have answered. Mainly, about the amperage of the Lug Center and it's breakers, the new sub panel and it's breakers, and the new ground wire. I'm really confused about a few things. At least I absolutely found the problem. Now to do this right.

I'll be back.
 
  #47  
Old 06-15-15, 12:37 PM
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Most of what you were going to do is wrong.
#4 USE and #4 bare ground.
The USE should be 4-wire with ground. But why? You wrote:
(1)double 30 amp master garage breaker,
So if you are using conduit all you need is two #10 black THWN, one THWN white, and one #10 THWN green.
Since this new #4 USE wire is rated for direct burial, and the conduit is doing didley squat to protect the wire, and given it's only 6-8" underground, I'm going to dig a trench 18" deep and go the direct burial route.
Direct burial is 24" minimum. If you do that use 10-3 UF-b cable.
how does that affect the "bare wire ground"? Or do you use the same USE wire for a ground as well?
As stated above you use 4-conductor USE not 3-conductor. For what your doing though at 30 amps USE doesn't make sense. Either conduit at 18" with individual #10 THWN copper wire or UF-b buried at 24" no conduit.

Please tell us what you ate going to use for a service panel before you buy it. What you need is a 6 space 60 amp panel. Not sure how easy that will be to find. A 100 amp main lug panel with a back fed 60 amp breaker would also work. The service from your meter would connect to the back fed breaker. You would need a hold down kit for the back fed breaker. All this assumes you service wires are not larger then #6. If #3 or larger you can use a 100 amp main breaker panel. Service wires are from the mast head to the meter and from the meter to the panel.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 06-15-15 at 01:00 PM.
  #48  
Old 06-15-15, 12:43 PM
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You could install an oversized conduit so larger conductors could be pulled in later if needed. What loads are in the garage? If you stay with the 30 amp feeder, I agree with Ray that the USE is way overkill.
 
  #49  
Old 06-16-15, 08:21 AM
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So, I'm biting the bullet today and buying a complete 4 wire setup.. 3) #4 USE and #4 bare ground
You are asking for trouble if you install a bare ground underground whether direct burial or in conduit and whether aluminum or copper.
 
  #50  
Old 06-16-15, 09:40 AM
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Most of what you were going to do is wrong.

Most of what you were going to do is wrong.
Ok guys. I'm really embarrassed here. Due to my lack of understanding electrical equipment terminology, failure to read a LOT more before sticking my foot in my mouth, and plain old ignorance of potential dangerous pitfalls of DIY electrical repair solutions..I'm going to attempt to clear up some things.

I think at this point I should explain some things.

I moved into this house two years ago. It belongs to my son, whom I rent it from. It also includes a detached garage, that I have been trying to convert to a wood working shop ever since I got here, which given this is Michigan, during the winter, I can't even work out there for more than an hour. Given this garage is a typical pole barn type construction with metal siding and typical comp roof, unless I spent $2k to insulate and drywall the entire garage, which is impossible as I survive on a minimum SS income, I decided to duplicate a small room I built in my last garage, that I can heat, as at this point, even though I already bought a regular household type gas furnace, I don't have the money nor time to install it. However, I have got this little area almost finished, and was in the middle of re-wiring up outlets in the garage when this whole fault thing blew up in my face.

Here's the deal. Originally, I only meant to use what was already there. The sub-panel, the breakers, some existing circuits and outlets and add a few more outlets. When this fault thing happened, I was totally unprepared to jump in here and start this thread. What I should have done, is READ. Unfortunately, I didn't. As one thing led to another, I now see I assumed some things I shouldn't have, and didn't understand some things as well.
Soooooooooooo...it's time to get this on the right track. In that light, what I'd like to do is start from the beginning all over. Due to the fact that I need to show you my "intended" circuits, and given I've already used up my "allotted image count" by virtue of not knowing smileys are included, I need to start a new thread. I have a complete Sketchup file of this garage, including all the circuits planned, which seems to be the right place to start, in order to size a new sub-panel.

As for this thread, let me state I made a very stupid assumption, that has led to a ****load of confusion and a waste of your time. This is in regards to my statement of my intent to buy a "new 30 amp sub-panel". This was based on a past memory, of a sub-panel in my OLD garage, that I assumed was a small 30 amp sub-panel. Where in the hell I got that from i don't know. But, I apparently did the same thing here. In reality, I finally went out and LOOKED at the cover. OMG. The existing sub-panel is a Square D-100 AMP. This is it:
Buy the Square D 80508 Q06-12l100f 100a Load Center at Hardware World

When I first moved here, there were 5 single 15 amp breakers, which whoever installed this, ran 2 outlet circuits, and 3 light circuits from. In order to use my table saw, I removed one of the 15 amp breakers, and added a double 20 amp breaker so I had a single 240v circuit.

However, as I started renovating the garage, I also started a Sketchup of my plan. As I laid the plan out, it was obvious that there was going to be more outlets and lights than the existing circuits would handle. At least..in my mind. However, now that this "fault" thing has happened, and after reading your replys, I started reading up on some of this stuff. At this point, I think it would help if I showed you EXACTLY what I have planned, as far as outlets and the equipment these outlets will be used for. It seems, that this will determine the quantity and amperage of the breakers, which will determine the wiring, which will determine the MASTER breakers at the kiosk which at this point, REALLY is becoming a nightmare. What i DON'T understand is..what is the relationship of the rated amperage of the House load center and the Garage load center to the required amperage of the Lug center..which is currently the fuse box. Apparently, the original installer didn't understand either, as he installed this fuse box with 60 amp fuses, feeding TWO 100 amp load centers.
Moreover, it didn't matter. Everything has been working fine since the 70's, which is when he set this modular home up. The garage circuit was added in the early 2000's. So, along comes me. By this time, his 2 wire and a bare neutral/ground installation has become corroded from moisture, leaking into the conduit because he left the end of the conduit OPEN at the fuse box..and ZAP!! I'm left with a total stinking nightmare.



Ok, unfortunately, I can't post these layouts as I've maxed out the image allotment. Hence the need to start a new thread. In the meantime, I'm beginning to believe I got sidetracked earlier in the thread, in regards to the SE/SER/USE wire thing. So, can someone tell me if this is the RIGHT cable to use? One other thing, can this be used in conduit?



Southwire 4-4-4-6 Aluminum SER Wire (By-the-Foot)-13100399 - The Home Depot

If so, I don't know why the USE wire thing came up. It would appear this wire would be much simpler and cheaper than a 4 separate wire system. But you tell me. All I know is I need to get WHAT EVER IT IS I NEED..pronto. I really need to temporarily get this existing sub panel hooked back. And btw, I DO intend on completely pulling this existing conduit out of the ground, digging the trench at least 18" deep, cutting the conduit and cleaning the moisture out, and re-solvent welding the pieces back together, and fastening the fuse box END, to a new Lug center...whatever it eventually turns out to be.

So.. on to a new thread guys. I'll name it..Fitz's continuing Saga!!
 
  #51  
Old 06-16-15, 10:37 AM
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There is no magic number that limits the number of images per thread. If you are having trouble posting images PM me.

It is common to use a 100 amp load center for a detached structure and feed it from a 30 or 60 amp breaker.

We really need to see pictures of your service at the house, especially the fuse box with the cover removed. Also a picture of the house sub panel.

Yes, a new thread may be best.
 
  #52  
Old 06-16-15, 11:20 AM
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There is no magic number that limits the number of images per thread. If you are having trouble posting images PM me.
Hi Ray. Well, at one point, I tried to post a reply with another smiley in it, and a prompt came up when that said I had reached the limit of 16 images, which included smileys. So..I don't understand what's going on.


It is common to use a 100 amp load center for a detached structure and feed it from a 30 or 60 amp breaker.
Really? That seems counter intuitive. Of course, like building acoustics, nothing is intuitive with this stuff.

We really need to see pictures of your service at the house, especially the fuse box with the cover removed. Also a picture of the house sub panel.
ok, will do in the next thread
Yes, a new thread may be best.
Ok, but I have to upload a bunch of stuff to my hosting site. Tomorrow will be the soonest i can. As for today, i've got a ton of insulation to cut and install.

Thanks for all the help. I really do appreciate it.
 
  #53  
Old 06-16-15, 11:57 AM
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The panel ratings like 100 are the maximum circuit size that can be used to feed it. You can always use it for less. Also the load is determined by the actual loads, not the panel size installed. Installing a 100 amp panel does not mean it will draw that many amps.
 
  #54  
Old 06-16-15, 12:09 PM
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Well, at one point, I tried to post a reply with another smiley in it, and a prompt came up when that said I had reached the limit of 16 images, which included smileys.
Never encountered that. I'll check it out.
 
  #55  
Old 06-16-15, 05:49 PM
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Sixteen smilies and here is a picture to test. Name:  Clyde.jpg
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(Clyde, he never comes to visit anymore since Toby ran him off one day.)

Adding more smilies on edit gave me this message rather than posting.


The following errors occurred with your submission

You have included a total of 23 images in your message. The maximum number that you may include is 16. Please correct the problem and then continue again.

Images include use of smilies, the BB code [img] tag, and HTML <img> tags. The use of these is all subject to them being enabled by the administrator.
Simple cure is to not use so many smilies, they are not really necessary. Note also, this is PER POST not a total number of images per thread.
 
  #56  
Old 06-17-15, 04:54 AM
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(Clyde, he never comes to visit anymore since Toby ran him off one day.)
OMG. That's crazy. My little dog is named Toby as well. AND, he ran off a wild cat that looked just like the one in your picture, about two months ago. Strange coincidence, eh?

Simple cure is to not use so many smilies, they are not really necessary.
Indeed. I get carried away. You'd think at 70 I'd have learned by now.
 
  #57  
Old 06-17-15, 05:10 AM
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The panel ratings like 100 are the maximum circuit size that can be used to feed it. You can always use it for less.
Gottcha. Ok, well that makes sense.
Also the load is determined by the actual loads, not the panel size installed.
Well this is what confuses me. How are "actual loads" determined, as many electrical devices are only used intermittently, and sometimes simultaneously, but not always, like a washer and dryer? In the case of my garage, since I'm the only one who uses electrical tools out there, only one tool will ever be a load at any given time. All the lights will be on at night and during the day in winter, but only a few will be on in the day time in the summer, as I usually have the garage door open. Also, a computer and a radio which will be on when ever I am out there. i love music. After all,..I was a pro guitarist for almost 40 years. The computer is used for lots of things in the shop, but mostly parts layouts in either Sketchup or Autocad..depending.

Anyway..I'll be back.

However, I'm almost done with my electrical layout "schematic" with an index of the power tools and their amperage. I will eventually have a vacuum system and a smaller industrial compressor, and a heater. Even though that's down the road, I'm installing the circuits for them now.

Ok, i'm almost ready to start a new thread. Possibly later today.
 
  #58  
Old 06-17-15, 05:21 AM
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How are "actual loads" determined
On sheds honestly often common sense based on largest loads likely to be on at the same time for more then 20 or 30 minutes but the correct way is a load calculation. Example: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/97696973...lt-Enterprises
 
  #59  
Old 06-17-15, 07:27 AM
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For a one man workshop I usually take the bigger of the electric heater or AC unit plus the largest tool motor (probably the table saw motor) plus the dust collector and add at least 20% or so until I reach the next standard breaker+wire size. That's the minimum service size to the workshop. Typical sizes are 30A, 40A, 60A, 90A, 100A. You can do anything in between if you want but it usually doesn't change the cost to just go to the next one up.

BTW, use straight addition of watts when adding loads up, then divide by 240 to get your service amps. If your motors are rated in HP, figure about 800W per HP.
 
  #60  
Old 06-17-15, 05:04 PM
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For a one man workshop I usually take the bigger of the electric heater or AC unit plus the largest tool motor (probably the table saw motor) plus the dust collector and add at least 20% or so until I reach the next standard breaker+wire size. That's the minimum service size to the workshop. Typical sizes are 30A, 40A, 60A, 90A, 100A. You can do anything in between if you want but it usually doesn't change the cost to just go to the next one up.
Well now we're getting down to the nitty gritty. .. which calls for a smiley or two. In that regard, I think I'll sneak my "hypothetical" circuit layouts as a final post of this thread. We'll go from there in my "Fitz's continuing Electrical Saga" thread.

Ok, I'll be back.

Mind you..this is the master layout. I'll post each circuit layouts in the new thread as well as a grid index of the circuits and loads.
Name:  Electrical Layout.jpg
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Btw..if any one uses Sketchup.. I have a gazillion files you can look up on the 3D Warehouse..not to mention..if you want some Sketchup 3D files of this project just say so. You can use a tons of 3d objects I've already modeled , not to mention the Sketchup Warehouse. There are literally thousands of already modeled items that you can simply drop in your models. more on that later.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 06-17-15 at 05:47 PM. Reason: Enlarge diagram.
  #61  
Old 06-17-15, 05:55 PM
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I don't really understand your diagram. Maybe just me. Please give us the number of 120 volt general purpose circuits for lights and receptacles. Number of dedicated circuits with watts and voltage for heat and 240 circuits and their amperage for tools.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 06-17-15 at 06:12 PM.
  #62  
Old 06-17-15, 06:24 PM
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It looks like F1 is a single tube light fixture while F2 is a two tube light fixture.
I'm trying to figure out why some are going to the 240v j box and some to the 120v j box.
 
  #63  
Old 06-19-15, 09:51 AM
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I don't really understand your diagram. Maybe just me.
Hi guys. Ok, I've spent some time yesterday making up an Electric Schedule. It should explain my intent. Even though I'm a 20yr. pro architectural mill CAD detailer, I'm no electrical engineer, so my layout may not be what you are used to looking at, but for my little garage it should be ok. After all most of the work is already done. However, if you see something that is a real no no, by all means call it out and I'll change it.
Please give us the number of 120 volt general purpose circuits for lights and receptacles. Number of dedicated circuits with watts and voltage for heat and 240 circuits and their amperage for tools.
Will do, when I start the other thread. Thing is, the computer I normally use had a PSU go bad a couple of weeks ago, and the one I'm currently using doesn't have all the links set up for accessing my hosting site, nor my graphics editing program. I'll get those going today as it will be much better to link a URL than uploading a file from my computer, as you can see in my layout, things are much too small to see detail. I should be ready to start the new thread by tonight.

It looks like F1 is a single tube light fixture while F2 is a two tube light fixture.
No, F1 is a two bulb and F2 is a 4 bulb. I'll have then all listed in the schedule with wattage.
I'm trying to figure out why some are going to the 240v j box and some to the 120v j box.
The only thing that connects to the 240 circuit is a Radial Arm saw, and a table saw. The 240 circuit is simple. It goes from the sub panel 240 breaker, to the wall outlet, for the Radial Arm, and from there to a ceiling J-box that has a temporary drop down heavy duty cord from the table saw. That's so I don't have a cable on the floor. I left 10' of this wire to the J-box, coiled in the attic as eventually, this J-box will be moved down close to the floor, on a 2x4 post that will support a vacuum system for the saw. Like this...

Name:  Garage Stick Build v6b.jpg
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Because of the size of the image here, you can't really see detail. As and example here is a just a couple of circuits, including the 240 so you can see. I won't post anymore on this thread.

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Name:  240 Circuit 1.jpg
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Ok, on to the new thread
 
  #64  
Old 06-19-15, 10:10 AM
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Here's a couple more so you can see what I'm doing. Some things have changed since I did the elect layout though. Doing that layout really forced me to look at some things I hadn't thought about and forgot. 2 whole circuits.

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  #65  
Old 06-20-15, 09:01 AM
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HELP!!! I have a CATCH-22!!

Hi guys. Well, something has come up that forces me to conclude this thread BEFORE continuing with a new one.


And that is.... the type cable I am allowed to use under the present circumstances. In essence, it appears there is NONE. At least from what I've read. In fact, I have a conundrum. Here is why. This morning, after wondering about the difference between SER and USE-2..I did some research.

Ok, as far as the original reason for my coming here is concerned, something has come to my attention that I really need to address at this point. And that is.. WHAT TYPE CABLE can I use? Well guys, as I've now discovered, this issue is a real conundrum..code wise vs the NEC.. at least what I've read today. And that is the difference between SER and USE-2. Now, unless some kind of resolution has been found lately, here is the problem as discussed here:

type SER cable - ECN Electrical Forums

SER is "approved" for ABOVE GROUND, and has a "fire retardant" within the insulation. And, it can be used within a building..for anything.

USE-2 is rated for direct burial, or within conduit, which is considered a "wet location". However, it is not rated for even entering buildings, because, it has NO fire retardant. It is "approved" for OUTDOORS ONLY!!. You see..this conduit terminates within my garage. That means..the cable enters my garage.

Moreover..there seems to be lots of differing opinions regarding the use of SER underground, as the term "approved" seems to have different connotations..

Just because UL says "cable for aboveground installation" doesn't mean it is not approved for use underground in conduit. It means UL tested it for aboveground use only, and they did not test it for underground in conduit use. It wasn't tested for use in a conduit in the ground because the manufacturer did not pay them to do that test.
Would you agree that it is OK to install SEU or SER on the outside of a building, sleeved in conduit? (Such as we see when we have a mast)
What possible extra harm could the SEU or SER come to when installed in conduit underground as opposed to aboveground?
The same argument could be offered for installing NM in conduit, which the 2005 NEC finally addressed. (it is allowed, but not underground because of the wet location)
I agree that a future code proposal is in order to clear this up
But then....the final word...

I asked this question of John Cangemi the answer man of UL. He stated in no uncertain terms that it would be a violation of the listing and the NEC to install SEU or SER underground.
I stand corrected, or rather, I stand with head bowed.
Well now. Where does that leave me?I have conduit..entering a building. So I can't use USE-2. However, I can't use SER, cause it's underground. CATCH-22.


So...until this question is answered, everything else is moot.

The thing is though. I NEED TO GET THIS DONE! Immediately.

So....any ideas?
 
  #66  
Old 06-20-15, 09:34 AM
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Long thread. Have we discussed dual rated mobile home cable? it can be used inside in conduit or direct buried outside.

Example: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...vLZ3otjK80hjeg

And a discussion from a professional forum: http://forums.mikeholt.com/showthread.php?t=142778
 
  #67  
Old 06-21-15, 04:44 AM
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Thanks ray. Well, I solved it yesterday. Went to Home Depot, and talked to the electrical guy there. I explained the situation. He was very knowledgeable and knew exactly what I needed. It looks exactly like what that cable in the link looks like, except the ground was a separate black insulated #6 aluminum wire, while the cable was (2)#4 insulated aluminum wires and (1)#6 insulated aluminum wire(neutral). I forget what he called it. I thought he said SED, but I could be wrong. I'll find out though. All I know is he said it was approved for direct burial and can enter buildings. He also said that this is a standard cable used all over this area, which is in northern Michigan, which in my area is loaded with mobile and modular homes, like mine. I bought 75 feet. I didn't buy a lug center though. Didn't have enough money. So for now, I'm digging up the conduit, cutting it at the midpoint and pulling a rag through it to dry out any moisture. I'll solvent weld a new connector before pulling the wire. But first, i want to dig the trench down to 18". So, onward. Thanks guys.
 
  #68  
Old 06-21-15, 07:37 AM
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the ground was a separate black insulated #6 aluminum wire
The ground sounds wrong. It must be part of the cable. Sounds like they sold you 3-conductor cable and a single conductor wire. That would be wrong. Can you post pictures of what you were sold?

Are the wires of the cable marked with the type of wire such as RHW or XHHW?
 
  #69  
Old 06-21-15, 06:52 PM
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Sounds like they sold you 3-conductor cable and a single conductor wire. That would be wrong. Can you post pictures of what you were sold?
I have to agree with Ray on this. Please provide a picture of the cable and try to show us the markings on the cable so we can see what TYPE it is. I have never heard of SED cable before and don't think that is correct.

Why would you want to use a cable anyway (especially in conduit) when the best installation would be with either copper or aluminum Type XHHW individual conductors? Answer with your short version please.
 
  #70  
Old 06-22-15, 11:49 AM
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I said..

the ground was a separate black insulated #6 aluminum wire
Then ray2047 replied:
The ground sounds wrong. It must be part of the cable. Sounds like they sold you 3-conductor cable and a single conductor wire. That would be wrong.


Can you post pictures of what you were sold?
Yes. I will in a bit. But something happened this morning as soon as I read this...

Are the wires of the cable marked with the type of wire such as RHW or XHHW?
..I went out and looked at the cable.

This is what it says...
057874 SEQ FT Southwire (UL) Type USE-2 60 MILS XLP INSULATION 600V APR/24/2015 BR 0735-14

Wait a minute what's that?...USE-2??? WTF?

I only looked at this just for a second as I was on my way out the door to Home Depot anyway. Here's the deal. BEFORE I bought this, I EXPLICITLY explained to the HD electrical guy the entire situation, and had even come to this forum where I found out that neither SER or USE-2 is approved for my situation, and why. This is when he said... "here is what you need." And then he called it something like SEU or SED..I can't remember. Well, I took him at his word and didn't read what was printed on the insulation. My bad.

Ok, this morning I went to Home Depot and RE-explained the situation to a different clerk. He couldn't imagine why the other clerk sold me something that I had just told him I can't use, so he calls his manager, who gave the ok to return it. Thank god. But now, I'm still stuck with the same question.


Why would you want to use a cable anyway (especially in conduit)
Say what? With all due respect..because I was told to..that's why. I never said "I" wanted to use anything! That was the whole point of coming here. All I've done is listen to what you guys have said, and did some research and then had the misfortune to get sold something I had just said I couldn't use. Heck, if I knew what to use, why would I be here in the first place?

.....when the best installation would be with either copper or aluminum Type XHHW individual conductors? Answer with your short version please.
In fact.. that's what this original existing wire is. Aluminum individual conductors. Whether or not they are Type XHHW I don't know. There is no writing on these old wires. Thing is though.. if this Type XHHW individual conductors is what I SHOULD be using...why didn't someone here say so in the first place?????????? Insert rolling eye smiley here.

More over, what is the difference between this XHHW wire and the wire in the four conductor cable mentioned earlier?

Moreover, what is the difference between the XHHW wire and the stuff I just bought? And why is using a three wire cable with a separate insulated ground any different than a 4 wire cable, if the wires are identical??

Ok guys, it seems this whole thread became a long exercise in misdirection. At this point, I don't know what XHHW is, and don't understand why the Home Depot guy didn't sell it to me instead of USE-2. Ok, at this point, a thunder storm is just coming in and it's 35 miles back to Home Depot. I'm calling it a day.

Btw, my pockets aren't deep enough to use copper.
 

Last edited by fitz70; 06-22-15 at 12:11 PM.
  #71  
Old 06-22-15, 11:56 AM
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USE-2 (underground service entrance) might be the correct wire to use. Some of it can be used indoors, some cannot. Depends on the specific manufacturer and other ratings printed on the jacket. If the USE-2 also has any of these markings it is ok to install indoors as well as underground: RHH RHW RHW-2 XHHW XHHW-2. If it does not have at least one of those markings, it can only be installed outside.

All of these types of wire are of similar chemistry and similar manufacturing process so most of them meet multiple standards. It's a matter of getting one with the right properties for the job.
 
  #72  
Old 06-22-15, 12:01 PM
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If you want to do a complete conduit system buried 18" then Joe is correct. If you want to use direct burial cable at 24" with no conduit except short sections above ground for protection then either mobile home cable or UF cable. The UF will be copper and probably more expensive.
 
  #73  
Old 06-22-15, 01:21 PM
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ibpooks said:

USE-2 (underground service entrance) might be the correct wire to use. Some of it can be used indoors, some cannot
Ok.

If the USE-2 also has any of these markings it is ok to install indoors as well as underground: RHH RHW RHW-2 XHHW XHHW-2. If it does not have at least one of those markings, it can only be installed outside.
Well, this new cable does not have any of those markings. However, I researched the #4 XHHW wire.

1000' #4 XHHW Aluminum Cable Wire 4 THHN Building - Electrical Cables - Amazon.com

It appears, for some reason, it is only sold by commercial electric supplier companys, Hence Home Depot doesn't carry it. Unfortunately, none of the local company's stock it. Special order is 500 ft. min. And it's expensive. However, the last place I called, the guy asked me why i don't use USE-2? I told him because it isn't allowed for building use. He laughed. He said "Believe me...it's allowed". So, who am I to contradict him. He didn't mention any caveats though. So, this is it. I'm running this new USE-2. This is a garage, and only 5 feet of it comes up inside at an exterior wall to the sub panel.

So that's that. Thanks for everything. and sorry for the long thread.
 
  #74  
Old 06-22-15, 01:53 PM
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Essentially the local inspector has the authority to approve pretty much any installation. It is against code to use plain USE-2 inside buildings, but the local electricians and suppliers probably know that the inspector allows it anyway. That kind of thing happens a lot especially in the rural areas. In fact there's a decent chance the local inspector is one of the local electricians or suppliers who picks up part time inspection jobs from the township.
 
  #75  
Old 06-23-15, 09:43 AM
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That kind of thing happens a lot especially in the rural areas. In fact there's a decent chance the local inspector is one of the local electricians or suppliers who picks up part time inspection jobs from the township.


That's good to know, but I'm getting nervous now. Thing is, the previous owner installed two receptacle circuits with a couple of duplex outlets on each one, and two lighting circuits. I'm positive he did this with no permit. In fact, I'm almost positive this whole electrical installation was done with out a permit as it was added after the fact once the house electrical was approved, due to the fact that I'm 100% positive that NO inspector would have allowed the use of the current fuse box, as it has a face plate behind the removable door, that is free floating, with a single duplex outlet to which the pump circuit is plugged into. Even the pump circuit wire is a standard Romex 12/2 with ground, that someone connected a plug on the feed end, and directly buried this Romex UNDERGROUND to the underground concrete pump enclosure 20 feet away..where it terminates hanging in midair, connecting to the pump wires with wire nuts. No inspector would have allowed this.

So, along comes me. After spending a winter trying to work in the garage in sub freezing weather, I decided to enclose a small space so I could heat it. As this was a garage, I never even considered getting a permit. Given financial limitations, over the last 6 months, I've slowly built this little room, and began re-configuring the original circuits to fit my needs, again never even considering a permit. And then BANG. This "fault" thing happens.

Unfortunately, given this electrical work I've done, and the existing ridiculous fuse box and pump circuit..there's no way in hell I want an inspector here. Even if I did, "I" can't even apply for one, as "I" am not the homeowner. My son in law is, and theres no way in hell he wants an inspector here either, as it would be HIM who would be placed in jeaprody. So there you have it. My confession. All I know at this point, is I HAVE to do this now without a permit. But I do want to make it safe. That's why I plan on digging up the conduit, and retrenching down to 18". However, along with the other problems, I'm left with the problem of the fuse box. You see, at this point, I can't replace this fuse box. The utility would have to pull the meter again. And once they see I'm replacing electrical equipment, from my understanding, unless I have a permit, they aren't allowed to reinstall the meter!


As for the fuse box, there is no way to connect a four wire system to it, as this old fuse box only has the two non-grounded feed lugs at the fuses, and a neutral/ground lug. The bare aluminum grounded wire of the original three wire system was bonded at the feed end to the grounding rod, which also has a bare copper wire bonded to the rod on one end and bonded at the neutral lug in the fuse box, which has me confused.

Is this original bare aluminum wire called a "grounded conductor"? The reason I ask is, there is no way to convert this to a 4 wire system, as there is no way to bond a separate "neutral" at the fusebox. The lug is just not big enough. Unless you know a way or a product that would allow me to add it to the neutral lug, and reconnect both the house and garage neutral wire. Otherwise, this means I simply have to stay with the three wire system.

Guys, I know this whole thing is ..well..for the lack of a better word..ridiculous. And I'm not happy about it. Theres simply no way around it now. So at this point, I'm letting you off the hook. No more questions. I simply have to get this done. Before something else happens. Thanks for all the info.
 
  #76  
Old 06-23-15, 06:20 PM
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Ok guys, it seems this whole thread became a long exercise in misdirection
I don't think I have seen any misdirection here, but more likely a case of you not understanding the good code compliant ideas that have been thrown out at you. I believe one problem was you not understanding what a cable is versus separate individual conductors. I believe what the Home Depot guy sold you was URD (3-wire) with a separate grounding conducor. The URD is not a cable assembly, but individual conductors.
 
  #77  
Old 06-24-15, 05:50 AM
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I don't think I have seen any misdirection here, but more likely a case of you not understanding the good code compliant ideas that have been thrown out at you. I believe one problem was you not understanding what a cable is versus separate individual conductors.
Oh my. I didn't mean to infer i was misdirected by anyone here. And you are correct, I did not understand the difference. By "misdirected", I meant that by not understanding, I misdirected myself.

I believe what the Home Depot guy sold you was URD (3-wire) with a separate grounding conducor. The URD is not a cable assembly, but individual conductors.
Yes, that's what I bought. And the conductors are labeled USE. And btw, by virtue of the fact I can't upgrade to a 4 wire system, I'm not using the separate conductor. One conductor of the group three wires, as per code, has 3 white stripes, which I'll bond to the grounding rod. Just like the original bare conductor. The only thing that bothers me is the gauge of the bare copper conductor from the grounding rod to the neutral lug in the fuse box. it looks like a #8 or maybe #10. Although, it's worked for 40 years.

Btw, I'm tired of being electrical illiterate. I spent a good portion of yesterday reading this. The NEC is part of it.

https://ia801407.us.archive.org/31/i...i_electric.pdf

I'm "beginning" to understand a few things now. However, that doesn't mean I'll be electrically literate. I just don't want to look like a TOTAL moron anymore.

Thanks again.

Oh, one other thing. I decided, if you guys don't mind, to start another thread and continue asking some questions regarding my garage electrical. Please let me know. I'll try to get my electrical schedule and layout in a better "accepted practice" form. But I have to research it a bit first.
 
  #78  
Old 06-24-15, 07:30 AM
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It could potentially work if there is a place you can bolt on to the neutral bar you could use a mechanical double lug. That would require the ability to get a 1/4" bolt in. Kinda have to see it to know whether it's reasonable or not.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]52398[/ATTACH]

Another option would be to see if you could mount a small add-on ground bar in the main panel. Jump it back to the one neutral lug with a short piece of #4 bare copper and have a few spaces left over for feeding the new panel. Modern bars take up to #4 wire without adapters. To mount the bar you would need a spot you could drill and tap 10-32 machine screw holes for the two mounting holes.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]52399[/ATTACH]
 
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  #79  
Old 06-24-15, 10:21 AM
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It could potentially work if there is a place you can bolt on to the neutral bar you could use a mechanical double lug.
Oh man. That is EXACTLY what I was envisioning. Now if I can find one. However, i had another idea I want to run by you.

I really would like to replace the fuse box, but that is impossible by virtue of having to have the meter pulled. Can't do it for the previously noted reason.

So, I'm wondering. Is there any reason why I can't simply ADD a lug center AFTER the fuse box, maybe on the back side of the plywood panel that supports the meter and fuse boxes?

Like this...

http://************/p7vbtxn

This way, I could run another set of "service
conductors" from the load side of the fuse terminals and the neutral in the fuse box, to the terminals in the new lug center. Since this panel will have separate breakers for the house and garage, this would solve the problem of two conductors at the fuse and neutral terminals. I mean, the fuses would still be in the circuit, but who cares. At least I wouldn't have to ever open that stupid fuse box ever again.

The only thing I'm not sure about is the ground conductor from the grounding rod to the neutral in the fuse box. Since the neutral is already grounded, do I simply bond a service conductor from the fuse box neutral to the lug center neutral? Also, would I have to install another grounded conductor bonded to the grounding rod at one end and the new neutral buss at the other end? And what about grounding the lug center cabinet?

Anyway, it's an idea. Since I'm already digging the conduit up, I could always add some more to it to actually connect the conduit to the lug center. As it stands now, the conduit doesn't even reach the fuse box. Of course, I would put the additional set of "service conductors" between the fuse box and the new lug center in conduit as well.

So, what do you think?

Here's the existing
Name:  Meter Panel Existing.jpg
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Here's with a new lug center
Name:  Meter Panel w new Lug center.jpg
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Size:  22.8 KB

Name:  Meter Panel w new Lug center 2.jpg
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Size:  15.4 KB
 
  #80  
Old 06-24-15, 11:24 AM
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The conductor to the ground rod never needs to be larger than #6 CU.
 
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