Shorted wiring to well

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Old 01-31-17, 11:12 PM
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Shorted wiring to well

Hi guys,

I have a submersible pump at around 70' that is roughly 160' from the main panel through around 150' of 3/4" conduit. My late father installed an RV panel (240v outlet and duplex 120v outlet) at the well head with 2 x #10 hots and 1 x #6 or #8 solid bare copper. Somewhere in the conduit the ground has shorted with one of the hots, I've tested it with all 3 wires disconnected at both ends. There is a combination 2-pole fuse shutoff about 10' from the main panel that keeps burning one of the fuses.

The pump is 1.5 hp and has 2x 20amp breakers at the well head as well as fuses at a shutoff near the main panel.

I was going to re-run with 2 x #8 hots and 1 x #8 ground but since I can't get the #10 out I think I better just put #10 back in.

A couple questions:

1. Should I pull the wires out and clean the conduit with an air compressor/vacuum or just use the existing wires to pull new wires?

2. Is it safe to use a winch to pull this wire out? Or a truck pulling over a tripod? I've tried to pull it by hand and it seems like I'm going to die before I'd get it out or even started.

3. Is it overkill to just dig out the conduit half way and install a raised junction box to make this pull easier?

3. Shouldn't there be a neutral at a panel like that?

4. Having a subpanel that doesn't really support 120v seems kind of pointless. Would it be a bad idea to just pull it out and put in another shutoff at the well?


Thanks, sorry so many questions.
 
  #2  
Old 01-31-17, 11:52 PM
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1) use the old wires to pull in new wires.

2) I'm guessing PVC ? Very easy to melt the sweep when pulling wires thru. The friction causes the wire to melt the fitting.

3) you could install a pull box to make the pull easier.

3B) if that is a live 120v receptacle then there absolutely needs to be a neutral. You can't use the ground as a neutral.

4) If you don't need a receptacle then just put in a two pole disconnect.

For a 20A 240v well circuit.... #10 is a good size to run.
The ground can be the same size. No need to run anything larger than the hot conductors.

When you pull the new wires in.... use pulling soap.
 
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Old 02-01-17, 06:24 AM
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I wouldn't use a truck for sure,is it PVC pipe? a vac or compressed air will not likely do much good for 3/4" pipe,if you have a good location for a pull box 1/2 along the run may be a good option.
Geo
 
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Old 02-01-17, 08:52 AM
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If you can't pull the old wires out, that may be the problem!

Maybe someone dug into the buried line and that is causing the short and keeping you from being able to pull the wires through?

Or maybe a heavy truck drove over it and squished it?
 
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Old 02-02-17, 10:10 AM
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Old wires can get stuck pretty bad just from crud that accumulates in the pipe. You may need to dig one of the elbows out to get a more straight pull. You also may want to mix up a bucket of dish soapy water and funnel that into the pipe just to get it loosened up a bit. It won't hurt to swab the pipe before new wires in first, but if you don't have a stout steel tape that's long enough, you'll want to make sure you use the old wires to pull a string through. A PVC conduit that long will not blow a mouse very well. Strings and twines will cut right through corners in PVC conduit. Wider pull tapes are more effective in plastic.
 
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Old 02-05-17, 12:40 AM
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Update #1: Stick In The Mud

Thanks for all the suggestions, I appreciate it. I did get pulling grease/lubricant although I haven't really utilized it yet.

I did add a junction box in the most accessible spot. Still wasn't able to pull the wire with a hand winch. I think the bare copper is a few feet longer now and my life is a few years shorter. I dug up the elbow and it was a "customized" extra long elbow that was broken in 2 places and consisted of a multitude of different pipes. Put in some new conduit and rerouted it in a more straightforward location. Finally got the wire out from both directions at the soon to be junction box. I gave up on trying to use it as a pull string to simplify things. The bare copper I think is actually cloth insulated. I flushed both directions with water and then the air compressor. Seemed to get most of the junk out: dirt, cloth insulation, etc.

My 100' fish was still too short so I think the run must be more like 175'. I got a new 240'(!) fish. Fish gets stuck with about 14' left. I just replaced 12'... Dig out another couple feet and there is another 1am-gotta-get-this-done-with-no-money-and-kids-yelling solution. A broken piece of 1" or more abs over-top of the joint of 3/4" inch pvc and a few easter eggs thrown in (tried to include images). The "joint" was not actually aligned and there was my fish, out of one pipe and stuck in the mud. I had to flush the runs out again after replacing the broken joint with regular conduit.

Amateur-hour tip: remove fish before cutting pipe. Even though Klein tools seem to be getting worse like everything else the new fish still held up pretty well against my cheapo hand saw.

Most of the run is actually regular PVC water pipe. Which becomes pretty apparent why you'd never want to do that when you're digging around trying to find the right pipe. I replaced parts of it but I'm out of time on this project and I'll just have to replace the whole run next time or when I get a real electrician to redo everything.

I still haven't actually pulled the wire yet but I'm pretty sure that was the last major obstruction. Just got the junction box glued and screwed down to a post.

A couple more questions:

I picked up a low-cost 60amp rated 240v shutoff with no neutral and no overcurrent protection. My plan is to put that at the well head in place of the RV-style subpanel that had no neutral. So the line up would be ... fused 2-pole shutoff - no neutral - .. 120' underground run to junction box .. ~50' to well head .. new shutoff with no over-current protection .. pump controller .. cable to casing and down to submersible pump.

1. Is the over-current protection provide by the upstream shutoff adequate? As far as I can tell I just need a visible shutoff at the location for maintenance but it doesn't need to provide over-current protection as long as it is provided up stream.

2. The new shutoff provides a equipment grounding terminal/bus with 2 tie-ins. If my green insulated copper #8 comes in do I need to wirenut it with the EGC running onto the pump controller and then pigtail to the box bus or can I just tie both down to the bus, ie. no pigtails? I'm assuming that is needed for regular outlets because you might remove the outlet and disconnect down stream EGC if it wasn't pigtailed but in this case it doesn't seem like someone else would remove the ground bus and leave the switch.

3. The fuses on the original shutoff are fusetron 30amp frn-r-30. The wire I'm pulling should be fine but the pump(1.5 hp) and controller should never draw over 15amps. I think the pump controller which includes a pump saver is rated at 20 amps. So I think 20amp fuses would be more appropriate. The original shutoff is 30amp rated. The new shutoff to be placed downstream is 60 amp rated. Does changing the fuses to 20 amp fuses seem reasonable? The pump saver should kill the pump during most "normal" scenarios that would cause over-current caused by the pump so the fuses should be "protected" from "normal" fluctuations and be triggered only if the pump saver fails or the wiring between the pump saver and the original shutoff fails or other exceptional circumstances.

The following images are not conduit and not recommended!!!!

Attachment 76849Attachment 76850Attachment 76851Attachment 76852Attachment 76853Attachment 76854
 
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Old 02-05-17, 09:30 AM
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What was this about?
The following images are not conduit and not recommended!!!!

Attachment 76849Attachment 76850Attachment 76851Attachment 76852Attachment 76853Attachment 76854
.
 
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Old 02-05-17, 10:02 AM
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Images

I'm trying to attach these again. It seemed to work in my other post.

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Old 02-05-17, 10:31 AM
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Pump controller and old rv style panel

Here is an image of the pump controller with cover off and the old rv style panel. I also pasted in an image of the disconnect switch with cover off, you can see the ground bar at the bottom with two slots, one on the left and one on the right.

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Old 02-05-17, 11:46 AM
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The size of the conduit is one problem that ia affecting the pulling. I'd say time to stop trying it and abandon it. Easiest would be just direct burial (24" minimum) using 10-3 UF cable. Rent a trencher if needed.

Or use #10 THWN in 1" conduit. One inch conduit not because it needs to be that big but because it will make pulling easier. As you assemble new conduit put in mason's twine. Pull it back and forth a bit as you assemble in case it gets a bit of cement on so it won't be stuck.

Burial minimum will be 18". You need two #10 black, one #10 white, and one #10 green for conduit. 30 amp breaker at the supplying panel and subpanel with bonded ground bar and isolated neutral bar at the pump. One or two ground rods are required for a subpanel.
 
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Old 02-06-17, 07:50 AM
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Right! One look at that conduit and my first thought is that I would replace the whole works. Also use a larger size conduit.

I also would replace the wood post those boxes are mounted to. I would use a pressure treated post.
 
 

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