Wiring from metered power pole to home panel

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Old 05-26-17, 12:45 PM
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Wiring from metered power pole to home panel

Hoping I can get some actual assistance off this forum. Pretty shocked at the attitudes of several others that have bordered on downright hostility to arguing between posters.

Here's my situation. I am running power from a metered power box to my cabin's breaker panel. I have an underground 4/4/4/2 service cable that I put in last year for this purpose. My question is to whether I would wire the cabin's breaker box as a sub panel using all four wires or as a basic breaker panel in which only three wires need to be used. Have gotten a lot of conflicting information.

The metered power box has a single bonded neutral/ground bar, as does my breaker box in the cabin. If using all four wires would I have to remove the bonding bar between the neutral and ground terminals?

Thanks in advance.
 
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Old 05-26-17, 12:52 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

There is supposed to be a main breaker/disconnect at the meter location.
The connected panel would then be a sub panel utilizing all four wires.

The neutral and grounds would need to be kept separated in the sub panel.
Any bonding screw/connection would be removed.
 
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Old 05-26-17, 12:55 PM
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Does the metered box on the pole have a disconnecting means either a switch or breaker that can be the whole house disconnect? If so then you need to use all 4 conductors of your cable and make your cabin box a subpanel.

If there is no disconnect at the pole i.e. the pole box is a lug panel then you will need to schedule the power company to pull the meter before you make the connection and schedule them again to re-insert the meter when you are done. Pulling the meter does not count as a whole house disconnect and your cabin panel can then be the main panel with just 3 conductors (hot, hot, and combined neutral/ground) out to the pole.

In many cities installing a main panel and service conductors to it requires a separate permit from wiring branch circuits and subpanel feeds from the main panel.
 
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Old 05-26-17, 01:00 PM
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Can you also please tell us the designation of the service cable (examples might be USE-2, URD, MHF) and whether is it copper or aluminum conductors? What is the approximate distance as the wire runs?
 
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Old 05-26-17, 01:12 PM
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You guys rock!

Southwire (By-the-Foot) 4/0-4/0-4/0-2/0 Gray Stranded Al SER Cable-13107899 - The Home Depot

Yes, there is a service disconnect switch at the power pedestal.

About 100 feet.
 
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Old 05-26-17, 01:29 PM
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Do you have the cable underground in PVC conduit ?

Two possible issues....
I don't think SER is allowed to be underground in conduit.
Second issue is that it doesn't have an insulated ground.
 
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Old 05-26-17, 02:18 PM
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The cable was recommended by an electrician friend of mine. It is in conduit and does have an insulated ground. The neutral is bare.

stats here:
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Southwire...210757&cj=true

The cable has some additional nomenclature on it that I can post when I get home.

It has one black insulated, one black insulated with red stripe and one black insulated with white stripe, then one bare.
 
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Old 05-26-17, 02:34 PM
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The black insulated with white is the neutral. The ground is bare.

I'm on the road and will check back in shortly.
 
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Old 05-26-17, 03:23 PM
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The link shows SER cable which cannot be used underground.
 
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Old 05-26-17, 03:30 PM
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Well, crap. Okay I will get the info off the cable and post when I get home.
 
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Old 05-27-17, 07:29 AM
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This is the info on the cable itself: "TYPE SE CABLE STYLE SER TYPE XHHW-2 CDRS 600 VOLT UL 3CDR 4/0 1CDR 2/0 COMPACT AL" I really hope I have not been screwed because this is what I am stuck with....
 
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Old 05-27-17, 07:41 AM
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Just adding fuel to the fire, for Pete, Jim and the others, aside from the over covering, would not XHHW-2 be a better coating than THHN. It can be used in wet locations, doesn't offgas when burned and has a thicker outer cross linked Polyethylene coating.. I know SER, generally is not run in conduit. Just seeking additional information from the others as to its possible use in this situation.
 
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Old 05-27-17, 08:16 AM
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NEC 338.12 Uses Not Permitted:
(A) Service-Entrance Cable. Service-entrance cable (SE) shall not be used under the following conditions or in the following locations:
(1) Where subject to physical damage unless protected in accordance with 230.50(A)
(2) Underground with or without a raceway
 
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Old 05-27-17, 09:35 AM
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Are tHe conductors inside the cable labeled? If they are there might be a way to salvage what you have.
 
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Old 05-28-17, 09:50 AM
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@$&#! Getting pretty bad when an electrician gives you bad information. So what cable classification would I need for underground application? Preferably without a conduit if such a thing exists, or with if it's already cost prohibitive?
 
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Old 05-28-17, 10:23 AM
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Do you plan on using conduit or do you want direct burial cable? How rocky is your soil?

If you use conduit you could use XHHW or THWN. If you want direct burial you could use URL or MC cable.

You will need 4 wires .
 
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Old 05-28-17, 11:19 AM
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Aluminum mobile home cable is okay for direct burial but in rocky soil is problematical. It can be run in conduit also. It is usually the cheapest solution.
it's already cost prohibitive
PCBoss asked if the individual wires in The SER are labeled because if they are they can be stripped out and run in conduit along with a new ground wire.
 
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Old 05-28-17, 05:45 PM
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So is the main problem the uninsulated ground? Is it safe to leave the three conductors and run a separate direct burial ground wire, not connecting the uninsulated ground at all?
 
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Old 05-28-17, 07:18 PM
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Are the conductors marked? If so they can be removed and used in conduit. However the cable as a whole is not allowed.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 05-28-17 at 08:44 PM.
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Old 05-29-17, 09:44 AM
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One red stripe, one white stripe, one plain black. Anyone else having major problems signing in?
 
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Old 05-29-17, 10:16 AM
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One red stripe, one white...
Not stripes lettering such as "XHHW" printed on each conductor.
 
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Old 05-29-17, 10:22 AM
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If you bought it at someplace like Home Depot they may let you trade it for the appropriate mobile home cable. You might even get a small refund.
 
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Old 05-29-17, 12:41 PM
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I don't think there is any printing on the conductors, all the XHHW-2 nomenclature is on the outer gray sleeve tho. I don't plan on digging up the cable. I have to be in the cabin before the snow flies so it just don't have the time. It would be much quicker just to dig another trench for the ground cable.

Soil is sandy and easy to dig.
 
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Old 05-29-17, 01:03 PM
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We have given you our interpretation of the cable you used.
You need to talk with your local electrical inspector if you're set on using it.
If using all four wires would I have to remove the bonding bar between the neutral and ground terminals?
It is probably a second neutral bar not a ground bar. Usually you need to add a ground bar but without knowing what box you have we can't say. If both bars are on plastic insulators they are usually both intended as neutral neutral bars not ground bars. Ground bars are usually bare metal bonded directly to the box. The neutral bar is isolated. You will need at least one, usually two ground rods at your subpanel. If your water pipes are metal they will need to be bonded to the subpanel.

Questions not answered. Does your subpanel have a main breaker? What size breaker are you using in the disconnect at the pole?
I have an underground 4/4/4/2
That is only good for 60 amps( at 100') if aluminum. Dwellings usually require a minimum of a 100 amp feed. Or did you mean 4/0-4/0-4/0-2/0?
 
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Old 05-29-17, 03:32 PM
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Exact nomenclature on cable 4/0-4/0-4/0-2/0 was listed on an earlier post and yes there is a service disconnect breaker at the meter. Distance is approximately 100'. It will be regular 200 amp service. An earlier post stated I'd be setting the cabin breaker panel as a sub panel. There is a metal insulated bar that connects the neutral and ground bars on the breaker panel that is capable of being removed. It was my understanding that if it was set up as a sub panel, that bar would have to be removed to isolate the ground and neutral. Can we post photos here?

What I am still trying to determine is the uninsulsted ground was the whole problem with the cable I have and if the other three conductors can be safely used if I use a seperate insulated ground. The cable is already in buried conduit.
 

Last edited by MichaelRS; 05-29-17 at 03:53 PM.
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Old 05-29-17, 04:10 PM
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yes there is a service disconnect breaker at the meter.
And is the subpanel a main breaker panel.

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/li...rt-images.html

The cable itself is the problem. It is by national code guide lines nor allowed to be used.
NEC 338.12 Uses Not Permitted:
(A) Service-Entrance Cable. Service-entrance cable (SE) shall not be used under the following conditions or in the following locations:
(1) Where subject to physical damage unless protected in accordance with 230.50(A)
(2) Underground with or without a raceway
Yes you might be able to use a bare ground* but the problem is the cable. You need to check if there is a local exception.

*
250.118 Types of Equipment Grounding Conductors.
The equipment grounding conductor run with or enclosing the circuit conductors shall be one or more or a combination of the following:

(1) A copper, aluminum, or copper-clad aluminum conductor. This conductor shall be solid or stranded; insulated, covered, or bare; and in the form of a wire or a busbar of any shape.
 
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Old 05-29-17, 04:30 PM
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Sub panel is a main breaker panel.

I understand the code regarding SER cable. It was my understanding from earlier posts that this was due to the uninsulated ground wire. If I do not hook up the uninsulated ground wire and instead use a direct burial cable for the ground wire, is it safe to leave the conductors in place or are they, like the uninsulated ground, not properly insulated? Just trying to understand.
 
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Old 05-29-17, 04:55 PM
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Codes will often seem to be arbitrary. In your case I suspect it is because the insulation on the conductors has NOT been tested in a real or simulated underground condition.

Since it has not been tested it is unknown how the underground location might adversely affect the insulation. It may be fine or it may deteriorate to an unsafe condition in a matter of months. Things are approved by code only AFTER extensive testing has proven them to be safe.

My advice, which will get you a cup of coffee at a really cheap restaurant if accompanied with a dollar bill, is to remove the existing cable and use the proper cable or individual conductors. Anything else is a crap shoot.

Now you MIGHT want to contact your LOCAL electrical inspection office as the ONLY code that really matters is the LOCALLY enforced one. Sometimes the enabling legislation will make specific additions or deletions to the model code when enacting it into law. If the local inspector okays it, which I doubt, then you are fine.
 
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Old 05-29-17, 06:19 PM
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Ground isn't the real problem. The real problem is the cable is not intended for the purpose for which you are using it.

I am closing this thread. If you want instructions on how to do the job starting from scratch we will be glad to help. Just start a new thread and we will give you help with correct materials and procedures.
 
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