Fizzled outdoor wire

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  #1  
Old 06-19-18, 11:36 AM
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Fizzled outdoor wire

So we have outdoor wire underground leading to the back of our yard. A couple of weeks ago, my outdoor lights failed to turn on (they're connected to a timer for nighttime).
So we started pulling up wire from the area we thought might be the problem. When we got to the wire behind where we plant tomatoes, we found it. It's like a piece of it just got completely fizzled! We're thinking some acid producing bugs were chewing on it? The area is about 6" or so. Does anyone know what might have happened?

Here's a few closeup pics:

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Old 06-19-18, 12:12 PM
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Unless your color balance is way off that is not a gray outer jacket. You might strip it back and see if there is paper filler. I'd bet there is. If the preceding is true that is not outdoor wire. The failure may be as simple as the moisture finally shorted the wires. If not UF cable the whole run needs to be replaced with UF-b.
 
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Old 06-19-18, 12:39 PM
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Thanks Ray, guess I should've mentioned we put it in 25 to 30 years ago. It was outdoor wire. I guess it was off white back then? Maybe it's just seen the end of it's life after all these years!
No paper filler. Just the 3 copper wires encased in the white plastic stuff (or whatever the outside is made of )
 

Last edited by Shadeladie; 06-19-18 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 06-19-18, 03:03 PM
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Near Tomato plants, a shovel may have nicked it and started corrosion .
 
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Old 06-19-18, 05:26 PM
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It only takes one nick for the process to start. You could dig in both directions to get to unburned wiring to attempt a splice but the problem with old cable like that is the entire length that is underground gets blackened and corroded making it tough to make good splices.
 
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Old 06-19-18, 05:53 PM
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Thanks guys! DH wondered (before he dug it up) if it might have gotten nicked by a shovel.
He's going to replace as much of it as he can. The only problem part of it to replace is the length that's from the house that goes under a cement driveway, then to the yard.
 
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Old 06-19-18, 05:57 PM
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I would also suspect it got nicked by a shovel. Back in the day UF was also white so that is normal. The home store should have an underground splice kit available. https://www.homedepot.com/p/Tyco-Ele...-000/202204319 You may have to buy two and add a piece of UF to replace the burned section of cable.
 
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Old 06-19-18, 06:04 PM
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Thanks for that link, Tolyn! We're heading to HD this weekend and will pick it up along with some new wire.
 
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Old 06-22-18, 01:52 PM
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So another question. We're looking at the wires and wondered if we should be getting the 12/2 or the 10/2. We need 100ft. of it. For the most part, it's just for lighting in the shed and some outdoor lighting (pathway lights and string lights).
 
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Old 06-22-18, 02:04 PM
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Not sure if it would work in your yard.

- Get one of these:
https://www.amazon.com/Gard-N-Post-L...65606184&psc=1

Use new wire to continue to shed.

Edit - I would make the complete Run GFCI Protected.
 
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Old 06-22-18, 08:16 PM
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I would just match what ever size you had before, that is unless you you are want to upgrade the circuit for future.
 
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Old 06-23-18, 07:13 AM
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Thanks Tolyn, probably the 12/2 which is almost half the price of the 10/2! That outdoor wire sure is pricey.

Thanks and we'll check that out Tribal Fan but at this point we're probably just going to replace the wire.
 
 

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