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Thoughts about repurposing a large abandoned line off the meter to 110 for coop

Thoughts about repurposing a large abandoned line off the meter to 110 for coop


  #1  
Old 09-18-22, 08:05 PM
J
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Thoughts about repurposing a large abandoned line off the meter to 110 for coop

This might be a bit of a one-off post out of scope for most traditional topics, but wanted to run it by this larger group if they have any thoughts.

Here's the backstory. I purchased property with the electrical utility meter on a pole barn, which then fed both that pole barn, then had 4 large wires going into conduit for 100 feet to feed a main breaker box for a 50 year old dilapidated mobile home when I bought the land. We eventually demo'd the mobile home and abandoned the 4 large wires going into the conduit by cutting them off above the ground where they came out, and also cut them out by the utility meter box, so the only thing left at the meter was feeding our pole barn. Then we built a new home on a different part of the land and different meter. But this meter is still active to operate the pole barn, and ironically an extension cord that runs 100 feet out to the two large chicken coops we have on the old mobile home site.

Down to the question. We've attempted to yank/snake those large power wires out of the 100 feet of conduit, but after 50 years of grit and mud flowing down into that conduit, I've hook it up to a tractor and the tractor just lifts off the ground and those lines are permanently cemented into that conduit. So what I'm wondering is if there's any way to repurpose maybe the two smaller (originally neutral) wires. The two "hot", larger wires are massive 4/0 AWG wires that are 3/4" thick, so I get it that those two are too massive to mess around with. But the old neutral wires are only about 1/2" thick and a bit easier to work with. My main thought was can I simply hook those two smaller lines, one into the hot and one into the neutral in the meter box, then use those smaller 1/2" lines into an outdoor electrical box and put them into a reducer/splicer, could I simply hook some 12 gauge common house wire up to the other end of a splicer and have 110 power running out of that box for my chicken coops. Seems reasonable, but feels strange hooking massive main power lines into a splicer/reducer and then using that for simple lighting and small power. But I don't see any flaws in that other than it's going to be hard to find that reducer. Thanks


Origin at utility meter

Coming out of conduit 100 feet later

closer look
 
  #2  
Old 09-18-22, 11:44 PM
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Technically, yes! if they are without any ground fault. It is important to not oversize the fuse, and you need grounding and neutral well marked in both ends. Regarding the NEC I'm less sure, but if it is well done it should be safe.
 
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Old 09-19-22, 05:25 AM
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Hi, that cable looks to be direct burial, itís coming out of the ground in flexible conduit, not suitable for that use, are you sure those cables are in conduit all of the way or direct buried?

Geo🇺🇸
 
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Old 09-19-22, 10:03 AM
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NEC allows remarking wires larger than 6ga. So there's no issue with marking one neutral (white or gray tape) and one ground (green tape). Obviously you'll have to run a continuity tester to check which is which.

If it's useful, with 4 wires, you could run a Multi-wire branch circuit (MWBC) and use a 20A double-pole breaker and have two circuits out at the coop. Or just abandon one hot and run a single 20A circuit.

 
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Old 09-20-22, 05:03 PM
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Thanks. Great info. I'm looking forward with my options now.

And yes, Geo🇺🇸, after hooking that up to the tractor and trying to pull out the wires from the conduit, the flexible conduit pop out of the ground from only being buried around 2" down. Which then looked like there was no conduit beyond that, and they direct buried the wires. Felt strange that they would direct bury main home lines 100 feet from a shed to the mobile home, but then a lot of the site was 1970's "mobile home on a farm" type of construction. So I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised.

Thanks again!
 
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Old 09-20-22, 06:52 PM
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My main concern is what is the rating of the main breaker in that box on the pole barn. I suspect the wires will be overfused.
 
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Old 09-20-22, 07:57 PM
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My main concern is what is the rating of the main breaker in that box on the pole barn. I suspect the wires will be overfused.
Maybe a small subpanel could be in the plans then?
 
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Old 09-21-22, 04:59 AM
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In the picture labeled "a closer look," did I see a crack in the insulation in one of the wires?

Together with wires direct buried, possibly damaged from surface activity due to not being deep enough (24" without ground fault circuit interrupter protection), and possibly not approved for direct burial, you might have to abandon them and string a new feed.

The conduit lacks a bushing to protect the wires from sharp edges.

Yes, a subpanel upstream of the feed wiring in question can hold a breaker to protect said wiring. For #6 copper the rating is 55 amps, you may use the next standard breaker size or 60 amps.

Since the wires were cut off at both ends, you have a clean slate regarding selecting enclosures, panels, etc for the project. It may be necessary to install the first enclosure on a pedestal away from the wall if the wire ends are too short to reach the wall..
 
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Old 09-21-22, 07:29 AM
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... I've hook it up to a tractor and the tractor just lifts off the ground ...
This makes me question the advisability of using those wires now.
 
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Old 09-21-22, 09:56 AM
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A Megger Insulation Resistance Tester will tell you if the cables are compromised. If you can't find one to rent an electrical contractor that does industrial work may have one.
 
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Old 09-21-22, 03:40 PM
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More good feedback. Yup. My plans would have been to put in a reducer and then hooking it into a new, small subpanel to hook any new lines to my chicken coops to a breaker. But good reminder that I need to have that breaker in the path. Thanks again.
 
  #12  
Old 09-21-22, 05:08 PM
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Hi, not sure, but I wonder if there are any other requirements needed where there is livestock involved, or are chickens not considered livestock?
Geo🇺🇸
 
 

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