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inspectorreuben

Rules on overhead conductors

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I'm scratching my head on this one. The overhead conductors that supply power to the garage are actually in contact with the service drop, which I'm sure can't be right... but I don't know where to find a reference for this.

Also, the bare aluminum wire that runs to the garage isn't a conductor; it's just being used to support the other two conductors. Shouldn't it at least be bonded?

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Some things are so obviously wrong they have never written a code rule about it. That may be one of them. The service drop must not make contact with anything, and certainly not with a feeder to the garage.

Normally, triplex such as what you have is used to carry 240 volts, 2 energized insulated blacks and the bare wire is a neutral. The new rules call for 4 wires, but there was a time when you could use 3 wires plus a ground rod at the garage. Certainly not just 2 feeders.

In this case, Mr Handy may be supplying his garage with 120 volts using the 2 insulated cables. Or he may be running his welder only, with 240 volts. Some kind of a ground rod would be advisable, in that case. Was there a ground rod for the service in the garage? Is there a breaker panel of any kind? I suspect the entire hookup is Mickey Mouse and dangerous. It is allowable to run 120 volts to a few receptacles in the garage, but in that case, the ground needs to be there from the main panel, AFAIK, since about 1960.

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Mr Handy may be supplying his garage with 120 volts using the 2 insulated cables.

Correct. One of the insulated cables was a grounded conductor, and the other was an ungrounded conductor.

Was there a ground rod for the service in the garage?

Yes.

I suspect the entire hookup is Mickey Mouse and dangerous.

I agree with the Mickey Mouse part, but what makes this dangerous?

- Reuben

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I agree with the Mickey Mouse part, but what makes this dangerous?

- Reuben

I've a few thoughts but am more interested in what you think makes it dangerous Reuben.

The two laterals are at angles to each other. They sway in the wind differently, makes them rub and wear away at the insulation. Dangerous indeed.

Marc

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I agree with the Mickey Mouse part, but what makes this dangerous?

- Reuben

I've a few thoughts but am more interested in what you think makes it dangerous Reuben.

John Kogel is the one who said it was dangerous, not me. I'm also interested in what makes this dangerous.

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I agree with the Mickey Mouse part, but what makes this dangerous?

- Reuben

I've a few thoughts but am more interested in what you think makes it dangerous Reuben.

The two laterals are at angles to each other. They sway in the wind differently, makes them rub and wear away at the insulation. Dangerous indeed.

Marc

Ok, I can dig it. It looks like it's been this way for a while though, and I didn't notice any damage to the insulation.

- Reuben

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I'd say that the cables are subject to physical damage and that the installation violates 230.50(B)

230.50(B)

(1) Service Cables. Service cables, where subject to physical damage, shall be protected by any

of the following:

(1) Rigid metal conduit

(2) Intermediate metal conduit

(3) Schedule 80 PVC conduit

(4) Electrical metallic tubing

(5) Other approved means

(2) Other Than Service Cable. Individual open conductors and cables, other than service

cables, shall not be installed within 3.0 m (10 ft) of grade level or where exposed to physical

damage.

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Reuben, I don't know the NEC rule, but up here, that feeder needs to have a ground from the main panel. I suspect the installation was never permitted, and there are a few reasons to 'suspect' it is dangerous.

Where it crosses the service conductors, there could be a worn spot, invisible unless you separate the feeders and inspect them.

Where he's clamped the large conductors to smaller conductors to go to his panel and whatever is in the garage, did he use split bolt connectors, wire nuts, or some other? Or did he whittle the stranded conductors down to fit? A bad connection there can cause a hot spot = fire.

Is there a proper ground rod of the correct length or is it a piece of pipe of some unknown length? What about the ground clamp?

Is the neutral marked with white tape so that there can be no mistaking which lead is hot?

Is neutral separated from ground at the garage?

Did he get the polarity on the receptacles correct in the garage?

Is there an insulated knob for the bare messenger at each end? Are there any openable windows within 3 feet?

Is there a weatherhead at each end, and are the conductors protected where they enter the buildings?

Anything that can lead to a bad connection or a crossed connection is potentially dangerous. Amateur wiring is scary, because we can't inspect every inch of it.

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