I hit an underground 12-3 wire with my shovel digging a hole. Gouged it
right up to the wire on one conductor.
I think cutting the wire in two and putting in an underground splice may
cause more trouble than it fixes.
Just wrapping the spot with electrical tape will probably let water in and
it will fail here in the future.
Is there a another repair option?
Did the same thing about 12 yrs. ago on the 200 amp line to my garage. Get
a good underground splice kit with the heat shrink tubing that has an
interior layer that melts and seals the incoming wires. They're good and
they work a long time in any kind of wet environment.
$7.95 at Menards
Garrett Fult>>I hit an underground 12-3 wire with my shovel digging a hole. Gouged it
>>right up to the wire on one conductor.
>>I think cutting the wire in two and putting in an underground splice may
>>cause more trouble than it fixes.
>>Just wrapping the spot with electrical tape will probably let water in and
>>it will fail here in the future.
>>Is there a another repair option?
> Did the same thing about 12 yrs. ago on the 200 amp line to my garage. Get
> a good underground splice kit with the heat shrink tubing that has an
> interior layer that melts and seals the incoming wires. They're good and
> they work a long time in any kind of wet environment.
> Garrett Fulton
I nicked the power line going to the boat shed a couple of years ago.
One conductor was showing. Dug out around it, cleaned it up good and
wrapped it with several layers of Tommy Tape for 6" either side. Been
burried now for 3 years in fairly wet ground with no problem.
Tommy Tape is a self amaglimating plastic that is waterproof and once it
cures must be carved off. Great stuff for sealing outside connectors and
wires. It will patch a radiator hose pretty well too. I know you can
get it at Wally Mart.
Karl Townsend wrote:
I hit my power feed to my barn about a month ago, when tillin g up the
yard to loosen the dirt so I could lay some sod. Evidently a tree root
pushed the underground wire up and the tines cut it. I bought an
underground splice kit, made by 3M and RayChem, which consited of a
wrap around heat shrink material, inline compression splices and a
plastic mold that is filed with an encapsulating potting compound.
Cost was less than $15.00. I have since obtained two of these kits
from the local power company free of charge ;-) I was shooting the
breeze with some of the line men that were installing a transformer on
a pole out along the road and I asked what they use and the next thing
he up and offered me two of the kits he had in the truck. I'm sure I
will use them eventually.
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Is this the gray "UF Romex" (Underground Feeder), with the outer
sheath molded over the inner wires? Or the white indoor "NM Romex"
which should never be used direct buried? If it's the white stuff
with the paper spacers inside the outer sheath, that stuff is never
supposed to be used underground and will not last, skip the next
If it's UF Romex, I would get a can of the "Liquid Electrical Tape"
cement and some Premium grade 3M Scotch 33+ electrical tape (do NOT
use the 49-cent bargain tape), and do an in-situ patch. Take off the
outer sheath carefully and repair the inner conductors; tape the gash
in the insulation, coat with liquid tape, let dry, retape, recoat.
Then do the same thing with the outer sheath - 2 to 4 alternating
layers, each layer going a bit further out on the sheath, until it
looks like a little football on the cable. Realize that no matter how
nice the repair this patch job is going to go bad eventually, so...
The real permanent repair is to dig a trench for the whole run at
least 18" down (36" under a public street) and drop in PVC Conduit
using sweep ells (NOT pipe elbows) to come up to your posts and boxes,
then pull in THHN / THWN wire for your load(s). When in doubt, use
larger conduit. It's only feeding a light post now, sure - then you
want to add an electric gate motor, and put in a 50A RV plug in the
yard for hookups when the relatives visit (or for running your welder
while fixing the gate)... 1" conduit isn't much more $ than 1/2".
Not more than 360-degrees of total bends between boxes, or pulling
the wire will be a royal pain. And if there is any chance of finding
an underground utility line in your path, PLEASE call them out to
locate and mark their lines before you start. Striking a utility line
can be deadly, or just expensive to fix - you break it, you bought it.
You can do it yourself, but please get an DIY-style instructional
book and follow the basic safety rules on bonding, grounding,
mandatory rules like "White is always Neutral, Green is always Safety
Ground, and neither color is used for an ungrounded conductor" - the
life you save could be your own, or mine if I ever have to come over
and do repairs.
If the copper is not damaged you could use
electrical tape to repair the insulation of
that conductor. Apply more tape all around
the cable, I would use at least a double layer.
Next get from out of the kitchen an aluminum
pie plate and wrap that around the repair, but
leave the top open for the moment. Get hold of
some old candles and melt them in a soup can.
Pour the molten wax in the open top of the
wrapped pie plate and then fold the top closed.
Optionally use some cable ties. HTH.