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Old 11-04-2012, 08:45 AM   #16
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All voltage measurements good until load is put on the circuit


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Originally Posted by justplumducky View Post
Thank for jumpin' in here jrclen... (voltage at the meter with the stove on and off is 240v and 120v each hot leg to ground).
Then you have a bad connection or a bad conductor between the meter and the breaker panel. One of the hot wires is bad. I would suspect the problem is underground.

The water heater is most likely a 120 volt unit, common in trailers.

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Old 11-04-2012, 11:26 AM   #17
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All voltage measurements good until load is put on the circuit


You guys (all your guys) are the best - thx so much for all your help.

Yes, the cable from the meter goes immediately underground for approximately 100', then surfaces in the crawl space of this trailer at the front of the home. It then runs over ground (laying on the ground) to the three splices about halfway toward back of the home, then on to the back corner of the home, up thru the floor to the main panel.

I don't know how long ago it was, but someone was at this home and used an insulation-piercing tester of some sort to check for power at the point where the cable surfaces (coming from the meter) under the home in the crawl space (resident told me this and showed me the holes). Auto electric techs have told me that pierced insulation (from testers) is a big problem on vehicles. Possible same problem here, depending on how long ago it was pierced? In the humid climate of Cincinnati,Ohio (the Ohio river) and no vapor barrier on the ground under this home, anyone care to guess how long it would take to create a problem like this, after the initial piercing?

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You can test for a broken conductor (for DIYers, downstream of a main breaker only) by running an across the floor or across the lawn jumper for a few minutes. But be careful, you don't want to jumper the A hot leg at the meter to the B hot leg at the panel. Verify using your voltmeter before connecting the second end of the jumper
What happens if you jump A to B?... you put 240v on all breakers (and their loads) of one leg, if the first conductor you chose to jump happens to be good in the first place?

I'm not going to be attempting this jumper method (very glad to know about it though, thank you), because my only goal here was to prove to the park manager & owner that the problem is not inside the home (it's on his turf). However, he may decide (hasn't told me yet) that the section of cable under the home, from the splices to the panel, is the resident's responsibility. So maybe I will... No doubt, he would have to be responsible for the cable from the splices to meter, correct?

Well, thx to you guys, now I can determine which side of the splices the problem is on, by checking for 240v at the splices (stove on) , since I have 240v at meter with stove on, but no 240v at panel with stove on.

240v at splices = problem between splices and panel. No 240v at splices = problem on meter side of the splices. Correct?

This water heater is a dual element (3200w), 240v unit, but I understand your conclusion that it's probably a 120v unit.

Last edited by justplumducky; 11-04-2012 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 11-04-2012, 12:33 PM   #18
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All voltage measurements good until load is put on the circuit


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Originally Posted by justplumducky View Post
What happens if you jump A to B?
XXXXXXdeletedxxxxxxxxxxxx you get an instant 240 volt short circuit.
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Last edited by oh'mike; 11-05-2012 at 05:11 AM. Reason: deleted instructions--left possible result
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Old 11-04-2012, 05:53 PM   #19
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All voltage measurements good until load is put on the circuit


There is no need to do any dangerous jumpering. All that will tell you is which conductor has a problem And that really doesn't matter at this point. An electrician with a locater can pin point the underground problem. You might find all three conductors needing repair or replacement at this point.
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Old 11-04-2012, 06:12 PM   #20
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All voltage measurements good until load is put on the circuit


Every one---please be careful offering up advice to a novice that could cause a dangerous situation if misunderstood-----MODERATOR----

OP---Please be careful--you are trouble shooting some high amperage lines----
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Old 11-04-2012, 10:08 PM   #21
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All voltage measurements good until load is put on the circuit


I have one question what type of underground cable is being used underneath the mobile home?

I will post two maybe three most common items.

A) Triplex or Quadplex underground cable ( it can be called MHF < Mobile Home Feeder > ) or URD <underground feeder cable >)

B) UF cable sorta like monster flat cable

C) Oversized round cord - Warning Be extra carefull if look rotten or show alot of cracks on the insluating materals do not touch it just replace it or have a electrician come in and deal with it. This part you do not want to mess around with it.

Finally the last comment is when someone try to use the probe to stick in the cable I know it can be done however this one of the most common mistake when you are done with testing you should have the hole resealed up to prevent moisture to cause the cable corrouded it don't matter if you have copper or alum cable ( alum will do it much faster than copper which it will take time )


The last thing here if you are still have issue with the cable or feel it will be more than a simple testing I will seriousaly suggest ya to stop right there and have to call in the electrican to come in and assit you on this one and with large underground mobile home feeder cable is not a best item to mess around.

Merci,
Marc
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Old 11-05-2012, 10:50 AM   #22
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All voltage measurements good until load is put on the circuit


I won't be doing the jumper thing, and thx for all the caution statements.

French~, the conductors are round, but don't any more about them - going back again today to check voltages at the splices which are about halfway from the front of the trailer to the back. They are new connectors - cut out the old and installed new this past weekend. I only taped them up with elec. tape temporarily, until everyone's done checking voltages, then will Duct Seal them and get 'em off the ground. They're off the ground now, but temporarily until we're all done with 'em. I can look to see if their markings are still legible.

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Oversized round cord - Warning Be extra carefull if look rotten or show alot of cracks on the insluating materals do not touch it just replace it or have a electrician come in and deal with it. This part you do not want to mess around with it.
Thank you for this tip French~. I don't fool with high-amp cables/conductors (3 separate conductors in this case), unless the power's off and the box is locked (with a sign on it).

If I check the splices and do find no 240v, that would mean the problem is in one of the conductors from the splices to the meter.... In which case, the park owner will be calling in his pro to pin-point and repair the problem. If I do find 240v at the splices, it's in one of the conductors from the splices to the back of the home at the panel (according to what I've learned here)

If the park owner refuses to be responsible for the conductors from splices back to panel (this is the policy in another park I know of), I may be replacing the bad conductor myself, or all three of them?

What would be another non-jumper method to determine which conductor is bad (from splices to panel)? I have a clamp-meter if that helps any...

How 'bout if I turn stove on, and go to conductors under trailer and put clamp-meter on each hot leg in turn? Or I can do it at the panel also (just below the panel, the conductors are easily accessible).

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Old 11-05-2012, 01:35 PM   #23
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All voltage measurements good until load is put on the circuit


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Originally Posted by justplumducky View Post
the splices which are about halfway from the front of the trailer to the back. They are new connectors - cut out the old and installed new this past weekend.
What type of connectors did you use?

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Originally Posted by justplumducky View Post
What would be another non-jumper method to determine which conductor is bad (from splices to panel)?
If the problem is underground as I suspect it is, it will be very apparent which one is bad when you dig it up.

Please describe the conductors. Are they individual conductors? Or do they have an overall covering sheath? Are they the same on both sides of the splices under the trailer?

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Originally Posted by justplumducky View Post
someone was at this home and used an insulation-piercing tester of some sort to check for power at the point where the cable surfaces (coming from the meter) under the home in the crawl space (resident told me this and showed me the holes).
Are you curious as to why this was done in the past? I would be.

The question as to who is responsible for the conductors between the trailer panel and the meter enclosure should be determined before you waste any more time on this. Those splices have nothing to do with it. They shouldn't even be there from what I can understand.

The only time I ever saw anything like that was when an owner spliced a underground mobile home feeder to the old rubber covered mobile home cord after chopping off the plug. We found that after the firemen rolled up their hoses and left.
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Old 11-05-2012, 06:43 PM   #24
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All voltage measurements good until load is put on the circuit


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If the problem is underground as I suspect it is, it will be very apparent which one is bad when you dig it up.
I understand, but was asking in case the problem was from the splices on back to the panel, in which case all three individual conductors are above ground (laying on the ground).

Quote:
Please describe the conductors. Are they individual conductors? Or do they have an overall covering sheath? Are they the same on both sides of the splices under the trailer?
They're round (Aluminum wire), approximately 1/2" diameter (maybe just a bit smaller - not sure), but couldn't see any identifying markings on them. Individual conductors (no sheath) laying loosely on the ground, two hots and neutral.

Aluminum ground wire from panel (ground bar) attaches to galvanized pipe water line under the trailer - I installed a new ground clamp (if that's what it's called?) to attach the ground wire to - scrubbed up the galv. pipe good before installing clamp. Same conductors on both sides, from front of trailer, thru the splices and on to the panel.

Quote:
What type of connectors did you use?
Brand: Thomas&Betts, "Splicer Reducer" Rated for CU or AL Conductors; Conductor Range, Max:1/0 STR; Min: 14 AWG; Max operating temperature 90 degrees Celsius. This appropriate? They certainly looked appropriate, judging, comparitively, by the old ones that were on there.

Quote:
Are you curious as to why this was done in the past? I would be.
Are you assuming that I wasn't curious? Already asked about this - resident said someone else was out here checking voltages, but to no avail. Don't know if they're telling me the whole story or not.

Quote:
The question as to who is responsible for the conductors between the trailer panel and the meter enclosure should be determined before you waste any more time on this.
I do appreciate your advice, but I'm not wasting my time - have lots of it. Don't know how it's done in other states/counties, but here, Ohio Health Department is the sole administrator of mobile home parks in this county. Just haven't checked their rules yet as to where tenant/owner responsibility lies, although an experienced contractor just told me on the phone that if it's not in the home (the problem), it's park responsibility. Also wanted to identify which side of the splices the problem is on, before talking with the resident and park owner again (because park owner had been threatening to bill the tenant if it were (the problem) from splices to panel. Apparently now, he can't do that.

Quote:
Those splices have nothing to do with it. They shouldn't even be there from what I can understand.
In another park, their policy (the park) is to be responsible for the cable only up to the junction boxes next to each trailer (maybe they're in violation of the law, dunno yet). In this park (this current problem), all the other trailers have boxes next to them. Some of the boxes have a single 120v receptacle, along with a single fuse for one leg of the 240v, along with a 4-prong receptacle in which to plug the trailer's cord. A couple of the other boxes have been converted to circuit breakers. Somebody must have removed the box that should have been next to this trailer (I'm guessing), thus the splices, but have no idea why - resident isn't saying, if they know.

Last edited by justplumducky; 11-06-2012 at 10:15 AM.
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Old 11-05-2012, 08:02 PM   #25
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All voltage measurements good until load is put on the circuit


The reason I asked about the previous testing (by someone who was most likely not an electrician) is that it points to this having been a problem in the past.

The splice connectors are fine. They often come with heat shrink tubing.

The conductors laying on the ground should be in conduit. The spices should be in a box.

Is there also a ground rod or just the water pipe ground?

Your testing confirms the problem is underground between the meter enclosure / disconnect, and the splices.

A new set of conductors should be run from the meter to the trailer panel, without splices and with a conduit from the panel to 12" below the ground level.

Good luck and please let us know how this all comes out.
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Old 11-05-2012, 08:27 PM   #26
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Is there also a ground rod or just the water pipe ground?
Only the water pipe ground.


I forgot to tell you... a very experienced electrical contractor is coming out soon, possibly tomorrow. Lots of experience locating underground faults in mobile home parks and elsewhere.

I will most certainly post back and let you know how it turns out. Can't thank you, and all the others, enough!
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Old 11-06-2012, 09:32 AM   #27
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That sounds great.

If you can, point out the lack of a ground rod to the contractor.

It will be interesting to see if the feeder is upgraded to four wires.
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Old 11-06-2012, 10:14 AM   #28
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If you can, point out the lack of a ground rod to the contractor.
Ok, will do...
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Old 11-07-2012, 03:32 PM   #29
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The problem was underground as you suspected (jrclen, French~ and whomever else). Was in a junction box that was in the gravel road near the mailbox building, where cars hit it frequently. It was also at the bottom of a gentle slope, so it was also flooding. Didn't get there soon enough to see the actual condition of the conductor that was bad. They had already cut it out and disposed of it.

The size of the bad conductor was same as the conductors under the trailer. He put connectors on it that he compressed with a manual hydraulic "crimper" or press. Shrinked-wrapped it and put some black goop on it. Back in business.

He noticed the ground rod situation before I mentioned it, but they didn't do anything about it. Wasn't privy to that conversation, and he didn't upgrade the stove circuit to 4-wire, nor the cable from the meter to panel.

Can't thank you all enough!

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Old 11-07-2012, 05:01 PM   #30
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Thanks for letting us know. I'm glad everything is fixed. You may want to talk the owner into driving a ground rod near the panel and running a number 6 copper wire into the panel. Or to the existing water pipe ground. Mostly for lightning protection.

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