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Old 10-10-2007, 09:27 AM   #1
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Overhead Service - SER Cable


Upgrading to a 200A service. I happen to have on hand some SER 4/0 aluminum and based on research I've found, I can use it for both the drop from the weatherhead to the meter and for the meter to the panel. However, since the Power Co connection is only the two phases and neutral, what is the proper method of not using or terminating the additional ground wire? Simply cut it off both ends and tape it?

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Old 10-10-2007, 08:48 PM   #2
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Overhead Service - SER Cable


I would cut it off close to the outer sheeth and not worry about taping it.

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Old 10-11-2007, 11:19 AM   #3
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Overhead Service - SER Cable


While both SEU and SER are rated for use outdoors, I do not believe that the Power company will accept it for the Line side feed, but will accept it for the Load side conductors.

Here is the logic: The SEU has a concentric Neutral, that is to say, that the Neutral is wrapped around the outside of the two ungrounded conductors.

This configuration prevents customers from illegal hookups through the outer jacket, ahead of the metering equipment.

The Utility doesn't care if someone taps into the wire after the meter.

Better check with the Utility Company prior to installation.
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Old 10-11-2007, 02:57 PM   #4
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Overhead Service - SER Cable


In SC. we don't have to do anything but set the meter can. POCO handles the service. Underground or overhead. Only time we use service entrance cable is from the meter load side to the main service panel.
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Old 10-11-2007, 07:39 PM   #5
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Overhead Service - SER Cable


Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelpwalton1 View Post
While both SEU and SER are rated for use outdoors, I do not believe that the Power company will accept it for the Line side feed, but will accept it for the Load side conductors.

Here is the logic: The SEU has a concentric Neutral, that is to say, that the Neutral is wrapped around the outside of the two ungrounded conductors.

This configuration prevents customers from illegal hookups through the outer jacket, ahead of the metering equipment.

The Utility doesn't care if someone taps into the wire after the meter.

Better check with the Utility Company prior to installation.
That's very interesting. I did talk to the building inspector today and he said I could use it as long as it is put in conduit. I don't know if he speaks for the POCO, however, but I suppose conduit would somewhat serve the same purpose of preventing illegal taps. Just out of curiousity, how would the POCO tell anyway, as the cable is stripped back and sticking out the weatherhead for connection when they show up? And, couldn't any 4/0 AL or 2/0 Cu wire be used if it is in conduit (within reason...like THHN XHHW or the like)? Thanks for the info. Very interesting.

Also, I neglected to ask but if the overhead is not a roof mast, but just a weather mast (IE, line secured to house, not mast), is Sch40 conduit permissible or must it be rigid steel? I can't find really anything per code, and all the googling I've done tends to show that it is a local jurisdiction/POCO guideline. I bought a PVC weatherhead, so I just naturally (maybe incorrectly) assumed that the weather mast could be PVC too.

Last edited by robertmee; 10-11-2007 at 07:46 PM.
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Old 10-11-2007, 08:50 PM   #6
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Overhead Service - SER Cable


Just remove the three conductors from the outer jacket and place them into conduit with a weather head. Schedule 40 pvc is fine to use and a better install since they don't rust and can withstand the elements better. Just remember to have a minimum of 3' feet hanging out the weather head for the power company's tie-in.
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Old 10-11-2007, 10:35 PM   #7
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Overhead Service - SER Cable


The Utility company can tell SEU from SER because #1) SEU is flat and SER is round, 2) it will say SER or SEU on the outer jacket.

PVC conduit is OK to use as long as you are not using it as a mast. If you are using a mast (which you said is not the case) it must be IMC or Rigid conduit 2" diam.

As for installing the SER in the PVC, some authorities will not allow you to pull anything other than single conductors (not saying single strand) cable in a conduit because of heat buildup.
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Old 10-11-2007, 11:11 PM   #8
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Overhead Service - SER Cable


[quote=robertmee;67650] Just out of curiousity, how would the POCO tell anyway, as the cable is stripped back and sticking out the weatherhead for connection when they show up?
quote]

Before any connection by the power co. A visual inspection of the service entrance will be performed by the lineman. Proper conductors, connections, grounding and a confirmed neutral. Also main and branch circuit breakers will be checked to make sure they are in the off position. If there is something not right with the service, they will not make the connection.

There is nothing wrong with removing the conductors from the outer jacket since that xhhw-2 al conductors are acceptable for this application. Be sure to use penatrox or other anti-oxidant product for your connections in your lugs when connecting al to copper.
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Old 10-12-2007, 07:35 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the help. Heading up this morning to start work.
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Old 10-12-2007, 07:41 PM   #10
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In case anyone's interested and following this thread, I started my upgrade of 200A service today. I honestly don't know how this house ever passed code or didn't burn down. Maybe code has evolved over the years, but here's some of what I found:

Hot water heater 230V ran with a 10/2 instead of 10/3. Neutral used for one phase, ground used for neutral. Romex spliced with electical tape about 4' back in the wall.

Dryer 230V ran with 10/2 instead of 10/3 also. The two phases of the 230V were pulled off two separate single phase fuses.

Oven 230V ran with 8/2 instead of 8/3.

Window AC ran with 12/2 instead of 12/3. Again, neutral white used for one phase, ground used for neutral.

Entire room addition (lights and outlets) were spliced into another circuit in the wall! Just wires twisted together and taped with electrical tape. They fed it through the wall to the other side and ran it along the outside of the wall around the corner and through notches in the studs. No nail plates and panelling nailed directly over the exposed wire.

Found several 20A circuits with grounds just wrapped around the romex in the panel, not terminated to the ground bar.

Soooo.....I really have my work cut out for me. I don't look forward belly crawling under the 18" crawlspace to run all this new wire.

I did get the new meter box mounted and the new 200A panel mounted inside. Oh yeah, had to tear down the wall and add a second stud to mount the 200A panel as the original 60A panel was NAILED through the back into the siding of the house. Not attached to the one stud at all.

If you've read this far, I do have one question on how I mounted the new meter panel. The new panel was of course a bit larger, but as luck would have it, the back knockout lined up perfectly with the old hole in the side of the house. I had originally planned to come out the bottom with an LB into the house, but I decided to make use of this good fortune of the holes lining up. So, what I did was use a hole saw to enlarge the hole and use a PVC conduit male adapter as a sleeve through the hole into the house and nutted the threaded end into the meter box. So, I have a nice smooth sleeve through the house and it should protect the cable against nicks on the knockout. Is this okay? It sure seems like a nice waterproof way to get the cable into the house.

Last edited by robertmee; 10-13-2007 at 08:33 AM.
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Old 10-12-2007, 08:22 PM   #11
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Overhead Service - SER Cable


My comments in green.

Quote:
Originally Posted by robertmee View Post
In case anyone's interested and following this thread, I started my upgrade of 200A service today. I honestly don't know how this house ever passed code or didn't burn down. Maybe code has evolved over the years, but here's some of what I found:

Hot water heater 230V ran with a 12/2 instead of 12/3. Neutral used for one phase, ground used for neutral. Romex spliced with electical tape about 4' back in the wall.

Hot water heaters are normally run with 10-2 w ground and a 30 amp breaker, no neutral is needed. This splice IS a problem. What size breaker served this circuit?

Dryer 230V ran with 12/2 instead of 12/3 also. The two phases of the 230V were pulled off two separate single phase fuses.

Dryers are normally run with 10-3 w grd and a 30 amp breaker. The breaker should be a 2 pole.

Oven 230V ran with 10/2 instead of 10/3.

Window AC ran with 12/2 instead of 12/3. Again, neutral white used for one phase, ground used for neutral.

Was this AC a 240 volt unit? It is possible that someone just did not re-identify the 2nd hot leg.

Entire room addition (lights and outlets) were spliced into another circuit in the wall! Just wires twisted together and taped with electrical tape. They fed it through the wall to the other side and ran it along the outside of the wall around the corner and through notches in the studs. No nail plates and panelling nailed directly over the exposed wire.

Found several 20A circuits with grounds just wrapped around the romex in the panel, not terminated to the ground bar.

This was common years ago, but is not acceptable now.

Soooo.....I really have my work cut out for me. I don't look forward belly crawling under the 18" crawlspace to run all this new wire.

I did get the new meter box mounted and the new 200A panel mounted inside. Oh yeah, had to tear down the wall and add a second stud to mount the 200A panel as the original 60A panel was NAILED through the back into the siding of the house. Not attached to the one stud at all.

If you've read this far, I do have one question on how I mounted the new meter panel. The new panel was of course a bit larger, but as luck would have it, the back knockout lined up perfectly with the old hole in the side of the house. I had originally planned to come out the bottom with an LB into the house, but I decided to make use of this good fortune of the holes lining up. So, what I did was use a hole saw to enlarge the hole and use a PVC conduit male adapter as a sleeve through the hole into the house and nutted the threaded end into the meter box. So, I have a nice smooth sleeve through the house and it should protect the cable against nicks on the knockout. Is this okay? It sure seems like a nice waterproof way to get the cable into the house.

Coming out of the back of the meter socket would not fly here due to POCO rules. Is it OK were you are? How are you securing the cable to the panel?
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Old 10-12-2007, 10:01 PM   #12
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Overhead Service - SER Cable


Yes, definitely a 240V ac unit. I checked the nameplate on it.

Uh-oh....That stinks if no exit out the back. There was a knockout there, so I assumed that it was OK. Every underground service I've seen goes out the back, so why wouldn't it be allowed?

Thanks for all the comments...Confirms mostly what I was thinking. In my rush to post, I did error via typo the correct sizes that I think I need. I've since corrected them for future posterity.

So, after some further research, I guess these 3-wire 240V systems weren't so uncommon back in the day. Should I bite the bullet and replace them all with 4-wire runs? Are they very unsafe? Will the inspector fail them even though they existed prior to this service upgrade?

Last edited by robertmee; 10-13-2007 at 03:44 AM.
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Old 10-13-2007, 08:43 AM   #13
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Some 240 volt systems, Like the Dryer and Range, actually have a neutral. Back in the day, the Ground wire was allowed to act as the neutral for these two. If you are upgrading to new code then by all means you should upgrade to four wire system.

Some 240 volt systems do not have a neutral, like some window AC units. In this case it is ok to use the white wire as a phase conductor and re-identifiy it with colored tape (black or red would be best) (grey, green, or white would be not allowed) (brown orange and yellow should only be used on 480/277 volt systems)
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Old 10-13-2007, 06:59 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwhite View Post
Some 240 volt systems, Like the Dryer and Range, actually have a neutral. Back in the day, the Ground wire was allowed to act as the neutral for these two. If you are upgrading to new code then by all means you should upgrade to four wire system.

Some 240 volt systems do not have a neutral, like some window AC units. In this case it is ok to use the white wire as a phase conductor and re-identifiy it with colored tape (black or red would be best) (grey, green, or white would be not allowed) (brown orange and yellow should only be used on 480/277 volt systems)
Thanks for the continued info. After another hard days work I have the utmost respect for those that do this job for a living. What I thought upfront would be a straightforward task, is a devil in the details. From bending that biga$$ 4/0 cable around to driving an 8' ground rod, to making sure all code requirements and then some are met (duct seal and oxidizing compound and the correct ground lugs, and making sure everything is level and plumb) is really more than I thought initially. I've done basement finishes before, but this is my first service with new grounding and it's a whole different ball of wax. So, now for the next round of stupid questions:

1) On the top of the meter box supplied by the POCO, I used the weathertight fitting they supplied, 2" offset and then conduit upto the weatherhead. I used duct seal between the fitting and box as no gasket was supplied. My question is, should there be a cable clamp somewhere to secure the cable coming in/down from the weatherhead. I don't see how to use one with the weathertight fitting the POCO supplied.

2) Is there a NEC code for how deep the connecting #4 copper between two ground rods needs to be? I've seen references for below grade, and some local guidelines from varying municipalities I've googled about 18" deep and even 24" deep.

3) Home Depot of all places has a clearance sell going on for SEU 4/0/4/0/2/0 cable. 78c a foot compared to the normal $4/ft. So, I went ahead and bought 6' of it for the meter to the panel instead of the original plan of using the SER I had on hand and cutting out the ground. Even so, it's still a bi%%% to bend. Since my entry into the stud bay is about 3' below my electrical panel, the bend is pretty tight and without securing it somehow, I could see it being right near the interior drywall surface at the bend (it is of course secured at the panel entry). Seems a potential for someone pushing a nail through the drywall and right into the cable. In fact all the romex runs to the home come out of the bottom of the panel and straight down this stud bay and into the crawl space. The back of the wall is the tar paper lining and then the wood siding of the house so I don't think I should pull the cable back and secure it to that. Is it okay to just let it ride, or is there some method to A) secure the cable back a bit and B) protect it. I know about stapling near outlets and using nail guards but that doesn't seem to apply here. I thought about afixing a 2x4 (the narrow way) across the bay about midway down, and using romex staples to secure all the cables on the way down. Is that overkill?

4) What's the best method of securing conduit clamps through vinyl siding (underneath is wood siding). I started with some 1/4" galvanized lag bolts but because the vinyl holds the conduit out a little, the clamps don't cinch snug to the home without seriously squishing in the vinyl. As long as the lag is in the wood well, is it good enough to leave be and caulk for weather? To get a better bite, I'm thinking of going with longer lags (but not too long to invade the interior space, just longer to keep from pinching the vinyl).

Thanks for continuing to indulge this noob, but I really want it to be right and safe. Next time, I'm definitely hiring an electrician and still may just to get them to double check my work. Problem is this place is far out in the boonies and I know no-one there, but If I could find someone nearby I'd gladly pay someone a good hourly rate to just point and say don't do that or even take over and fiinish the job.

Last edited by robertmee; 10-13-2007 at 07:49 PM.
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Old 10-13-2007, 08:56 PM   #15
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Heck, I have confidence in you. The way you described affixing the 2x4 and stapling the service to it is exactly how the pro's do it( this one, anyways) . As far as attaching the wire to the ground rods, if you feel good about it, well then so do I. The ground rods are for lightning events and freak high voltage line surges( also usually a lightning event) only. In the ATL we frequently come out of the can to the first rod which is typically two feet off the side of the house (easier to drive) attach a couple of inches below grade, double back to the house running the wire above grade next to the foundation and then back out to the foundation.

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