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Old 04-14-2006, 08:13 PM   #1
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Underground cable


Has anyone ever used a Ditch Witch and installed underground cable? My electric co-op wants $5.25 a foot, and I need 600'. I wondered if I could do part of this myself.

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Old 04-14-2006, 08:23 PM   #2
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Underground cable


$5.25 a foot is not a bad price.
I assume it is half primary and half (hopefully less) secondary?

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Old 04-15-2006, 05:32 AM   #3
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Underground cable


Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonicera
Has anyone ever used a Ditch Witch and installed underground cable? My electric co-op wants $5.25 a foot, and I need 600'. I wondered if I could do part of this myself.
Unfortunately yes. [] I do this for a living. Trust me when I say it is very hard back breaking work. You will need several relatives or good friends to help because the machine does not do all the hard work. You also need a trenching shovel to clean out the bottom of the hole. Several rakes and shovels. At least one person who has trenched before. You will need to have a marking service locate existing utilites and hand dig near them.

600 feet will take a DIY two to three days, and If it rains you will need to pump out the hole before you continue. You also cannot backfill and tamp wet dirt It will have to dry for a day first.
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Old 04-15-2006, 10:02 AM   #4
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Underground cable


Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedy Petey
$5.25 a foot is not a bad price.
I assume it is half primary and half (hopefully less) secondary?
I'm with Pete. I doubt you'd really benefit from trying to do this yourself. There are a lot of specific provisions and code requirements involved here that the average DIYer isn't familiar with. Bite the bullet, spend the dough, and let the pro's handle this one.
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Old 04-23-2006, 07:35 PM   #5
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Underground cable


I'm not sure of the codes in your area but I had to go 4' deep and in sched. 40 pvc. The walk behind ditch witches only go 12-18" and most of the riding ones go 24-36"...and only 4-6" wide. I rented one once for a much smaller run for cable tv and I snapped lugs off the drive wheels 3 times and the chain came off once. When I returned it after a day and a half I only paid for 4 hours but I was tired, frustrated and although I saved some money I wasted a lot of time. Of course that was due to a rental company that didnt maintain their equipment. If you have a lot of stones the ditch witch may work them out or work around them leaving a curvy ditch that you cant lay conduit in. (Or it may break 3 or 4 times...lol) Dropping a pre-glued run of pvc into a skinny ditch even 150' long is tough. A small hoe would be best. It's best to be able to jump in the hole and glue the pieces as you go... although sloppy sometimes. Even if you can run a hoe and have a truck, you'll see that the cost of rental and a trailer adds up quick. You have to factor in travel time and load and unload time from your 8 hour rental too. If you plan on a day and it takes two you'd be better off working that day at your regular job and paying a pro.
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Old 04-23-2006, 09:12 PM   #6
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Underground cable


Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonicera
Has anyone ever used a Ditch Witch and installed underground cable? My electric co-op wants $5.25 a foot, and I need 600'. I wondered if I could do part of this myself.
The big question is who owns the wire, you or the power company? Meaning who has to fix it if it faults in the ground?

If it's the power company that has to fix it and they own it, don't hold your breath that they'll let you install it. If you own it and have to service it, then you can install it.

600 feet sounds like a lot of secondary. (Assuming we are talking about secondary here and not primary, since you are considering installing it yourself). I usually don't like to see secondaries longer than 200 feet, just to make sure there's good voltage at the meter.

If you do install it, let me know whether you are planning on trenching or plowing. Two completely differnt methods of getting the wire in the ground. And alot of "ditch witches" will do both. Plowing is really fast compaired to trenching. Your 600 feet could be plowed in around an hour, but you can really damage the cable if you don't know what you are doing.
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Old 04-24-2006, 06:48 PM   #7
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Underground cable


I must agree with Mike772 on this one about 600' being too far, I work for a Cooperative myself and am a lineman. check to see who owns the cable..
Also dont let others blow smoke code for secondary conductor is 24'' deep prefferably 48'' but min of only 24" which makes Ditch witches easy for home owners to tackle,, nothing to it, go for it. Only advise is if you are in sand install gopher guard or some kind of flex conduit over cable. Good Luck

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