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Old 07-05-2017, 10:46 PM   #1
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Lost leg of 240V


I ran 240V to my shop and ended up moving my shop 2 years later. I pulled up 50' of the buried line so I could reach the new shop location without a splice, but ended up splicing the hot wires because I knicked them with the trencher. I had no issues for 6 months and then 1 leg dropped to 60V in the shop panel. The next day when the electrician checked there was 0V on that leg. I unhooked that leg and ran on 120V for a couple months until I had time to deal with the problem. I recently dug up 15' of the line around the splice and the voltage on the bad leg increased to 80V. The wire in the trench was flooded with water and voltage dropped to 25V. I lifted the wire out of the water and voltage increased to 60V. I was confident the problem was somewhere in the trench I dug so I had an electrician come look at it and he couldn't find anything. The wire is 2-2-2-4 aluminum. How can I check the line voltage over the 15' where it is no longer buried to see if that is where it is leaking? I've read about putting pins or screws through the insulation to check the voltage in different areas. Won't the small hole in the insulation allow moisture to corrode the wire over time? I've also read about looking for amperage leak. For this to work would I need to disconnect the good leg to force the amps to flow through the bad leg and check it with a non-contact multimeter in several locations to see where the drop in amperage occurs?
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Old 07-06-2017, 05:17 AM   #2
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Re: Lost leg of 240V


Explain how you made the repairs/splices. Pictures would help, too.
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Old 07-06-2017, 07:40 AM   #3
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Re: Lost leg of 240V


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Originally Posted by ryjacobs82 View Post
Won't the small hole in the insulation allow moisture to corrode the wire over time? Yes

I've also read about looking for amperage leak. For this to work would I need to disconnect the good leg to force the amps to flow through the bad leg and check it with a non-contact multimeter in several locations to see where the drop in amperage occurs? Not exactly
Note, I'm not a pro electrician.
But, you need something attached to the bad leg to draw current so you can tell which side of the break you are on. Getting various low voltage readings tells me you are on the open side of the break, but with nothing attached as a load you may be just reading a phantom voltage. What meter are you using?

Have you located the point at which you spliced the wires?
How did you splice them?
How did you waterproof that splice.

It is difficult to splice those wires in a code compliant manner and what you are dealing with is one of the reasons. Having that wire and potentially an exposed break located in a hole full of water is a real safety hazard, which I'm sure you are aware of.

Again, I'm not the pro, but I would plug in an incandescent light (it won't be damages by low voltages) and use a non-contact voltage meter to avoid poking holes through the insulation. Test all of the wire you have exposed and if needed move back towards the main panel. Obviously check the main panel first.

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Old 07-06-2017, 08:25 AM   #4
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Re: Lost leg of 240V


The water has probably corroded the aluminum conductors .
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Old 07-06-2017, 08:44 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chandler48 View Post
Explain how you made the repairs/splices. Pictures would help, too.
I used an underground splice kit similar to the one in the attached picture with the heat shrink tube.
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Lost leg of 240V-585z128-a2520-uc-1_1499348657025.jpg  
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