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Official "Groovie" Dude
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Discussion Starter #1
Do any of you have a method that you use to find a break in a buried electric line? Power at the source but not at the other end.

It is a private line, it runs from my shop, down the driveway to my lights at the end. The breaker isn't tripped and my outside shop lights still work, which are on the same switch.

Hoping one of you might have a diy idea to locate a line break.
 

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Found it! Maybe will give you a start....

http://www.greentractortalk.com/forums/land-ownership-landscaping-lawn-care-gardening/107474-electrical-issue.html

Note to the mods - thank you for keeping up with the house keeping on our site! If not for you guys putting threads into the proper categories I would never have found this with a search.

Note to everyone else - pay attention to what category you are posting a new thread in! I see the most threads posted in the wrong category in the Sub-Compact section. There is a whole other world out there beyond the 1 series tractors.
 

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In the telecommunications world we used to use a device called a Time Domain Reflectometer (TDM) to find such things. They'll work on any (unpowered) cable. Most electricians won't have one of their own but often someone within a larger operation will have one. Or if you know anyone that messes with telco cables, they'll have one.
 

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Found it! Maybe will give you a start....

http://www.greentractortalk.com/forums/land-ownership-landscaping-lawn-care-gardening/107474-electrical-issue.html

Note to the mods - thank you for keeping up with the house keeping on our site! If not for you guys putting threads into the proper categories I would never have found this with a search.

Note to everyone else - pay attention to what category you are posting a new thread in! I see the most threads posted in the wrong category in the Sub-Compact section. There is a whole other world out there beyond the 1 series tractors.
I'll second that one Stan. Mods do a great job. Thanks for bringing that up.

Sent from my LGL52VL using Tapatalk
 

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Official "Groovie" Dude
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Discussion Starter #7
I'm thinking of using a small DC voltage on each wire to see if it's one or both wires broken. Then I may try hooking up my invisible fence to the wire to locate the break.

Thoughts??
 

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Old Pa-pa
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I'm thinking of using a small DC voltage on each wire to see if it's one or both wires broken. Then I may try hooking up my invisible fence to the wire to locate the break.

Thoughts??
A digital DVM would be a help to determine what's going on, in a one or both open type of way.

Wish we lived closer, pretty sure a signal generator and oscilloscope would find the break in short order,
have used that method with success.
 

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Corndog Hater
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I'm thinking of using a small DC voltage on each wire to see if it's one or both wires broken. Then I may try hooking up my invisible fence to the wire to locate the break.

Thoughts??
I can only add moral support......be careful other wise we may start calling you sparky.:lol:
 

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Hey, I want a title too!
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In the telecommunications world we used to use a device called a Time Domain Reflectometer (TDM) to find such things. They'll work on any (unpowered) cable. Most electricians won't have one of their own but often someone within a larger operation will have one. Or if you know anyone that messes with telco cables, they'll have one.
When I was in I&R, we used a "Sidekick" or "Brown Meter" to calculate distance by measuring resistance. Could usually get within a foot or five.


pcabe5, not sure you'll be able to locate it unless it's a solid open. You could always try Dig Alert(811) and see if they will come locate for you.
 

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Official "Groovie" Dude
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Discussion Starter #11
A digital DVM would be a help to determine what's going on, in a one or both open type of way.

Wish we lived closer, pretty sure a signal generator and oscilloscope would find the break in short order,
have used that method with success.
Rats, why did you have to live so far away.

Once it warms up a smidge, I'll use my DVM to see if both wires broke. I tested it earlier and there was no voltage at the far end so the black is broken but I didn't test the neutral side (was to cold). To frozen to dig anything up anyway.

My idea of using the invisible fence control was it would generate an AM signal on the wire and I could use a radio to see where the signal is lost.

If my DVM had a capacitance setting I could use that to get a distance in feet to the break. Maybe I'll see how much one is.

These are my rambling ideas. Do any of them make sense to your expertise?
 

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is this a direct burial wire? or in conduit? what's the plan for fixing/replacing, once you find a break?
Even with direct burial there are repair kits which can be used to splice two wires back together. I had to do this once a while back to fix a wire. However I had a pretty good idea the wire was broken somewhere pretty close to where the stump was ground out between the shop and house being it worked before the ground the stump and didn't work after.
 

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Me, I would just replace the whole wire. If it broke once, it's probably not worth repairing beyond that.
 

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Official "Groovie" Dude
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Discussion Starter #15
is this a direct burial wire? or in conduit? what's the plan for fixing/replacing, once you find a break?
It's a direct bury wire.

The plan I was thinking was to do an appropriate repair method for this type of wire. To be honest I haven't researched that part yet but I know I want it to be correct. Any suggestions?
 

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Old Pa-pa
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Rats, why did you have to live so far away.

Once it warms up a smidge, I'll use my DVM to see if both wires broke. I tested it earlier and there was no voltage at the far end so the black is broken but I didn't test the neutral side (was to cold). To frozen to dig anything up anyway.

My idea of using the invisible fence control was it would generate an AM signal on the wire and I could use a radio to see where the signal is lost.

If my DVM had a capacitance setting I could use that to get a distance in feet to the break. Maybe I'll see how much one is.

These are my rambling ideas. Do any of them make sense to your expertise?
Sounds like a plan, any signal that will screw with a radio (AM or FM) should do the trick.

A continuity (ohm) check on both wires would be the first thing I would do.

If you do find one or both are open, you can use your DVM on the highest ohm scale (assuming the underground wire has a bare ground wire)
to determine charge up time to OL (Overload/infinite resistance), a down and dirty capacitance check.
Measure between the hot or neutral wire with the bare ground as the other measuring point.
The end closest to the break should have a quicker charge up to OL.

I would really put a close eye on the connections on either end, seems odd to have a total break underground, especially
if wire nuts were used at either end, considering the cold y'all are having.
Half a$$ed wire nut connections can go to crap in several ways, expansion/contraction/ corrosion/etc.

Just another rambling thought. :laugh:
 

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It's a direct bury wire.

The plan I was thinking was to do an appropriate repair method for this type of wire. To be honest I haven't researched that part yet but I know I want it to be correct. Any suggestions?
Of course it depends on the gauge of the wire but there are repair kits. While not as good as the original wire, at least if it fails again you know where to start looking.

The wire I repaired was using a kit like this.

https://www.amazon.com/Direct-Burial-Cable-Splice-Shrink/dp/B008KNX5OM

Of course this also is assuming you find the problem spot first.

EDIT: Here is another style

https://www.amazon.com/Easy-Splice-Line-Gel-Splice-Connector/dp/B008KMKESI

This is what I searched for if you need more options.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias=aps&field-keywords=direct+burial+wire+splice&rh=i:aps,k:direct+burial+wire+splice
 

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It's a direct bury wire.

The plan I was thinking was to do an appropriate repair method for this type of wire. To be honest I haven't researched that part yet but I know I want it to be correct. Any suggestions?
If you direct bury,, remember to install the wire like a slithering snake,, with lots of switchbacks,,
this adds slack,, should the ground freeze, and shift the wire can compensate.

A straight install will want to break when the ground freezes,,,
 

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Corndog Hater
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Of course it depends on the gauge of the wire but there are repair kits. While not as good as the original wire, at least if it fails again you know where to start looking.

The wire I repaired was using a kit like this.

https://www.amazon.com/Direct-Burial-Cable-Splice-Shrink/dp/B008KNX5OM

Of course this also is assuming you find the problem spot first.

EDIT: Here is another style

https://www.amazon.com/Easy-Splice-Line-Gel-Splice-Connector/dp/B008KMKESI

This is what I searched for if you need more options.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias=aps&field-keywords=direct+burial+wire+splice&rh=i:aps,k:direct+burial+wire+splice
I have the first type of splice/repair kit on the direct bury line that feeds power to the barn. The line had been broken when the previous owner did some digging. He repaired it with with that first splice/repair kit. When I had the excavator here redoing the drainage, he tagged the line in the same spot despite my warnings of it being there. I was impressed with the condition of the wires and fittings after being buried for upwards of 15 years. So I repaired it with the same type of splice kit.
 
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