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Old 11-24-2012, 11:16 AM   #1
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'create' a common wire.?

hey guys, have an 'inlaw' camper about 50 yards from house, there apprx 15 yrs or so, there when i bought the place. they ran 10-2 uf, underground. one leg of 110 with common, 15 amp. Common and ground have been on and off, and are now non-existant. fence post maybe. they had a 1/2 inch galv pipe drove in ground as a bond or ground, dont know how deep. i hooked up a 220v 5' baseboard heater at 110v to help with the cold. ran the common from that pipe. it only drew .34 amp. i poured a couple gallons of water at pipe and drove it an inch or so, but still only .41 amp. used an extension cord, common only, and was ok at 3.2a+-. the biggest thing in there is a 3' foot bar frig. but i know what the low voltage will do to that.

im gonna *#*@, if i have to dig up my yard just for that.
ive got 108k miles on my current bike. they gave me the road nic mcguiver. also a building contractor since the 70s, so ive been around the block. no stupid moves here. ANYMORE.! lol
isnt there ANY way to 'mcguiver' a common wire.?
a lot of brilliant ideas have come from discussing stupid ones, come on mcguivers, before it gets too cold. i need ya..!
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Old 11-24-2012, 02:13 PM   #2
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Mcgivering electricity causes fires, injury, and death, so you probably wont find that here.

If what I'm undetstanding is correct, you only have a + wire to your base. If your other wires are gone then you are just going to have to -----.

You have to have a neutral wire (-) going to your panel, this is ac not dc.
Also properly installed ground rods according to code - you must have 2 ground rods drove down the full depth(I believe they are 8') and they are to be no closer than 8-10' apart (can't remember which, I will have to find my book). And that should be attached to your main breaker box. Underground wire also needs to be ran through conduit.
- simple answer looks like you need a generator or its time to dig up the yard.
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Old 11-24-2012, 04:36 PM   #3
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thanks for the straight forward. it is 8' for ground rod. i dont know if 2 here or not. i wish i understood more about that neutral. i deer hunt in west virginia, and have a cabin there. im pretty sure there was a time when they had no neutral from the utility, not sure now. (they are known to do some off-the-wall stuff..!) i thought all they did was get the best ground they could for the common side.? i hadnt heard of needing conduit here in maryland, but ill check on that too.

yes it can be a killer. as a contractor here in the 70s, legally, i could do anything i was qualified to do, not certified, but had to pass more hands-on qualified inspectors. i personally put up several temp poles, while replacing a house. then reinstall when done. ALL WHILE HOT. and usually alone. i said around the block. respect, not fear.

DAGNABIT...! i wish there was a simpler solution. thank you
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Old 11-24-2012, 05:03 PM   #4
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If you don't want to dig up the yard, set 2 poles and run the proper wires overhead. McGyvering will get someone hurt.
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Old 11-24-2012, 07:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rod428 View Post
hey guys, have an 'inlaw' camper about 50 yards from house, there apprx 15 yrs or so, there when i bought the place. they ran 10-2 uf, underground. one leg of 110 with common, 15 amp. Common and ground have been on and off, and are now non-existant. fence post maybe. they had a 1/2 inch galv pipe drove in ground as a bond or ground, dont know how deep. i hooked up a 220v 5' baseboard heater at 110v to help with the cold. ran the common from that pipe. it only drew .34 amp. i poured a couple gallons of water at pipe and drove it an inch or so, but still only .41 amp. used an extension cord, common only, and was ok at 3.2a+-. the biggest thing in there is a 3' foot bar frig. but i know what the low voltage will do to that.

im gonna *#*@, if i have to dig up my yard just for that.
ive got 108k miles on my current bike. they gave me the road nic mcguiver. also a building contractor since the 70s, so ive been around the block. no stupid moves here. ANYMORE.! lol
isnt there ANY way to 'mcguiver' a common wire.?
a lot of brilliant ideas have come from discussing stupid ones, come on mcguivers, before it gets too cold. i need ya..!

Are you running the 10/2 from the house main panel? If so, the hot, Neutral, and ground should all start from the mail panel. UF is for underground and does not need to be run in pipe unless it is exposed, usually coming out of the house and going up to the RV post to the RV panel. There is no need for any other ground rod since the main panel has ground rod(s).
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Old 11-24-2012, 09:20 PM   #6
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Don't try to rig anything with the ground rod. Even the best ones are marginal at best at providing any path to ground. They're job is to ground fault current and that's it. You've got a couple of good options for replacing that wire and it sounds like it needs to be replaced. We sometimes use our vibratory plow to put wire in the ground. This is cost effective and doesn't disturb the yard much. Otherwise you can directional bore which costs more but it won't disturb the lawn. If it was me I'd think about putting in some 8-3wg UF cable to give yourself the option of 240 volt/50 amp for a bigger camper. You can still run it at 120 volt/30 amp and leave one conductor unused. If you don't know what you're doing it is probably time to call a professional before something gets damaged.
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Old 11-24-2012, 10:12 PM   #7
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I agree with Fast Murray. I'm an electrician and that is the way I would do it. If you have any doubts, call a professional!
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:27 AM   #8
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Thank You for calling this large group of professionals.

Lets make this as painless ($’s) and as safe as we can.

There’s a phone # in the front of your phone book for locating your underground utilities.
They’ll send someone out for free to locate your electric, gas, water, phone and TV cable.
Ask the person they send if they know someone who could fix your broken wire or bury you a new one, he should know all the local sub-contractors.

There should be other professionals on here with other ideas on $'s and safety.


Now for the painful part
Here’s a short list of what could happen if you don’t call and do the digging yourself.

We’ll cover the little ones first.
1. DW will get mad if you cut your phone wire while she's talking to her sister.
2. She’ll get a little madder if you cut the TV cable during her favorite program!
3. She’s going to be really mad if you cut your waterline while she’s taking a shower.

Now for the big stuff.
4. She’ll get pretty mad if you cut that power wire, forgetting to trip the breaker and that’s the circuit the TV is on (see 2 above).
5. She won’t get mad if you cut the gas line NOPE she'll be running while wondering if she’s kept your life insurance paid up.
6. If you cut the buried power going TO the house see 5 above (except for the running part).

ab&jb
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Old 11-25-2012, 01:08 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rod428
thanks for the straight forward. it is 8' for ground rod. i dont know if 2 here or not. i wish i understood more about that neutral. i deer hunt in west virginia, and have a cabin there. im pretty sure there was a time when they had no neutral from the utility, not sure now. (they are known to do some off-the-wall stuff..!) i thought all they did was get the best ground they could for the common side.? i hadnt heard of needing conduit here in maryland, but ill check on that too.

yes it can be a killer. as a contractor here in the 70s, legally, i could do anything i was qualified to do, not certified, but had to pass more hands-on qualified inspectors. i personally put up several temp poles, while replacing a house. then reinstall when done. ALL WHILE HOT. and usually alone. i said around the block. respect, not fear.

DAGNABIT...! i wish there was a simpler solution. thank you
Think of the neutral wire as a "overflow" pipe. What ever electrical amperage (resistance)is not used by a fixture, apliance or what ever, it is then carried thru the neutral wire.
IE. -you have 15 amps traveling thru a wire to an outlet, with a heater pluged in that is using 13.6amps, you will have a remaining 1.4 amps (in a perfect world) that is traveling thru the neutral.
- more people are killed from touching neutral wires than positive wires, they don't understand what I'm explaining here.

Ps. Here in OK it is 811 that you call before excavation(state law), but they wont mark anthing that is not serviced by by the utility company's, like water well electric and pipes, septic systems, sprinklers and such.
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Old 11-25-2012, 08:30 AM   #10
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I remember reading that there is a problem using two different ground rods.

Something like "There should only be one ground connection in any panel system. Always run a ground wire and neutral wire from any sub-panel back to the main panel for power return."

Since the camper's power center acts like a sub panel in this instance, installing a ground rod at the camper seems "wrong" by my recollection; but I don't remember why "this is bad."

Any help here from our electricians?
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