Connecting a 3/0 Splice

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by JoeyC, Dec 25, 2008.

  1. JoeyC

    JoeyC New Member

    Messages:
    10
    I will try to describe this as best I can: I have a meter away from the house and from the meter I have 3/0 aluminum running into the house. Also from the meter, I have a separate 3/0 running out to a pole building.

    On the way to the pole building, I had to lug the 3/0 together as I didn't have enough for a continuous run. This is lugged together up 5 feet above ground in a 6" PVC pipe as a temporary fix.

    My question: Is there some panel or something I can buy that will act as a disconnect (to the pole building) thus allowing an input and output of the 3/0 cable? And is there something like that with spaces for breakers since the splice is right next to a dog run I have and I would like to add some lights right there.

    Any help or alternate suggestions are much appreciated. I have been noodling this for a few weeks!

    Thank you.
  2. Chris75

    Chris75 Electrician

    Messages:
    608
    Location:
    Litchfield, CT
    Install a ground box and buy the correct splice kit. Just out of curiosity, how did you make the splice at the meter?
  3. JoeyC

    JoeyC New Member

    Messages:
    10
    There's no splice at the meter. The utility service comes in at the top and the service to the house comes out the bottom. The service to the pole building comes in on the side of the meter. I can't remember what brand the meter socket and base are, but there is a knockout on the side.

    I was watching the electrician and it was a pain to get that wire all in there behind the socket or whatever he did. The meter pulled out and wires went in, that's the extent of my knowledge!

    Thanks for the info.
  4. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,562
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Did the electrician make this splice in the pipe?
  5. JoeyC

    JoeyC New Member

    Messages:
    10
    What we did was lug the 6 wires together above ground in the open. He taped the you know what out of it, then we slipped the 6" PVC over the top so the wires come up about 5 feet. Then I put a cap over the pipe for a watertight seal.

    It works, the problem is that I would like a disconnect or circuit right there so I can run a 12/2 a few feet to a dog run right next to it (50 ft) I have for lighting. This is a very rural area and when the dogs are out at night playing, you can see the Great Pyrenees, but you can't see the Pitbull!!
  6. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    689
    Yeah. It's called a disconnect ;)
  7. JoeyC

    JoeyC New Member

    Messages:
    10
    And it will allow for an individual circuit or two? Most disconnects I looked at are just that and have no spaces for breakers. I looked at a pass through load center. Would someone be able to tell me if that would work? It would need to allow for the 3/0 coming in and going out since the splice is in the middle of the feed to the pole building.

    Would someone be able to tell me if the pass through load center would work? Remember, I need to [would really like to] run a line off of it for lighting.

    Thanks.
  8. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,562
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Based solely on the type of questions you are asking I would highly recommend that you again
    Again based on your comments that,
    you are describing unfused conductors that has no way of being disconnected therefore making the installation you are wanting to do very dangerous.

    Please for the sake of that pit bull hire someone that knows the answers to your questions to make this installation before both those dogs gets hurt or even worse you end up ……. well I hope you understand.
  9. JoeyC

    JoeyC New Member

    Messages:
    10
    I'm trying to figure out what I need to do to make this safe. You disconnect the lugged splice by removing the meter then doing a hookup.

    If you don't want to offer a solution for what I describe, I understand. I know this isn't like telling some whose light bulb burned out to replace the bulb, that's why I put the question to the 'experts.'

    Maybe I wasn't clear, I'm not doing the repair myself, just trying to find out what this entails so I can check out the parts and figure out what it will cost. Before I contact an electrician
  10. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,562
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Finding out the price is really easy. Just have several electricians bid on the job and take the bid that best suits your needs.

    There is a whole lot more to doing what you are wanting than just pulling a meter and installing a box. There is all kinds of grounding and bonding requirements that has to be fulfilled and in my opinion it entails more than can be covered with a couple of answered questions.

    To ensure your and your family's safety please seek the help of a professional.
  11. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    689
    You will have to do some searching but there will be a panel to fit your needs.

    You are going to run into other issues when you do install it. The new panel will become your service and you will need to have 4 wire feeds to the 2 buildings being served.

    Do you have 4 wire feeds (2 hots, 1 neutral, 1 ground) to the house and pole building?
  12. JoeyC

    JoeyC New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Thank you.

    I think I have the 4 wires you describe. The 3/0 had three wires 2 hots and a neutral and the meter is grounded as well as the service in the pole building (pb).

    The meter sits between the house (N) and the pb (S). There is a disconnect under the meter and that feeds the house to a 200 amp service inside. The service to the pb comes out of the side of the meter. The splice I am trying to make more permanent, safer, and to get a branch off of is between the meter and the pb.

    Would I be best served in getting a disconnect for the side of the meter like the one going to the house and then can I get a pass through load center to grab my line for the dog run and have it feed the pb? Is having both overkill? Money is not a concern, safety and expandability are.

    I know some guys just say get bids but this is a very rural area and they don't understand you can't just call 3 - 5 guys. I am trying to arm myself and possibly have enough information to get the right parts so when I do find someone, they can do the job.

    My big question is does a pass through load center mean the 3/0 goes in one side and out the other? Seems like a simple question and maybe the answer is obvious, but I want to make sure I keep the power to the pb and at the same time have a safe way to hook up a branch circuit or two.

    Thank you
  13. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    689
    Yes it does, but top/bottom, not side/side.

    I misunderstood at first.

    You want to put a panel in the location of your temp splice on the way to the pole building.


    Is the disconnect under the meter fused? Could be an issue. If it's fused. it's the first over current protective device and you are missing a ground wire from there to the buildings to be compliant.
  14. JoeyC

    JoeyC New Member

    Messages:
    10
    There is a 200 Amp circuit breaker in the box under the meter. I know the meter is grounded from the electric co-op. I think I need to check with the builder to see if that disconnect is grounded. I wonder how the house is now!

    As far as the load centers working top to bottom, could I put a main disconnect just before the load center, then get another 8' to 10' of the 3/0 and jump it to the load center? That way I would have enough to come in from the top. I'd have to build a little panel to mount it all to. Then I could get my branches from the load center, right? And would I ground the disconnect or the load center? Someone told me to get a non-fusible main lug.

    I guess I need to figure out how the service to the house is grounded too. Another issue I wasn't originally thinking about. :confused:

    Thanks
  15. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,562
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Joey

    You are all over the place with questions which makes me believe you just don’t have the ability to make this installation.

    First you are not sure if the main disconnect for the house is properly grounded and bonded.

    Second you aren’t sure what kind of panel to get to make the type of installation you desire.

    Third you are not sure of how this panel should be grounded and bonded.

    Forth you made the statement that the meter is grounded by the utility but this would be grounded any way and has no bearing on the grounding and bonding that is to take place at the panel you are installing..

    The you make the statement that you think that there are four wires but the electrician that you was watching lugged the six conductors together about five feet above the ground. If he lugged six together then there is only three present.

    If folowing statement is correct then I have a suggestion.
    then please hire someone that knows what they are doing before you end up killing yourself.

    You made the comment that you could come in the top and arrange all the wires in every such pattern but I didn’t hear you say a thing about how. If you aren’t even sure of what kind of panel to buy then how are you going to know which kind of connector to use if you do decide to enter the top of the panel?

    If you are not sure if the house has proper grounding and bonding how are you going to know the proper way to install the grounding and bonding at the new panel.
    Are you aware that when this panel is installed it will change the way the grounding and bonding is done at the pole barn?

    There is a damn site more to this than just buying a panel and inserting it between the conductors that are lugged together in a piece of 6†pipe at the dog run.

    Simply by the type of questions you are asking and comments made it is very obvious that you are in way over your head on this project and need some local help. Please for the sake of my sanity get some local help.
  16. mattbee24

    mattbee24 In the Trades

    Messages:
    100
    Location:
    Fremont, OH
    JW,
    I think I read that he is not doing it himself. He just wants some info on options. He is just trying to educate himself. Nothing wrong with that.

    Joey,
    Yes, they do make panels that you can use as a disconnect that also have extra spots in them for breakers. I am assuming that is what you have under your meter right now. Otherwise, the two different feeds (one to the house, and one to the pole barn) are somehow spliced.

    What JW was saying still stands though. You will have to have a 4th wire to do what you want to do.
  17. JoeyC

    JoeyC New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Thanks Mattbee. I think the disconnect is a Milbank and it does have a 200 amp breaker.

    This is a vacation house so I cannot just go outside, some of this is memory. A lot of the forums I have been on for various topics are guys just trying to prove to themselves what they know.

    I know some just skim over the posts but you hit it on the head. I joined this forum for education purposes, not belittlement.
  18. JoeyC

    JoeyC New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Simply by the type of questions you are asking and comments made it is very obvious that you are in way over your head on this project and need some local help. Please for the sake of my sanity get some local help[/I

    For the sake of mine, go 'help' someone else.
  19. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,562
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Matt

    I don’t mind helping anyone that can be helped but he already has several problems that needs attention. Let’s take a minute and see what information we have so far.

    Okay so far we have one meter that is located remotely from the two buildings it serves. Both of these buildings are supplied with 3/0 aluminum but the conductors going to the Pole Barn are spliced in a 6†pipe that stands 5 feet vertical.

    Now comes the question concerning some type of enclosure for these joints where he can also install more branch circuits.
    Chris then asked how the two runs of conductors was installed or if they were spliced in the meter. His response was:
    At this point any experienced electrician would start thinking that this meter is double lugged and if so there is a red flag.
    What we do know at this point and he was the one that told us this part is:
    So at this point there is no need of asking if these conductors are double lugged or not. Now if he doesn’t know how this meter is connected how is he going to know if the panel he desires is installed correctly.
    I then asked about the PVC splice and he was very clear that there was three joints on six conductors.
    220/221 told him that he needed a disconnect and he then replied;
    This is enough to tell me that he does not fully understand what a disconnect is. A simple cord and plug is a disconnect. The light switch in your house are disconnects. If he doesn’t know what makes a disconnect how do you expect us to help him. I suppose we could spend hours here teaching an electrical 101 class if someone felt up to spending the time to do so.
    We also need to remember that he wants to;
    At this point I can see that he has no idea of what he wants to achieve and no one is sure just what has happened at the meter. At this point I think it is the best advise to tell to hire someone as we still don’t know much about the installation and to this point he has admitted that knows nothing
    Both 220/221 and I told him that he needed some help with this install as there was some problems that needed to be addressed and that after he install something at the splice point he will need four conductors from there to the pole barn. What did he say about this?
    This tells me that he thinks that earth is his fourth conductor and this is a big no, no!
    Then comes more information that rocks the whole thread:
    Well at least we now know where the service disconnect is for the dwelling but I think I remember him saying that the conductors in the meter was only rated for 175 amps or they are
    Boy does he have problems galore.
    Wait a minute he said the conductors were feeding a 200 amp panel on the inside so maybe is alright but then in his very next post he nails down the lid on the coffin.
    Those 3/0 aluminum conductors are no where large enough for the size of the overcurrent in the disconnect located at the meter.
    He once again make it clear that he has no idea of the grounding and bonding of the panel he desires to install with the comment of, “I think I need to check with the builder to see if that disconnect is grounded.â€

    The clincher of this entire thread lies in his own statement he made right here.
    then by all means close out the computer and get on the telephone to some electrical contracting company with a proven track record to make this installation safer and also install the desired circuits for the dogs.

    In the classroom I spend no less than three hours discussing the installation so service equipment. Three hours on the proper manner for grounding and bonding. Three hours or more is doing service, feeder and branch circuit calculations.
    This amount of information can not be taught through a discussion forum such as this one. For every question he ask there will be 10 more that needs to be answered for him.

    This installation he wants to make will entail over 30 percent of the NEC in order to make it a safe and compliant installation.
    Although he would like for someone to just deal out answers to his questions which a lot will do whether they are correct or not the best answer he could get from anyone is
    Call a professional now! It is very clear that he wouldn’t understand any thing that was told him and to give step by step instructions on how to fix this would take days and maybe even weeks on this discussion forum.
  20. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,562
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Well son I do hope and pray that you don't feel that anyone here is trying to belittle you in any way.

    I also hope that you understand that the advise that I am giving you is coming from my heart wheather you want to believe it or not.

    I also hope that you unsersand that the education you are looking for is far more indepth than can be covered in a discussion forum such as one like this.

    What you are seeing is a place that would be easy to install a panel and add some circuits.
    What you are not seeing is that once that panel is installed at the splice then there is your service and the panel at the pole barn is a remote panel.
    All grounding and bonding MUST take place at the service and can not be done at the remote panel.

    It is these things that you don't see that causes buildings to burn and people to die. This installation you are talking about is not a weekend job for the unskilled.
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