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Hey guys I need some suggestions within 2 years I have had 2 underground services loose a phase. I used direct burial aluminum cable and took precautions by making sure there are no rocks in the back fill. What am I doing wrong? And do you guys know of any tools I can use to pinpoint the short?
 

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Bosco72 said:
Hey guys I need some suggestions within 2 years I have had 2 underground services loose a phase. I used direct burial aluminum cable and took precautions by making sure there are no rocks in the back fill. What am I doing wrong? And do you guys know of any tools I can use to pinpoint the short?
I always run my direct burial AL in PVC conduit, always! I use my locator to find in-ground breaks. It isn't 100%, but it's what I have.
 

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If you give people the choice they will usually choose conduit. These code minimum installs leave money on the table. I have never ran direct bury and I have never lost a dime from doing just that.
 

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Sometimes you get lucky if the break is bad enough, the signal of a locator may not continue and you have found the break. Otherwise you need a fault locator such as the Greenlee/Tempo/Progressive Pulser, Timco Spitfire, Aquatronics EG 3000, etc.
 

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A good finder will pinpoint the fault.

And, conduit is cheap. The POCO's here stopped direct burying cable 30 years ago. Too much can go wrong including hungry curious gophers. Once the insulation is compromised the tiniest bit, the wire is doomed.
 

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Will any of those fault locators pin point the break? Or is it just a round about location?
First thing underground wires fail because they got dinged on install. A Timco thumper is probably the best for locating faults accurately,also Timco Spitfire allows you to thump hot wires. If you have never used one I suggest you hire someone who has. Make sure you don't do more damage when you dig up the fault or you'll be back in six weeks for another repair.
 

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Atlantic Elec. typically direct buries residential feeds,HO can do the same. So.Jersey is very sandy soil,direct bury is fine,the problem arrive with the other utilities who dig without a mark-out. You know who I mean!
 
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