Making an underwater electrical splice


One of my stupid mules decided that the cord on his stock tank heater was something to eat, and chewed the cord right off the thing. This is one of those portable heaters that drop in the water and get plugged in. Needless to say, I was extremely pissed to find my brand new $70 120V heater with the cord chewed off, and I mean it was literally chewed in half (all 3 of the wires - white-black-green). Lucky for him, it was on a GFI. (I always use GFI's around livestock after having a horse get electricuted once, but I saved his life). That horse was down and was quivvering and I could see he was being electricuted, so I got one of those adrenalin rushes and ripped the cable right out of the building with my bare hands. He got up after a minute and was ok. Ever since, there is a GFI on every outlet used for animals.
Here's the question. I cant just toss a new $70 heater. I'm not made out of money. I want to splice the wires and will solder them and tape them well. But I need a means to seal the entire connection to insure that water dont get in there. He only left about 6 inches on the heater, so my splice will be under the water. Therefore it MUST be watertight. Does anyone know of a method to do this? The cord is just one of those common rubbery black cords like on most power tools.
Yeah, I know some people will highly advise to NOT do this and buy a new heater, but like I said, I cant afford to keep buying these things and this is not the first time this has happened. I have two more chewed ones sitting in my garage, but those were old ones so I replaced them with new ones. I should mention that if for some reason my splice were to allow leakage, I ALWAYS plug them into a GFI so the worst thing will be a tripped GFI.
One idea I have is to put some hose over the cord before I make the splice, then slide the hose over the completed splice and pump the hose full of pure silicone caulk around the cord, which will extend several inches on both sides of the splice.
Anyone want to buy a stupid mule? :) From now on I'll stick to horses..... They have more brains..... (By the way, this same mule ate a 6X10 blue plastic tarp a few months ago.... All that was left was about a 2X3 foot piece when I caught him in the act.)
Gerry
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I want to know if you had to give the horse mouth to mouth You're best bet would be to replace the entire cord if possible, second to that you might be successful with heat shrink tubing, but it really has to be a good seal or the GFCI is just going to trip

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On Sat, 10 Feb 2007 23:01:11 -0500, "RBM" <rbm2(remove
Smart ass !!!!! :) :) :)
The horse got up on his own, about a minute after I cut the power. He was pretty shook up though. Of course he was not the only one, this is one of my favorite horses. By the way, i did not mention that the cause of his almost electrocution was a defective tank heater. Somehow it developed an internal short. That heater had a stiff spring wire around the cord to prevent cord chewing. Those things do prevent chewing, but they have a downfall, which I learned with this incident.
I did not see the initial problem, but this is how I assume it occurred. He probably went to get a drink and got a shock and fell. (horses are on bare ground barefooted or with metal shoes, so they are well grounded). When he fell, the cord with that metal spring around it, was contacting him, in fact he was laying on it, when I found him jerking around in shock, and ripped the cable out. It appears that when he went down, his leg slipped behind that cord and that metal coil around the cord continued to carry the electricity into his body. What saved him was his kicking. He kept kicking that plastic water trough. His water trough is about 70 feet from my house. He began kicking the tank as he laid there and when I heard the loud banging, I looked out the door and immediately knew what was happening. I went out that door immediately, no coat, no shoes or anything. Talk about running around in the snow wearing only socks and a t-shirt, when the outdoor temp was about 10 deg. But that was a small price to pay to save my best buddy. As soon as the power was cut I grabbed him, and slapped him a few times. Then he got up. (talk about being releived). I was back in the house calling the vet as soon as he was up. The vet told me that if he was up and moving he should be fine, and he was. This is one of the scariest things that I ever dealt with. The following day I bought about 10 GFIs and was installing them all over the farm. I hope that anyone with horses or other animals that reads this will PLEASE install GFIs whereever you use a tank heater. Those things are made to be safe, but nothing is failure proof.
By the way, I did contact the manufacturer afterwards. They said this does not regularly happen but said anything can fail and they sent me a new heater without charge, and paid for the shipping of that old one so they could inspect it. I never heard the results, but I hope they learned something to make future ones safer.

Unfortunately those cords are embedded in the heaters. There are no screws or anything thats removable. It appears they put the cord into the wide end of the heater, slip a metal sleeve over the end and fill it with some sort of epoxy. It's permanent !!!!

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They make under water splice kits for submersible well pumps. I think those would work fine for your application. Once you've done the splices, slide a length of hose over the whole cord

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On Sat, 10 Feb 2007 23:05:28 -0500, "RBM" <rbm2(remove

That sounds like the EXACT thing I need. Guess I'll have to check some of the online hardware and electrical and/or plumbing supply stores. These small town hardware stores dont have much of anything other than the basics. Heck, they dont even have metal cover plates for GFI's and I found out the horses break the plastic ones in short time. I had to mail order the metal ones.
I'd think they must make something like that for submersible sump pumps too.
PS, This mule will not get another heater. He gets a pail of water each day, and the pail has to be metal or he's likely eat the plastic pail too...... I believe all animals should have free access to water, but this guy sort of screwed himself on that one. I dont know what else to do, but the next livestock auction would solve the problem.......
Gerry
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On Sat, 10 Feb 2007 23:10:32 -0600, Gerry Atrick

I can't make it to your next local livesstock auction, but cAn you sell mules on ebay?
And ship UPS?

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wrote:

No. Ebay does not allow the sale of live animals. Even if they did, I dont use ebay anymore. Ebay used to be fun, but now they are one of the biggest frauds online.

I dont think so.......

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So, you made a bad decision, and that makes Ebay a bad place now?
--
Steve Barker



"Gerry Atrick" < snipped-for-privacy@no-email.com> wrote in message
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On Mon, 12 Feb 2007 16:06:14 -0600, "Steve Barker"
I agree that there are still good vendors on ebay,
But it's also true that it's been discovered by thiefs.
The founder of ebay was sort of these web idealists, it seems.
Sort of like the people who exclaimed that there was no stealing at Woodstock, ignoring the fact that everyone there had the time and money to go 100 miles out of town.
Anyhow, I hear that Ebay had to hire a whole fleet of attorneys, even though it is set up so that they're probably never responsible.
And last week on the People's Court, some vendor from ebaby was being sued because they advertised two very fancy cellpphones for 470 dollars, and all they sent was a picture of two cellphones. Those court cases are abridged, and sometimes they leave out parts, so I didn't actually see the ad, but the sellers said that it plainly said that all they were getting was a picture of the cell phones. But I think it wasn't at all clear and said "You get what you see here." and since they saw a picture, they were sent a picture. Anyhow, they lost, and I don't recall if punitive damages were awarded, which I think are allowed in cases of fraud. They were also being sued by several other people they had sent the same photo too. And the woman defendant seemed righteously indigant to the end.
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...

Others answered the splicing question although I've simply taped joints and had them hold for years even down the well. Several wraps of good electrical tape done well will be entirely waterproof for a long time as long as no mechanical damage occurs. Better is better, of course, but for anyplace accessible, it's not particularly difficult to get the watertight seal. Tape w/ a RTV overcoating will be last almost indefinitely.
As for the protection question, I run a solid pipe mounted either to the tank or the fence back to an unreachable location -- essentially the same idea as using conduit. It's the only way to keep wiring intact around any livestock for long term. If it's there in the open, eventually it will be broken or chewed if they can get to it so might as well plan on protecting it from the beginning.
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On Sat, 10 Feb 2007 21:50:56 -0600, Gerry Atrick

The mice in my house seem to like similar things. Especially the thin cords for lightweight headsets, and sometimes 110volt electric cords, and microcassettes, like used in phone machines and dictaphones.
If you can't find the undwater splice that rbm mentions, you could also try shrink tape or silicone tape it is also called. HD has it weba order only for about 4 dollars a roll PLUS 4 dollars shipping.
I also got some at a hamfest pretty cheap, but I go to lots of those things and this is the first that had any.
You stretch the tape a lot while wrapping it on, and it grabs to itself when you lay it on, and after a few days it is like one big blob of rubber, incuding the cord it is wrapped to. I haven't tested but I would think it is waterproof.
The best would be a new cord, but clearly the heater is meant to water proof. I wonder if it is possible to open it up and close it in a waterproof manner. You could get a good idea by opening up one of the old ones. It's good that you saved them, for this, and that once you get the hang of fixing them, you'll fix them all.
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wrote:

They sell rubber tape at electrical supply stores that is made for waterproofing the split bolt connections on overhead service entrance connections. That stuff works about the same way. It stretches and makes a tight connection. That is what I planned to use before applying something else over it. I am thinking that might be the same thing. It's just sold as "rubber tape" and comes in a roll that looks like common electrical tape except it has a plastic ribbon that has to be peeled off as it's used. (the ribbon is normally red). I have used that on service entrances many times, then apply friction tape over it to hold it tight, and finish with a few wraps of plastic electrical tape to hold everything together. That is how i was taught to cover those split bolts. However, getting rained on is not as "saturating" as being submerged in water.
As I said in another reply, the cords are embedded in some sort of epoxy or whatever it is. They can not be removed from the heater. I know that sump pump cords normally go into a special tight rubber fitting and the cover can be removed by taking out some screws which has a gasket. But these heaters just embed the cord in this plastic like stuff.
Yes, if I can fix this one, I'll fix all of them. They all still worked.....
Gerry
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On Sat, 10 Feb 2007 23:24:07 -0600, Gerry Atrick

I'm 99% sure it's not the same thing. When I was looking for the tape, I went to an electrical supply store and asked what they had, and looked at something that might have been called rubber tape, and afaict from teh outside, it wasn't the same.
In addition we had a pretty long thread here on this stuff, and no one said that silcone tape was the same as rubber tape. Also HD sells the rubber tape I think, has it in their stores, in addition to the silicone tape they sell via the web.
I was also led to believe that this was a new product.
Maybe someone here knows for sure if it is the same stuff.
I bought two 1" rolls of the stuff from some mail order company about 5 or 6 years ago, and I couldn't find either of them. That's why I was shopping. But while cleaning the house, I found both, plus these two inch rolls I bought at the hamfest. So I'm good for several years. I didn't want to pay 8 dollars for a one inch roll when I had two rolls already, that I knew I would find some day. But if you see it at a reasonable price, I would buy some, even if it is not still needed for this purpose.

The other layer on this stuff was black in the one inch rolls, and darkish blue in the 2 inch rolls.
The black rolls had a white plastic center, unlike the usual cardboard center on most tape.

True.
I figured they did something if it ran underwater. And if you hadn't fixed the earlier ones.
There must be something available. This is not a new problem.

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I used 3m product that we put in handholes that we spliced outside lighting on. of course is was not completely underwater in every hole but most of them It has a capsule and you poured an epoxy resin in it and it sealed. Once its on, it aint coming off.
On Sat, 10 Feb 2007 21:50:56 -0600, Gerry Atrick

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If the horse was down and quivering, it sounds like something isn't right with the GFCI. A GFCI is there to cut off the current when just a few milliamps are detected, which should be far below what it takes to put a horse on the ground.
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On 11 Feb 2007 06:10:04 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

If you had read the message thoroughly, I installed the GFIs ***AFTER*** this incident occurred. The thing was in a standard outlet when the horse was shocked. I never thought this sort of thing would happen, or I would have installed GFIs right away. I learned a hard lesson, but fortunately as hard as it could have been. My quick thinking is what saved him. I will NEVER plug another tank heater into a standard outlet. If there is no GFI protected outlet available, I have a couple of those plug in portable GFIs now. Because of our recent cold snap I am using one of those portable ones right now, until I change that outlet. I'm running way too many of those heaters at the moment. I figured that I am sucking about 4250 watts continuously to heat all of my 15 water troughs or heated pails. Or no, make that 14, the one by the mule is not heated now.... He just gets a pail of water when I feed.
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It might be worth a call to Tractor Supply or a similar retailer. They might know of somebody that makes those kind of repairs. I can think of places to get waterproof connectors and all the individual pieces but a specialty shop might be able to do the repair cheaper and have everything on hand.
Bill
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