I have a similar setup. There is a main disconnect on the meter pole,
and from that panel, there are three power lines.
*One to the house, (underground)
*One to the barn, and some sheds. (overhead triplex)
*One to the garage and some sheds nearby. (overhead triplex)
Some years ago, my garage power went bonkers. It began when I could not
run a Skil saw. It turned real slow or just hummed. While several
lightbulbs burned out as well as my destroying a radio and my cordless
drill charger. A meter indicated my lighting circuit was getting 240V as
well as the radio and charger outlets. Yet, the outlet where I plugged
in the Skil saw was only getting (under 120V), which varied by turning
on other loads. Yet, the 240V well pump is connected to the garage, and
it worked fine.
I knew it was the neutral, but the old triplex was way up on a pole next
to the garage. It looked like everything was intact (from standing below
the pole), but I'm not good with heights and was not climbing to the top
of that pole. To confirm my suspicion about a bad ground, I happened to
have a roll of about 150ft of romex on hand. I laid it across the lawn,
and connected all of the wires from the meter pole neutral bar, to the
neutral bar in the garage. Immediately, everything worked normally.
I shut off all the power at that meter pole. Then I carefully checked
the connections that feed that garage, and tightened all the connections
in that panel. Then I went up to the garage, did the same in that
breaker box. I proceeded to the garage weather head, and removed the
tape on the neutral connection. I cleaned all the wires, replaced the
split bolt and re-taped. (yea, that's the support wire). I decided to
clean up the power wires there too, and took them apart and cleaned /
None of this solved the problem, so I knew the problem was up on one of
the two poles (the garage pole, or the meter pole).
Since I'm not comfortable going up on the poles, I called an
electrician. He checked everything on the meter pole and said that was
OK. Then he went to the garage pole and found the neutral connection was
loose and corroded. He replaced that connection and I asked him to check
the other two wires too. (they were fine).
By the way, you said your ground wires goes to the weatherhead. That's
not right. Your ground rod should have a #6 bare wire that goes from the
On 11/03/2015 2:19 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Quite similar with a total of five here; I left of a couple of others to
the other group of sheds and the machine shed (this is a operating
farmstead, not just a few acres outside town).
...[part of story elided for brevity]...
This has to be one of the two connections, yes. Altho had no neutral in
the well house years ago when we moved back after Dad passed away;
turned out it was an actual break on the top of the last pole before the
feed went underground in the neutral pigtail going down; apparently wind
fatigue had finally done it in; probably had had a knick from the day it
was installed. That run probably dated from the initial REA run in 1948.
I had the manlift by then so didn't have to actually climb the
pole...most convenient! :)
It's not convenient with the layout to do that; Dad simply routed it up
under the eaves and down the weatherhead instead of thru the wall and
inside. The route is ok...
This is a farm too. Most of the people on this newsgroup live in cities
and are not familiar with this "typical" farm setup, with a meter pole
being the source to feed all the buildings.
One of the "sheds" I referred to, is a second barn, but a small one,
just to house some livestock when needed. It's near the garage. To
eliminate another MAIN panel, I just ran two strands of 12-2 w gnd UF
cable underground from the garage to that barn. It's only for lights and
an occasional power tool or stock tank heater in winter, so those two
20A circuits suffice. I ran those cables thru underground plastic PVC
conduit in case I ever need to add another circuit. I was told there
should be a disconnect in that barn, but the garage panel is only 25
feet away. And since i now changed the six lightbulbs to LED, there is
hardly any power used in that barn.
On 11/03/2015 3:19 PM, email@example.com wrote:
Seems perfectly reasonable to me...and think, if you at some point build
a connecting breezeway, it's all same building anyway... :)
I'd like to bury a bunch of the overhead feeds scattered around
particularly the house area but at my age doubt I'll ever get the
necessary round tuit required...
OP did mention some 220 volt loads which work fine,
which suggests it's a problem with the neutral.
What comes to mind, here, is for the OP to check
the neutral line, and look for open or corroded
connections. Figuring of course, that there "is"
a neutral. With his mention of three wire, might
be two hots and a ground.
With old circuits it is hard to say what they did. It could have been the
barn was only wired for 240 volts and no neutral. Then someone may have
wanted 120 volts so they used the origional ground for the neutral. Or it
could have been wired like the old stove circuits in a house. Only 3 wires
where the neutral and ground were the same wire.
Any way, he should quit fooling around with the ground rod and look at what
is beind down with the neutral.
I think we are all in agreement that there must be a problem with the
neutral. Either it is not used and depending on the ground, which is a very
bad idea, or there is a bad or missing connection on the neutral wire.
probably best to call the power company to make certain the problem isnt on their end.
when i was a kid, a gazillion years ago the neighborhood power transformer had a problem, eventually it caught on fire.
then everyones wierd problems went away...... after power company replaced transformer
You still on an earth return system with no neutral??? Check your
voltage right at the pole. If it is good there, run a neutral wire and
don't cepend on the ground, which will give you terrible "stray
On 11/03/2015 4:18 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
No, I don't believe there's any where in the US with that any more, even
in the most remote western areas.
Only place I've seen it is in Saskatchewan out west of Weyburn towards
Coronach and that area out there but even that's been 25 yr ago now when
was still doing the coal analyzers service for SaskPower at Poplar River
and Coronach Stations.
Weyburn's the only place I've seen the old 32V DC appliances still on
showroom floors for the places that still had only their windcharger
systems in like 60+ yr, too...we had one until REA got here in '48, but
by '50 or '51 all our corner of SW KS was reached and the windchargers
were quickly abandoned...
Actually there was (at least in the late seventies) in some of the
really outback of Kansas and or oklahoma where there were still power
co-ops. - and one area of Alaska. I remember seeing the single
transmission lines on some really back back roads on my way to Tulsa
On 11/03/2015 8:18 PM, email@example.com wrote:
Oh, there are power co-ops all over--we're still a power co-op
here...there are 19 in the State of KS alone covering the whole state
outside the metro areas.
I really don't think there are any single line distribution any longer,
though, altho I suppose it's possible, but I don't recall seeing any in
the last 50 year in the states.
On Tuesday, November 3, 2015 at 9:59:34 AM UTC-5, dpb wrote:
Seems to me your neutral went bad, and you substituted a ground for the neu
tral instead of fixing the neutral, and it worked for a while, but it isn't
the right solution. In fact it covered up the fact that your neutral is b
roken somewhere. So driving the ground rod delayed fixing the problem.
Yep...dawned on me (finally!! :) ) that was precisely what happened...it
just so happened that there was a nick in the ground wire that noticed,
too, independently that got me sidetracked over it plus just hadn't
thought specifically about the fact that the overhead bare support cable
the two feeders are wrapped around also serves as the neutral...
Was windy enough by time got back from town yesterday afternoon didn't
get the lift out to get up there and check those connections; looks like
that may be today as well so it'll have to wait a day or so.
Fortunately, everything that is mandatory is 240V loads...
"dpb" wrote in message
OK, I've had a continuing hassle develop w/ the ground in the old barn
over the last year or so.
Finally, about two months ago I replaced the ground rod w/ new and all
seemed well. As of about a week ago, the gremlin is back--there's
enough to light a couple 100W bulbs at not quite full intensity and
outlets measure full 125V but not enough current to power motors, etc.
Clearly it's the ground as all the 240V gear is fully functional.
It's _extremely_ hard to fathom a new rod can have gone south so quickly
and we've had sufficient rain that it certainly is the case of
excessively dry ground.
Yesterday I ran a jumper directly from the ground bar in the circuit box
to the ground and made no difference whatsoever in the symptoms.
It is _all_ 120V circuits, not just one so seems as though not possible
to be a failed breaker not passing current; but for the life of me I
can't figure out another common-mode cause...
Anybody got any ideas or ever had such a symptom? I may end up calling
the pro on this one...was out just last week to help find a broken
underground feeder to another of the outbuildings; too bad the symptom
hadn't reared it's head again then or woulda' had him take a look then.
Reading posting you have being giving many Ideas,
However you should have done very first thing check potential
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