I found an open electric box on the street with only 110 Volts. I'm
curious what it is for.
It's been here since I've been here, I think, but was always sealed
until tonight. It looks like maybe a car bumped it and broke the
padlock tab off, so the side fell off and the box is open. The
hinged door on top is still shut with one of those black plastic ties,
with the little slide ratchet box if you know what I mean.
The whole box is dull green, only about 5 inches wide, 2 inches deep,
and 40 inches high. When the side cover is off, I can see that there
is a sheet metal wall going up the middle, and on each side of the
wall is one heavy wire that goes from the physical earth, the soil, up
to inside the still closed top section, with a junction connection in
the middle, and one heavy wire that starts in the middle, a foot or
two above the soil, at a similar junction connection (with only one
wire) and goes up inside the top section. There is also a ground
connector that seems to run left to right right through the wall in
the middle. It has one or two ground wires in its screw holes.
Both of the two wire junctions are 110 volts AC wrt the ground
connector, and they are zero wrt each other. The one wire junctions
are zero wrt the ground. I tried every other combination of the four
junctions and the ground and they are all zero.
What do you suppose this is? What's it for?
I thought there would be 220 in there somewhere. And that it was
there to turn off the power to one of the buildings (which have 16
townhouses each). But not if it is only 110. I'm sure there's a
transformer around there somehwere, probably closer than the one at
the other end of my building, but I didn't see it and it's not very
I taped the cover back and called the power company and they're going
to fix it tomorrow they said. She asked the right questions, and she
said they would come tonight but the little kids around here aren't
that aggressive. I guess if they have someone on duty but not
working, they'll send him no matter what I said.
On Sat, 23 Jun 2007 10:13:28 -0400, "Joseph Meehan"
28 years old. I was tempted last night to cut the plastic tie to see
what was under the cover, since they're coming out anyhow. If they
don't get here today, maybe I'll do that. I guess it is either a
switch or a receptacle.
Maybe it is a power point like you say, and they just left it behind?
I thought construction workers just plugged into the houses they were
building, but now that you mention it, that only works after the house
is partly built. This n'hood or 100 townhouses is mostly C shaped,
and I think they started at the upper end of the C. This is at the
lower end of the C and might have been put in by those who didn't know
where they would start. (I'm on the bottom leg of the C and my house
wasn't built until a year or two after those at the top.)
I would like to take a picture of it, Bus. I even bought a cheap
digital camera a couple months ago mostly to take pictures for the
net. It has no flash or light sensor and I wouldn't think there was
enough light last night. Its cheap instructions didn't give an "ASA"
equivalent for the camera, or a shutter speed equivalent (don't better
digital cameras have these, I assume?), but the camera is on the level
of a Kodak instamatic film camera or lower. It does have 8 icons in
the tiny control indicator area, and a USB port, but it has no way to
view the photo while it is still in the camera. It's 320x240 or
640x480 pixels, and it has streaming snapshots at half those
resolutions. I was happy with the daylight pictures I took of my car.
Now, I've taped up the box. I know my description wasn't as good as
could be, but it's probably as good as I can do.
On Sat, 23 Jun 2007 22:32:17 -0000, " firstname.lastname@example.org"
As I went to look at it today, I wondered about that too. I thought
to myself, Hey, I could plug in here (it's about a foot from the road)
and that would be easier than pulling out the 50 foot extension cord.
But it's not such a good place. It's just past two right-angle turns,
a left and a right, and there is only room for two cars, not 3 like a
lot of other places.
I didn't get that far in my thinking. :)
But I looked at the box, and my tape had been opened, and then they
jut taped it up again. Including taping the box at the top that
opens. I thought my tape looked nicer, two horizontal bands. Theirs
is like a dull green barber pole with a black stripe. The top part
still has two heavy plastic ties on it, and I'm still considering
opening it when everyone's asleep, but it's almost certainly a
receptacle, isn't it? Darn, I was supposed to look at the top of
the hill too, the other end of the street. Forgot.
there are many 110V power connections in public view:
street traffic light controller power
school zone flashers (but these are going solar)
creek or flood zone transponders
cable company line amplifiers or voltage inserters
phone company "huts" or digital interfaces
red light runner cameras
manhole sump pumps for underground cable races
parking lot automated gates
even fence chargers
there are a lot of possibilities, look around for something
that would need power. around here, a green box would be a
city device. gray is phone or cable. Some services are
metered, but a lot are not since the device uses the same
(low) power each month, why waste a meter.
-larry / dallas
We have a few street lights, and I think I saw in our HOA budget that
we pay for their electricity, not surprisingly, and I don't know where
the meter is. (Probably in the basement of the apartment building next
to our property.)
But I don't think this powers the lights. I think there is a
receptacle in there. The tape they wrapped it with -- I think they
did an ugly job, and they didn't even remove the little padlock, which
must take the same key as 100's of other power company locks. They
left the lock lying on the ground -- and if they don't come back in
amonth or two, I'm going to do a neat, attractive job. And maybe I'll
look in the top box to make sure it's an outlet. Then I'll tape it
I also don't know if street lights are likely to be 110 or 220. They
insisted on taking out the standard bulbs about 10 years ago and
putting in the brighter ones that have a red hue, or a blue hue, I
don't recall, for more light, not to save electricity.
I know what the cable boxes look like, and I don't think there are any
phone boxes except maybe in the sewer. (Do they put such boxes in
waste sewers? There is only 40 feet of medium diameter storm sewer,
from the lowest corner of the parking lot to the stream.)
This box is definitely electricity. I checked the other end of the
street, and there is no box there, but I think this one was put in for
workmen to run their tools before there were any houses, and they
never took it out.
Maybe the meter is in the basement of the apartment building!
Originally they were going to build four 8-story aparement buildings
here, but they built the first one and it didn't rent well, so they
decided to use the other land for townhouses. This required, before I
got here, moving the planned roads, getting rid of the planned dams on
the stream, and writing contracts that gave us a right to use the
exercise area and the swimming pool, at an initially low rate that was
tuned to the Maryland Cost of Living index, and stayed low therefore.
And a couple other things. I did my own mini title search (or maybe
that's not the right name)and found the contracts that don't directly
affect me, but are quite interesting. For example, our entry road
used to split the parking lot in half, but they put a left and right
in it so that the road skirts the lot. We own that and have to
maintain it. They own the other road with the bridge, and it must have
cost a fortune when they redid that about 10 years ago, with new
riprap, etc. At least it took about 2 weeks to finish.
I think (as usual) I made a bad assumption. My reading was
this was attached to something, but 40" long sounds like a
pedestal in the ground. Since it got "hit", it's low and
near the street. We have those all over the place here,
especially in parkways and divided 6 lane streets. It's
where parks and rec plugs in their hedge trimmers to work on
the pretty posies we pay a fortune to keep alive. Also
there are (lawn) sprinkler systems nearby. The state just
abandoned millions of dollars of plantings on our new north
central expressway after they realized it cost $6 million to
water and trim each year, and vermin were marking a home in
it. Yes, sounds like a power outlet to me, now can you
ditch into it without notice while beautifying it ;-)
-larry / dallas
Is this new. Don't vermin do the same thing at every expressway, and
whether there are plantings or not?
At any rate, I'm supposed to drive to Dallas this year, and I'll try
to pay attention. I go almost every year to see my brother and his
family, but this time I plan to drive, so I'll have a car all the time
when I'm there.
Ditch into it? I'm just going to rearrange the tape. And I'll do
it while everyone is asleep. It looks worse now than when the cover
was lying on the ground. Before it was barely noticeable, and now it
will probably attract people's attention as they drive in.
I naively thought they would repair the box, but now I think they plan
to just leave it like it is forever, especially if it is our HOA or
the apartment building that owns the box. Maybe I shouldn't have
Did you actually go out there and start poking around with a meter to
check the voltage? What would possess you to do that?
I suppose you could always cut the wire and see who comes and repairs
Check what's underground. See if there's a sewage pump (pretty small
at 110 v) or somthing like that.
I don't thing cathodic protection is AC, but otherwise it would like
it could be that.
Finally, it could be that someone drove a wire under the street for
something and you are looking at the junction from that work.
Yes I did. Curiosity. I like knowing what is going
on so close to where I live.
There's nothing but other townhouses, and one of about 10 street
lights we have is not too far away. I guess there could be a switch
in there, instead of a receptacle. Hmmm. That the two cables that
are 110 (120 actually. Sorry) wrt ground were zero wrt each other,
makes it sound like a switch, more than an outlet, come to think,
There are townhouses on both sides of the street. I'm sure the power
starts on one side, but this only big enough to power about one house,
maybe two, but not 8 or 10 which is one building's worth.
Maybe it is a switch for the street lights.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.