Electrical Fire!

Some days are not as fun as others, when owning a house.

So…..I’m in the shop working on Mom’s table.  I’m making the jigs for gluing up the “feet”.  I cut the second piece of wood to length on the radial-arm saw.  Then I took it to the table saw to cut the notches.  The saw only spun at 1/2 speed…odd.  I’d been cutting some thin stuff earlier in the day and I figured something fell down into the blade and was dragging against it.  I pulled the saw apart, and sure enough there were some pieces of wood, and plastic.  Problem solved….er…maybe not.

I went back to the radial saw, and it just stalled.  The hunt was on!  I hunted around for a while, lots of strange clues.  I finally walked out back to check the pool pump (fed by the shop breaker panel).  The motor was warm, but not HOT.  As I turned around to go back to the shop, I found what you see below.  Lovely!

Apparently they ran out of wire when pulling it from the main panel in the house.  They came up 6 feet short and needed to splice it.  The installer chose to use cast neutral lugs for all three line of a 100 amp circuit. <sigh>.  In addition, they didn’t actually GLUE the conduit pieces.  They spread glue around the outside…but, not on the joint surfaces.  Oh, did I mention? They also fit the joints upside down…just to be sure that water eventually worked its way into the conduit and onto the splice…helping things to corrode.

Nice work.

Exciting way to end a Sunday.

Copper split bolts, another 8 feet of 4 AWG wire (x3), 4x4x4 junction box, and replacement conduit.  All is now better.  I ran every circuit in the breaker panel for over 30 minutes (probably 70 amps total @ 220V).  The new splice didn’t even get warm.


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