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Mike G.
Mike G., Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 7258
Experience:  Proven Professional 48 years Experience
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I am trying to install two parking lot lights for an older

Customer Question

I am trying to install two parking lot lights for an older building. There was previously lights there but have been removed years  ago but the wiring all seemed to be there as well as the concrete bases. They were each getting a seperate 120 volt circuit (2 40 amp breakers with a handle tie) and sharing a neutral. I have power all the way up to when it leaves tbe building at the lb with a rigid pipe turning down into the ground at the point where it leaves i have 120 phase to neutral 240 phase to phase . At the first pole i have what looks like 1 10 gage underground romex of some sort with 3 conductors coming in black red and white and a separate romex with with 2 wires a black and a white going out to the other base . Ive detirmined through a continutity test that the conductors (black and white) between the first base and the second base are the same but when i do a continutiy test at the box before leaving the building and the first base i get no continuity. Whats weird is when i turn the breakers on i get no power phase to phase or neutral to phase from the incoming wire but when i touch the outgoing wire with any of the the incoming wires i get a reading of 100 volts on every phase and what should be the neutral . I also get 0 volts when i check the voltage on the outgoing wire black to white . I do get voltage readings on all the wires to ground though some 23 volts others up to 78 volts. There is no ground conductor going to these lights so when i say ground i mean to the pipe there coming out of. My only guess is that these wires either corroded or  are somehow touching together below the surface. Any other suggestions would help immensely thanks.
JA: How old is the system in question? And have you consulted an electrician yet?
Customer: .
JA: Do you plan on doing the work yourself?
Customer: The bldg is 40+ years old. Yes
JA: Anything else we should know to help you best?
Customer: No dontthink so
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Mike G. replied 6 months ago.

Hi, I'm Mike G and I'll be assisting you. From your description I suggest renewal of the underground wiring. Not being in conduit I'm not surprised it failed.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Well thats whats weird is tbey ran romex through a rigid pipe thats going down into the ground not sure if itsl transitions to just romex underground is that standard to do this?
Expert:  Mike G. replied 6 months ago.

Romex isn't rated for other than interior use. Installed in conduit underground is a code violation.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Well it looks like romex but could be underground cable of some sort just asking is it standard for parking lot lights to have a rigid nipple coming out the ground but transition to direct burial underground asking because i really cant tell once it comes out of the pole if its direct or a condiit
Expert:  Mike G. replied 6 months ago.

Under a parking lot (vehicle traffic) it should be in GRC at 2 ft deep. If the cable has a paper filler, it's Romex. If the sheath is molded around all conductors, it's UF cable.

Expert:  Mike G. replied 6 months ago.

You haven't rated my answer. Is there anything more you need?

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