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Found barely buried live wire in yard

Pharaday

Jan 18, 2016
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I was cleaning up an area where I was building a dog yard for my pups and I noticed a wire coming out of the ground and I wanted it gone. Fortunately I was among the 1% of the people in this town who would bust out a multi meter and check the wires first. I'm not afraid of low voltage but yeah there was 110 volts coming out of those wire. Right where one of the many neighborhood children could have sauntered up and buzzed him or herself. Just sitting there on the ground, exposed copper. They look like they were coming from the empty house next door and they appear do you have once been plugged into that house's electric meter. There are other wires going to that meter that look like the ones providing power but who knows.

I've already contacted the power company and they're sending out a technician. My question is what are those wires and why are they just poking out of the dirt live like that. Is that not a ridiculously horrible situation? What does that say about the wiring in this area? Or am I blowing this way out of proportion? I mean, if my dog had been shocked.....
 
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Pharaday

Jan 18, 2016
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Also: that house has been vacant for years and there is no power on inside. Why would there be power going to that house in the 1st place? Or are meters just always powered if in usage or not? There are a bunch of other wires as well, I'm sure I could have found a 220 Volt pair
 

Bluejets

Oct 5, 2014
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Best approach is stay well clear of it and contact the local supply authority.
They have the necessary credentials to recognise and test any cabling.
For you to even consider poking around at it with a two bob multimeter is just asking for trouble.
 

Pharaday

Jan 18, 2016
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Na, poking at it with my dual meter was what saved me from trouble. I was picking up trash, remember? A lesser man woulda grabbed it to put it in his bag willy nilly.
 

AnalogKid

Jun 10, 2015
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Note that the input impedance of a DMM is *very* high. A wire connected to Line with a very high resistance connection might read 120 V with just the meter, but drop to almost 0 V with a load resistance of 10 K or even higher. Still dangerous, but not the same as a firm connection.

Another aspect of the very high input impedance is that the wire might be completely disconnected, and acting as a 60 Hz antenna.

If you want to experiment ***carefully***, a 15 K, 2 W resistor will dissipate less than 1 W at 120 Vac. This should be enough of a load to rule out the DMM and tell you if you have a real live wire,

ak
 

Bluejets

Oct 5, 2014
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Na, poking at it with my dual meter was what saved me from trouble. I was picking up trash, remember? A lesser man woulda grabbed it to put it in his bag willy nilly.

Probably know boats too...(Norm??)
 

Martaine2005

May 12, 2015
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If it is live and just sticking out of the ground, I’d say an outhouse or shed was there at some point.

You should have contacted them explaining that your mother-inlaw had a terrible accident while cleaning the garden. Get a cheque in from them!.
Then explain that unfortunately she is still able to tell the tale.

Martin
 
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