The Electrical Contractor Network

ECN Electrical Forum
Discussion Forums for Electricians, Inspectors and Related Professionals

Books, Tools and Test Equipment for Electrical and Construction Trades

Topic Options
Rate This Topic
#124143 - 08/12/06 03:59 PM Well buried box
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant
Member

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 5305
Loc: Blue Collar Country
I was called to fix some parking lot lights. In tracing the circuit - with toner and marking paint - I found a place where the lines seemed to cross. Under the seamless asphalt, I found a junction box.



Now, until recently, there was no reference in the NEC to boxes, or methods, for mounting in the ground. What I found was a single gang "Bell" box, set in a custom-made concrete block. The contractor even bevelled the edges of the block!



Here is another view of the completely excavated block. Please note the UF coming out... it exited the box through a rigid nipple, then got caught up in the pour.

Top
Tools for Electricians:
#124144 - 08/12/06 04:15 PM Re: Well buried box
iwire Offline
Moderator

Registered: 01/05/03
Posts: 4343
Loc: North Attleboro, MA USA
You can buy bell boxes precast in concrete as well.

_________________________
Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician
Massachusetts

Top
#124145 - 08/12/06 05:41 PM Re: Well buried box
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant
Member

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 5305
Loc: Blue Collar Country
I didn't know that!

Zinc, (or aluminum)... which is what they're made of... don't handle alkalai very well. They quickly degrade to little more than white dust. I am surprised they're actually sold in concrete- an alkalai.

The one in the pics was certainly in poor shape. Every such box I have seen, either buried in concrete, or just buried in dirt,
has been seriously corroded, and filled with mud. This is true even when the cover appears to have a gasket, and be properly installed.

I replaced this arrangement with a handhole, and traffic-rated cover.

Top
#124146 - 08/13/06 03:49 AM Re: Well buried box
iwire Offline
Moderator

Registered: 01/05/03
Posts: 4343
Loc: North Attleboro, MA USA
 Quote:
I didn't know that!


That makes two of us, I never saw one till I dug this one up.

This one had to many 10 AWGs.

Story here

 Quote:
Zinc, (or aluminum)... which is what they're made of... don't handle alkalai very well. They quickly degrade to little more than white dust. I am surprised they're actually sold in concrete- an alkalai.


I agree and the one I dug up is only a few years old. It is already junk as far as any threaded holes.

 Quote:
The one in the pics was certainly in poor shape. Every such box I have seen, either buried in concrete, or just buried in dirt,
has been seriously corroded, and filled with mud. This is true even when the cover appears to have a gasket, and be properly installed.


Again I agree.

 Quote:
I replaced this arrangement with a handhole, and traffic-rated cover.


Cool.
_________________________
Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician
Massachusetts

Top
#124147 - 08/16/06 06:19 PM Re: Well buried box
HotLine1 Offline

Member

Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 6804
Loc: Brick, NJ USA
As a side note to this sbject:
Had a no lights call in a shop ctr. Power was 'out' at 15-20 poles; all circuits in store on, contactors OK. ??? Started the trace process. Store mgr comes out & said ' we see smoke rising from the traffic island when the irrigation sprinklers are on' Hmmmm!

Traced a few circ. back to that island area, said OK, grab a shovel. Under 12" of mulch, a PVC box (30x30) with the cover concaved in.

Talk about major meltdown; cover crushed the conductors against the ruff PVC stubs & all heck broke loose, add some water & ??

BTW, manager guy said it was smoking for about two weeks, but he waited for a Friday at 3:30 to call HQ.

John
_________________________
John

Top
#124148 - 08/21/06 05:58 PM Re: Well buried box
HCE727 Offline
Member

Registered: 11/11/05
Posts: 190
Loc: Delaware County, PA, USA
That box almost looks like a pre-cast "lick and stick" (stone veneer) box for lights and outlets.
_________________________
Hank

Top
#124149 - 08/25/06 03:32 AM Re: Well buried box
RODALCO Offline
Member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 863
Loc: Titirangi, Akld, New Zealand
Good photo's.

We have similar problems here in Auckland too.
With a lot of road widening for extra buslanes etc streetlights circuits are usually first affected by botch up jobs, or hide it and she'll be right.

Within a few weeks, months the problems start appearing by intermittend blowing of section fuses on these streetlight circuits.

Then I go on site for a cable fault locate and mark out, and the new asphalt road will be cut open and poorly made breach joints are found, crushed j boxes, or just linetaps with some almalgamating tape around it.
Heads should roll here but it never seems to happen.

With these road widening projects I maintain that a complete new S.L. supply is run on the outer verge of the road feeding the new lights prior to disableing the old supply.
Also no breach joints underground which usually give troubles later on on when not properly done by subcontractors.
Then cables in, out of S.L. poles to complete the streetlight strings.

but,
cheap is very attractive short term,

and becomes
very expensive and inconvenient later on when faults will happen.

Why not do the jobs properly in the first place.
_________________________
The product of rotation, excitation and flux produces electricty.

Top
#124150 - 08/26/06 02:56 PM Re: Well buried box
Surfinsparky Offline
Member

Registered: 07/29/05
Posts: 77
Loc: merritt island fl usa
I like handholes myself.Down here in florida you need something that lets the water drain away.

Top



ECN Electrical Forums - sponsored by Electrical Contractor Network - Electrical and Code Related Discussion for Electrical Contractors, Electricians, Inspectors, Instructors, Engineers and other related Professionals