(submitted by Joel M.)
This is a rental house I live in - an attached garage was added some time after the house was built (house was built in 1918, garage is substantially newer). The electrical service was very recently (last few years) "upgraded", see below.
Picture 1: Two pieces of PVC pipe, split longways, to slide over the conductors. I have no idea what the timer on the right does or the red indicator with it's unprotected cable being taped to the side of one of the metal raceways and going into the crawlspace and the other one that goes to an outdoor receptacle in the garage (other side of wall). Note lack of working space as well.
Picture 2: Detail showing how the cable taped to the conduit makes it through the floor.
Picture 3 showing the meter, still active. The service dropo goes upward - it's the original service drop. Note the shingles on the roof of the "house", visible here. Note the cables in the rafters - they are stapled in place, but I'm questioning whether this is proper protection when the rafters are also used for storing building materials. The power company knows this meter is here - I told them they couldn't get to the meter if I'm not home, and they were fine with it - just gave me a stack of paper cards to record the readings myself, and asked that the meter reader be allowed in to take an initial reading.
Picture 4: The old grounding wiring, just dangling. I'm guessing there used to be a grounding rod somewhere around here, but it was in the way of the garage. There was no grounding rod directly under the meter. It might look like the meter pan is connected to the wire that drops down and branches this way, but fear not - only the panel is connected. The wire comes through a small hole in the wall next to the meter.
Picture 5: The other side of the grounding mess. The green wire that goes under the sill of the door follows the wood of the house out of the garage, is stapled to about 30 feet of siding on the outside (real outside), and then connects to the Telco's grounding connector (no rod though!). As far as I can tell, this "hanging ground" is probably the only thing that will save the house from burning down upon an open neutral...
Picture 6: The service drop. You might not be able to tell from this completely, but it is clearly visible from outside the house that it ends in the middle of the roof.
Picture 7 - More detail of the creative conduit design from the panel going into the attic.
Picture 8: This is how the panel is grounded. As far as I can tell, the drilled hole in the side of the panel is how the panel enclosure is bonded. Note the slightly-too-short conduit on the left. No problem, though - no need to maintain bonding in this install!
Picture 9: The panel itself! Many of the grounding electrodes are just twisted together at the bottom, and never hit any sort of fastener whatsoever. No grounding bar is installed in the panel (hard to tell, I know!). Bonus points if you can figure out how the service gets into this panel...
Disclaimer: I'm not an electrician, I'm in telecom, and this house's telephone wiring is just as bad - just not as likely to kill someone... I'll send some telecom/data violations I've seen in the field sometime later (my favorite, thus far, is the router at a site with a sign on it, "Don't touch - you'll get zapped" complete with skull and crossbones; Someone dropped it, bent the power supply inside so that the ground broke inside and the hot wire contacted the case - the case was hot - and they never thought it worth reporting for replacement).
- Joel M.