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#58172 - 10/31/05 06:12 PM Another Old House
BigB Offline

Registered: 03/31/04
Posts: 727
Loc: Tucson, AZ USA
Well I sure have been getting my share of old wiring lately. Came across this one last week. All of the exterior walls (masonary)contain conduit which contains one insulated black wire and one bare copper wire for the neutral! The conduit is all intact up to each box, and where it connects to the interior walls there is a feed of armored cable coming down from the VERY LOW ATTIC. There is even sone conduit on some interior walls, like to the furnace. However there is no way to get to the J-boxes where the Armored cable feeds in many cases. Ductwork was added in the attic making many areas totally inaccessable. I pulled in new insulated wires where I could but there is still a fair amt of bare copper being used as a neutral. Of course the conduit is carrying neutral current as well as the jacket on the armored cable that is solidly bonded to the J boxes and pipe.

I have never seen this done before, it was obviously done at construction in the late forties. Was this ever legal?

My concern is an open neutral somewhere between the conduit and the panel on the armored cable causing overheated armor.

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#58173 - 10/31/05 06:19 PM Re: Another Old House
e57 Offline

Registered: 05/27/03
Posts: 2837
Loc: S.F.,CA USA
I would not even park my truck on the same street unless I re-did the WHOLE thing!
Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason

#58174 - 11/01/05 03:57 AM Re: Another Old House
Texas_Ranger Offline

Registered: 12/17/01
Posts: 2349
Loc: Vienna, Austria
That description reminds me of German wartime wiring. They had cables with an insulated phase conductor and a concentric bare neutral buried in brick and plaster walls. Yikes!

#58175 - 11/01/05 08:25 AM Re: Another Old House
gfretwell Offline


Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 9063
Loc: Estero,Fl,usa
Funny you mentioned that Tex. The HIs are talking about it as we speak.
Greg Fretwell

#58176 - 11/03/05 03:23 AM Re: Another Old House
Texas_Ranger Offline

Registered: 12/17/01
Posts: 2349
Loc: Vienna, Austria
That stuff was used during the war because of material shortages, maybe some of it was left after the war. I've never seen that stuff in person, I only read it was quite common in Northern Germany where most houses mainly consist of straw... ugly!
The only wartime wire I've ever seen is old conduit wire, looks like the standard cloth covered wire but at a closer look there is no cloth... only the most brittle rubber I've ever seen! There were such rubber wires with much older cloth wires in one and the same conduit, the rubber stuff crumbled the instant I touched it and the cloth wire was still like new. I think aluminum wire was also a deal during war because they needed the copper for ammunition. Supposedly they also used some weird iron alloy named "new silver" for stranded wire back then... it's extremely springy and a bear to work with. I once saw it on an old radio.


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