Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12

Thread: Temporary Electric Pole

  1. #1

    Temporary Electric Pole

    I need to install a pole so that I can have power for a well until the house is built. I bought the stuff I think I need for the project, meter housing, breaker box, conduit, ground etc, but I cannot find any instructions anywhere on wiring the meter housing etc. The guys at the big home improvement places are zero help. Where can I find a set of instructions for properly wiring the pole? Pole itself is not a problem. Got a used 16 foot telephone pole and ready to drop it into a four foot hole as soon as I've mounted the boxes etc.
    Thanks for the help.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    NE of Kansas City, Missouri
    Posts
    260

    Re: Temporary Electric Pole

    Have you checked with your electric company? Around here they put up the pole and the meter housing...you just put up the wiring after the meter, if they approve it they mount the meter and you have power.....

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    SouthCentral Oklahoma
    Posts
    5,236

    Re: Temporary Electric Pole

    You may not like this answer... It is pretty straight forward to folks with the skill level required to do a good safe job. It isn't brain surgery but if someone asks how to do brain surgery on themselves I would think they were probably not a good candidate for the job.

    Chances are that you have 240VAC single phase. You will have a center tap from the secondary of your power transformer. It is called NEUTRAL. You have wires from each end of the secondary of the transformer. These are called LEGS. Both legs measure approximately 120VAC in ref to the neutral and about 240VAC from one leg to the other. you can lick the bare wire and easily tell the diffeerence between 120 and 240 volts. The one that knocked you twice as far away and blacked you out for twice as long was the 240 volt one. Have a helper time your recovery (and use CPR if it seems a bit prolonged.)

    A typical breaker box has provision for two banks of breakers. Each bank is fed from one of the legs. Warning, personal oppinion follows! A proper box will be set up for 4 wires, the three already mentioned and an earth ground which wires to the pipe thingy you drive into the ground.

    So to recap: one of the legs (large wire, probably red or black) goes to one bus (feeds a bank of breakers) and the other leg (another large wire) goes to the other bus and feeds the other bank of breakers.

    There are two busses (terminal strips with a row of holes and set screws.) At least one of those strips should be insulated from the metal enclosure of the breaker box and the other likely isn't but it doesn't matter to anyone but insurance investigators looking for a reason to not pay off in case of a fire.

    Neutral wire (sometimes smaller than legs 1 and 2) connects to the insulated terminal strip. The earth ground wire goes to the non-insulated terminal strip.

    The bare or green wire of each circuit goes to a hole in the uninsulated terminal strip, its white wire goes to the neutral (insulated) terminal strip, and the black wire goes to the output of a breaker.

    If your breaker box is not as I described then check with a competent electrician before proceeding. If there is any variance between the generalized commentary I made and the National Electrical Code, your local code, or oppinion of any good ole boy who happens by then you are on your own and should NOT rely on any info in this post as it was offered only for educational and comedic value.

    It will be decidedly NOT FUNNY if you wire the box and a worker gets fried!!!!! I wired my own temp power and a contractor rewired part of it ending up with the actual earth in the circuit and they burned out two table saw motors. I put it back and it was OK. It seems a partial power failure on the part of the utility was causing the initial problem but the assumption was I wired the box wrong which was itself the WRONG assumption.

    If any of the above instructions are not perfectly crystal clear then find an electrician and be a happy camper.

    [img]/forums/images/icons/smile.gif[/img] Pat [img]/forums/images/icons/smile.gif[/img]
    "I'm not from your planet, monkey boy!"

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Southeast Iowa
    Posts
    893

    Re: Temporary Electric Pole

    [img]/forums/images/icons/smile.gif[/img] That's a pretty good synopsis, Pat. [Contractor Pole 101]
    CJDave

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    S.W. Missouri
    Posts
    100

    Re: Temporary Electric Pole

    Yeah, what Pat said. Even though I am a reasonably competent electrician, this was just of unnecessary and time consuming for me.

    I asked the Electric company (I'm sure they answer this question several times a day) where I could purchase a ready-made meter loop and breaker box. They gave me the name of a local home owned farm supply company and a local electrical contractor. I used the electrical contractor and they even offered to rent me one since it was temporary. I'm sure they wanted me to come back for later contract bid.

    Seems to me it was less than $150, The Electric company had already approved the design, and even hung it on the pole.

    I'd do a little more investigation.....IMO
    Adron
    You can have it good, quick or cheap. Pick 2.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    SouthCentral Oklahoma
    Posts
    5,236

    Re: Temporary Electric Pole

    Oh yeah, I didn't answer the whole question. Left out the part about the meter box. The semi-sarcastic comments I made about the breaker box go double for the meter box which is utter simplicity. Just don't confuse the line side and the load side, i.e. the input to the meter from thte transformer and the output from the meter to the breaker box.

    In these parts the utilities give you a box for asking. They supply some to local hardware stores for your convenience in picking up your free meter base/box. I broke one tightening/overtightening a cable clamp and they just handed me another.

    A utility company rep will inspect your work and if it passes he will insert the meter and install an anti-sabotage seal and then turn on your power. The utilities have their rules regarding grounding, wire sizes, etc. Better to ask in advance instead of having to rip your first attempt out and redo.

    I got a few side (snide?) comments suggesting that I should be aware that you can buy a small VOM (Volt Ohm Meter) for determining which wire is which and you don't have to lick them to find out. (Whoda thunkit?)

    Although it costs more and can be a slight bit more hassle reseting breakers more often... you should use GFCI breakers to reduce the risk of electrocution. Eventually it WILL rain and folks will work as soon after as they can and GFCI breakers can save a life and the life you save may be your own.

    When I did my temp box (use only a box approved for outside locations) I mounted several 120VAC and 240VAC outlets on a large piece of plywood that was sandwiched between the breaker box and the pole. I mounted these in outdoor enclosures (water proof boxes.) I used a 20 amp breaker for each duplex 120vac outlet.

    You can reuse an outdoor box indoors later on for the main box if you wish or for a sub panel. I didn't and now I have some expensive scrap waiting to be loaned to someone who needs a temp box.

    When shopping for a breaker box don't go ONLY by the price of the box. More than once in my life I found some breakers to be so expensive I could buy a new box and populate it with breakers cheaper than buying a breaker for the old box. Buy a box that uses common breakers of recent design/adoption available from multiple manufacturers. Buy a box with room for more breakers than you can imagine ever needing. Typically over time many slots will be filled.

    If you think you will ever need more than 200 amp service then note that I found 400 amp boxes to cost $1200-$1500 (4 years ago) but 200 amp boxes starting at about $100... so you guessed it I have two each 200 amp boxes side by side. My electricians said this is their typical approach given the great disparity in costs.

    Just a small suggestioin: heap the soil up around the pole and pack it well. Ensure that it is downhill from the pole in all directions for several feet and there are no concavities that will form puddles when it rains. This will keep you from standing in a puddle and mud when fussing at the panel AND it will help prevent the ground from getting really soft and letting the pole fall down.

    Mount the box high enough on the pole! I wouldn't put the bottom of the box any lower to the ground than 4 ft. I added some really big robust screw hooks next to the outlet boxes so extension cords could be tied off to the hooks and not fall out of the outlets if disturbed.

    Much of the above is intended for use of the power for a constructioin site not just to run a well pump. Inside the well house or cover over the pump you will need a fuse box with cut off lever. Use the big cartridge type fuses that look sort of like .410 shotgun shells. This is for lightning protection. I have had near misses blow out my fuses (explode them so there was noting left but the metal end caps) but not damage the pump AND it DID NOT trip the breaker.

    The breaker will protect your pump from a relatively long term overload and a short will turn it off before wiring is damaged but lightning can melt your pump without tripping the breaker, hence the redundant fuses. Keep the spares at the fuse box so they are always handy but protected from rodents which will eat them.

    Not only is this NOT rocket surgery it also not brain science!

    [img]/forums/images/icons/smile.gif[/img] Pat [img]/forums/images/icons/smile.gif[/img]
    "I'm not from your planet, monkey boy!"

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    2,098

    Re: Temporary Electric Pole

    Where we lived down in the country, the electric co-op would give you a meter base and a single sheet of paper with all the necessary illustrated instructions. You, of course, bought everything except the meter base (pole, conduit, weather head, wiring, ground rod, and master breaker), and when you had it all ready, they'd send someone out to inspect it before sending the crew to hook up the power.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    SouthCentral Oklahoma
    Posts
    5,236

    Re: Temporary Electric Pole

    BIrd, While we are confessing our criminal past... I put a "RUNNING IRON" on the "BRAND" (utility logo stamped into the metal of the meter box) to save waiting past the week end going to a distant location to get a box from a different utility when I had a perfectly good one on hand. It was for a temp setup and got replaced later so I think I got away with it. [img]/forums/images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

    Our meter box on the new house is a big sucker that reports back to the utility electronically so no one has to come out to read it. It still has the whorling wheel and the dials with the odd needles going one way and the even ones going the other that they taught us to read in grade school. Even our water meter is read electronically, they just drive by and an instrument gets the data automatically.

    [img]/forums/images/icons/smile.gif[/img] Pat [img]/forums/images/icons/smile.gif[/img]
    "I'm not from your planet, monkey boy!"

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    2,098

    Re: Temporary Electric Pole

    Pat, currently here in town, our water meter is read electronically, but the electric company still has a young fellow walking and reading the electric meters in this neighborhood.

    Down in the country, we read our own electric meters. When you got your bill, the part you mailed back in had the blank spaces for you to enter the new reading and the date you read it. They told me they were supposed to have someone go around and verify the readings twice a year, but in reality didn't quite make all of them even once a year. [img]/forums/images/icons/laugh.gif[/img]

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    South Central Texas
    Posts
    656

    Re: Temporary Electric Pole

    Like Bird said earlier, see if your electric company provides an information sheet like my co-op did.
    EXAMPLE ONLY
    All kids are gifted; some just open their packages earlier than others.-Michael Carr

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •