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HV Cable Splicing


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  #1  
Old 07-15-2015, 10:46:11 PM
Railroads Railroads is offline
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Default HV Cable Splicing

Evening, I have suddenly found my self watching videos about splicing high voltage cables lately. I don't have a clue why? But, I find these videos mesmerizing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XtC7yIpIFg

Anyone do this for a living? I would just like to hear real world experiences with splicing this kind of cable.

Robert
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Old 07-16-2015, 11:25:44 AM
Andrew Mackey Andrew Mackey is offline
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Default Re: HV cable splicing.

Although I am not an electrician, I had to help the electricians repair a high voltage supply at the Wanaque reservoir many years ago. There were 3 5000 volt feeders encased in a 1/4" thick 6" diameter lead cover, as a power supply for the low lift pumping station at the base of the Wanaque reservoir dam. Here is the story:

The low lift station, built in the very early 1900s, was being upgraded and enlarged in order to feed the at the time new 200 million gallon a day water treatment plant, under construction at the same time. One day, I was helping install a 5000 gallon a minute pump at the low lift station, when I saw and overheard a conversation between an elderly Italian laborer that was jackhammering a concrete under ground formation, and his foreman. It went like this: BUMP BUMP BUMP (jackhammer working) sudden stop, and the old man jumped away from the jack hammer. He grabbed it and resumed jacking. BUMP BUMP BUMP, a muffled bump, and again the old man jumps away from the jackhammer. He yells at the foreman "Hey foremen, this Fu--ing things a no good - it gives me a shock!". The reply "whadda you mean you got a shock - it's an air powered hammer. No electricity there, get back to work". The old man scowled muttered some nasty things in Italian, and grabbed the jackhammer again. BUMP BUMP BUMP BUMP He jumps again, and the lights inside dim for a second and then brighten again. "Hey foreman, this thing is a no fu--ing a good, I again get shock!" The foreman again says "Your nuts, get back to work!". Now he is really getting mad at the poor old man. The old man takes one more shot at it - BUMP BUMP BUMP BOOM, and the hammer goes about 2 feet in the air! "Hey foremen, this things a no fu==ing good, I quit, I don't work here no more!" The forman just begins to make a rant, when the electrician super comes along and says "What do you guys think you are doing?" Laborer foreman says "Busting up that old foundation, for the new extension footing. The super looks at the cement and sys "Footing hell, that is a feeder conduit for the lift pumps! There are 3 500 volt lines in there - you are lucky you weren't fried!" Luckily, when the hammer point penetrated the lead encasement, the power shorted to the lead housing instead of to the old man, although some voltage got thru and 'bit' him. The 4th penetration was the charm - it burned about 6" off the jackhammer bit, and blew bits of lead and copper out of the hole, along with the jackhammer!

Power had to be cut to the pump station, and it took another day to uncover the 6" lead encasement for a few feet in order to make the repair. A saws all was used to cut open the 1/4" thick lead, in order to expose the 1" diameter power cables within. They were spliced, but the electrician super wanted the splices soldered too. I ended up soldering the splices and the copper with a silver based solder. After I was done, it took nearly 3 hours to insulate the repairs (2 wires 4 repairs) each repair needed a roll of thin electrical 'friction tape, a roll of electrical tape, about 5 feet of 3" wide electrical tape and a final cover of specially made heat shrink tubing (a new product in 1979) After all that, it came to repairing the lead encasement. No one there knew how to 'lead burn or weld lead, in order to seal the lead pipe. My plumber's super knew I knew how to do it, and 'volunteered' my services. I had to make a new section with beveled edges to fit the chunk damaged and removed previously. 1/4" thick sheet lead wasn't cheap! I had to make a 45 degree bevel in the pipe, facing outwards, and cut a matching section with beveling inside to fit the hole. The 'plug had to fit curvature and the edges of the cut out exactly. It took more than 2 hours th carve the new section with a set of sharp Exacto (TM) knives. After fitting the cover, Nitrogen was then pumped at low pressure, thru the lead encasement, to prevent fire and cool the wires inside. I lead burned (welded the lead) with a micro Oxy Acetylene torch, and some 1/8" square strips of lead. Took me about another 4 hours to finish the welding, including about an hour practicing on an on the bench section. The electricians wanted to make sure I could lead weld without melting thru to the cables inside the encasement. After the cover was welded on, the Wanaque Water Commission wanted a second cover on the repair to be soldered on. No one knew how to wipe a lead joint, so I was then again called upon to do the job. My grandfather lived near-by in Riverdale, and I went to his home to pick up what I needed to do the job: Blue & White Ticking ( wax soaked solder wiping cloth) Lamp black (carbon paste to prevent overflow and loss of solder), and some 50-50 1/4" bar solder - used in 'wiping' lead pipe connections. My 1st year as a plumbers apprentice in the union, was the last year they taught lead wiping. New materials (plastic and no hub pipe), were making the art of working with lead obsolete. Most of my experience was learned from working with my uncle and grandpa, both Master Plumbers and mechanics in the old Local 124, in NJ The plumber's super wanted to know what my grandpa wanted for his assistance, and grandpa said "Just a roll of solder now and then".

A section of 6 pound lead (about 1/8" thick) was cut and applied to the lead pipe, with about a 2" overlap over the lead burned repair. The lead encasement was filed smooth, cleaned shiny bright with 90 grit emery cloth,, and then flux was applied to the area where the joint was to be made. Both the inside of the 'jacket and about 1/2 an inch of the outside was also cleaned. The lamp black paste was applied about 3/8" from the edge of the cover, and about 1/2" beyond the edge on the encasement. The lamp black prevented solder from sticking anywhere other than where it was wanted. The joint was then heated gently, until 50-50 solder from a roll, just melted in the joint. The bar solder was then heated to just the melting point, and was wiped with the ticking, over the cover joint. The trick of wiping a lead joint is heat control -just enough heat to soften and just barely melt the lead, without making it too hot and melting it off the joint. Really tricky to do it in place, especially if you have a big audience! besides my grandpa, there were officials from the water Commission, Electricians, most of the supers and foremen for my company. No Pressure here!

After I finished, the lead was left to cool for 2 hours, and a power test was then conducted. Everything worked fine, and the low lift station was back on line shortly after that. The lead pipe was then encased in red dyed cement for about a foot thick, so the same mistake would not be made in the future. As for me - I got an 'ATTABOY' and a paid week off, for my efforts. Not bad for a 4th year apprentice! The repair took about 16 hours - start to finish on the power line, and cost the commission about 10,000 an hour for the shutdown. Costs of renting portable generaters (the V-16 diesel stand by genset was not hooked up yet), replacement water supplies form other sources, and wages for all involved added up quickly.

As an end note, anytime grandpa wanted a roll of solder, the foreman gave it to me for him, without question, for over a year, until the job was done and I got laid off. Many years later, when grandpa died, my uncle gave me many tools and things grandpa had. One box was full of solder rolls - over 50 of them, most ones he had asked me to get him from the job. I still have a few left - almost 35 years later!
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  #3  
Old 07-16-2015, 12:14:52 PM
Railroads Railroads is offline
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Default Re: HV cable splicing.

Andrew, Thanks for telling that story. I have no experiences with HV cables or splicing them. But I find the process very fascinating to watch.

This video is the first one I started watching. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpy1MvXP9tU

Robert
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Old 07-18-2015, 05:27:02 PM
Scotty 2 Scotty 2 is offline
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Default Re: HV cable splicing.

Hello all
I used to do it in the 80's and early 90's. It was part of my apprenticeship as an electrical fitter/mechanic for an energy authority.
We did not have a great number of underground cables here in rural Australia then. The vast majority of our distribution system (down to running into homes) was run overhead on poles. Underground power to a housing subdivision was a big selling and talking point.

It was then a lot different to what is shown in the video in the link especially when aluminium cables were used. Steel armoured cables were not fun at all and they were mostly what we worked with.
We did a lot of resin pours for low voltage and occasionally the old pitch pots were used. We never did joints or terminations in places you see in the videos. It was either in a trench or up a power pole. It was only new work where we were able to be relatively comfortable and did a termination on top of the ground.

Lead wipes were one of the feats of the craft you had to master. I wasn't so good on them compared to other chaps.

Paper insulation with lead sheath was still in use everywhere and the moisture test on the paper usually corresponded with smoko time because the fire was on. You dropped a piece of the paper insulation into the hot oil (tallow) pot and if it spluttered there was moisture in the paper insulation. I only saw that happen once.

Crimped cable conductor joiners were not used very often. We actually spliced the copper conductors and then soldered.

But that was all near a life time ago. I forget so much.

Cheers Scott.

Cheers Scott
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Old 07-18-2015, 06:00:40 PM
DustyBar DustyBar is offline
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Default Re: HV cable splicing.

I installed about 2 miles of 15kva cable in the 1980's. I had no idea there were tools to strip the different layers. I really struggled to do it with my pocket knife. I never could get the black semiconductor layer off the white insulator neatly. I was ashamed of its looks but it worked.
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Old 07-19-2015, 10:26:50 PM
Railroads Railroads is offline
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Default Re: HV cable splicing.

Dustbar, I never knew tools existed either. I thought some poor sob had to do it with a pocket knife or a multi tool with a good blade.

The Brits seem to be responsible for the shrink tube poly system in the videos. 3M UK & Ireland also have both heat shrink and cold splice kits.

The price of the shrink tube complete kit seems to be about US $131 dollars from one source I found. This is minus the tools of course.

I would like to see more about splicing the Aluminum and steel armor cables of yesterday. If anyone has more to add please feel free to do so.

Robert
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Old 07-20-2015, 05:26:11 PM
Radiomike Radiomike is offline
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Default Re: HV cable splicing.

In the UK we had 11kV cables with the semi-conducting layer. We always watched the process of removing the layer; no special tools job stopped and the man was off the job. The first site of a pocket knife being used was usually the end of that contractor.

After the terminations had been made the cable was pressure tested and tested for minute discharges - partial discharges - and a limit of 5pc set.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partial_discharge

The semi-conducting shield ensures the electric stress is managed.

Mike
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Old 12-09-2016, 12:33:16 AM
Lyndon Strother Lyndon Strother is offline
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Default Re: HV cable splicing.

A version of MC cable, called MC-HL, is heavily used by the petro-chemical industry. I've supervised and Inspected installations up to about 20 miles long in everything from #2 to 500 MCM. Making the splices is a hassle. Most of what we ran was the 15 KV class With the semi-conducting jacket. It takes a good termination man a day to make up one cable end with Load Break "EL's" or Lugs, and about a day for 3 splices. We tested the splices and terminations to roughly 3 and a half times their rated voltage, so for 15 KV that meant we charged the cable to 55,000 volts. In the Arctic, doing the test at 30 degrees below zero in a tent with a big portable heater generates a lot of water. For construction purposes one builds Ice roads on top of the tundra. So our tent is on one of these Ice areas and the heater melts the ice. Standing in water, while pumping 55KV into the cable and waiting for 15 minutes to see if it fails or breaks down is inherently dangerous, but it just goes with the territory in Prudhoe Bay Alaska. The MC-HL comes in 5000 foot lengths on big steel spools and you test the cable, splice and test again. Then roll out another mile and do it again. The testing procedure takes about an hour per conductor. As the cable gets longer it acts like a capacitor and can store a lethal charge. The longer it is the bigger the charge and that can take some time to bleed off after you've completed the test. It took about a month to lay in, splice, and test (2) 4/0 three conductor cables just about 6 miles. At 13,800 Volts, the nominal operating voltage, one amp 3 phase is 20,000 watts, so 20KW per amp. The Dual cables were for redundancy, not voltage drop. The load they served was only about 100, to 200 KW. Each cable could conceivably handle well over 4 Megawatts.
The MC-HL cable is a nice product, but very pricey. It's approved for Hazardous Locations like around Oil, Gasoline, Natural Gas and Propane. One facility I worked at had a pair of Gas compressors that were each 3500 H.P. electric. The compressors worked at 3000 PSI and pumped just over 40 million Cu/Ft of gas a day. They were laid out like a VW air-cooled engine, "Flat 4-Horizontally Opposed",... only they were 25 feet from one Head to the Opposite head. They operated at 4160 Volt off MC-HL cable. You can imagine how dangerous it is to operate. Which part of Dangerous didn't you get? High Voltage/High Pressure/High Flammability,....maybe you didn't get the memo. Anyway the cable worked flawlessly for over 20 years so far. (The Blast Radius included the room I used to sleep in at the camp!) I've previously posted pictures on another site that include the big machinery and doing the splices in the Arctic. The article was called "21 Days, North of the Arctic Circle" and is on a SnowCat Forum. If anyone is interested I could re-post the pictures here or the Link.
Needless to say High voltage cables are very popular with power companies. The last facility I was at covered 94 Square miles, ran off a pair of GE LM2500's that each generated 21 to 23 MW. We had a mixture of overhead and underground power feeders that operated at 13.8 KV. Almost all the problems were around the terminations. Every snow flake has a grain of dust at it's core. When the snow melts it leaves the dust behind. The Overhead wires Insulators had to be cleaned off by a helicopter with a pressure washer, the cable assemblies did not require servicing.
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Old 12-09-2016, 08:25:23 AM
M.Canute M.Canute is offline
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Default Re: HV cable splicing.

Years ago I did a fair amount of splicing 15Kv class underground cables when I was a Journeyman Lineman for the provincial electrical utility. It was all XLPE so fairly easy stuff to do with the proper kit.
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Old 12-11-2016, 11:34:13 PM
Seafarer12 Seafarer12 is offline
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Default Re: HV cable splicing.

I use to work on 5kv motors and some 15kv stuff. They got a lot of stuff to make it easier to work with. On the motors we had insulated boot kits that you put on and used a heat gun to shrink the boots. You also hat the taffy looking stuff to seal them with but I would never use it. Was a major pita to take off. We would change motors pretty frequent though. If I knew I wouldn't be in there again for 10 for 15 years I would put everything on but I knew most of the time we would be pulling them in a year so we only used what we had to. We use to joke about getting high voltage shore power cables and putting quick disconnects on them.
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Old 05-12-2018, 10:21:33 PM
Ken from nj Ken from nj is offline
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Default Re: HV cable splicing.

DustyBar we use a "shoe Knife" that's the way I was taught, it works good.
Andrew, that was an interesting story. Thanks for sharing it.
You and I met around 1981 at the Hanover Marriott Construction site.
I was one of the electricians and you were one of the plumbers.
At that time I got my first antique engine and it was from you.
Thanks again
Ken
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Old 05-13-2018, 03:45:41 AM
Scotty 2 Scotty 2 is offline
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Default Re: HV Cable Splicing

Has anyone used MIMS cable?
That stuff is fun to terminate. It was part of my apprenticeship as well. We used it in high risk areas and fire gear.
Cheers Scott
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Old 05-13-2018, 05:07:54 AM
PLCtech PLCtech is offline
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Default Re: HV Cable Splicing

I have terminated a baziliion MV cables. I have done my time sanding and taping. The 3M kits are wonderful. One place I did this was at the Sparta Foundry in Sparta Michigan. It was their first electric melter.
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Old 05-13-2018, 05:56:12 AM
Thaumaturge Thaumaturge is offline
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Default Re: HV Cable Splicing

When I was a broadcast engineer, we blew an underground primary feed to our analog TV & FM transmitter facility. Because of location problems (next to buried fuel and water tanks) we had to reroute the underground feed that ran between the pole and the mountain top primary transformer. We just ran the conduit with a pull rope in it. The power company then pulled in the new cable. This is the stuff they used:
https://www.jytopcable.com/power-cab...URD-Cable.html I had a short chunk of it from the installation, but it got left at the site when I left the position. All the outside wires were 12ga. The inside conductor was about 5/16" diameter, whatever that works out to. Oh yeah, we were on generator for about two weeks while this was going on.
Doc
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Old 05-17-2018, 12:14:33 AM
diggin4s diggin4s is offline
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Default Re: HV Cable Splicing

I've attached a group of pics that are part of an donation from a revamped training facility. We haven't formally displayed as yet but are mocked up.
There is a 72kv transition splice (oil pipe to open air via insulator), a partially completed 3 phase 15kv lead sheathed cable, group of crimped splices & an end view of a piece of 250mcm 240kv duct line cable
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Old 05-17-2018, 12:16:15 AM
diggin4s diggin4s is offline
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Default Re: HV Cable Splicing

forgot to mention these are at the Edmonton Power Historical Foundation(ephf.ca) museum at Leduc west site
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