Which is the best (feasible) alternative?

Old 04-10-17, 12:45 PM
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Which is the best (feasible) alternative?

I recently bought a house that has a detached garage. I've read a lot of posts, but I'm not able to determine what the 'best' way to handle my setup is. The building is from 1980, so I know older codes apply, but I'm more worried about making sure the wiring is safe, than compliant.

There is power buried to the garage using #10-3 UF-B wire (to be clear there is no bare copper in the bundle), not run in conduit and there are no water pipes in the garage. It is approximately 80 feet from the main service to a sub panel. The wires attach to the sub panel, 2 hots and a neutral. There is also a bus-bar for ground (bare copper) that is NOT attached to the Neutral bar or the box(not that it matters really since the box is also not grounded)

I'm fairly certain this installation is not correct, and suspect I need to do one of 2 things.

1) Add a grounding rod(s) and attach them to the ground bar, leaving it isolated from the neutrals. In my reading, I've seen mixed messages about doing this.
2) connect the ground bar to the neutral.

I'm aware that the best solution is to run 4 wires from the main service, but that is not feasible at this time as the wire is buried under the driveway and other hardscaping. At this point I would just like to make the existing situation as safe as possible. What should I do?
Old 04-10-17, 01:12 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

10-3 UF-B is three insulated wires.... red, white, black and a bare ground.

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Maybe the ground wire was cut off ?
Old 04-10-17, 01:37 PM
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Sorry, I must have called the wire by the wrong name.

What I have is 3 insulated wires, White, Red and Black inside a casing. It's about an inch across and fairly flat. There is no bare copper on either end. I don't think it's been cut off, I can see the end of the casing in the main panel as well as the sub panel, and there is no bare copper on either end.
Old 04-10-17, 03:49 PM
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That would be UF from long before 1980 if your description is correct. Can you read the jacket before it enters the panel?
Old 04-11-17, 09:36 AM
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Well, this keeps getting more interesting. Using a pencil to 'rub' the wire I was able to read the casing - which indicates there should be 4 wires right? 10-3 means 3 wires (red black white, this is what I see) and the with ground means there should be another bare copper in the bundle, and UF-B means is suitable to bury without conduit. So perhaps whoever did this originally did at least used the right wire...

But - I only have 3 exposed in the sub panel (Red, Black White) and I'm not sure there is enough slack to peel more casing back.

I suppose my next course of action should be to check the cable in the main box and see if the ground exists there.

Assuming it does I then need to find a way to get enough slack to find the ground and connect it on the other end. Any suggestions on that?
Old 04-11-17, 11:36 AM
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Ideal makes an inline splice that could be used to extend the ground.
Old 04-11-17, 06:41 PM
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There is a ground in the cable. I suggest removing the cable from the panel(s), cut back the cable jacket until you find the ground, and then install some junction boxes on both ends. Then, run some new cable (can be 10/3 NM-b if inside) to reconnect it to the panel(s)

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