Wrapping Split Bolts: Rocket Science?

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SteveHGraham
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Wrapping Split Bolts: Rocket Science?

Post by SteveHGraham » Wed Oct 09, 2019 6:03 pm

The quest for adequate shop wiring is nearing completion, assuming I don't fry myself before I finish. I had a real electrician run #2 copper from the house to the shop, and now I have 100 amps out there, which ought to be good enough for the foreseeable future. I made them use big conduit, so I can lay bigger wire if I ever want to.

Excuse me if I am going over old ground. I can't remember.

I paid a king's ransom for copper instead of aluminum, and then when they were done, I only had about 6" of slack inside the main panel in the shop. They also gave me some bad advice. I said I was concerned about having a panel that only took 4 big breakers (including the 100-amp breaker that fed it), and the electrician said I could do all sorts of stuff with quad breakers, and it turned out to be grossly exaggerated.

I found out I could free up the spot the 100-amp breaker was in by using a frame size breaker at the top of the panel. I got myself a 100-amp QOM1 breaker, and I prepared to install it. This is when I realized I did not have enough slack. I looked up solutions online.

I saw that the standard answer was split bolts, so I bought two huge ones. I researched the right way to tape them up. I didn't just guess. I had used smaller ones in the shop in Miami, so this was not my first time. Anyway, I used Scotch 33 tape and a weird heavy tape I was advised to use for split bolts. I put a heavy layer of 33 on the bolts, then a pile of the other tape, and then more 33. I ended up with masses of tape, wire, and copper the size of tangerines. I also greased the wires before I tightened the nuts.

Now someone is telling me I need a professional electrician to redo the taping. Has anyone here heard of this? Seems nutty to me. I'm not trying to keep radiation inside a fusion reactor. It's just a couple of 250V wires. If, by some miracle, something makes it through the layers of insulation and touches metal, the breakers will pop immediately. I don't see why I should spend money and sit around waiting for someone to do something this simple.

Now that the QOM1 is installed, I'm replacing my nearly new subpanel. It won't accept a frame-size breaker. I'm putting in a 125-amp panel that has room for 6 breakers and a second QOM1. I have two 20-amp and one 50-amp socket running off the main panel, and I intend to install enough receptacles so I can run just about anything without a long cord. As soon as I get the second panel redone, I'm hanging the phase converter on the wall so I can get my lathe moved in.

Should be nice, apart from the lack of air conditioning. I'm seriously considering one of those little lithium fans.
Every hard-fried egg began life sunny-side up.

Russ Hanscom
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Re: Wrapping Split Bolts: Rocket Science?

Post by Russ Hanscom » Wed Oct 09, 2019 8:24 pm

Personally, I would be happy with the taping job you have described. If you want to get a professional electrician, he will be obligated to find fault, starting with a permit. I hate having to extend wires, but as long as it is in the box and visible, tolerable.

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warmstrong1955
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Re: Wrapping Split Bolts: Rocket Science?

Post by warmstrong1955 » Wed Oct 09, 2019 8:39 pm

Nothing wrong with what you did, and the way you did it. Big & ugly, but not any sort of a hazard.
If you want to reduce the size of the splices, you can use butt-splices, or, like we did for 480 or 600 volt terminations on electric motors, just crimp on ring terminals, and both them together. Made it easier to change motors if we used ring terminals. Either way, anything 240 volt & up, we used the rubber splicing tape, and Scotch 33.
The rubber splicing tape is what 'real' electricians use, with a layer of Scotch 33 over it.
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Patio
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Re: Wrapping Split Bolts: Rocket Science?

Post by Patio » Wed Oct 09, 2019 11:23 pm

Split bolts are a pain in the butt, but they are cheap.
This is what I use for splicing in panels and J-boxes.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Polaris-1-0 ... lsrc=aw.ds
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Patio
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Re: Wrapping Split Bolts: Rocket Science?

Post by Patio » Wed Oct 09, 2019 11:30 pm

I personally won't use quad breakers, in fact I won't use any of the home line style panels. I use Cutler hammer CH series, full sized breakers, or Square D, QO breakers and panels. I would not install any less than a 24 circuit panel, as the cost is pretty close to the same for the smaller panels.
If you want to talk about things before you make a decision, I am here. Just PM me.
That goes for all the board members. I am not an expert at all of it, but I have been at it for better than 20 years as a contractor. This board has been pretty good to me, so if this is how I can give back, I will. I prefer to talk by phone, as more ground can be covered than just typing, back and forth.
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Patio
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Re: Wrapping Split Bolts: Rocket Science?

Post by Patio » Wed Oct 09, 2019 11:40 pm

As far as taping split bolts......
I use crap tape and put the first couple of layers on, sticky side out. If it is going to be in an indoor space, I will use at least 3 more layers wrapped sticky side in and call it good. If it is going outside, I put a couple layers on, sticky side out, then a couple layers of 3M C130 (self vulcanizing tape), and then a few layers of 33+ to finish it up.
The fist layers are put on, sticky side out, so if you want to redo the splice, you can slice the layers and they will come right off the split bolt, even years later. Otherwise you will end up pealing it off a little piece at a time. Trust me, it is not fun.
This is not the only way to do it, just what I do.
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SteveHGraham
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Re: Wrapping Split Bolts: Rocket Science?

Post by SteveHGraham » Thu Oct 10, 2019 12:09 pm

Thanks for the offer of help, but the work is done, so I plan to leave it alone.

I used Homeline because 1) the existing main panel was Homeline, and 2) Homeline offered quad breakers.
Every hard-fried egg began life sunny-side up.

Patio
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Re: Wrapping Split Bolts: Rocket Science?

Post by Patio » Thu Oct 10, 2019 12:35 pm

Steve, I understand.
As a note for those that have homeline type panels and the reason I don't use them. I have repaired many of them, and HAD to replace many panels, for people who don't really have the means to get them replaced, because of arching at the buss bar to breaker connection. It is usually the breakers that have the heavier loads, like furnaces, dryers, welders and the like, espcially if they are quad breakers.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Siemens-Qua ... 836168-_-N
Quads have two buss connectors for four breakers. So in the case of the above breaker, there is a 70A load on the connection. The other thing to note, and the reason I always install panels that have extra spaces in them, is once the connection has started to arch, it will pit the buss bar and will always arch even with a new breaker installed.
One should check the breakers once in awhile, for heat to the touch. If they seem to be getting really warm, replace them. If done soon enough you may dodge a bullet. It is a lot cheaper than replacing a panel.
I commend those that do things for themselves, or at least have the courage to try.
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SteveHGraham
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Re: Wrapping Split Bolts: Rocket Science?

Post by SteveHGraham » Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:53 pm

I'm glad to have that information. Maybe I will make use of it in the future.

I think it's very odd that someone would spend a lot of money on an outbuilding and then put a small panel in it, but that's what happened here.

I kind of wonder if they gave me as much power as they could have. It's hard to get straight info, but it looks like I could have had 125 amps with #2 copper instead of 100. Not that I would need it.
Every hard-fried egg began life sunny-side up.

Russ Hanscom
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Re: Wrapping Split Bolts: Rocket Science?

Post by Russ Hanscom » Thu Oct 10, 2019 5:58 pm

You will need it, just wait.

Patio
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Re: Wrapping Split Bolts: Rocket Science?

Post by Patio » Fri Oct 11, 2019 12:17 am

I think that a #2/2/4/4 run of aluminium, for 90 to 100A, depending on jurisdiction, is adequate for most home shops. As long as you not running production or large welders and equipment, it should meet your needs.
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Mr Ron
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Re: Wrapping Split Bolts: Rocket Science?

Post by Mr Ron » Fri Oct 11, 2019 2:55 pm

I put a 200 amp service panel in when I built my 1200 sf shop. I never have to worry about not having enough power.
Mr.Ron from South Mississippi

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