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529 posts

Ultimate Geek

#296318 7-Jun-2022 22:07
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All our lights and power outlets were dipping repeatedly on about a one minute interval today. The line technician came around and said the cutover on our roadside pole had almost melted through and wouldn't have been passing enough current under load. Can anyone explain or point to more information on that component? Would it be something we could monitor visually from the road? We didn't have much load running at the time but turning off a heater stabilised it. After the repair I turned on two dryers, an oven and three heaters with no sign of sag. Does anyone know if this is just a normal wear item or is a sign that something at the pole should be upgraded?

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Uber Geek


  #2923765 7-Jun-2022 23:04
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Could be a corroded pole fuse. The closer you are to coastal salt the more likely this will happen. Our lines company replaced all the fuse holders in neighbouring streets 2 years ago.


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  #2923787 8-Jun-2022 05:31
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typical network fault, burnt out pole fuse.


Overtime the springness of the metal contacts in the fuse holder gets weaker, eventually good contact isn't made causing a high resistance and eventually burns out. Things like cycling of high and low current draw, the overhead lines swinging in the wind all contribute to this happening. It could have even been a loose connection from when originally installed failing.


529 posts

Ultimate Geek

  #2923795 8-Jun-2022 07:31
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Thanks, it's on a coastal road directly exposed to the prevailing wind. We've had a pole fuse go before, I wasn't here that time but it was a busy night with the oven and a number of heaters going and the story I heard second hand was the technician said the hardware at our pole was marginal for the load but it sounds like environmental degradation can lead to performance falling below spec. I was wondering if the cutover terminology referred to the same thing.

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  #2923893 8-Jun-2022 11:44
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An odd word for 'fuse' when 'fuse' is a perfectly fine word...!




Mind you, a local newspaper report of a car flipping into a roadside ditch said that the car "ended up in the water table by the side of the road"!

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  #2923911 8-Jun-2022 12:27
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Sounds like he was just using a generic term for the lines "cutting over" to your property as there are a number of points up the pole where it could fail. None of these could be monitored by yourself unless you can see that the cable has come right out.

At the line tap off the lines themselves


At the top (incoming side of fuse) of the fuse holder, some fuses have all the cables come in the bottom so might not look like this


Internally to the fuse holder (springs, screws, blown fuse)


The bottom (outgoing side of fuse)


Another possible fault I have seen is that the fuse blows but current continues to flow through moisture in the fuse holder, generally not enough to run much but potentially could run light loads poorly. 

You can also have faults in your cable where the neutral connects, its common to use Neutral Screen cable which is wrapped around the phase conductor and then split off at each end. I have seen this copper get scored when the cable is stripped and this leads to corrosion down in the crutch of the cable which is hard to find without removing further insulation.




If you have overheads cable nearly all of these same faults can occur in your point of entry box as well (POE).

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  #2923999 8-Jun-2022 15:54
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If the main cable goes down one side the road, and your house is on the other, a cutover could be the cable that comes across the road to a pole on your side and then either overhead or underground the rest of the way in.

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