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Getting main power and Optus cable underground

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  1. #1
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    Default Getting main power and Optus cable underground

    Hi,

    I have a question about going underground with our main power cable and Optus cable.

    We live east of Melbourne, in Manningham council. We currently have an overhead connection for both power and Optus cable. We want these to go underground.

    I want to find out how much I can do myself very slowly and carefully. As far as trenching goes, I pretty much have to do this because we have no details on where most of our services are so nobody will dig this with insurance. We've got everything we can get from the utility companies, dial before you dig, and the council, but the only thing this has given us is the sewer line. We have no idea where the gas, water and storm water go. Based on where they come in on the street, and where they end up at the house, we know that the path we will have to trench will cross all of them, somewhere.

    If we get a pit installed then dig the trench, can I lay the cables in the conduits and leave the ends coiled up for the electrician and United Energy and Optus to do the rest? Do they have to inspect the trench to make sure I've got the correct depth, conduits and cables?

    Is there one specific type of power cable I can get or does it depend on run length or other factors?

    Can the optus cable share the trench in a separate conduit, above the power conduit? If so, I assume the conduits will have to eventually go to separate pits?

    I've heard that another option could be to have a private pole on our property near the street which both services could run to, then go underground from this. This would suffice because it would still prevent the cables from going over the driveway. Can we have both cables running to the same private pole? Can there be a join in the Optus cable on the private pole or do I need to coil up enough extra cable to get it up the pole and all the way to the main street pole?

    Thanks,

    Dan

  2. #2
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    seems you have quite a job on your hands here so lets go back to basics to cover you first question all you can really do is dig the trench.
    1) first thou you need to identify the connection hereon called the optus connection and find out if it is two core telstra line, coaxil cable or optical.
    Seems quite unusual you cant get it dug because people who do trenches for a job usually wouldn't be bothered by a few services because they know what they are doing and can work around them but if you want to do it yourself go for it.
    you will need to dig a trench not less than 600mm deep from next to the service pole (stobie pole) to your house and not less than 300 mm wide.
    in this you will need to place two conduits one 32mm heavy duty orange for single phase connection 40mm for three phase and one comms conduit that is actualy water pressure pipe go 25 or 32mm to be sure ensure they are seperated by at least 100mm the whole way and do not cross over each other in any places.
    You will need to get some large sweep bends for both the power and comms.
    At the house side bring the conduits up out the ground prferably under existing the service fuse position on the side of the house and leave it there, same for the phone.
    The cheapest way to connect the power will be to get the electrician to install a metal water pipe galv 50mm for mechanical protection up the side of the wall with the electrical conduit inside up to the position of the existing service fuse holder witch will become redundant.
    For the optus whitch i suspect is telstra you will need to inlist the help of the service provider or a licenced data cabler who will be able to extend and redirect this to the house.
    from the house run under the ground in the trench you have dug as directly as possible and using the previously mentioned sweep bends avaliable from http://electriciansupplies.com.au/ or a electrical wholesaler to the bottom of the sevice pole and stop. put some rope through the conduits tie them off and tape it all up to prevent water entering.
    Back fill the trench half way (i suggest using dolomite sand for this bit as a identifier but not technically required as was pointed out in previous topics) then place the marker tape for the electrical and comms also avaliable from sparky supplies or a friendly sparkie and then back fill the rest.
    if you arent enlisting a electrican friend i would suggest taking lots of photos as proof of job done properly and thats about all a diy-er can legaly do.

    2) You cannot install the cable youself so just forget it.

    3) no they cannot share the same conduit unless you have fibre optic and thats even not advisable.

    4) you can install a pole but your not saving much in this case and there pretty ugly.

    hope some of this helps.

  3. #3
    House Husband - 1K Club Member
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    I used Clive Green from Green Machine Drain Cleaning to locate both our water mains and gas lines. Very quick and was spot on with the location. and quite reasonably priced too. We were doing exactly the same thing you are planning....

    Ph 0395693144
    Mob 0410632715
    Green Machine Drain Cleaning Pipe Drainage Melbourne

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by applied View Post
    no they cannot share the same conduit unless you have fibre optic and thats even not advisable.
    Regulations I would have to check, but from a purely technical / safety perspective I can't see any reason not to mix optical fibre with power cables given that optic is non-conductive.

  5. #5
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    optic and electrical can share but it is not advisable because if the insulation breaks down or the cables are damaged it is much harder to splice into the conduit to repair them also the conduits are not marked optical and data cablers are not electrician's even if some think they are.

    it is quite common to find fiber optic cables and electrical together but it is generally in a infrastructure situation or installed as part of a refurb or upgrade.

    has anyone ever installed power and optical as a new install?

  6. #6
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    Thanks very much for the replies.

    I wasn't thinking of running both of the cables through the same conduit, just having both conduits in the same trench. It would seem that this must be ok. The Optus cable is Optus Coax Internet cable.

    I've only spoken to two people about digging the trench but they both said they wouldn't do it with their insurance due to the total uncertainty of the location of the services. That Green Machine Drain Cleaning seems like a great idea. How do they do this, do they trace it somehow? I'll definitely give them a call.

    Applied, you mention taking photos of the trench. Will that be enough or do I have to have it officially inspected?

    When you say "ensure they are seperated by at least 100mm the whole way and do not cross over each other in any places" Does this mean they need to be side by side and at least 100mm apart, or can the optus conduit go 100mm above the power?

    If I'm joining sweep bends into the conduit run, do I have to glue them or do anything to ensure the whole run is water proof?

    Is there an official type of rope or strapping I have to leave in the conduit (this probably sounds ridiculous, but I want to make sure I don't forget anything).

    Thanks again for all of your help.

    Dan

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ::Dan:: View Post
    Thanks very much for the replies.

    I wasn't thinking of running both of the cables through the same conduit, just having both conduits in the same trench. It would seem that this must be ok. The Optus cable is Optus Coax Internet cable.

    I've only spoken to two people about digging the trench but they both said they wouldn't do it with their insurance due to the total uncertainty of the location of the services. That Green Machine Drain Cleaning seems like a great idea. How do they do this, do they trace it somehow? I'll definitely give them a call.

    Applied, you mention taking photos of the trench. Will that be enough or do I have to have it officially inspected?

    When you say "ensure they are seperated by at least 100mm the whole way and do not cross over each other in any places" Does this mean they need to be side by side and at least 100mm apart, or can the optus conduit go 100mm above the power?

    If I'm joining sweep bends into the conduit run, do I have to glue them or do anything to ensure the whole run is water proof?

    Is there an official type of rope or strapping I have to leave in the conduit (this probably sounds ridiculous, but I want to make sure I don't forget anything).

    Thanks again for all of your help.

    Dan
    none of these are DIY... the Optus cable can only go over head and can only be touched by their techs... and paying for under grounding power is expensive...
    PC/ Networking Geek,Licenced Cabler
    Jesus was a Chippie, I'm a data cabler..make sense ???
    "I don't just have tickets on myself, I have a whole booklet of tickets on myself"

  8. #8
    Not A Seagull Armers's Avatar
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    I've just done all this, i am at the stage of awaiting for SPNet to connect me up.

    Quote Originally Posted by ::Dan:: View Post
    Hi,

    I have a question about going underground with our main power cable and Optus cable.

    We live east of Melbourne, in Manningham council. We currently have an overhead connection for both power and Optus cable. We want these to go underground.

    I want to find out how much I can do myself very slowly and carefully. As far as trenching goes, I pretty much have to do this because we have no details on where most of our services are so nobody will dig this with insurance. We've got everything we can get from the utility companies, dial before you dig, and the council, but the only thing this has given us is the sewer line. We have no idea where the gas, water and storm water go. Based on where they come in on the street, and where they end up at the house, we know that the path we will have to trench will cross all of them, somewhere.

    If we get a pit installed then dig the trench, can I lay the cables in the conduits and leave the ends coiled up for the electrician and United Energy and Optus to do the rest? Do they have to inspect the trench to make sure I've got the correct depth, conduits and cables?

    Is there one specific type of power cable I can get or does it depend on run length or other factors?

    Can the optus cable share the trench in a separate conduit, above the power conduit? If so, I assume the conduits will have to eventually go to separate pits?

    I've heard that another option could be to have a private pole on our property near the street which both services could run to, then go underground from this. This would suffice because it would still prevent the cables from going over the driveway. Can we have both cables running to the same private pole? Can there be a join in the Optus cable on the private pole or do I need to coil up enough extra cable to get it up the pole and all the way to the main street pole?

    Thanks,

    Dan
    Basicly, you can only dig the trench on YOUR OWN PROPERTY, anything outside of that you can be up for millions in damages, ie if you handle fiber wrong you can can micro fractures down either side of the damaged point up to 5 mtrs. (which reminds me to look for the photo of the repaired fiber using scotchies). Problems with this, if you hit water or gas you'll pay... from memory gas call out is about 150ish dollars, responce time 10-12 hours water call out is a little less.

    Quote Originally Posted by Smurf View Post
    Regulations I would have to check, but from a purely technical / safety perspective I can't see any reason not to mix optical fibre with power cables given that optic is non-conductive.
    In Melbourne we're right for fiber for a few years yet, there are only two places in melbourne which have fiber, where this guy is, isn't one of them unfortunatly.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pugs View Post
    none of these are DIY... the Optus cable can only go over head and can only be touched by their techs... and paying for under grounding power is expensive...
    Optus CAN be installed underground, they jhave a slightly different ruling, downside is you have to do it all for you. AFAIK they even have to trench it for you.

    The best way of doing this, you should call your electrician first, he'll apply for a "request of works", (i think its called) and he'll organise the power company to send out a survey person to even see if its possible, they'll then quote it up for you. Bare in mind its pretty if your service pole is further then 5mtrs away from the Property entry point. If the Service pole is across the road... just add about $1500 to any number you can thing of.

    Same with optus... You should be calling them, as i said before they use slightly different rulings and unfortunatly i don't know them off the top of my head, but it can be done.

    I can go on about what goes where and why but i don't need to as you'll be getting the pros in to do this. But its simple;
    Dropping pits you need to be licence (both power and comms, and pretty sure optus as well)
    Running conduct outside your property runs HIGH risks.
    Climbing a power pole here in Vic requires training and safty equipment.
    Prewireing lead ins, Telstra Optus and Power requires being licenced as well, as they are not yours to deal with they're techincaly owned by the provider.

    To sum it all up... sorry, but, get in pros!

    Cheers
    Ben

  9. #9
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    Knowing some peoples opinions regarding the sharing of electricians rules regulation and methods I will answer some of your follow up questions. No you don't need any special rope just some cheap but new nylon stuff is fine, yes you need to glue the bends using Plumbers glue the blue stuff it won't be waterproof but that's not an issue. Depends on the sparkie if the photos are good enought I would suggest finding one first and discussing it. Otherwise just dig it from your house to your boundry and source the supplies eg conduit and bends ( I charge 40 bucks a length so do most you can source it for bout five from a wholesaler) then put them in stopping at your boundry and leave it open if you have any problems with seperations highly unlikely in a 300 mm trench with one hundred mm seperation or more you can correct it without hassle. It's upto you who you listen too but as for as your concerned your diging a hole in your yard that maybe usefull for the electrician too use and Optus to use and saving my huge markup on the electrical and data conduit and bends and saving on paying a sparkie to get an apprentice probably with less experience than you to dig. END

  10. #10
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    Thanks again for the input. I think there's a bit of a misunderstanding about how much of this I want to do my self.

    I'm not planning on touching any cables of any sort at any stage. I think Applied pointed out that I can't place any cables in conduits and coil them ready for connection, so that's no longer under consideration.

    I'm not planning on trenching outside of the property, I'd be waiting until any pits are dug by the relevant authorities.

    "Climbing a power pole here in Vic requires training and safety equipment". Now you're just giving me ideas.

    I'm just wondering if I can dig my own trench, lay the conduits (without any cables, just draw leads to pull the cables through) and fill it in. From what Armers said, it seems I can dig the trench, but I'm not sure if I can install the conduits (without cables). If I can't, I can't, no problem.

    Optus can definitely go underground. I've spoken to them and they sent me their document explaining all regulations and specifications regarding underground installation of their HFC network on residential properties. It doesn't mention who has to dig the trench, but going by what Armers said, maybe Optus have to dig my trench for me.

    I understand the large cost of this, I've got the pricing from United about all the work they have to do, as well as the quotes from sparkies for doing their part, excluding the trenching because they weren't prepared to do it. This might be able to be sorted out with that Green Machine company though.

    It looks like the Optus part will be hugely expensive too, so we'll just get that cable permanently disconnected and re-activate the landline for ADSL. No problem there.

    The main problem is pretty complex which is why I didn't include it in the first post, but here it is. We have a car port which is leaning badly and will probably fall down in the next few years. It is heritage listed, and must be rebuilt the same. The Optus coax and power both run to it from the street, both crossing our neighbours driveway and our driveway, and both only about 3m above the driveway. We can't touch the carport until both cables have been removed. I understand that once we disconnect the power cable to rebuild the carport, it can't cross the neighbours driveway again upon reconnecting it. It would also need to be at least 5 (5.4 maybe?) meters high at the lowest point if it crosses our own driveway. Due to heritage, we can't build the carport with a 5.4 meter pole sticking out the top of it (and wouldn't really want to). We can't have it reach our house without crossing a neighbours driveway either, so underground seems like the only option, unless power isn't allowed to go under our driveway or something, in which case I give up and I'll build a power station in the back yard.

    Cheers,
    Dan

  11. #11
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    Just noticed your latest post Applied. Thanks for that, I like the perspective of just digging a trench which happens to be very useful for the electrician to fill with bits of stuff to complete this job. I think I'll just order the pits, dig the trench and buy the conduits, but leave the conduits for the sparky to glue together and install. I assume I can then just fill the trench as the sparky has seen it for himself.

    Cheers,
    Dan

  12. #12
    Not A Seagull Armers's Avatar
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    Thats the best way! Good work!

    Now after all that, if you cbf digging the trenches and want someone to bore it using a grundomat (no trenching) gimme a message i'll give you the contact details of the blokes who grundied my power and phones... and dropped my pits, i did the rest as thats what i do



    Cheers
    Ben

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    since this thread is a train wreck of ideas i think its only fitting to open up a whole new can of worms.

    First have you considered just letting your carport fall down and let the insurance company deal with optus and the power authorities?

    second if your venturing in to the world of buying direct from wholesalers now would be a primo time to upgrade your switchboard i wont get into too much detail but if your getting a sparkie round anytime soon ask him how much it will cost parts supplied and parts not.
    FYI average house two power circuits 16Amps ea ,hws25A, one light circuit 10A, A/C 16A plus a surface mounted box all combined rcd Breakers bout
    $265-300(parts only) not including that you may need a new pannel if your boards outside and or is asbestos but just out of interest try it on.

  14. #14
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    AFAIK Optus are happy to let you dig the trench but then they'll come along and drop their conduit and fibre/copper in it, that way they can claim/maintain ownership to the network boundary.

    The ownership of a conduit as it crosses the building boundary can also be a vexatious issue. Different carriers have different ideas.

    Another thing, if you decide to put a draw rope through the conduit, make sure the glue is dry before you draw the rope.
    Remember the 7 p's.
    Proper prior planning prevents piss poor performance.

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