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Names of parts on electric pole

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Power Generation Book

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Names of parts on electric pole

Transmission tower
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Stafford Texas

System neutral/ or static wire

System neutral wire is present on each pole and tower throughout transmission, sub transmission and distribution.
System neutral is used to stabilize the grid. Neutral and ground are established at each substation, and at each pole and at final user location. For example each home and business has a ground rod. Each pole carries a neutral that is bonded to the ground rod located at base of pole.
Neutral is important for grounding and for 3-phase transformer configurations, and single-phase household power.
System neutral is connected to ground wire at each tower and pole throughout grid
The neutral wire, when at top, acts like a shield against lightning strike, called a static wire
Air is a good insulator. As a result, the electrical charge carried in storm clouds cannot easily get to ground.
Electricity is the flow of electrons from unequally charged materials. Insulators like air stop the flow of electrons until the charge becomes great enough to overcome the insulation. All electricity wants to find route to ground to equalize the electric charge. When overhead storm clouds carry a charge, the electrons in the clouds are not equal to the charge on the ground below. The result is a buildup of charge to the point where the flow of electrons will pass through the insulation provided by air. When that happen, there is a lightning bolt. The lightning will often strike highest point like a tree, house on hilltop, or transmission tower. =The static wire or system neutral is directly grounded with a ground wire, or series of ground wires, at each tower or pole. This ground wire gives the lightning an easy route to ground thus reducing damage caused by lightning.
If the lightning carries more voltage than the ground wire can absorb, there is a flashover onto the power wires, or hot wires. The flashover causes relays to activate and shut down the line.

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Converting 3-phase to single-phase household power

One Hot wire is taken from 3-phase power lines
The system neutral and 1 Hot wire are used to make single-phase power

What is 3-phase/ the transmission and distribution grid
Residential single-phase power
Basic household electric
Troubleshoot household electric

Power plant to house electricity

Illustration shows distribution grid from power plant to individual home
Voltage and amperage are inversely proportional.
Volts x amps = watts.
When volts are reduced at at substation transformer, amps are increased.
High amps are needed at the end user, because amps are the heat that does the work.
However high amps cause heat loss during transmission.
That's why transformer substations are needed: because they control volts and amps.
Each time voltage is reduced, the amperage is increased... and higher amps mean transmission distance is reduced.
So the 500,000 volt lines are used to distribute power long distance.
69,000 volt lines are used for shorter distances.
7,200 volt for local distribution.
Below 4000 volts, the distribution is inefficient because high amps cause too much heat loss

Generally, in the US, each home has a transformer that converts 7200 volt Hot and Neutral into split phase 120-240 volt service.
The home receive low voltage, high amperage
Each home has a transformer that converts 7200 volts into 120-240 single or split phase electricity
Sometimes more than 1 home will share a transformer... result is dimmed lights, or voltage drop each time heavy equipment such as HVAC turns on.
Identify transformer wiring
Transmission and distribution lines
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Rosenberg Texas

Transmission and distribution lines

Generally transmission lines are higher off the ground
And carry higher voltage than distribution lines
For example transmission lines might be 69,000 V or 69Kv
While distribution lines can be a lower voltage

Transmission lines run between substations
Distribution lines run from the substation to the end-user location

Image shows transmission lines that run from the Rosenberg substation out into the country to another substation

The distribution lines also leave from the Rosenberg substation and distribute power in the town
Distribution lines can be identified because transformers connect to the distribution lines

Transmission and distribution wires are bare
They have no insulation covering the wire
This helps keep the wire cool and increases transmission distance
Wires are kept away from the poles using purified glass insulators
Other types of materials are also use for insulators
Birds sitting on the bare wire are not electrocuted as long as they do not touch two wires or any part of the pole
Electricity on the wire is a potential
The voltage potential is only reach if two wires come together or one wire comes together with a ground
Electric pole parts
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Original image
Rosenberg Texas

3 phase service at local Walgreen

Image shows Delta Primary and 4-wire WYE Secondary
Primary is Delta: How do we know? Each hot wire connects to two transformers.... so they are wired in series
Secondary is WYE. One wire connects to all three transformers, and to Neutral. One wire from each transformer is Hot... so they are wired in parallel
System neutral connects to Neutral and ground
There are many different transformer configurations

This is 'most common type of wiring' because Delta has lower amps/ meaning less heat, so insulation on primary coil is less expensive.

Transformers can be wired different ways depending on the incoming electric supply and end user need.
Two key factors for the grid are economic performance and reliability.
Reliability is necessary because electricity must run clean without big-voltage spikes and low-voltage brownouts. Otherwise motors and HVAC equipment will have shorter lifespan.

Transformer configurations
Transformer manuals
Identify more illustrations of transformer wirings
Power line surge protectors
parts on electric pole
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Rosenberg Texas near fairgrounds

3 phase service at county fuel depot

There are many different transformer configurations used to make different voltages
Each installation follows same general pattern


Do it yourself electric

Water heater formulas/ pdf
Water heater formulas 2/ pdf
Troubleshot household electricity

What is 3-phase
See inside household electricity
Basic home electricity
Figure volts amps watts

Guy wire

Down guy travels downward at angle and is attached to guy wire made of 7-strand galvanized wire. Diameter of wire and number of guys vary by load requirement.
The guy wire is attached to the anchor
Parts include the lead section, and extensions.
The anchor lead section and extention are screwed into the soil to the correct depth based on soil and load. A soil probe is used test the soil, and results compared with charts that give correct soil classification. Extensions are used to increase depth.
The guy wire connects to an extension which is connected to the anchor. The entire guy assembly is connected together and to the pole using hardware such as anchor rods, thimble eye, couplings, eyebolt, eyenuts, shakel, clevis, wrap guy, guy lock, guy grip.
The guy is covered with a shield at the bottom, called a guy marker, The purpose if to make guy wires visible to the eye and avoid collisions and encounters with people, animinals etc that might get hurt of damagepull ropes
Guy markers
Guy anchors
Aluminum conduit standoff
parts on electric pole
Rosenberg Texas near fairgrounds

3 phase service drop

The image in table above shows the primary and transformers
The image to left shows the service drop for the image above.
Static belt seves as continuous ground/ protection when working close to energized lines
Conductive suit, hot suit, conductive Boots, socks, gloves / clothing is bonded to the conductor so lineman can use hands on live conductor
Rubber insulating gloves must operate within voltage class, must be ingood condition for work on hot lines
Protective Ground Grid / ground blanket/  for a lineworker to stand on during energized and deenergized work
Temporary conductor support fiberglass is used to hold energized distribution conductors during replacement of poles or repair or replacement of pole top and stand-off insulators
Temporary Conductor Support: Nylon binder strap ratchet assembly hold energized distribution conductors during replacement of poles or repair
Grounding set with grounding clamp each end
Performed energy
Spun concrete poles
power pole switch
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Rosenberg Texas

Overhead switch

Overhead switch lets power company de-energize lines for repair and emergency
A metal pole with a manual switch lever is located at bottom of pole
The switch is open and line on one side or the other is de-energized.
Overhead switch
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Rosenberg Texas

Overhead switch

Overhead switch
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Rosenberg Texas

Overhead switch


Electric supply trailer

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Rosenberg Texas

Freshly cut wire has dislodged some of the strands.... strands are splayed open
This design of stranded wire is called concentric round, since each strand is the identical, each is round, and cable is round.
Air space between strands can be reduced by compacting aluminum into trapezoidal shape for smaller wire size.

The number of strands on wire in photo is 19, ranging from 1.4 to 1.8" in diameter.
Overhead wire can have 70-127 strands and 2.3" or more in diameter, and made from a variety of aluminum alloys. 12mm˛ to 750 mm˛
Household wire can be 7-19 strands and less than 1/4" across

Wire size and material is a balance of cost and performance
For example, copper wire might be a better conductor for transmission and distribution...
... but copper wire is too expensive, and too soft for long spans between poles.

Aluminum wire is relatively inexpensive, and it performs the job equal to copper, so it is better choice than copper.

Zinc coated and aluminum coated steel wire is used where temperatures exceed 200° F
Resource pdf:

Conductor examples

Conductor examples

Different conductors are chosen for different applications
Illustration is general  depiction of materials and not exact numbers of strands or types of cores or shapes of wire configuration.

Choice of conductor is always a balance of electrical efficiency and cost of materials

Galvanized steel wire surrounded by aluminum wire is used for long spans. ACSR ACAR
Steel wire is strong, but a poor conductor. The aluminum wire carries most of the electricity.
The 'skin effect' causes most of the current to flow close to the surface of the wire

For shorter spans, up to 50 meters, with high load demand, all-aluminum wire is used. AAC AAAC

For rural areas with few customers, price of conductor becomes main issue. Galvanized wire is used.
Galvanized steel is a poor choice of conductor for areas with high load

Overhead conductors can last at least 40 years
wire and wire ties
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Rosenberg Texas

Wire ties and wire

Called wiggle wires in lineman slang
Wire ties are used to attach the wire to the insulator at each pole.
Wire ties are prefabricated for each wire size
Rubber insulator is inserted on the wire or on the tie to prevent wire from touching insulator.
Insulators are made from variety of materials including glass.
When viewing electric repair trucks and supply trailers on the road, you can see the pre-fabricated ties hanging on back of vehicle
Lineman slang
General Cable


Old and new conductors are connected together using a splice
The conductor is cleaned and inhibitor applied to both surfaces, and then spliced is applied.
Hot wires connect on pole
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Rosenberg Texas

Hot from North side of freeway attaches to South side

Suspension clamp is tightened against wire using 4 bolts.
Wire is bent downward.
The bend in wire adds a mechanical resistance to slippage of wire
The bend also pulls the Hot wire away from the insulator.
The Hot wire is connected to Hot wire on pole.

Suspension clamp is connected to insulator.
Insulator is bolted to steel pole

Long suspension spans use aluminum-coated steel wire or steel cored aluminum ACSR

Aluminum wire will sag more than steel wire over long spans.
Steel coated aluminum wire is used.
The steel carries mechanical strength while aluminum strands carry bulk of current
Poor conductivity of steel makes it a poor choice for long distance transmission of high voltage.
Galvanized steel is used in rural areas with few customers on the line because it is less expensive.
Compression hot clamp
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Original image

Compression hot clamp

Distribution hot line connected to another distribution hot line.
Used for higher amperage application.
Wires shown are 3/4" diameter, 19 strand aluminum

Hot clamps

Hot clamps

For conecting wire to distribution line
suspension clamp
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Suspension clamp and strain insulator

Suspension clamp has 4 bolts that are tightened against wire.
The clamp holds wire and keeps it from slipping.
Used when suspending wire across long distance or at pole located at corner

Strain insulator vrs suspension insulator
Mechanical design overhead lines
Hot wires connect on pole
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Original non-photoshopped photo

Suspension clamp and strain insulator

This ligher-weight version of assembly shown above.
Power company installed new poles for freeway construction
When new poles were wired and energized, the old poles were taken down.
Hardware was removed from old poles.
This assembly was left along freeway .... I picked it up from the ditch, photographed it following day, and returned it to the ditch.
Surprising was that the fins on the insulator were rubber material, as was the coating around the insulator.
The fins are for dissipating heat
neutral connection
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Rosenberg Texas

Neutral connection at top of pole

:Neutral from pole north of freeway, tied to Neutral line on south pole using 2 compression fittings
Neutral connected to top cap insulator using side tie
Compression or crimp connection is accomplished with hand tool that looks similar to bolt cutter

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Another image

Residential service

See inside household electricity
Residential 120-240 volt service
Larger image of grid from power plant
Residential 120-240 volt service
Normally, the 3 service wires to house are triplex, with 1 bare stranded Neutral and 2 insulated Hots.
The Neutral wire runs continuously across the grid to bond all grounds into one giant array of earth connections that stablize the grid from overvoltage, short circuits, lightning etc ... and to protect and assist circuit breakers and wires. Ground wires are present at each pole, transmission tower, and electrical connection across the grid.
Connect transformer to wire

Connect transformer to wire

Distribution pole
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Distribution pole assembled on ground

Poles are delivered without hardware, and dropped in location where each will be set
Linemen install hardware on each pole
Each type of pole is assembled to specification.
For example the polymer riser (insulator) must be set at specific distance from bottom of pole, and from each other.
The distance from polymer riser to pole is specified.
The number and location of guy wires. The size and application of ground wire.

Wood poles are used for spans up to 50 meters.
Wood poles rot underground after 20-25 years
Cannot be used for voltages higher than 20 Kv

Mechanical design of overhead power
Neutral compression connection to ground wire
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Distribution pole assembled on ground

top of power pole
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Top of power pole

A shackle insulator has been added to pole.
This is a type of strain insulator that lets linemen install a short line to another pole for local service
Guy wire connection
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Guy wire connection

Power pole tool
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Power pole tool: Cant Hook

Linemen use ordinary tools: drill, wrench, stapler
They also use specialized tools such as the tool shown (cant hook) that is made specifically to roll the pole, or keep it from rolling.
They use climbing spikes and safety belt when ascending and descending pole.
power pole tool- cnnt hook
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Cant Hook

Standoff for ground wire
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Standoff for neutral wire that will drop down to a transformer, or to the ground wire connection

Extra length of neutral wire looped back in toward the pole will be attached to Neutral wire at top of pole
Standoff for ground wire
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Standoff for neutral wire

Each wooden pole on the distribution grid has a Neutral-ground wire that travels down the side of pole.
Standoffs are used to keep the neutral wire away from hot wires ... And help prevent possible arcing from the hot to metal parts on the pole and then to ground.
Once the neutral is below the height of the hot wires, the ground wire is attached directly to pole.
The neutral also connects to Neutral going to business or home
At the transformer, a ground wire is connected to neutral and to each transformer
Bottom of pole, the ground wire enters the soil ast a depth specified by local code to meet proper ground for the type of soil conditions

3-phase electric
Household electric service
Why you need ground
Standoff for ground wire
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Standoff for Neutral wire with Neutral wire attached

Extra wire will be connected to Neutral wire at top of pole
Neutral compression connection to ground wire
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Neutral compression connection found where neutral wires are connected together at top of pole, or connected to ground wire.

Hand crimped connection using crimp tool, Every pole has a Neutral-ground wire.
The ground wire going into the soil at base of each pole always connects to Neutral
The Neutral wire runs down side of pole to the soil when a ground connection is made
Each ground is connection is determined by type-of-power plus location, type of soil etc

Neutral wire runs from pole to pole across the entire grid.
Ground wire is connected to each neutral across the grid to stabilize and protect grid from overvoltages, surge etc.

Before installation, both conductors are cleaned with wire brush and coated with inhibitor
Neutral compression connection to ground wire
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Neutral wire runs full length of pole to the point where the ground wire connects.

Here is the connection point between the copper ground wire and the aluminum-coated steel wire that runs to top of pole
On some pole, the copper wire is used for full length of ground.
In this instance, the aluminum-coated steel or aluminum wire is used since it is cheaper.
The bare copper wire is #6.
Copper can never be installed above the aluminum to prevent copper salts from washing down on aluminum.
Neutral compression connection to ground wire
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Copper ground wire at bottom of power pole: Butt coil

Depth of pole into ground is determined by engineers during planning stage
Once the pole is set in the soil, the weight of pole helps the ground make contact with soil
Using a coil of wire on the the bottom or butt of the pole is common technique.
Using a butt plate is another method.

A butt coil is made from the #6 copper wire that is stapled to side of pole.
The copper wire is coiled on the bottom, and pieces cross each other to maximize contact.
In addition to the coil, a ground rod is also driven into the soil to depth that is specified by engineer.
Depth of ground rod is based on resistivity and dampness of soil.
The ground must reach soil that is permanently damp... and below the frost line
This installation is done in a damp Texas coastal region with clay soil.
Dense soil such as clay has less resistance to ground than dry rocky soil.
The best soils are dense, non-frozen, clay. The worse soils are loosely compacted gravel with a permafrost.
Grounding specifications vary by soil, type of pole, voltage, etc.

Why you need ground
Standoff for ground wire
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Ground wire

Connect electric wire to insulator

Electric supply trailer
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Top cap

Top cap is one type of insulator used to keep wire away from pole.
Wire can be attached to top of cap, or on side
Top cap is type of insulator used to keep wire from touching the pole

Insulators are required to withstand mechanical and electrical stress.
Electrical stress is caused by line voltage... failure is caused by a crack or puncture and flashover.

Higher voltage/ the greater the cost of insulator
Over 33Kv, a suspension insulator is used instead of a pin type insulator

Mechanical design of overhead power
Electric supply trailer
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Top cap and side tie

Top cap sitting on disturbed soil near freeway construction.
Prefabricated tie partially om the cap
Tie has rubber insulator to hold wire away from insulator
Electric supply trailer
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Wire, side tie, top cap.

Same image as above, photoshopped. with photo of Neutral wire
Electric supply trailer
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Connect electric wire to insulator

Simulation of connection using photoshop.
The tie wire is wrapped 1 turn around cap
Rubber insulator on side tie forms a barrier between wire and cap
Tie is twisted around the wire.
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