What kind of wire is this?
June 12, 2008 11:17 AM   Subscribe

What kind of wire is this? It was buried in our back yard.

It could be alarm, phone, or something else, I guess, but Mr. Pated looked at all the junction boxes attached to the house and garage and saw nothing like this. Did we cut one of our neighbor's services?
posted by Addlepated to Technology (12 answers total)
Hard to tell the scale from the photo, but that lloks a lot like the power cable to my well pump...
posted by bricoleur at 11:25 AM on June 12, 2008

The whole cable is 1/4", and hubby says the interior wire is probably 20-22 gauge.
posted by Addlepated at 11:29 AM on June 12, 2008

Without a sense of scale, it's difficult to tell the gauge of the wires. My house has an old telephone cable with four coloured conductors like that.
posted by rocket88 at 11:31 AM on June 12, 2008

Phones take 4 conductors. 20-22 gauge suggests it's not for power transmission - 20 gauge is only up to a couple amps I believe. But it could be some sort of low-voltage control system for sprinklers or an alarm or something like that.
posted by GuyZero at 11:35 AM on June 12, 2008

That sort of 4-conductor wire is used for all sorts of things as listed here. The catch is that you have a blue conductor instead of a black one; I'm not sure why. It could be thermostat wire, but those seem to have 5 or 7 conductors.
posted by TedW at 11:36 AM on June 12, 2008

That could be anything. As others have mentioned that covers phones, AC power for everything from lights to sprinklers to alarms, etc.

Your pic shows a section you cut (?) from the middle. You can't just trace it to either end?
posted by rokusan at 11:43 AM on June 12, 2008

Aha; sprinkler system wire seems to have your colors, and it would make sense to have it in the yard.
posted by TedW at 11:44 AM on June 12, 2008

Lemme try again; sprinkler system wire.
posted by TedW at 11:45 AM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

Wow - a sprinkler control wire chart. It certainly fits. Although it's hard to tell I would be willing to believe it's 18 gauge wire instead of 20 or 22.
posted by GuyZero at 11:56 AM on June 12, 2008

Many thanks, TedW! What a handy chart.

The wire is buried a couple of inches under the grass and did get cut while hubby was working on patching some pipes, so to trace it back to its source would involve tearing up the whole yard instead of just the tiny piece that's dug up now. We do have a sprinkler system back there, but he thought all the wires were accounted for. It could be for an older system, maybe. He'll splice it this afternoon.
posted by Addlepated at 12:03 PM on June 12, 2008

Definitely looks like the sprinkler wires I've got running through my yard. If yours was installed by contractors when the house was built it's likely the wires run everywhere the drunken installer happened to stumble, including under the slab.
posted by krisak at 12:13 PM on June 12, 2008

Wow. Now I know what the wire buried in MY yard is. Thanks, askmefi!
posted by selfmedicating at 7:11 PM on June 12, 2008

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