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(NBC Bay Area)   People are shocked, SHOCKED that thieves would steal copper wires from street lights along the interstate leaving drivers to depend on this newfangled device called 'headlights'   (nbcbayarea.com) divider line 45
    More: Obvious, copper wires, San Jose, 11th Street  
•       •       •

2160 clicks; posted to Main » on 19 Apr 2014 at 10:37 AM (13 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



45 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2014-04-19 08:47:44 AM
Say they use 12 gauge wire in a street light, that is one maybe two pounds per light, if you get it all. So six bucks per light, tops. I wonder how long it takes them to strip one?
 
2014-04-19 10:43:23 AM
I drove in Belgium and they only turn the highway lights on at the exits/entrances.
 
2014-04-19 10:44:03 AM
Subby, maybe you don't get out much, but I've been on some unlit highways that just suck up car lights and leave you driving near blind. I'm thinking particularly of one Connecticut highway closely hemmed by thick pine trees, but I've been on others nearly as bad.
 
2014-04-19 10:45:14 AM

TedCruz'sCrazyDad: I drove in Belgium and they only turn the highway lights on at the exits/entrances.


Nice gratuitous use of the word "Belgium." We'll notify the Rorys.
 
2014-04-19 10:48:05 AM

TedCruz'sCrazyDad: I drove in Belgium and they only turn the highway lights on at the exits/entrances.


Did you make it to Austria?

dambreaker.files.wordpress.com
 
2014-04-19 10:52:57 AM
Probably the same people that called in the 'strange lights' UFO reports when parts of SoCal suffered the blackouts and stars were visible to them for the first time.
 
2014-04-19 10:53:12 AM

EvilEgg: Say they use 12 gauge wire in a street light, that is one maybe two pounds per light, if you get it all. So six bucks per light, tops. I wonder how long it takes them to strip one?


It depends on the type of light. Regular street lights may use 12 ga, but a but freeway light probably uses multiple strands of 8 ga, which now in Texas runs over $1 per foot wholesale.
 
2014-04-19 10:54:23 AM
We don't have fully lit interstates here.   We do have some lights at cloverleafs.

I think lighting interstates is a waste of money.   Or maybe they get cheap electric for off peak hours.

But at 3am,  traffic is super light and full lighting is a waste.
 
2014-04-19 10:55:47 AM

EvilEgg: Say they use 12 gauge wire in a street light, that is one maybe two pounds per light, if you get it all. So six bucks per light, tops. I wonder how long it takes them to strip one?


If there stupid enough to steal copper from street lights - what makes you think they can figure out how much they make an hour doing it and weather its worth it ?
 
2014-04-19 11:03:29 AM

Objectesticle: EvilEgg: Say they use 12 gauge wire in a street light, that is one maybe two pounds per light, if you get it all. So six bucks per light, tops. I wonder how long it takes them to strip one?

If there stupid enough to steal copper from street lights - what makes you think they can figure out how much they make an hour doing it and weather its worth it ?


Well even a moron can check the weather.
 
2014-04-19 11:03:56 AM
Bulletproof solution: make the light somewhere else, use fibre-optic cable instead

I take cash or certified check
 
2014-04-19 11:04:14 AM

EvilEgg: Say they use 12 gauge wire in a street light, that is one maybe two pounds per light, if you get it all. So six bucks per light, tops. I wonder how long it takes them to strip one?


Thanks to Nafta, Cafta and other works done by the government and the world bank there is no work for most Americans.  They steal to feed their kids.  This is the goal of the Progressive agenda.
 
2014-04-19 11:20:49 AM

EvilEgg: I wonder how long it takes them to strip one?


About 30 seconds. Just hook it the wire to your rear bumper & drive away.
 
2014-04-19 11:22:26 AM
Semi-intelligent farkers are Shocked, shocked I say, to learn stupid subby thinks it's okay to vandalize public property and wreck safety equipment... This is why Oakland/ East Bay can't have nice things...
 
2014-04-19 11:24:21 AM
The police in San Jose have better things to do -like having sex on duty and beating the crap out of random people. Example:  http://www.mercurynews.com/crime-courts/ci_25595165/fire-2-san-jose-c o ps-who-had-forbidden
 
2014-04-19 11:27:23 AM

brimed03: Subby, maybe you don't get out much, but I've been on some unlit highways that just suck up car lights and leave you driving near blind. I'm thinking particularly of one Connecticut highway closely hemmed by thick pine trees, but I've been on others nearly as bad.


Merritt Parkway?


You also have to love the exit ramps that are thirty feet long.
 
2014-04-19 11:35:31 AM
I'm surprised the government frowns on me hosing copper thieves with my LWRC M6A2 6.8 Remington with integrated suppressor ..

www.onpointsupply.com
 
2014-04-19 11:39:30 AM

Wigglestick2000: EvilEgg: Say they use 12 gauge wire in a street light, that is one maybe two pounds per light, if you get it all. So six bucks per light, tops. I wonder how long it takes them to strip one?

It depends on the type of light. Regular street lights may use 12 ga, but a but freeway light probably uses multiple strands of 8 ga, which now in Texas runs over $1 per foot wholesale.


Disclaimer:  I'm not a lineman.
I haven't done work on wiring street lights, but I doubt that's what they use.  Multi-tap ballasts commonly come in 120, 208, 208, 240, and 480V.  Lowest voltage yields the highest current if we need to drive the same power load, so we'll assume they use a 120V feeder circuit to the lamp.  Here's a spec for city lights in Richland, WA.  Skip to page 9.  400W HPS (high pressure sodium) bulbs are the biggest they use.  I'd assume HPS is the dominant technology for this application right now, they've been around since the depression, and are very efficient compared to other lighting techs that have been around for that long.  Their downside is several minute long strike time, since they need to heat up, but that doesn't matter for street lights.

400W/120V=3.33A.  You typically oversize circuit protection for that type of load by 25%, and oversize the wires another 25% from that.  3.33A*(1.25^2) = 5.2A ampacity required in your wires.

NEC ampacity tables. (pdf)

So, AWG would be serious overkill.  At that point the size is probably determined less by ampacity and more by physical strength of the wire since they have to do a 50+ foot vertical pull with it.  If I had to guess I'd say they use something close to a 14AWG (THWN and THHN rated insulation) for line, neutral, and ground.  They might use one 3-conductor cable with all those to increase strength and wire protection, and also to cut down on labor when doing the pull.

Cross-sectional area of 14AWG is 4.11kcmil, assuming they got 150ft of 14AWG wire they would have 5.8 in^3 of copper.  That's about 1.88 pounds of copper.  Scrap copper wire, bare, is going for 2.95 right now.

So our proud thieves, assuming I didn't miss something obvious and assuming they got it all, can expect maybe about $5.55 if they strip the wire down and far less than that if they try to sell it with insulation and sheath still on.  Doesn't seem like good risk/reward/time management.

And I don't think line losses would be too big a deal if you used 14AWG.  It has about 2.5 milli-ohms per foot, so in a 100ft path you have 1/4 ohm resistance, which would give less than a 1V drop at 3.33A from the junction box to the load.

Ok, coffee's gone.  Time for DTMB to go outside.  And if someone who actually knows what kind of wires they use let me know.  I'm curious now.
 
2014-04-19 11:41:02 AM

Clemkadidlefark: I'm surprised the government frowns on me hosing copper thieves with my LWRC M6A2 6.8 Remington with integrated suppressor ..

[www.onpointsupply.com image 640x480]


No, this is not a gun-porn thread.  Not yours.  No can haz.

/shakes finger
 
2014-04-19 11:44:55 AM

ElLoco: Probably the same people that called in the 'strange lights' UFO reports when parts of SoCal suffered the blackouts and stars were visible to them for the first time.


Please tell me you're making this up.
 
2014-04-19 11:54:19 AM
Solution: close all highways at night.
 
2014-04-19 11:55:40 AM
it is necessary to take into account that the thieves are most likely meth junkies, so they have plenty of time in the middle of the night to take the copper and all day to sit around stripping it. Days are long when you don't sleep much.

I am pretty sure that it is not the vertical leg of the circuit they are after, that would be pretty hard to get seeing as the splice would be at 50 feet up and most likely done with a crimp to be made waterproof. However the horizontal leg from pole to pole would be very easy to get and more likely to be of a more significant gauge. There is usually an access at the bottom of each pole and a christy box to access the underground run.

Don't start looking at me though, I live in the North Bay. I do scrap lots of communication wire (I install it for a living) and must say that some of the shiat I see at the scrap yard is incredible.
 
2014-04-19 11:58:23 AM
Some country is smartly using a glow in the dark paint for lines now. Hell, use a piezoelectric material base to generate power from the cars driving.
 
2014-04-19 11:59:21 AM

Don't Troll Me Bro!: Wigglestick2000: EvilEgg: Say they use 12 gauge wire in a street light, that is one maybe two pounds per light, if you get it all. So six bucks per light, tops. I wonder how long it takes them to strip one?

It depends on the type of light. Regular street lights may use 12 ga, but a but freeway light probably uses multiple strands of 8 ga, which now in Texas runs over $1 per foot wholesale.

Disclaimer:  I'm not a lineman.
I haven't done work on wiring street lights, but I doubt that's what they use.  Multi-tap ballasts commonly come in 120, 208, 208, 240, and 480V.  Lowest voltage yields the highest current if we need to drive the same power load, so we'll assume they use a 120V feeder circuit to the lamp.  Here's a spec for city lights in Richland, WA.  Skip to page 9.  400W HPS (high pressure sodium) bulbs are the biggest they use.  I'd assume HPS is the dominant technology for this application right now, they've been around since the depression, and are very efficient compared to other lighting techs that have been around for that long.  Their downside is several minute long strike time, since they need to heat up, but that doesn't matter for street lights.

400W/120V=3.33A.  You typically oversize circuit protection for that type of load by 25%, and oversize the wires another 25% from that.  3.33A*(1.25^2) = 5.2A ampacity required in your wires.

NEC ampacity tables. (pdf)

So, AWG would be serious overkill.  At that point the size is probably determined less by ampacity and more by physical strength of the wire since they have to do a 50+ foot vertical pull with it.  If I had to guess I'd say they use something close to a 14AWG (THWN and THHN rated insulation) for line, neutral, and ground.  They might use one 3-conductor cable with all those to increase strength and wire protection, and also to cut down on labor when doing the pull.

Cross-sectional area of 14AWG is 4.11kcmil, assuming they got 150ft of 14AWG wire they would have 5.8 in^3 of copper.  That's a ...


You don't use #14 in commercial or industrial applications except for control circuits. So it's #12 minimum. Streetlights can get fed with bigger wire than #12, because the circuit may be strung out over a long distance, and the smaller the wire, the more resistance per foot, and the more voltage drops with distance.
 
2014-04-19 12:02:14 PM

Clemkadidlefark: I'm surprised the government frowns on me hosing copper thieves with my LWRC M6A2 6.8 Remington with integrated suppressor ..

[www.onpointsupply.com image 640x480]


Hosing?
 
2014-04-19 12:20:01 PM

brimed03: Subby, maybe you don't get out much, but I've been on some unlit highways that just suck up car lights and leave you driving near blind. I'm thinking particularly of one Connecticut highway closely hemmed by thick pine trees, but I've been on others nearly as bad.


Drive slower so the electrons have time to charge the air in front of you. Your photons are getting tired trying to keep up with you.
 
2014-04-19 12:32:24 PM

Rand's lacy underwear: ElLoco: Probably the same people that called in the 'strange lights' UFO reports when parts of SoCal suffered the blackouts and stars were visible to them for the first time.

Please tell me you're making this up.


It's true.  A lot of people who live in Los Angeles have never been outside of the city (and haven't studied astronomy), and there's so much light pollution that all but the brightest stars in the night sky are completely invisible.  So the sight of the Milky Way would be completely unfamiliar to many people.

In fact, if I remember correctly, Neil deGrasse Tyson once said that growing up in New York City (which has even more light pollution than Los Angeles), the first time he saw the stars of the night sky was at a planetarium, and he did not see the actual night sky until years later when his family went on a vacation outside the city.
 
2014-04-19 12:46:40 PM

Don't Troll Me Bro!: Wigglestick2000: EvilEgg: Say they use 12 gauge wire in a street light, that is one maybe two pounds per light, if you get it all. So six bucks per light, tops. I wonder how long it takes them to strip one?

It depends on the type of light. Regular street lights may use 12 ga, but a but freeway light probably uses multiple strands of 8 ga, which now in Texas runs over $1 per foot wholesale.

Disclaimer:  I'm not a lineman.
I haven't done work on wiring street lights, but I doubt that's what they use.  Multi-tap ballasts commonly come in 120, 208, 208, 240, and 480V.  Lowest voltage yields the highest current if we need to drive the same power load, so we'll assume they use a 120V feeder circuit to the lamp.  Here's a spec for city lights in Richland, WA.  Skip to page 9.  400W HPS (high pressure sodium) bulbs are the biggest they use.  I'd assume HPS is the dominant technology for this application right now, they've been around since the depression, and are very efficient compared to other lighting techs that have been around for that long.  Their downside is several minute long strike time, since they need to heat up, but that doesn't matter for street lights.

400W/120V=3.33A.  You typically oversize circuit protection for that type of load by 25%, and oversize the wires another 25% from that.  3.33A*(1.25^2) = 5.2A ampacity required in your wires.

NEC ampacity tables. (pdf)

So, AWG would be serious overkill.  At that point the size is probably determined less by ampacity and more by physical strength of the wire since they have to do a 50+ foot vertical pull with it.  If I had to guess I'd say they use something close to a 14AWG (THWN and THHN rated insulation) for line, neutral, and ground.  They might use one 3-conductor cable with all those to increase strength and wire protection, and also to cut down on labor when doing the pull.

Cross-sectional area of 14AWG is 4.11kcmil, assuming they got 150ft of 14AWG wire they would have 5.8 in^3 of copper.  That's about 1.88 pounds of copper.  Scrap copper wire, bare, is going for 2.95 right now.

So our proud thieves, assuming I didn't miss something obvious and assuming they got it all, can expect maybe about $5.55 if they strip the wire down and far less than that if they try to sell it with insulation and sheath still on.  Doesn't seem like good risk/reward/time management.

And I don't think line losses would be too big a deal if you used 14AWG.  It has about 2.5 milli-ohms per foot, so in a 100ft path you have 1/4 ohm resistance, which would give less than a 1V drop at 3.33A from the junction box to the load.

Ok, coffee's gone.  Time for DTMB to go outside.  And if someone who actually knows what kind of wires they use let me know.  I'm curious now.


Copper thieves aren't the brightest. I work loss prevention for big box hardware. cops picked up a kid selling our rolled copper at a scrap yard he admitted was from my store. he got somewhere along $60. Our selling price for all he store was more like $600.
 
2014-04-19 01:36:27 PM

Clemkadidlefark: I'm surprised the government frowns on me hosing copper thieves with my LWRC M6A2 6.8 Remington with integrated suppressor ..


I'm not surprised that a gun fetishist has juvenile fantasies about killing people, and dreams of a nation where stealing copper is punishable by the death penalty.
 
2014-04-19 01:46:17 PM

bigsteve3OOO: Thanks to Nafta, Cafta and other works done by the government and the world bank there is no work for most Americans.  They steal to feed their kids.  This is the goal of the Progressive agenda.


Derp harder, not everyone here thinks you're an idiot.

Yet.
 
2014-04-19 02:26:41 PM

bigsteve3OOO: EvilEgg: Say they use 12 gauge wire in a street light, that is one maybe two pounds per light, if you get it all. So six bucks per light, tops. I wonder how long it takes them to strip one?

Thanks to Nafta, Cafta and other works done by the government and the world bank there is no work for most Americans.  They steal to feed their kids.  This is the goal of the Progressive agenda.


Actually, you're thinking of the conservative agenda.

The goal of the progressive agenda is that all people will have enough to eat, and won't have to steal.
 
2014-04-19 02:38:28 PM

FnkyTwn: TedCruz'sCrazyDad: I drove in Belgium and they only turn the highway lights on at the exits/entrances.

Did you make it to Austria?


I remember reading an article on here that the town fathers were considering changing the name because they were tired of English-speaking tourists going there and stealing the F*cking signs.
 
hej
2014-04-19 03:10:02 PM
Headlights funny give you anywhere near the visibility that street lights do, subhole.
 
2014-04-19 03:40:07 PM

forgotmydamnusername: Don't Troll Me Bro!: Wigglestick2000: EvilEgg: Say they use 12 gauge wire in a street light, that is one maybe two pounds per light, if you get it all. So six bucks per light, tops. I wonder how long it takes them to strip one?

It depends on the type of light. Regular street lights may use 12 ga, but a but freeway light probably uses multiple strands of 8 ga, which now in Texas runs over $1 per foot wholesale.

Disclaimer:  I'm not a lineman.
I haven't done work on wiring street lights, but I doubt that's what they use.  Multi-tap ballasts commonly come in 120, 208, 208, 240, and 480V.  Lowest voltage yields the highest current if we need to drive the same power load, so we'll assume they use a 120V feeder circuit to the lamp.  Here's a spec for city lights in Richland, WA.  Skip to page 9.  400W HPS (high pressure sodium) bulbs are the biggest they use.  I'd assume HPS is the dominant technology for this application right now, they've been around since the depression, and are very efficient compared to other lighting techs that have been around for that long.  Their downside is several minute long strike time, since they need to heat up, but that doesn't matter for street lights.

400W/120V=3.33A.  You typically oversize circuit protection for that type of load by 25%, and oversize the wires another 25% from that.  3.33A*(1.25^2) = 5.2A ampacity required in your wires.

NEC ampacity tables. (pdf)

So, AWG would be serious overkill.  At that point the size is probably determined less by ampacity and more by physical strength of the wire since they have to do a 50+ foot vertical pull with it.  If I had to guess I'd say they use something close to a 14AWG (THWN and THHN rated insulation) for line, neutral, and ground.  They might use one 3-conductor cable with all those to increase strength and wire protection, and also to cut down on labor when doing the pull.

Cross-sectional area of 14AWG is 4.11kcmil, assuming they got 150ft of 14AWG wire they would have 5.8 in^3 of copper.  That's a ...

You don't use #14 in commercial or industrial applications except for control circuits. So it's #12 minimum. Streetlights can get fed with bigger wire than #12, because the circuit may be strung out over a long distance, and the smaller the wire, the more resistance per foot, and the more voltage drops with distance.


You know what you ate talking about, but here most of the freeway lights have 8 to 10 bulbs per pole, so rather than 5 amps you are looking at 50, which in resi we wire with 8 ga. Commercial may be different? But I have seen the lines coming out of the poles around here and though they are BX they look much bigger than 12 ga to me.

They are still probably getting $20 at most per post. Enough for a fix or a fry.
 
2014-04-19 03:53:58 PM

anfrind: Neil deGrasse Tyson story


Intredasting. Shows that we're making really good planetariums if he's able to become Mister New Carl Sagan after getting his childhood dream from fake stars.
 
2014-04-19 04:13:43 PM

brimed03: Subby, maybe you don't get out much, but I've been on some unlit highways that just suck up car lights and leave you driving near blind. I'm thinking particularly of one Connecticut highway closely hemmed by thick pine trees, but I've been on others nearly as bad.


I haven't driven in CT, but here in san Jose, a very large percentage of drivers are immigrants and new
To driving.

They can use all the help they can get.
 
2014-04-19 04:41:13 PM

AspectRatio: Clemkadidlefark: I'm surprised the government frowns on me hosing copper thieves with my LWRC M6A2 6.8 Remington with integrated suppressor ..

I'm not surprised that a gun fetishist has juvenile fantasies about killing people, and dreams of a nation where stealing copper is punishable by the death penalty.


You're jealous. Go ahead. You can say it ..
 
2014-04-19 04:55:16 PM
We really are turning into a nation of morans...can't drive without street lighting?  How about us that live in the country?  nearest streetlight to my house is about 7 miles away - and yea, I CAN see the stars on a clear night.
 
2014-04-19 05:23:07 PM
We've become overly light-dependent.
 
2014-04-19 05:35:35 PM
Normal people don't do this. It's methamphetamine. The entire Bay Area has a huge problem with it.

EvilEgg: Say they use 12 gauge wire in a street light, that is one maybe two pounds per light, if you get it all. So six bucks per light, tops. I wonder how long it takes them to strip one?


Objectesticle: EvilEgg: Say they use 12 gauge wire in a street light, that is one maybe two pounds per light, if you get it all. So six bucks per light, tops. I wonder how long it takes them to strip one?

If there stupid enough to steal copper from street lights - what makes you think they can figure out how much they make an hour doing it and weather its worth it ?


Don't Troll Me Bro!: So our proud thieves, assuming I didn't miss something obvious and assuming they got it all, can expect maybe about $5.55 if they strip the wire down and far less than that if they try to sell it with insulation and sheath still on.  Doesn't seem like good risk/reward/time management.

 Silentbob768768: Copper thieves aren't the brightest. I work loss prevention for big box hardware. cops picked up a kid selling our rolled copper at a scrap yard he admitted was from my store. he got somewhere along $60. Our selling price for all he store was more like $600.



Wigglestick2000: They are still probably getting $20 at most per post. Enough for a fix or a fry.


Bingo!


bmwericus: We really are turning into a nation of morans...can't drive without street lighting?


Meth dilates the eyes and makes people night-blind. Cocaine does that too, but meth is cheaper.
 
2014-04-19 09:08:38 PM

Wigglestick2000: You know what you ate talking about, but here most of the freeway lights have 8 to 10 bulbs per pole, so rather than 5 amps you are looking at 50, which in resi we wire with 8 ga. Commercial may be different? But I have seen the lines coming out of the poles around here and though they are BX they look much bigger than 12 ga to me.

They are still probably getting $20 at most per post. Enough for a fix or a fry. ...


50 Amps for #8 is right. Where I am, the poles I put up most frequently have 1 or 2 lamps. You can also run your lighting at 277, or single phase 480, which cuts the amperage, and both reduces voltage drop, and increases your tolerance for voltage variance in absolute numbers, as 10% of 277 or 480 is more than 10% of 120.
 
2014-04-19 09:34:13 PM

forgotmydamnusername: Wigglestick2000: You know what you ate talking about, but here most of the freeway lights have 8 to 10 bulbs per pole, so rather than 5 amps you are looking at 50, which in resi we wire with 8 ga. Commercial may be different? But I have seen the lines coming out of the poles around here and though they are BX they look much bigger than 12 ga to me.

They are still probably getting $20 at most per post. Enough for a fix or a fry. ...

50 Amps for #8 is right. Where I am, the poles I put up most frequently have 1 or 2 lamps. You can also run your lighting at 277, or single phase 480, which cuts the amperage, and both reduces voltage drop, and increases your tolerance for voltage variance in absolute numbers, as 10% of 277 or 480 is more than 10% of 120.


Oh, and, I suppose the other determining factor I forgot to mention, is how many poles are on each circuit. The amperages will add up. It's better from a troubleshooting and system robustness and control standpoint, though, to break things up into smaller units if you can. Somebody above mentioned that a theif got $60 for a reel of wire that retailed for $600. !0% return on the retail value of stolen goods is something of a standard in the shoplifting and burglary industry. I remember when we used to fling all scrap smaller than #8 into a dumpster, and even sometimes the 8, because it just wasn't worth farking with. No more. Even unstripped, you'll get something for it. That's why copper theft has taken off like it has. Sucks. You used to be able to leave 500' reels of #10 lying around, and be fairly confident nobody'd touch them. Now, you've got to keep everything under lock and key.
 
2014-04-19 09:36:44 PM
You know the incoming irony is going to be that the thieves will get run over after gutting a light on a particularly dark corner....
 
2014-04-19 09:38:27 PM
crossfitfire.com
 
Skr
2014-04-20 12:19:18 AM
With hurricane and tornado seasons comes great opportunity. Instead of thieves these folks could be hailed as emergency clean up workers.

As for the headline, whenever it rains it is hard on some roads to tell if headlights are working or not. Wet tar just sucks up all the light and only reflective road signs give any indication that headlights are on.
 
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