I had Verizon come to the house to replace the FiOS backup battery unit and power supply. The battery was changed out about two months ago and the unit was already beeping a false positive warning for me to replace it again.
While Kevin was here doing his work, I struck up conversations about my years as an IXC/CLEC Central Office technician, Verizon & FiOS.
After he was done and bringing his tools back out to his truck (Chevy Silverado), I pointed to the pole that had the two flapping drops that a prior tech had failed to properly cut and asked if he would go up and cut them down. Kevin said no problem, took a ladder down from the truck, propped it up, grabbed a harness and climbed up the pole and took them down. I asked if I could keep the cables (including the cut aluminum "clamps" that were used to attach the cables to the pole.
Kevin did mention that Bell used copper clamps at one time as opposed to the aluminum of today (something that I was not aware of).
I brought the pieces inside and cleaned up the shortest of the all. The jackets are filthy to say the least. I even used Brasso to clean the exposed copper conductors. I'm sure that the cable was manufactured by Western Electric despite the lack of lettering on the jacket.
I gotta tip my hat to the OPS technicians who worked with these cables. I snapped three pictures of the piece in question...
I used that stuff a few times. Worked well, lasted a long time. Before Probe-Pics (Did I get the name right?) we used to make our own little doc-dads with drop wire scrap:
1- Cut a 4" piece off 2 - Skin Â¾" of cable on both sides 3- On one side clip the left hand piece of wire off, leaving a straight piece on the right side. That's your rotary dial remover (also works for removing desi covers) 4 - On the other side clip the right hand piece and bend the left hand piece into a right angle about Â¾ of the way up. That's your hook to remove wire from 66 blocks, trace wiring on a frame or in a set.
Last edited by Silversam; 10/20/1704:56 AM.
"Where are we going and why are we in this hand basket?"
Paul, that's just neoprene drop wire, two conductors, 18-1/2 AWG copper coated steel. They stopped making if from Neoprene in the early 70s. The P clamps (wedge clamps) you're speaking of were originally made of copper coated steel as well, but later were made of aluminum or stainless steel. Later versions of this wire were plastic insulated, looking very similar to lamp cord or landscape lighting cable. Either one was just slit down the center. With the neoprene version, the outer jacket could then be removed. With the plastic version, it was just split and that was it.
You really didn't strip these wires since the jacket was glued onto the conductors. You would crush the plastic or rubber coating in order for it to split. You then peeled the split covering off and clipped it. You still had to scrape the remaining adhesive from the wires to expose the copper coating.
The P or Wedge clamps are still used today for two pair twisted pair drop wire and fiber optic drop wire. They make a larger one for use with six pair twisted pair drop wire. All are flat or oval in cross-section and the clamps rely upon the "Chinese finger" method of clamping down more based upon on how hard the wire bail is pulled.
I did the same thing that Sam mentioned, making a home made "nose picker". One end had one conductor cut off flush and the other was left about 3/4" long for removing dials and number cards. On the other end, a sharp 90 degree bend was made in it to form a hook for plucking wires from blocks, etc.
My house has 3 drops, two are the later plastic stuff that looks like lamp cord, single pair copper coated steel, neither one of which is in use, although one still has battery on it. The other drop is the much more recent 2 pair drop with 2 twisted pairs in it. That's the one I get my dial tone from. One of the two conductor drops is dated late 1983 and is branded Western Electric. (I'm assuming the original drop to the house, seeing it was built in 1984. Also the one with battery on it.) The other two conductor drop is dated 1985 and is not branded Western, but is otherwise identical down to the printing on the jacket. I forget what brand it is since I haven't been up there in a while. I can only assume someone must have ordered a second line. I don't know why they were never removed when the newest drop (the two pair) was installed sometime in the 90's. When we bought the house those two older drops were sagging something awful, and the newer drop wasn't a whole lot better. The comcast guy ran a new drop that was higher than all the rest and it really looked like crap with four drops right outside the bay window all at different heights. I didn't have Fairpoint service at that point so I knew a call to them would be pointless, even with service it probably would have been. I climbed up there and released those wedge clamps and pulled up the slack so all four drops were almost in a neat bundle to the pole and reset all the clamps. Looks.... better.... anyway. I've always been a little curious if I were to order a second line if it would come over the second pair of the two pair (which does not have battery) or if they'd take the lazy way out and send it over the old drop that still has battery on it. I've got a four pair cable running in to my phone closet tied to all of those drops. There's protectors on them so I figured why not. I also have secondary protection where the four pair comes into the phone closet and then they're on a 66 block. I throw a buttset across the unused pairs every once in a while just to see what's up. Still have that one out of three with battery on it.
Nearly every single one of those neoprene drop wires is bad in my state due to age. The jacket all cracked and corrosion setting in place. Sometimes the Fairpoint techs will replace the drop, other times not. They don't exactly fit correctly into the new TII protectors & NIDs that FP uses now since the wire doesn't bend easily.
I've tried a couple of times to make a clean staggered cut on the cable. The outer jacket comes off reasonably well. The insulation is another story. I can't get the two conductors to cleanly separate no matter how carefully I cut with an Exacto knife.
The copper coated steel cleans quite nicely with Brasso.
I know that modern drop wire is very flexible. Verizon replaced the old original single pair drop with a multi-pair not too long before we converted to FiOS. I may have a piece of it buried somewhere in the basement.