PCDS - Pole Cable Distribution System
Pole Cable Distribution System (PCDS)
Also known as a Modular Cable System (MCDS) or marketed under the name "DOTPLUG", the PCDS was initially developed by MG Squared, Inc. and Duraline. This system eliminates a number of problems presented with current non-AASHTO compliant wiring methods. Details on the use of this system in lighting applications can be found in the Federal Highway Administration Publication No. FHWA-HI-97-026 as well as the Highway Engineering Handbook (McGraw-Hill 1st & 2nd Editions). This PCDS is an IP-68 submersible (6 ft water), modular plug and cable system that allows the circuit components (i.e., the low-amperage, fast-acting, current-limiting fuses; the surge arrester where desired; and the conductor splices) to be placed in an underground junction box adjacent to the pole foundation. The circuit breakaway connector can be positively positioned at the top edge of the conduit inside the pole base. Since the stiff, typically no. 4 or no. 6 copper, conduction cables never enter the pole, the system unplugs at ground level when properly installed. The impact that knocks down the pole will not put stress on the electrical cables and will not weaken splices in adjacent poles. Most important, with the PCDS, there is no exposed electrical hazard upon knockdown as exist with non-AASHTO compliant conventional wiring methods. When this system is combined with a properly installed foundation, the possibility of fire and explosion or electrical shock is significantly reduced if not eliminated.
According to the Highway Engineering Handbook: recent developments have shown that the splices, the surge arresters, the fuse holders, and the ground rod must be placed underground in a junction box adjacent to the pole base to provide the greatest possible degree of safety. This requires all components to be submersible. This design will positively place a breakaway connector in the wiring system at the top edge of the foundation; the fuses are underground, where no damage can occur on the supply side. The PCDS developed by MG²/Duraline and marketed under the name DOTPLUG®, was the first of these submersible wiring systems on the market and has proven to be very reliable. The AASHTO Standard Specification for Structural Supports for Highway Signs, Luminaires, and Traffic Signals, 4th ed. (2001) has included some positive statements strongly encouraging the use of this submersible-type wiring system for all breakaway poles.
Pole Cable Distribution System (PCDS)
Maintenance Time and Cost Reduced
The Design of the PCDS allows quick access to fuses and splices. Splicing is done with a re-enterable IP68 submersible splice kit. The no. 4 or no. 6 is typically tapped onto the leads from the PCDS distribution block with a simple split bolt. The tool-less splice kit is a great alternative to splicing compounds and does not require sacrificing the valuable copper when remaking a splice.
Fuses are easily accessed inside the fused plug that is fed by the distribution block. Surge arrestors have been incorporated into the design of the PCDS and are simply plug and play. The major time and cost savings is seen quickly when resetting a pole after a knockdown. According to Benton G. Payne (Division Mgr.- State of North Carolina Department of Transportation) "the amount of time to repair the electrical system of a pole knock down and reset it has drastically been reduced. This has saved us time and money. The wires no longer required splicing and repair, the circuit does not have to be reset and the time to reset this pole has almost been cut in half". Because of the modular design, components of the system are easily replaced if needed.
Conventional Wiring Method versus PCDS
Conventional Wiring Method - Inline Fuses are above grade and not protected during a knock down. Design poses electrical hazard as it was not designed to break-away during a crash/knockdown.
- DOES NOT MEET current AASHTO
PCDS Wiring Method (Pole Cable Distribution System) - Fuses are protected below grade. Designed to break-away and simply unplug during a crash/knockdown. System is Crush Proof, Submersible, and Flame retardant - MEETS current AASHTO