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UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Rural Utilities Service

BULLETIN 1726C-115

SUBJECT:
TO:

Checking Sag in a Conductor by the Return Wave Method

RUS Electric Borrowers and RUS Electric Staff

EFFECTIVE DATE:
EXPIRATION DATE:

Date of Approval
Indefinite

OFFICE OF PRIMARY INTEREST:

Electric Staff Division

PREVIOUS INSTRUCTIONS: This revised bulletin replaces RUS


Bulletin 1726C-115, Checking Sag in a Conductor by the Return
Wave Method, issued October 20, 1992.
FILING INSTRUCTIONS: Discard RUS Bulletin 1726C-115, dated
October 20, 1992, and replace with this revised issue. This
bulletin is available on the Internet via the RUS electric web
site: www.usda.gov/rus/electric.
PURPOSE: This guide publication presents a convenient and
practical method for checking sag in a conductor regardless of
span length, tension, size or type of the conductor.

/s/ BDS, Jr.


_____________________________
Assistant Administrator
Electric Program

09/24/98
_____________________
Date

Bulletin 1726C-115
Page 2

Bulletin 1726C-115
Page 3
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Introduction

2. Discussion

3-4

ABBREVIATIONS
RUS

Rural Utilities Service

INDEX:
CONDUCTORS:
Sag Checking by Return Wave Method

Bulletin 1726C-115
Page 4
1.

INTRODUCTION

1.1 This bulletin describes a convenient method for checking sag


in a conductor. This method has been used extensively in
checking sag in conductors on RUS borrowers' systems.
2.

DISCUSSION

2.1 The return wave method of checking the sag in a conductor is


applicable regardless of the span length, tension, size or type
of conductor. The time required for a wave initiated on a
conductor suspended in air between two fixed supports to traverse
between the supports is dependent on the amount of conductor sag.
A conductor wave originating at one support will travel to the
next support where it will be reflected back to the point of
origin where it will again be reflected back to the adjacent
support and the cycle repeats. This cyclic action continues
until the wave is eventually damped out.
2.2 The relationship between the time required for a conductor
wave to travel a number of times between supports and the
conductors sag is given by the equation:
T
D = 48.3
2N

(1)

Where:
D = conductor sag in inches
T = time in seconds
N = number of return waves counted
The Time-Sag Table on pages 5 & 6 was calculated from the above
equation.
To convert from inches to millimeters use Formula (2) as given by
the equation:
X = 25.4D

(2)

Where:
D = conductor sag in inches
X = conductor sag in millimeters
2.3 A wave may be initiated in a conductor close to a support by
striking the conductor or by throwing a light, dry, nonmetallic

Bulletin 1726C-115
Page 5
rope or cord over the conductor and pulling the conductor down
strongly and quickly releasing the conductor (cord). The return
wave arrival may be felt by placing a finger on the conductor if
the striking method is used, or if a cord is used, the return
wave arrival may be felt in the cord by maintaining light tension
on the conductor.
2.4 For an accurate determination of sag, it is important that
the correct number of return waves be selected on the Time-Sag
Table. The table was prepared for sags corresponding to 3, 5,
10, and 15 return waves. The choice of the number of return
waves depends principally upon the span length and size of
conductor. For long spans and large conductors, the number of
return waves that can be accurately counted is less than for
short spans and small conductors. The largest number of return
waves should be used consistent with the conditions encountered
as this minimizes errors in recording time.
2.5 The wave initiating impulse is not counted as a return wave.
A stop watch is started when the wave initiating impulse is
applied and stopped immediately as the last of the number of
return waves of 3, 5, 10, or 15 as previously selected is
received.
Satisfactory results cannot be obtained when the conductor is in
motion as a result of other stimuli. Conductor movement, due to
wind or craftspeople working on the line, makes it difficult to
count the number of return waves. Additionally, satisfactory
results cannot be obtained if any objects, such as tree branches,
are in contact with the conductor in the span being checked.
2.6 A sufficient number of tests should be made in each span
until at least three equal readings are obtained.
Example:
A wave is initiated
seconds is measured
formula (1) or from
conductor sag is 24

on a conductor span and a time of 14.1


upon receipt of the 10th return wave. From
the Time Sag Table, it can be seen that the
in. (610 mm).

Bulletin 1726C-115
Page 6
TIME SAG TABLE
Sag
(Inches)

Return of Wave
5th
10th
Time
Time
(Sec.)
(Sec.)
3.2
6.4
3.5
7.0
3.8
7.6
4.1
8.1
4.3
8.6

15th
Time
(Sec.)
9.7
10.6
11.4
12.2
13.0

Sag
(Inches)
55
56
57
58
59

3rd
Time
(Sec.)
6.4
6.5
6.5
6.6
6.6

Return of Wave
5th
10th
Time
Time
(Sec.)
(Sec.)
10.7
21.3
10.8
21.5
10.9
21.7
11.0
21.9
11.1
22.1

5
6
7
8
9

3rd
Time
(Sec.)
1.9
2.1
2.3
2.4
2.6

15th
Time
(Sec.)
32.0
32.3
32.6
32.9
33.2

10
11
12
13
14

2.7
2.9
3.0
3.1
3.2

4.6
4.8
5.0
5.2
5.4

9.1
9.5
10.0
10.4
10.8

13.7
14.3
15.0
15.6
16.2

60
61
62
63
64

6.7
6.7
6.8
6.9
6.9

11.1
11.2
11.3
11.4
11.5

22.3
22.5
22.7
22.8
23.0

33.4
33.7
34.0
34.3
34.5

15
16
17
18
19

3.3
3.5
3.6
3.7
3.8

5.6
5.8
5.9
6.1
6.3

11.1
11.5
11.9
12.2
12.5

16.7
17.3
17.8
18.3
18.8

65
66
67
68
69

7.0
7.0
7.1
7.1
7.2

11.6
11.7
11.8
11.9
12.0

23.2
23.4
23.6
23.7
23.9

34.8
35.1
35.3
35.6
35.9

20
21
22
23
24

3.9
4.0
4.0
4.1
4.2

6.4
6.6
6.7
6.9
7.0

12.9
13.2
13.5
13.8
14.1

19.3
19.8
20.2
20.7
21.1

70
71
72
73
74

7.2
7.3
7.3
7.4
7.4

12.0
12.1
12.2
12.3
12.4

24.1
24.2
24.4
24.6
24.8

36.1
36.4
36.6
36.9
37.1

25
26
27
28
29

4.3
4.4
4.5
4.6
4.6

7.2
7.3
7.5
7.6
7.7

14.4
14.7
15.0
15.2
15.5

21.6
22.0
22.4
22.8
23.2

75
76
77
78
79

7.5
7.5
7.6
7.6
7.7

12.5
12.5
12.6
12.7
12.8

24.9
25.1
25.3
25.4
25.6

37.4
37.6
37.9
38.1
38.4

30
31
32
33
34

4.7
4.8
4.9
5.0
5.0

7.9
8.0
8.1
8.3
8.4

15.8
16.0
16.3
16.5
16.8

23.6
24.0
24.4
24.8
25.2

80
81
82
83
84

7.7
7.8
7.8
7.9
7.9

12.9
13.0
13.0
13.1
13.2

25.7
25.9
26.1
26.2
26.4

38.6
38.9
39.1
39.3
39.6

35
36
37
38
39

5.1
5.2
5.3
5.3
5.4

8.5
8.6
8.8
8.9
9.0

17.0
17.3
17.5
17.7
18.0

25.5
25.9
26.3
26.6
27.0

85
86
87
88
89

8.0
8.0
8.1
8.1
8.1

13.3
13.3
13.4
13.5
13.6

26.5
26.7
26.8
27.0
27.1

39.8
40.0
40.3
40.5
40.7

40
41
42
43
44

5.5
5.5
5.6
5.7
5.7

9.1
9.2
9.3
9.4
9.5

18.2
18.4
18.7
18.9
19.1

27.3
27.6
28.0
28.3
28.6

90
91
92
93
94

8.2
8.2
8.3
8.3
8.4

13.7
13.7
13.8
13.9
14.0

27.3
27.5
27.6
27.8
27.9

41.0
41.2
41.4
41.6
41.9

45
46
47
48
49

5.8
5.9
5.9
6.0
6.0

9.7
9.8
9.9
10.0
10.1

19.3
19.5
19.7
19.9
20.1

29.0
29.3
29.6
29.9
30.2

95
96
97
98
99

8.4
8.5
8.5
8.5
8.6

14.0
14.1
14.2
14.2
14.3

28.0
28.2
28.3
28.5
28.6

42.1
42.3
42.5
42.7
43.0

50
51
52
53
54

6.1
6.2
6.2
6.3
6.3

10.2
10.3
10.4
10.5
10.6

20.3
20.6
20.8
21.0
21.1

30.5
30.8
31.1
31.4
31.7

100
101
102
103
104

8.6
8.7
8.7
8.8
8.8

14.4
14.5
14.5
14.6
14.7

28.8
28.9
29.1
29.2
29.3

43.2
43.4
43.6
43.8
44.0

Bulletin 1726C-115
Page 7

TIME SAG TABLE (cont.)


Return of Wave
Sag
(Inches)

Return of Wave

5th
Time
(Sec.)
14.7
14.8
14.9
15.0
15.0

10th
Time
(Sec.)
29.5
29.6
29.8
29.9
30.0

15th
Time
(Sec.)
44.2
44.4
44.7
44.9
45.1

Sag
(Inches)

105
106
107
108
109

3rd
Time
(Sec.)
8.8
8.9
8.9
9.0
9.0

155
156
157
158
159

3rd
Time
(Sec.)
10.7
10.8
10.8
10.9
10.9

5th
Time
(Sec.)
17.9
18.0
18.0
18.1
18.1

10th
Time
(Sec.)
35.8
35.9
36.1
36.2
36.3

15th
Time
(Sec.)
53.7
53.9
54.1
54.3
54.4

110
111
112
113
114

9.1
9.1
9.1
9.2
9.2

15.1
15.2
15.2
15.3
15.4

30.2
30.3
30.5
30.6
30.7

45.3
45.5
45.7
45.9
46.1

160
161
162
163
164

10.9
11.0
11.0
11.0
11.1

18.2
18.3
18.3
18.4
18.4

36.4
36.5
36.6
36.7
36.9

54.6
54.8
54.9
55.1
55.3

115
116
117
118
119

9.3
9.3
9.3
9.4
9.4

15.4
15.5
15.6
15.6
15.7

30.9
31.0
31.1
31.3
31.4

46.3
46.5
46.7
46.9
47.1

165
166
167
168
169

11.1
11.1
11.2
11.2
11.2

18.5
18.5
18.6
18.7
18.7

37.0
37.1
37.2
37.3
37.4

55.4
55.6
55.8
56.0
56.1

120
121
122
123
124

9.5
9.5
9.5
9.6
9.6

15.8
15.8
15.9
16.0
16.0

31.5
31.7
31.8
31.9
32.0

47.3
47.5
47.7
47.9
48.1

170
171
172
173
174

11.3
11.3
11.3
11.4
11.4

18.8
18.8
18.9
18.9
19.0

37.5
37.6
37.7
37.9
38.0

56.3
56.4
56.6
56.8
56.9

125
126
127
128
129

9.7
9.7
9.7
9.8
9.8

16.1
16.2
16.2
16.3
16.3

32.2
32.3
32.4
32.6
32.7

48.3
48.5
48.6
48.8
49.0

175
176
177
178
179

11.4
11.5
11.5
11.5
11.6

19.0
19.1
19.1
19.2
19.3

38.1
38.2
38.3
38.4
38.5

57.1
57.3
57.4
57.6
57.8

130
131
132
133
134

9.8
9.9
9.9
10.0
10.0

16.4
16.5
16.5
16.6
16.7

32.8
32.9
33.1
33.2
33.3

49.2
49.4
49.6
49.8
50.0

180
181
182
183
184

11.6
11.6
11.6
11.7
11.7

19.3
19.4
19.4
19.5
19.5

38.6
38.7
38.8
38.9
39.0

57.9
58.1
58.2
58.4
58.6

135
136
137
138
139

10.0
10.1
10.1
10.1
10.2

16.7
16.8
16.8
16.9
17.0

33.4
33.6
33.7
33.8
33.9

50.2
50.3
50.5
50.7
50.9

185
186
187
188
189

11.7
11.8
11.8
11.8
11.9

19.6
19.6
19.7
19.7
19.8

39.1
39.2
39.4
39.5
39.6

58.7
58.9
59.0
59.2
59.3

140
141
142
143
144

10.2
10.3
10.3
10.3
10.4

17.0
17.1
17.1
17.2
17.3

34.1
34.2
34.3
34.4
34.5

51.1
51.3
51.4
51.6
51.8

190
191
192
193
194

11.9
11.9
12.0
12.0
12.0

19.8
19.9
19.9
20.0
20.0

39.7
39.8
39.9
40.0
40.1

59.5
59.7
59.8
60.0
60.1

145
146
147
148
149

10.4
10.4
10.5
10.5
10.5

17.3
17.4
17.4
17.5
17.6

34.7
34.8
34.9
35.0
35.1

52.0
52.2
52.3
52.5
52.7

195
196
197
198
199

12.1
12.1
12.1
12.1
12.2

20.1
20.1
20.2
20.2
20.3

40.2
40.3
40.4
40.5
40.6

60.3
60.4
60.6
60.7
60.9

150
151
152
153
154

10.6
10.6
10.6
10.7
10.7

17.6
17.7
17.7
17.8
17.9

35.2
35.4
35.5
35.6
35.7

52.9
53.0
53.2
53.4
53.6

200
201
202
203
204

12.2
12.2
12.3
12.3
12.3

20.3
20.4
20.5
20.5
20.6

40.7
40.8
40.9
41.0
41.1

61.0
61.2
61.4
61.5
61.7