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  #21  
Old 07-10-2013
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Re: Running wire down a mast...

If you are going to buy the fish tape and ultimately store it aboard, make sure you extent it full length after the job and protect with lube film before coiling back in the disc, avoids the ugly rusty coil next time around All tools should be properly maintained, and only loaned out VERY sparingly
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  #22  
Old 07-10-2013
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Re: Running wire down a mast...

Quote:
Originally Posted by JulieMor View Post
Electricians NEVER try to blow a line through conduit that already has wire in it. That only creates problems as the mouse (whatever you tie the string to) will get snagged on, or pinched between, the wires. Most mast chases (usually a plastic conduit) already have wire in them. Trying to blow a string through them is an exercise in futility.

When the conduit is empty we use foam cylinders with a nylon jet line attached to it and blow it through with compressed air (CO2 or a compressor) or suck it through with a vacuum. The longer the run, the less effective the vacuum. I've used a full size compressor for really long runs in larger conduit.

While the foam cylinders can be found on most jobs and are often used, a baggie with a jet line attached to it can work better, especially on smaller conduits. But you typically don't see vacuums or compressed air used on short runs. We typically use fish tapes. And of those different types, the spring steel are most commonly used, but we're talking metallic conduit.

In the mast, I'd choose the slinky. As you are dropping it down, you can easily spin it if it gets caught and it will find its way through. But they're not cheap. A 50' Sparks will cost you about $75.00. That's why I didn't initially suggest it.
Why that was silly of you not to suggest it when it was nearly free in comparison to everything else used on a boat ...LOL


I never have had any real problems with a steel fish tape, but I have only run maybe a few thousand yards of conduit, well maybe a couple of dozen miles, only four or five buildings worth and they were not huge. On some jobs we used a huge Joy Compressor like you run a jack hammer off of to blow the line through, and a huge glob of that old yellow snot stuff, what was that called, yellow 77 or something like that, but thank goodness I have not had to do that since I was a kid.

I would buy the slinky thingy, just because I would love to have a really good one to work on other people's boats, next time I go to Granger's I will have to get one. Maybe I can figure out a way to fit all the tools I like to carry onto a boat smaller than the Queen Mary
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  #23  
Old 07-10-2013
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Re: Running wire down a mast...

We used to call the yellow pulling lube "goose grease." +1 on using a plain old steel fishtape.
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  #24  
Old 07-10-2013
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Re: Running wire down a mast...

Quote:
Originally Posted by mark2gmtrans View Post
On some jobs we used a huge Joy Compressor like you run a jack hammer off of to blow the line through...
That takes me back to my first year apprenticeship. The foreman, a journeyman and I were blowing water out of underground conduits to prepare for wire pulls. It was the end of the day and there was a short run of about 500' of 2" conduit. I was the signal relayer. The foreman walked into a building to make sure everything was clear then came out and gave me the okay to let 'er rip. I waved to the journeyman to open up the compressor and turned to see the foreman disappear back into the building. About a minute later he walked out swearing and soaked, but just the front of him. The back was bone dry. The water hit the top of the panel and shot right out at him.

About 20 years later I ran into the journeyman who was on the other end and he was still laughing about it.
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Old 07-10-2013
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Re: Running wire down a mast...

I second the comment about taping the hook end of the flat fish tape. I (attempted to) use one to run the new radar cable (from mid-mast no less) through an internal conduit (a slit PVC pipe fitted over a "T" on the inside corner of the mast extrusion).

Two problems - said PVC pipe was not one continuous run, apparently about halfway along the tape exited the conduit in the gap between one section and another, then went the rest of the way somewhere in the middle of the mast. Then when trying to pull the fish back it became clear it was stuck for good, and eventually I had to resort to cutting the fish and going back to "plan A" (which apparently everyone else does), namely pulling out the nav/deck light wire and using that to pull through a string, then the radar cable and replace nav/deck light cable. My concern about losing the existing cable (as the original poster did) was what prompted me to try the fish tape instead. In the end, the "old way" worked better.

I hate to admit that, as the mast was laying on the boat on its cradle, with the bottom end hanging about 4' aft of the the stern and some 14' off the ground, I did not notice when the fish tape reached the bottom... and hooked on the end of the mast itself. It had in fact exited the conduit about half-way, but I missed my measurement and hadn't realized I'd fed enough fish to reach the end, which was on the "far side" of the mast, between the furler, shrouds, halyards, and all that "stuff" that gets bundled with the mast when it's stowed for transit, and so invisible. Was kind of surprised when the cut section slid out the bottom so nicely. So I now have two fish tapes.

In short, tape the end, watch that hook, and if you have a conduit, it may not be a single piece.
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