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Author Topic: Drilling hole through outside wall  (Read 16752 times)
KJ6ETL
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« on: May 11, 2012, 06:44:53 PM »

I am unfamiliar with the sticks and board construction here in the US. We own a condo and I would like to drill a small hole to bring some RG59 to the balcony.
Anny suggestions what (not) to do?

Yes am am aware that if I read the CCNR's it is probably banned. But who cares if you can't see it ;-)

Thanks!

Rogier

kj6etl
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NI0Z
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« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2012, 07:03:11 PM »

If you want to be safe then a stud/electrical finder might be in order.

Drill real slow and even when you go to make the hole.

A rubber grommet will help make it seal better, or you can actually get a coax wall plate if you really want to go for it, will make it look more like a cable connection or something like that.
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KJ6ETL
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« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2012, 07:04:46 PM »

Thanks for the reply!
Yes I do want to do a professional looking job.
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AA4PB
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« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2012, 07:16:37 PM »

Construction varies in the U.S. with brick, concrete block, etc. If what you have is wood studs with drywall on the inside and vinyl siding on the outside then you can drill through it. The studs are normally on 16-inch centers so you need to get between two of them and a couple of inches off the floor. There will be insulation in an outside wall and that is likely to wind up around the drill bit and reduct the effectiveness of the insulation. I'd drill a very small pilot hole first so that the bit doesn't grab the instulation. Now you should be able to enlarge the outside pilot hole from outside and the inside pilot hole from the inside so that you don't have a rotating bit going through the insulation.

You also need to be careful that you don't drill through any electrical wiring in the wall.

Sometimes there is an on-site condo maintenance guy who can give you some advise about the type of contruction and what is inside the walls.
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KJ6ETL
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« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2012, 07:19:36 PM »

Thanks for the advice. I guess I should put a small diameter conduit pipe through the wall to create a clean shot for the coax? And use some caulk to seal the pipe to avoid water intrusion. ...
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VA3KBC
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« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2012, 05:14:03 AM »

This is what I have done. Picture is down the page a bit.
Used a box and conduit.

http://www.qrz.com/db/VA3KBC
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STAYVERTICAL
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« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2012, 10:19:04 PM »

Take note of all of the above posts, very sensible advice.
I did not take it two years ago, when drilling a hole in the roof space, hit an electrical cable, created a short term spark transmitter,
and put my foot through the ceiling when jumping back.
It sounds like a bad comedy spoof, but a lot of my life has turned out like that.

Safety first, always.

73s - Rob
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AC4RD
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« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2012, 10:24:50 AM »

I just did this for the first time a few months ago--put two 8" bulkhead passthroughs in a wall to connect to HF antennas outside.  I always used to go through windows but the windows in this part of the house made it very difficult, so I ordered the passthroughs from High Sierra Radio online.

Most of this is common sense:  go through the wall where you are sure there are no electrical wires; go through near a stud (if you're near it, you're not going THROUGH it), and so on.  One bit of advice a friend gave me was surprisingly helpful:  Drill a small pilot hole through the outside wall at an appropriate place, and feel inside with a stiff wire to make sure you don't catch an electrical conduit/wire.  Then use that piece of wire (I used a 12" piece of straight steel cut from a coathanger) to create a small matching hole in the inside wall.  A coathanger end will go through drywall just fine--but it won't catch and tangle the fiberglass insulation like a regular drill bit will!  This made the job MUCH easier!  Once you have a hole in each side, a spade bit gently used will make a big enough hole for the passthrough.  Don't go through in one sweep--drill the inside and stop, then go outside and drill the outside wall.  This also minimizes the amount of pink fiberglass you disturb and aerosolize.  :-)

I bought regular blank electrical plates--like those for an AC outlet or a wall switch, but undrilled--and fender washers, to make the passthroughs look relatively neat and professional.  The same spade bit that I used for the walls put the right-sized holes in the plates.

It's easier than it looks, if you work carefully!  Good luck!  --ken ac4rd
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KC8KBK
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« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2012, 10:54:32 AM »

Before you make any sort of perminant modification to your property, consider using a window pass-through.  MFJ manufactures these for outlandish prices, but I put one togethor for about $20.00 myself.  I used a section of 1" x 4" wood, painted it to match my window frames and added weather stripping to the top and bottom.  You can drill through the 1" piece of wood to your hearts content for SO-239's, ladder wire and a ground post without fear of damaging anything intelgral to your structure.  If/when you move and need to sell your property you just pull the whole operation out of the window when it comes time to show the house. 

Good luck,
Scott
kc8kbk
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W8JX
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« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2012, 12:43:37 PM »

A hole through wall done properly will have no effect on house value at sale time. I would not use a window pass through as a long term solution.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2012, 04:44:16 PM by W8JX » Logged

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WX7G
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« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2012, 02:03:50 PM »

Radio ShackTM stocks a cable wall feedthru that's nice.
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KE4DRN
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« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2012, 05:57:43 PM »

hi,

stud finders will also detect water pipes, gas lines and drain pipes
so use caution when drilling.

73 james
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W8JX
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« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2012, 06:03:34 AM »

I drill through block or cement wall when possible. That takes a little more effort but no concerns about water or power lines.
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KD0REQ
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« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2012, 10:37:56 AM »

so, you've never hit a conduit drilling block, then.  it's fun and deucedly hard to fix.  the co-worker who hit a medical oxygen line a couple days later might have had a damn good time, except we had the gas off in that wing.

especially in a multi-unit type building, I'd go with a window-plate feedthrough.

now, out in my shed of a shack, I cut a nice big hole and mounted a pair of steel electrical boxes, with a weatherproof in-use cover on the outside.

any holes drilled straight outside should be angled down, and the lead outside should have a little round drip loop, to help keep the water away from your squirt of silicone sealer.
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K0JEG
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« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2012, 07:50:15 AM »

As someone who used to drill holes in houses for a living, I can tell you that you need to check your condo agreement prior to doing anything. They'll usually have something about making changes to the exterior and you may need to get permission from the condo association. However, running a cable isn't usually considered a big deal either, provided it is properly installed.

First, get the right tool for the job, a Bell hanger bit:
http://www.bamanufacturing.com/hdbh_series.html

These are very long drill bits that are only cut on the first few inches. That helps protect stuff in the wall from getting snagged. They also have a small hole on the end of the bit that can be used to pull wire back through. Kind of expensive if you're only going to use it once, but it will make a nice neat hole quickly.

As far as the actual drilling goes, yes, make sure you aren't going to drill into AC power. It's actually fairly hard to do, since most electrical rough-in isn't very precise. MOST (but not ALL) outside walls are usually fairly empty, and looking around at what's near the outside walls will tell you a little about what's in the wall (like a gas grill hookup on a balcony will tell you there's a gasline in the wall behind it). Make sure you're not drilling into a stud. Studfinders are overrated, in my opinion, I've always just used the knock test. In most cases, stud walls are built 16" on center, meaning there's a 16" hole between 2X4 studs. That's a lot of open between stuff to hit. If you want to know the difference in sound between a stud and an open space, knock close to an electrical outlet (which will be mounted on a stud) and listen to the sound change as you move horizontally across the wall. It should sound more like a cavity the further away you get from the electrical outlet, until you get to the next stud.

After you pick your spot, drill into the drywall (you did measure off the nearest outlet and try to line it up, right?). When you feel the drill has made it into the cavity, stop! move around the bit and try to feel if there's anything other than insulation that might become a problem. If not, I usually aim the bit about 1/2" lower than the initial hole and drill through the outside wall. This is just to make it a little harder for water to migrate up the hole if the outside sealant fails. Use fairly high revs and let the drill do the work to minimize tear-out. When the bit breaks out, stop again. Leave the bit in the wall, go outside and connect your cable. If using coax, strip off a few inches of shield and dielectric and use the center conductor. Tape may be a good idea if there's a lot of thick insulation to get through. Pull your drill back (don't pull the trigger or you'll snap the center conductor) and you're done.
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