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Author Topic: Running Cable through my Wall  (Read 6411 times)
KC7MAW
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« on: November 11, 2001, 02:02:25 PM »

Well, I'm ready to take the plunge and put a hole in my garage wall to the outside.  I'm a novice at this and would like some advice on the best approach. I figure I need to locate studs and somehow prevent sending a drill bit through an electrical cable inside the wall. What's the best approach for this.

Should I start drilling with a very small but long bit through to the other side, then cut a bigger hole.

After I get the path clear from inside to the outside, what's the best way to outfit the path (i.e. conduit, connectors, cover's, etc etc etc. ) I plan to use the hole for multiple lines (i.e Ground and RF feed line)

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

73

Mike/KC7MAW
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2001, 12:22:28 PM »

Locate studs, conduits, cables, etc from the inside garage wall using a "stud finder" (which finds anything in the walls, not just studs), available at Home Depot and hardware stores for about $9.95.  A very good investment, and it comes with instructions that will answer all your questions about how to use it.

Once you've found a place that's clear of studs, wiring, pipes, and everything else: If your garage wall exterior surface is just wooden shingles or something that can be drilled using an ordinary drill bit, by all means feel free to drill from the inside to the outside, using a drill bit sufficiently long to cover the distance.  However, if your siding is stucco, brick, cement, plaster or something requiring a masonry bit, you're better off drilling from the outside to inside, so the masonry bit tackles the hard surface first.  In this case, once you've cleared the masonry and are in air or softer materials, you can change from the masonry bit to a regular drill bit and continue drilling from the outside until you're all the way through.

If you're running a lot of cables through the same hole, I'd recommend making the hole large enough for a PVC pipe of sufficient diameter to pass all the cables through -- maybe 1.5" or 2.0", or whatever it takes.  PVC pipe is surely cheap enough, and easy to cut using an ordinary coping saw.  What I do in this situation is cement a PVC "elbow" fitting to the PVC pipe on the "outside" end of the pipe, push the straight part of the pipe through the wall until I hit the elbow, rotate the pipe so the elbow faces "down," and then use RTV caulking compound to seal the pipe against the outside wall.  Let that compound cure until it's strong.  This provides a rain-resistant cable entrance (since the elbow faces down, and rain doesn't go uphill!).  

Once you've run all the cables you're going to run through the PVC, fill any gaps from the outside with insulating material stuffed firmly into the elbow, to keep out bugs and critters.  If you have insulation-eating critters, you can use putty or something more critter-resistant; although I prefer soft insulating material, so it can easily be pulled back out for future servicing.

For just one feedline and one ground line, I wouldn't bother with the PVC -- it requires drilling a much larger hole than necessary.  For RG213/U-sized coaxial cable, only a 7/16" diameter hole is required.  The cable will occupy almost all of that hole, leaving very little space for anything to enter the garage other than the cable itself, although some RTV caulking is still a good idea.

This isn't a "big step," Mike.  I've drilled dozens of holes in every home I've ever owned (lots of them!), and just recently drilled 12 1/2" holes in my new home (stucco exterior, masonry bit required for every hole) to bring in cables to the shack.  Yawn.  It's not a big deal.  Anything you do can be patched back up when you sell the house.

73 de Steve WB2WIK/6

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KC7MAW
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« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2001, 04:48:02 PM »

Wow, now that's quite a response and just what I was looking for. Thanks alot

73/Mike
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KB1HJW
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« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2001, 03:13:13 PM »

One quick suggestion about stud finding if you don't want to spend any money; look on the baseboard for the nail marks. All you have to do is find one near the middle of the wall and all the other studs will be 16" on center away from there. I'm an old fashioned/cheap carpenter ;-)
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2001, 04:50:13 PM »

HJW: The only problem with that method is it won't show you where any cross-supports are, nor where plumbing or electrical cables are run...it's really painful (mostly in the wallet) to hit those while drilling!

73, Steve, WB2WIK/6

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W9GB
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« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2001, 03:07:01 PM »

Reference with photos from Cable Xperts

http://www.cablexperts.com/cfdocs/tech_data.cfm?bskt=0#routing
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KC7BDP
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« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2001, 10:55:57 PM »

Very good suggestions; there is only one point which I would change.

Based on much more experience than I ever wanted in punching phone lines through walls (more fun to chase BC stations or 20M contesters out of phone circuits); I'd not even think about blowing holes from outside in!  The punch from inside out won't damage a good carbide tipped masonry bit.  You're more likely to be able to locate studs, electric cable, water lines, and that perfect spot behind your bench from the inside wall; and then you need a real tape measure and ABSOLUTE faith in the dimensions on the wall studs, sheetrock and stucco!  Been doing the phone line gig for 5+ years, and I do NOT have that faith.  

Second-hand experience:  Guy that started with the local telco two weeks after me was filling a request to hang a garage phone jack next to the water heater closet.  Measured the distances off the side door frame, double checked his measurements, had  WAA-AAY too much confirmation from the customer hovering over his shoulder (guess who measured inside).  Was only 9" off  - 8" cinderblock walls (NOT 2X4 studs) with an inch of foam under the 2" lath\stucco. The water heater was RIGHT AGAINST the closet wall.  Our company replaced the punctured water heater and paid for water damage to the closet and garage.  No method is fail-safe, but I've had much better luck punching holes from the inside out.  Of course, the standard provisos apply: professional driver on a closed course, your mileage may vary!

Jimmy
KC7BDP

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KC7YRN
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« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2001, 05:38:06 PM »

When would you recommend putting in a full bulkhead?

Are there any tricks to installing one?
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WA3WDK
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« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2001, 05:31:51 PM »

Any advice on running cable through a wall with fiber glass batting?  I'm thinking that a drill bit won't actually cut through the fiber glass, but grab on to it instead.  What do folks do about this?
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KC7MAW
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« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2001, 11:04:54 AM »

All,

Thank you to all who provided their input. I really appreciate it and will use the data while building my station.

73/KC7MAW
Mike
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K8ZO
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« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2001, 11:19:14 PM »

Suggest that even with an elbow on the outside, that the pipe slope downward to the out side so that condensation will run out not in.  Also if drilling holes for cable only they should slope downward to the outside for same reason.  Lastly, cables comming into the building should have a drip loop in them so that water will drip off the cable before it enters the building.  
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RS180399
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« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2001, 11:05:13 AM »

mike i am in the fortunate position that the shack is the garden shed so drilling is not a problem but what i found to be awkward was when threading the cable through the cavity i would lose it in the gap so i drilled a 22mm hole then used an offcut of copper central heating pipe thread it through the cavity into the hole the other side then at least you dont spend hours putting cable through . the best weather proof sealant(and cheapest) i found is vaselene or petroleum jelly it repels water and bugs stays flexible and stops the great british weather from entering the shack . hope this helps mike 73s simon wood rs180399
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RS180399
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« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2001, 11:06:18 AM »

mike i am in the fortunate position that the shack is the garden shed so drilling is not a problem but what i found to be awkward was when threading the cable through the cavity i would lose it in the gap so i drilled a 22mm hole then used an offcut of copper central heating pipe thread it through the cavity into the hole the other side then at least you dont spend hours putting cable through . the best weather proof sealant(and cheapest) i found is vaselene or petroleum jelly it repels water and bugs stays flexible and stops the great british weather from entering the shack . hope this helps mike 73s simon wood rs180399
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RS180399
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« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2001, 11:06:21 AM »

mike i am in the fortunate position that the shack is the garden shed so drilling is not a problem but what i found to be awkward was when threading the cable through the cavity i would lose it in the gap so i drilled a 22mm hole then used an offcut of copper central heating pipe thread it through the cavity into the hole the other side then at least you dont spend hours putting cable through . the best weather proof sealant(and cheapest) i found is vaselene or petroleum jelly it repels water and bugs stays flexible and stops the great british weather from entering the shack . hope this helps mike 73s simon wood rs180399
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K0XU
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« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2001, 04:14:15 PM »

When there is fiberglass or most any other type of insulation in the wall, just stop the drill as soon as you penetrate the first side. Work the drill bit to the other side, usually just a push will do it. Then, making sure the hole is still level & straight, drill through the second side. Drilling a small hole from one side the finishing up with a larger one from each side makes for neater holes.

BTW, since the studs only take up less than 10% of the space within a wall, why are they so easy to hit when you are trying not to? One of life's great mysteries.

Jim
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