Home>Discussions>ELECTRICAL & LIGHTING>Fishing tricks for an exterior wall without removing junction box.
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oryan_dunn
Fishing tricks for an exterior wall without removing junction box.

I've got two outlets on an exterior wall that I am replacing the wiring to them (old NM without ground). The wire will come up from the basement to the box (which cannot be easily removed). On the other outlets I've done on an exterior wall, I've removed the baseboard and cut a hole in the wall at the bottom to help fish the wire. The two that will present problems are within a built in cabinet, such that I don't have access to the baseboard, or anywhere close, to help fish the wire. Are there any suggestions for fishing the wire from the small hole in the basement to the small hole in the junction box through loose gray insulation?

Thanks,
Ryan

A. Spruce
Re: Fishing tricks for an exterior wall without removing junction box.

If the two holes are in reasonable alignment, then a probe that will reach from one point to the other will poke through the insulation, simply tape a pull string to the probe once it's through and pull the string back. Once the string is in place you attach the wire to the string and pull it back.

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Fishing tricks for an exterior wall without removing junction box.

You say you're replacing old wiring, why don't you just use the old wires to pull the new wire in?
Jack

A. Spruce
Re: Fishing tricks for an exterior wall without removing junction box.
JLMCDANIEL wrote:

You say you're replacing old wiring, why don't you just use the old wires to pull the new wire in?
Jack

Because they're probably stapled to the framing. Just a guess ...

Re: Fishing tricks for an exterior wall without removing junction box.

Old Fiberglass fishing pole will work. Cut off the eyelets. then tie a string to it and then pullit back out out. then you can pull in the new wire

canuk
Re: Fishing tricks for an exterior wall without removing junction box.
Ravens53 wrote:

Old Fiberglass fishing pole will work. Cut off the eyelets. then tie a string to it and then pullit back out out. then you can pull in the new wire

That's exactly what I was thinking ... scarey ... :)

goldhiller
Re: Fishing tricks for an exterior wall without removing junction box.

Well....I'd be using a fish-tape I suspect. Two people would be helpful, of course. One at each location for communication purposes. Use VA headsets if you can't easily hear one another.

Or....tie string to tail of mouse in basement, place piece of odoriferous cheese (blue cheese, limburger, etc) on trap in upper junction box. Then wait.

oryan_dunn
Re: Fishing tricks for an exterior wall without removing junction box.
A. Spruce wrote:

If the two holes are in reasonable alignment, then a probe that will reach from one point to the other will poke through the insulation, simply tape a pull string to the probe once it's through and pull the string back. Once the string is in place you attach the wire to the string and pull it back.

Thanks for the suggestions. I originally was practicing this method using fish tape on other exterior wall outlets, but I eventually gave up and removed the baseboard to help me out. Unfortunately, I don't have this option on these two particular outlets.

JLMCDANIEL wrote:

You say you're replacing old wiring, why don't you just use the old wires to pull the new wire in?
Jack

The house was built in the mid to late forties with 2 conductor fabric NM wiring. It is run horizontally through the walls, and it is almost impossible to pull through. I've not found any staples anywhere, its just that the holes the wire goes through are just big enough for the wire, and they are drilled at slight angles, instead of straight, making it even tougher to pull, especially when it turns a corner.

goldhiller wrote:

... Or....tie string to tail of mouse in basement, place piece of odoriferous cheese (blue cheese, limburger, etc) on trap in upper junction box. Then wait.

Why didn't I think of that!

oryan_dunn
Re: Fishing tricks for an exterior wall without removing junction box.

Well, I successfully have run the wire to the two outlets. The first, I drilled a hole directly below the outlet, measured from a cold air return vent visible from both the room and basement. I just stuck the fish tape through the junction box hole and took just a few seconds of poking around the find the hole I drilled. The second was a bit more challenging. I didn't really have anything (I thought) that I could base my drill location on. I drilled a hole, and after about a half hour of poking around, I decided to drill another hole. After another half hour, I decided to see if I could get a better measurement. I didn't realize, the window in the basement lined up perfectly with the window on the first floor. After I got my measurements straigtened out, I drilled a thrid hole, and this time, it took several seconds of poking around to get the fish tape through.

I guess the moral of the story is to make sure you have the proper hole location, and the fish tape part will be relatively simple.

Now, to Home Depot to get some expanding foam to fill my oopses.

xyxoxy
Re: Fishing tricks for an exterior wall without removing junction box.
goldhiller wrote:

Or....tie string to tail of mouse in basement, place piece of odoriferous cheese (blue cheese, limburger, etc) on trap in upper junction box. Then wait.

Sounds like what you would get if you crossed a Tom & Jerry cartoon with an episode of This Old House... :D

rickpantel
Re: Fishing tricks for an exterior wall without removing junction box.

I followed this thread with interest when it was current.....I knew sooner or later I would need advice about fishing wires through tight spaces.

We ran across this situation today, trying to fish a wire from the basement of an old house all the way up into the attic. We eventually established a straight shot inside an old wall about 20' vertical distance. The wire was to be passed through a hole in the basement, straight up through the inside of the wall, and exiting through a narrow gap (about 1") in the floor of the attic. We knew it was a straight shot because you could see a light shining up through the hole in the basement.

We tried and tried to get a fish tape down the path, but it was impossible to hit the hole at the bottom to make an exit. A fish tape is too flexible and impossible to steer. We thought of dropping a line with a weighted chain on the end, but did not have anything available. Nor did we have an old fishing rod.

What eventually worked was one of those collapsible tent poles...the kind with the bungee cord inside. The advantage was that it could be assembled in a tight space while feeding it up or down the hole. It was thin enough to easily pass through a tight space, and stiff enough to make it steerable. We taped the joints as we fed it in, so that it would not pull apart while being retrieved. It was easily passed all the way up into the attic. We taped a string on the end, and then pulled the fish-line down while retrieving the tent pole and re-collapsing it again in the basement as it came out. Piece of cake!!

I've never seen this described in the electrical world, but I thought I'd post it in case anyone else could use the same idea! Happy fishing! :):)

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