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Old 04-04-2016, 11:15   #16
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Re: Do you have xperience pulling cable thru mast conduit?

Just completed the job last week. IF you have the room feed a piece of closed cel pipe insulation in first then feed the wires thru. I was lucky I assembled the whole thing on the ground beside the mast then fed the assembly in and as a preventative measure I put three extra wires in that are capped and stowed that way down the road if I need them they are sitting waiting It makes for a quieter mast and helps reduce chafing of the wire bundles BUT I must emphasize I had room. Otherwise a fish tape works well and if the wire bundle has some spiral wrap it reduces damage to the wire but it is worth the effort in my humble opinion
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Old 04-04-2016, 12:25   #17
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Re: Do you have xperience pulling cable thru mast conduit?

I have just completed such a job. You have good advice here so I'll just add some things I have not yet read above. My Catalina 42 has two conduits, one to the first spreader (in forward side of the mast)where I needed to remove an old radar cable and install a new one with a connector which I was not willing to cut off and re-splice (Plan Z). Also in the same conduit were the wires for the deck and steaming lights in one cable. Wires already in the conduit can be your friend. You can pull them out and attach a strong string. (Like any football coach - always have a good second string). I used a little dish soap as a lubricant only because it was available. Like the axiom that says "stow your big items first", I pulled out the steaming/deck light wire (strings attached) and was then able to pull the large connector of the radar cable against all advice I had which said it could not be done. Yes, two people top and bottom. My mast is keel stepped and access at base of keel is tricky. If required, carefully enlarge exit hole there so as not to nick the string. My Admiral and I used handsfree headsets to communicate - you will be frustrated enough, you do not want to yell at the Admiral. That really helped co-ordinate pulling and pushing from either end, relieving chafing at the base of the mast.
The next trick was the other conduit which runs up the aft side inside the mast to the anchor light and contains the VHF coax and windex line. I needed to add a tri-colour for off-shore and a new windex line. Easier to remove the two conductor wire and replace with three or four conductor, pulling the wires together.
I found that my access panel at the top of the mast only exposed the shivs and not the conduits so working with the existing wire exit points was essential. Comfortable bosun's chair helped too, you may be suspended for a while. Pulling my mast was not an option and as a determined DIY guy, I would not hire a rigger for this kind of work.
My conduits are comfortably stuffed, there is no cable slapping heard.
Good luck
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Old 04-04-2016, 13:20   #18
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Re: Do you have xperience pulling cable thru mast conduit?

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Originally Posted by Caleb C View Post
Hi,

If you have experience pulling cable through your mast conduit, will you please tell me it will be easy? Need to pull power/data/fog horn wires. Feeling optimistic.

How was your experience? Any helpful suggestions?

Thanks.
I have pulled thousands of feet of cables through hundreds of feet of conduit but never inside a mast. Not seeing your situation and knowing your level of experience, I cannot tell you how hard or easy it will be for you.

Are there already existing wires in the conduit? This will complicate things. If you can pull them out and reinstall them along with the new cables, that may be the simplest thing to do. Fasten a piece of heavy string or very light rope to the wires so it remains in the conduit when you pull the old ones out. Now you have a "pull string" to pull all the wires back into the conduit.

If the conduit is empty, get yourself a wire snake (AKA "fish tape") push it through the conduit, fasten the cables to the end and pull them trough with the snake.

If there are already wires in the conduit and you can't or don't want to remove them, you may be able to push the snake through the conduit to pull the new wires back but you run the risk of the tape weaving between some of the existing wires and the new ones may hang up part way through the conduit. You may be unlucky enough to have the snake get caught in the existing wires and have to cut it off and abandon it.

Wire pulling lubricant (not Vaseline, WD 40, etc.) may help. Streamlining the connection between the cables and the snake or pull string is important. Connect one wire to the tape or string, then use electrical tape to secure the rest, moving each on an inch or so back so you're not trying to pull a big "lump" through.

It helps to have two people, one to pull the tape or string and the other to feed the wires and keep them from getting tangled.
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Old 04-04-2016, 13:54   #19
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Re: Do you have xperience pulling cable thru mast conduit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caleb C View Post
Hi,

If you have experience pulling cable through your mast conduit, will you please tell me it will be easy? Need to pull power/data/fog horn wires. Feeling optimistic.

How was your experience? Any helpful suggestions?

Thanks.

Done it a few times and relatively straight forward. Can get difficult if you have a break in the Conduit for Spreader Lights, etc.
Drop a messenger line with your cable for future pulls.
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Old 04-04-2016, 14:23   #20
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Re: Do you have xperience pulling cable thru mast conduit?

I am contemplating re wiring by running a power cable to the top, with a smaller signal cable that switches through the various lights. Button selects anchor, then steaming, then sailing, bright deck light, soft red deck light, strobe, air horns, fixed ahead spotlight. Doubt if any two are ever required simultaneously. Switching unit filled with epoxy/tallow.
So just a moderate twin cable, light signal, and coax. Any thoughts?
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Old 04-04-2016, 15:48   #21
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Re: Do you have xperience pulling cable thru mast conduit?

Can be a real PITA but having just spent a few days installing new radar cable, hailer horn cable, LED foredeck cable, EcoFlex (RG-213) cable, etc I found that pulling up is sometimes better than pulling down. Reason is that the existing cables may sag at the bottom and bunch making it sometimes impossible to work through the bundle pulling down. There was no way on my mast to touch the bottom of the internal PVC tube to spread the wires, however pulling the cable up rather than down did the trick for the radar and RG-213 cables. Also, you may have the PVC tube slotted and running along the extruded internal track so "pulling" down on the wires at the bottom can literally pull the pvc tube off the track so be careful with pulling a horizontal movement. Don't forget to "Lubricate" the wires before you pull. You may want to check your spar manufacture for an internal cross cut diagram to understand how your internal tubes are installed. You may have 2 tubes, 1 that goes to the spreaders, and 1 that goes to the mast head.
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Old 04-04-2016, 17:27   #22
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Re: Do you have xperience pulling cable thru mast conduit?

If the mast is out of the boat a quick way of installing your mouse is to tie a very small piece of rag to an appropriate length of string, stick it in one end of the conduit and attach a vacuum cleaner to the other end. Usually takes seconds.
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Old 04-04-2016, 17:38   #23
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Re: Do you have xperience pulling cable thru mast conduit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caleb C View Post
Hi,

If you have experience pulling cable through your mast conduit, will you please tell me it will be easy? Need to pull power/data/fog horn wires. Feeling optimistic.

How was your experience? Any helpful suggestions?

Thanks.
If your mast is horizontal then you might be able to feed an electrical chaser (a series of thin stiff rods that screw together).

If your mast is vertical then gravity is your friend. You can lower a steel rod on a line down from above. This will tell you the max diameter you can feed through.

Either way if you can reach the other end you're good to go. Of course you can't feed too thick a wire through. To thin a wire and you might end up with an annoying rattle or thump.

If you have existing wiring and it's stuck life gets much more difficult. Sometimes some detergent works well to free it.

Feeding new wire in with old wire can sometimes cause trouble. You can probably obtain new coax to carry all loads

If you suspect you have a blockage then fashion a nozzle and try flushing water through.

Don't use oil or grease as it picks up grit and can wedge things tighter.

What is your situation?

Ideally you need a pull and downhaul or tension cord.

Sent from my SM-N900T using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
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Old 04-04-2016, 19:17   #24
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Re: Do you have xperience pulling cable thru mast conduit?

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Originally Posted by Alan Mighty View Post
fishing tape + mousing line + cable-pulling lubricant = success
+++ Yes on the lubricant. Go to Home Depot and ask for KY for wire. Its cheap & works.
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Old 14-06-2016, 20:56   #25
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Re: Do you have xperience pulling cable thru mast conduit?

Hi to all,


Thank you for all the great information about your experiences pulling wires through the mast! Your suggestions were very helpful in helping me complete this project.


Finished the task the Saturday before Memorial Day weekend. It was a tedious task. The mast was standing and our boat was tied to a mooring ball for this 2 1/2 day project.
1. There was conduit - Yeah!
2. Conduit was already FULL!
3. Needed to remove one combined radar/power cable
4. Needed room for 3 new wires, radar data and power cables, and fog horn wire
5. Did I tell you the radar data connectors were too large to fit into conduit
6. New radar mount was milled incorrectly and wouldn't assemble
7. New radar mount needed additional "optional" parts - 2 week delivery
8. New radar wouldn't fit on old mounting base
9. Found a great marine fabricator to make new radar mounting base
10. Everything fits inside the radar guard - Yeah!
11. Back to the wires - I want to give up! That's unusual for me.
12. Used many of your GREAT suggestions
13. Clear wire lube is the best!
14. Cut off data connector - no way it's going to fit inside the conduit
15. Used old radar cable to pull messenger line up the mast conduit
16. Staggered the 3 new wires and made half hitches with the messenger line in 6-inch intervals with a small amount of electrical tape around each half hitch
17. Applied clear wire lube
18. Did I tell you I'm AFRAID of heights?
19. I'm a little less AFRAID after climbing the mast 14 times
20. I pushed the wires into the mast, while my partner pulled the messenger line from the mast base inside the cabin. REMEMBER - conduit already full and replacing one thick wire with 3 wires, connector, and messenger line plus tape
21. With much persuasion we get the wires through the mast base - Thank God!
22. Removed old radar - whew - didn't drop it! Spinnaker lines are useful.
23. Installed new fabricated mount
24. Installed new radar - whew - didn't drop it! - Put radar inside my duffle bag and used the spinnaker to pull it up to me
25. Installed new fog horn
26. Connected all wires
27. Supported and secured wires to mast
28. Added chafe protection to mast / wire entrance
29. Kissed the deck!
30. Pulled and secured wires through all kinds of chases on the boat
31. Installed wires to appropriate instruments, MFD's, power and networks
32. EVERYTHING WORKS!
33. Sold all our old instruments, chart plotter, radar and instrument pod
34. Updated and Commissioned the new electronics
35. REWARD - sailed solo to Catalina Island for the week. Friends joined me there.


Thanks again to the CF family for your excellent helpful posts.
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Old 14-06-2016, 21:11   #26
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Re: Do you have xperience pulling cable thru mast conduit?



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