Can't fish wire to panel

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  #1  
Old 11-14-06, 05:07 AM
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Can't fish wire to panel

I'm trying to add a new circuit for a bath remodel and cannot drop a cable down the wall to the panel. The top plate is about 6 inches below the roof leaving no room to drill a new hole. The holes for the original wiring are completely filled so I can't fish the new cable down one of those. The panel is located on the back wall of the garage, which is wood framing with drywall.

So the only option I see that doesn't tear off the whole roof is to make small holes in ceiling and wall in the garage where the panel is and snake the cable out the ceiling of the garage, down the wall, then back into the wall and into the top of the panel. I realize I can't just leave the cable exposed, so my question is how do I enclose it. I see choices at the homecenter, including EMT, the track-style surface wiring stuff, or the gray plastic. My main question is whether I have to put a box of some kind at the holes where the cable comes out of the ceiling or where it goes back into the wall. Or is there some kind of transition piece that I didn't find at the store when I looked. I see inside corners, outside corners, couplings, boxes, connectors or all kinds, but nothing that I can imagine using for around the holes in the drywall.

Also, since the wall around the panel is all covered up with drywall, I punched out the hole in the top of the panel, but can't screw on the stress relief the holds the cable firmly. How do I do this without tearing out the drywall? Or can I?

Thanks,

Jeff
 
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  #2  
Old 11-14-06, 05:36 AM
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Use a right angle drill adapter bit.

Drywall is easy to repair.
 
  #3  
Old 11-14-06, 07:12 AM
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If you are willing to cut drywall then just cut a section out above the panel to expose the top plate and enough room to drill up thru it.

Make sure you are aware of the location of all wires before you drill.

When cutting the drywall, I would cut from center of stud to center of stud. Then you can reinstall the drywall with screws and it will become a access opening.
 
  #4  
Old 11-14-06, 09:39 AM
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Since it's in the garage, you have some options. Maybe cut a section of drywall (16" square) out at the top of the wall, drill & run your wires from below, and then cover with an access panel so you can do it again. (access panels don't look bad when painted the same color as the wall, and in the garage, I would think you probably wouldn't even notice it).

Or as racraft said, drywall is easy to repair - especially in a garage where your guests won't be analyzing the job you did.

Good luck!
 
  #5  
Old 11-14-06, 12:19 PM
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Just to add to the access panel suggestion look in the plumbing section of big box. A plumbing access panel set would look good and make future access easy.
 
  #6  
Old 11-14-06, 01:56 PM
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6 whole inches? TONS OF ROOM!!

I have a small 18V angle drill and short bits that would make that a piece of cake. I sometimes have only 2 inches though, and that's when things get interesting, mostly because there's no more room for me to get close enough.

Sometimes the best option is to punch out the hole in the top of the panel first, then use a 4-6-FOOT flexible drill bit and drill through the top plate from underneath, through the panel; obviously great care and skill is required here. You have to know by the feel of the bit that you are going to drill through wood and nothing but wood at all times, including upon breakthrough. These bits also have a hole in the tip and act as the fish "tape" to pull the cable back down and into the panel. Don't forget to use an appropriate PUSH-IN (not screw-in) connector at the panel, even if it has to be installed upside-down.
 
  #7  
Old 11-15-06, 05:37 AM
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MAC you have GOT to be kidding. Using a flex bit in a LIVE panel? Having had one or two flexible bits break I'd like to know the backup plan when the pieces land on a set of lugs, the power buss, or the main breaker feeds. Additionally there is no way to see where cables above the panel have been routed and stapled - there's no guarantee they go straight up.

If you have limited space above the panel you cut the wall to drill. Use the opportunity to install some flex conduit or smurf pipe to allow for future access. I really don't understand why cutting drywall is such a big deal especially in a garage. After all, the sheets have been mudded and taped together. A bit more mud and tape isn't a big deal. Even with the cost of a 4 X 8 sheet of drywall purchased for patching purposes if needed the costs of materials shouldn't run over $25.00. Or, make the access panel as suggested.
 
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Old 11-15-06, 05:37 PM
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"When in doubt,cut it out". It's mad easy to patch (the garage).
This is the area of contention,correct?

You are all set in the bathroom, right?
It is a 20Amp ckt,on a GFCI?
 
  #9  
Old 11-15-06, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by itsunclebill
MAC you have GOT to be kidding. Using a flex bit in a LIVE panel? Having had one or two flexible bits break I'd like to know the backup plan when the pieces land on a set of lugs, the power buss, or the main breaker feeds. Additionally there is no way to see where cables above the panel have been routed and stapled - there's no guarantee they go straight up...
Sorry, don't do it in a live panel; my post didn't intend to nullify all other common electrical advice. You STILL don't want to drill through wires before or after the top plate. You can do this fairly well by feel before the plate, and you can SEE how the wires go above the plate. If you can't, than you can't get to the bit anyway to fish the cable back down.

I won't share my techniques for live panel work in a DIY forum.
 
  #10  
Old 11-18-06, 09:10 PM
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Do you enjoy welding Mac? Those flexible bits are fantastic, I highly recommend them to my competition. You have a one in four shot of having the drill go where you expect it to. racraft has this one nailed. Open up the drywall for easy access. You'r a handyman right? You can handle the repair. Also, forget the flex. Conduit is the best. You'll enjoy having a new skill.

That's Mr. stripes to you!
 
  #11  
Old 11-18-06, 10:27 PM
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Wink

I just know Ill be back in to the panel for something later on. So I just cut all the drywall out up to the plate. From stud to stud. When all done with the new run cut a piece of 1/4" plywood that goes over the studs and from panel to the ceiling just screw it on above the panel. Paint it are what ever
 
  #12  
Old 11-18-06, 10:50 PM
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Smile

Those flexible bits are fantastic, I highly recommend them to my competition.*

Why? Technology... Use it. Work smart not hard.


You have a one in four shot of having the drill go where you expect it to.*

Not if your patient, and use some skill. Granted, Luck does play a small role.


You must know more than the dog, If you want To teach him.
 
  #13  
Old 11-19-06, 12:20 PM
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When you drill through the aliminum siding, or a 100 year old wood floor, how skilled and lucky are you going to feel?

That's Mr Stripes to you!
 
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