Wire fishing w/ flexible drill bit help please

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Old 07-20-09, 08:30 AM
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Wire fishing w/ flexible drill bit help please

I have a few questions and was hoping to vet my plan here. The situation is I am trying to wire a doorbell in the breezeway connecting the house and garage. The transformer will be in the basement. The basement does not extend under the breezeway and the breezeway floor is two steps down from the main house floor. I've measured and this means I think I can use a flexible drill bit from the basement and get into the wall cavity just below where the doorbell will go. The doorbell location will be on the outside just opposite the light switch box.

My questions is, if I can get the flexible bit into the wall cavity, about 3 feet below the switch box, and I remove the switch box to get access to the wall cavity, how can get the wire connected to the end of the drill bit? Any tips for doing this? I have a fish tape I can stick in there but I don't know how to connect anything to the bit end when I can't reach it with my hand.

Here's a picture if it helps describe the situation:
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a1...ireFishing.gif
 
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Old 07-20-09, 09:21 AM
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You really need to be able to reach the end of the bit to hook the wire. I suppose you could attempt to do it with a mirror, flashlight and a coat hanger or something like that but I assure you it will be an exercise in frustration. It's often better just to cut a hole in the drywall and patch it.

Have you considered a wireless doorbell?

Does your breezeway have baseboard moulding? You may find it a better solution to just pop the baseboard and a piece of the door casing off and run the wire out from the basement behind the mouldings. The low voltage doorbell wire can basically be run anywhere.
 
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Old 07-20-09, 09:42 AM
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Thanks I've been racking my brain trying to think of a way and you might be right that it would end as an exercise in frustration.

Still I'd like to hear of any suggestions and especially similar success stories.

I've tried to avoid wireless in the past because I think it's unreliable and don't like dealing with batteries. I retrofitted cat5 internet and interconnected wired smoke detectors for this very reason and want to do the same with the doorbell system.

The wall material is pine wood paneling so there is no chance for a cut and repair job. There is baseboard molding so the possibility of running wire behind the molding is still an option.
 
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Old 07-20-09, 10:17 AM
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I'd have to agree with Ben on this one. It's hard enough to get the flex drill bit to go where you want it to go, and even harder when it's between structures. You have no idea how many studs, braces, joists, etc might be between you and that doorbell

Being that it's low voltage and very small wire, you may also be able to run it under clapboard or whatever your outside wall is made of, then drill into the stud bay and fish it up.
 
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Old 07-20-09, 11:13 AM
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How about a plumbing snake?? I used one that was about
3/8" wide for my rewireing job! Works great. Fish the snake through, tape your wire on the end w/ elec. tape realy good, pull it through!! Not sure how this would work for ya, but I agree w/ the guys above. Wireless doorbell. May cost a bit more but by the time you spend money on a flex. drill bit you'll probably break even?!
Good Luck
 
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Old 07-20-09, 12:26 PM
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Here's a long shot, but might be worth a try. Drill your hole(s). Pull out the drill bit. Straighten a piece of snake long enough to go through the hole(s) you've drilled and up into the switch box, while still sticking out in the basement. Attach a loop of string to the end of it and push it back through the hole(s). Then take a second piece of metal snake, bend a hook on the end, and go fishing inside the switch box hole, twisting and turning and pulling until you feel your fishing hook catch on the string (while pulling up you will feel the weight of the other snake). It's best to do this with another person on the other end. When your fishing snake hits the snake with the loop the person on the other end will be able to feel it and can sort of direct you. And when you pull it out, they can make sure you actually have caught the loop, and that you don't pull it out too far.

Also, what's on the other side of that door in the diagram? And, could the garage be brought into play in any way, rather than using the basement? Is the garage finished?
 
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Old 07-21-09, 12:01 PM
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Excellent suggestions!

nickdel brings up a point I was wondering about -
Suppose I drill the hole and get the end of the bit right where I want it. What are the chances I can pull the drill bit out all the way and then push it back through the holes I just made? Is it going to be difficult to line up a second time?

I'm thinking of trying the string approach. If I can drill my holes, pull the bit out, loop fishing wire through the end of the bit such that the loop springs, and then push the end of the bit back to where it needs to be, then it should be easy to use something like a coat hanger to grab the fishing line and pull the slack.

Zorfdt might be onto something though. The outer siding is vinyl and I could probably easily slip the wire underneath it instead.

This week ended up getting hectic for me so I will probably put this off until next week and let y'all know how it goes.

Thanks for the suggestions.
 
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Old 07-21-09, 12:13 PM
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Instead of pulling the bit out push it farther out of the hole. Wrap the wires in the spirals of the bit and tape them to the thinner shaft. Pull the bit back out of the hole.
 
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Old 07-21-09, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by pcboss View Post
Instead of pulling the bit out push it farther out of the hole. Wrap the wires in the spirals of the bit and tape them to the thinner shaft. Pull the bit back out of the hole.
I think his problem is how to get the bit in a position to attach the wires. Check out the diagram. I don't think he can reach in and grab the bit when he's all the way through, needs something to kinda fish it up and out.
 
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Old 08-10-09, 02:50 PM
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Success!

I wanted to follow up on this post in case anyone comes across it in the archives and to thank everyone for the help.

It took me several hours, but I was able to get the doorbell wire where it needed to be. After removing the switch box, first problem was a piece of blocking about halfway down into the wall cavity. I used the flex bit to turn this into swiss cheese until it eventually fell apart. The blocking appeared to be used for installing the T&G wall paneling. After that, I was able to drill the flex bit into position from the basement. After trial and error, I finally determined that after pulling the flex bit back out I was able to position fish tape, with string tied to the end, through the same holes created by the flex bit. After that it was a matter of using a flashlight, mirror, and coat hanger with a small hook to "grab" the string and pull it through.

Waste of time? Maybe, considering wireless could have been installed in a couple of hours. Ask my wife and she'll tell you I'm fairly stubborn though.
 
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Old 08-10-09, 03:47 PM
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Glad to hear that you were sucessful in your project. Thanks for the followup.
 
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