R/C vehicle to pull CAT5 cable through crawlspace?

Discussion in 'Chit-Chat' started by cam235, Nov 14, 2017.

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  1. cam235

    cam235 Pulling my weight

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    I've got a pretty tight crawlspace under the house, also cluttered with A/C ducts, pipes etc. I can physically get into it but I prefer not to. The floor is dirt but relatively level and smooth. I want to do another run of CAT5 across this space, and there's enough obstructions that it's not easy to do from outside with fish poles. I wonder if it's feasible to use a little R/C truck or tracked vehicle to pull a fish line across. And if so, any recommendations for such a thing? Would need to be somewhat heavy so it can push aside flexible ductwork. Would be neat if it had a camera so I could also check for termites etc.
     
  2. drunkpenguin

    drunkpenguin Pulling my weight

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    Interesting idea. I don't blame you I wouldnt go under a house either. Forget that!

    Question, you say another run? Is there already 1 cable going from the same point a to point b? If yes use that wire to pull 2 new wires using the old wire.
     
  3. mlapaglia

    mlapaglia Getting the hang of it

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    Sounds like fun! You could also hire some neighborhood kid to do it for you :)
     
  4. cam235

    cam235 Pulling my weight

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    There are already other cables under there, but they are going to different places. It may be possible to just use a regular fish tape if it could be somehow steered around a corner, but the R/C vehicle idea sounded cool.
     
  5. drunkpenguin

    drunkpenguin Pulling my weight

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    An rc car with a go pro on it. Maybe attach a hook to the car. Sent the cable down the floor like a noose. Would be fun if nothing else.
     
  6. looney2ns

    looney2ns Known around here

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    By the time you mess around with rigging up an R/C car, and all the trial and error it will take to make it work, in much less time, you can just suck it up and crawl under the house and be done with it.
    Kids these days. :)
     
  7. drunkpenguin

    drunkpenguin Pulling my weight

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    I'm imagining Clark Griswald climbing under his house to run a new cable and getting stuck under there!
     
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  8. tangent

    tangent Known around here

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    If the crawlspace is nasty enough, there's no shame in donning full PPE. I also highly recommend putting down some heavy white plastic in the crawlspace.

    RC car is an entertaining idea, but it'd be pretty hard to make the cable follow the ideal path. I've learned to make sure you're on the right side of every obstruction when pulling cable. If you try the rc car pull string might work better than cable attached to the car.
     
  9. drunkpenguin

    drunkpenguin Pulling my weight

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  10. cam235

    cam235 Pulling my weight

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    No doubt just crawling under there would be the expedient way, and that's the way I did some previous runs. Yes I did use tyvek suit, gloves, face & dust mask. Not my favorite thing though. Alternative is through the attic, which is cleaner but also requires some adventures getting the cable down inside the wall, which took better part of a day last time I tried. Or just giving up and having an exposed exterior run, which all things considered is probably the most logical way.
     
  11. fenderman

    fenderman Staff Member

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  12. drunkpenguin

    drunkpenguin Pulling my weight

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    It's not my video just for the record. :) But after seeing that I wouldnt be scared to try it!
     
  13. TonyR

    TonyR Pulling my weight

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    @drunkpenguin, thx for the video. Wow..90 feet in 3 minutes. That's amazing! It would take 30 minutes minimum to use the extensible push sticks for 90 feet, so much ladder up/down and ladder moving, ceiling tile resetting, etc.

    My deviate mind is pondering the history of this endeavor: '.....before he decided to go with R/C, the trained chipmunk that drove the car walked out in protest, stating that the bumpy rid over the T-bars hurt his back and kept knocking off his tiny crash helmet."
     
  14. Fastb

    Fastb Getting comfortable

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    These days, an RC car speeds the job pf pulling cable.
    In the 80's, coax was used to connect our IBM PC's and IBM AT's on an engineering "PC network" to send simple text emails & attachments to to colleagues. The MIS Dept (Mgmt Information Systems) laughed off PCs. Their mainframes, with simple terminals deployed through the company, was the "Real Computer System". In Engineering, we deployed PC's, w/o help from MIS.
    Nowadays, the "Mgmt Information Systems" Dept has been replaced with the IT Dept. "Mgmt" isn't why computing equipment exists. And workers have "internet", which wasn't on the horizon back then. An Engr needed info? Visit the Engineering Library, staffed by a Part Time librarian, to help you find the info, and keep many multitudes of paper-bound books in order.

    Anyway, back then, we created a rat's nest of coax cables above the suspended ceiling in Engineering, a 75ft by 150ft building. Coax was pulled from point A to point E, for a home run. We used a weighted tennis ball tied to string. Get on a ladder, lift ceiling tiles at point A and point B, maybe 40 ft away. Toss the ball. Missed? Hit a support wire running down to the ceiling tiles? Pull the ball back and try again. Then ball toss from Pt B to Pt C. Then Pt C to Pt D. Rinse and repeat.

    Many tosses and ladder relocations later, the coax was pulled, baluns installed, and we could send simple text emails (with attachments) to each other, on our monochrome IBM PC monitor. It sure beat the previous "Nike Net", where you put the info on a 5" floppy disk, and using your Nike's, walked to a colleagues cubicle to deliver the files. No RC Cars.

    Seeing how far we've come in just 45 years makes me think that pulling copper wire may become obsolete. It's expensive (labor & materials), and for now, a "necessary evil", because there isn't a dependable alternative. Mesh networks, intelligent devices, maybe IoT, maybe improved power-line comm, maybe (fill in the blank), offers promise. Dunno.

    I bet my grand kids will think pulling copper is quaint. Like dial-up phones, broadcast TV, cable TV, gas stations, walk in banks, mail delivery to a real "mailbox" down at the curb, and UPS trucks delivering small packages (that are better-delivered by drones).

    <geezer rant 'off'>
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017 at 8:54 PM
  15. tangent

    tangent Known around here

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    Yep many versions of this. Tennis balls, wiffle balls, golf balls, lax balls, modified nerf guns, nerf bow and arrow, modified paint ball gun or t-shirt cannon. With most of these it's easiest to get pull string or heavy fishing line across and then pull the cable. rc car can at least do it in one pass. I was just thinking about using a nerf vortex football for this next time I'm in the attic.

    I couldn't find the link, but somebody markets a commercial version of the golf ball and string with a telescoping tool you might see in a clothing store to move it around obstacles.
     
  16. drunkpenguin

    drunkpenguin Pulling my weight

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    Hard to tell where the future is going. If any of us could predict it we'd surely be wealthy and retired by now. As someone that works in the wireless business I tend to feel the future will go that direction, but Im biased of course. Our biggest hurdles right now are the FCC. If they would open up spectrum and increase output limitations we could pull off a whole lot more than we currently do. Right now wireless is the red headed step child of the industry, but I feel like it's the direction the world will eventually go, but it may take another generation or 2 to get there.

    Just think how far we've come in a short time though. Growing up in the 80's and 90's we had one phone line coming into the house. 1 copper wire connecting the entire family to the world. And paying a fortune for it too! If we were lucky we had 1 coax coming into the livingroom for tv where we all took turns sharing screen time. Security systems, cameras? Only for the rich!

    Now we have tv in our pockets, our young children have phones, every room is wired for a tv, computers, etc. Alarm systems and security cameras can be purchased at the same place we buy groceries. We are so connected that not only are we running multiple wires through our homes, were looking for crazy ways of doing it like remote controlled cars with live video streams and head lights!

    Crazy really.
     
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  17. hamsoplo

    hamsoplo Getting the hang of it

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    I’ve done this with a small rc car in a cold air return that ran across a section of ceiling to run a pull string. Worked great, just lowered the car through a register and let it run until it fell in the basement.
     
  18. Fastb

    Fastb Getting comfortable

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    drunkpenguin ,

    Yes. Times are changing.
    Technology is moving faster than society's ability to cope with the vagaries of tech.
     
  19. imog

    imog n3wb

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    You've got existing cable, I'd cut existing cable A at your current starting point, then pull new line + extra cable B from destination where you want the new line coming out, then use extra cable B as fish tape to pull existing cable A back to where it started... Splice it back together properly right where you made the cut, and never tell anyone. It will be like it never happened, you don't get dirty or mess with RC car BS, and it will be the quickest solution. Also prevents you from needing to redo the rest of the run that goes to the final destination for the existing cable you use as a fish line.

    I've done this before. Not proud of splicing cables as its not the ideal approach, but when it comes down to academically what is the right approach verse practically whats possible on a given timeline outside my control... I'm not the sort to let a low class solution that works get in the way of getting the job done when its needed to be done just because its low class.
     
  20. NoloC

    NoloC Pulling my weight

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    What spectrum would you expect to be released? It is all designated. What services would you displace?
     
  21. mat200

    mat200 Getting comfortable

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    I prefer using an M1A1

     
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  22. TonyR

    TonyR Pulling my weight

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    Works great, especially when someone had the foresight to install a trough designated for cabling BEFORE the suspended ceiling was installed. I got to see and utilize one of those out of maybe two dozen installs that had no such provision. Nice, wide and empty trough...network nirvana!
     
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  23. TonyR

    TonyR Pulling my weight

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    And don't you just love trying to do such an install when the office is full of people that give you 'the look' when you have to work over their head or drop a little ceiling tile dust on their desk, when your boss is the one that refused to let you do it during non-working hours. I would explain that I could do it quicker and cheaper even on overtime than I could on straight time when everyone was in the way. He'd get this glazed look (the kind you get from a dumbass that's well versed on telling people HOW to do their job BUT has only heard about how to do it or watched someone do it).

    It's like making a major network install on a dozen PC's where you are going desk-to-desk, logging in, finding new server and new shared network drive, installing new local client, new desktop shortcut, testing, etc. What would take 2 hours during non-working hours for the folks using those PC's takes twice as long when they're there; you wait until they save their work (more like getting off of Facebook half the time), log out, move out of your way plus... you get 'the look'.
     
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  24. TonyR

    TonyR Pulling my weight

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    I advise against letting any kind of cabling or conductors in a crawl space being allowed to touch the dirt floor before going up into floor or walls, especially if there is no heavy plastic sheeting laid down. Makes a nice path for subterranean termites and other crawly critters. It's not easy securing anything to the floor in a crawl space; ceiling might be a better choice, in spite of the issue coming down inside the walls.

    Just make sure you wear a GOOD mask the entire time if there's fiberglass insulation up there.
     
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  25. mat200

    mat200 Getting comfortable

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    And a long sleeve shirt! ...
     
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  26. looney2ns

    looney2ns Known around here

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    Rc car pulling cable, that wouldn't fly in a lot of installs. Pity the poor fool that has to do more work above the ceiling next time.

    Lot of commercial installs around here, retro fitting, installing trough's would be part of the job.
     
  27. Kawboy12R

    Kawboy12R Getting comfortable

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    I checked and the RC truck the guy in the video used retails for $200. Sweet way to turn some RC gear into a tax deduction and play with toys at work.
     
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