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In running conduit for a subpanel, I'm not sure how to make the transition from conduit running vertically in the wall cavity to running out from the wall along the ceiling. I could notch the top plate, but I'm not sure that's a good idea. If I just put in a 90° elbow out of the wall the conduit won't be up against the joists. How should I go about this?

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You can have a 90 degree fitting from vertical to horizontal and then an offset to reach to the joist level. –  Vitaliy May 19 '13 at 2:19
    
What size conduit? Is it a double top plate? Is there a specific reason the horizontal run is even with the top plate (not above or below)? –  Tester101 May 20 '13 at 11:53
    
Normally you would just run it over the top plate and go down from there. Going through the top plate like this is kind of a lot of work when there is an easier solution. –  DMoore May 20 '13 at 15:42
    
It's 1" EMT. Single top plate in non-load bearing wall. Horizontal run is directly against the joists because that's the type of the straps I found. –  Brad Mace May 20 '13 at 15:53

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If I'm understanding your diagram correctly, I'm assuming you want to run the conduit on the bottom surface of the joist or finished ceiling, rather than inside the finished ceiling (or on the side of the joist).

Either way, one option is to make your 90 degree turn with an elbow or L below the top plate of the wall, and then use an offset fitting to bring the conduit up to the surface of the ceiling (or joist)

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