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My question is similar to this. But in my case, the wires are stuck. Tried pulling one (my bad) and it broke. There's still some wire that I can pull but pulling it again won't do any good. So I was thinking if I can pour some oil there for lubricating purposes but not sure how it will work or what effect will it have to the ethernet cable.

Appreciate any advise on this.

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  • OK, "Wires" = "cables", "pipes" = "conduit". Took me a minute... Why do you need to pull the old cables out? Is the conduit too full to pull a new cable through? It's entirely possible that the cable has been clamped down somewhere and that's why you can't get it to move - go visit every exposed end of the conduit you can find to see if the cable has been attached somewhere. – FreeMan Jul 2 '20 at 11:45
  • Not sure if they use conduit because it looks like a pvc pipe but anyways the conduit is pretty thin (probably half inch diameter). Looking at it, I don't think I can fit a cat6 cable there. I did talked to the engineer that built the house and it seems that there are some tight angles (I'm guessing 90 degrees) from one end to the other. – ads Jul 2 '20 at 13:24
  • PVC pipe is used as conduit for low voltage wiring. Schedule 80 conduit is made of PVC and sold everywhere explicitly to be used as mains voltage conduit. Also, conduit can easily manage a 90° bend, it's the radius that matters, and the number of such bends. It sounds like your cable is clamped somewhere. Talk to the guy who built the place again and pick his brain on where it's clamped, or, at least where all the access points are so you can look for yourself. – FreeMan Jul 2 '20 at 13:27
  • I already talked to them and unfortunately they weren't much help. One of them commented that I should have provided the cable when they were doing the cables in the first place because he said it won't be easy replacing the ones they put there. Another told me it is not possible to change the wires. He said I'll need to chase the wall for new conduits instead. Pretty much gave up asking the others after that. – ads Jul 2 '20 at 13:36
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No, don't use oil for this. It's flammable and also acts as a solvent on my materials. There are commercial "wire lube" products that are safe for lubricating wires. Most big-box home centers and all electrical supply houses have a selection of these.

But the trick is going to be getting the lube to where the restriction is assuming that the wire itself is not clamped, tied, or tangled on something that lube will not fix.

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    Most likely there's a junction box/LB/access point the OP has not found and needs to find to access the cable and remove the clamp/junction or simply not have 720 degrees of elbows between one end and the other. The odds of lube helping are about nil, as the odds of lube getting to where the problem is are about nil, and the odds that the fundamental problem is soluble by lube are about nil. – Ecnerwal Jul 2 '20 at 12:45
  • I'm not sure there are clamps used. I would think that they would have made tight angles instead. – ads Jul 2 '20 at 13:38
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    You might try putting a shop vac on one end of the conduit, go to the other end and see if you get any suction. (you may need a helper). That would tell you if you have any real obstructions there and / or help you find any intermediate junction box. If you did get suction and were intent upon trying the commercial electrical wire lube, that would help get it down the conduit. Are there any elevation changes in the run? if so and you wanted to try the lube, start at the highest point. I do agree with others here, i doubt the lube idea would work. – George Anderson Jul 2 '20 at 15:22
  • OP says they are concrete walls, so I think there is also a chance that the conduit is just a "sleeve" at the termini of the concrete, and the cable is just encased directly for most of the run. – PhilippNagel Jul 3 '20 at 0:54
  • @GeorgeAnderson tried using a shop vac. Found out that there is a little bit suction in 1 line but other one has no chance. I'm now thinking of just doing wall chasing for new lines instead. It's a lot of work but seems to be the most effective way I can think of now. – ads Jul 17 '20 at 3:07
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You need to go to the building supply and look at the following things:

  • PVC "LB" conduit body
  • PVC "LL" conduit body
  • PVC 90 ell with 45 degree cap

These are the kinds of things you are up against. Once you see what they are, the trouble should become obvious.

Now, Code requires that wherever these things are, they must remain accessible forever without use of tools. That is what Code requires.

When turns need to be made in conduit without providing access, it's required to use broad curve pieces that allow feasible pulling. And there can only be four 90 degree turns between access points.

Now if these guys buried tees like this, or worse, used plumbing tees, then they violated Code two ways: them not remaining accessible for pulling, and, they would have had to assemble the conduit around the cable, by sliding piece after piece over the cable, a tactic which is never allowed.

And now, you know the reason for the Code.

So, you need to ferret out where these corner access points are, and put them to good use.

If it seems like they are not there, then you need to rehire these guys to pull the additional cable, and if they say it can't be done, get it in writing and go to the title insurance/home warranty/their insurer/lawyer. Because this was botched, they likely violated their permit/inspections, and the job needs to be re-done, at their expense. Concrete and all.

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  • Does all this apply given that we're talking Ethernet == low voltage comms? – manassehkatz-Moving 2 Codidact Jul 3 '20 at 0:00
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    @manassehkatz-Moving2Codidact Yes! 2017 NEC 800.110(A) either requires the use of a Chapter 3 raceway method, or in (A)(2) lets you use dedicated (orange tube) comms-only raceway, but when you invoke (A)(2), it drags in the ENT installation requirements from 362.24 through 362.56, which includes the 360deg limit between pull points found in 362.26. – ThreePhaseEel Jul 3 '20 at 1:25

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