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My aunt has bought some DVR security cameras to install in her mobile home (Trailer). The house has NO attic, just a tin roof. The house does have a very easily accessible "crawlspace", which is essentially just the gap between the house and the ground because the house is on cinderblocks. The cameras are POE. There is one cable for each camera. There are 4 cameras. These are external mount cameras and are to be mounted OUTSIDE the house.

Questions:

  1. Would it be feasible to just drop the cables down and drill a hole into the floor, pull it out from under the house, then run it to the cameras?
  2. If that is how I should be doing this, how would I seal the hole on the floor to make sure ants or other bugs don't crawl in through there?
  3. If this is how I should do this, should I make 4 separate holes for each camera? Or one big hole for all 4 cameras? The reason I ask is, 4 separate holes will make the holes smaller and easier to seal, but that is just too many holes. One big hole might be cleaner as far as wiring goes, but harder to seal.
  4. Do I need to make sure I conduit the cables UNDER the house as well? Unlike a conventional crawlspace, this crawlspace is just a gaping maw under the house that can be easily accessed by raccoons and opossums, of which we have aplenty. Would they bite the cables?
  5. The only other option I have thought of is to run the cables in the crawlspace, but bring it up INTO the house and run it against the walls INSIDE, then drill into the wall to feed it into the cameras outside. Would this be a better option? The cables will be INSIDE, so no need for conduits (besides just in the crawlspace). It won't be pretty, but I am sure they can live with that. Thoughts on this?
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    Your choices with low voltage cables/wires are almost unlimited compared to high voltage(120v), you don't need to use special made conduit. Should try to protect from chewing animals since it is usually a pain to repair/replace cables, but can use the cheapest stuff you can find(even metal down sprouts).
    – crip659
    Dec 16, 2022 at 14:07
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    Wow that's a lot of questions in one! Please at least separate it into two, one about the general routing of the cables and the other about conduit use. You should also specify - are these cameras for outside or inside monitoring? As written, I'm not sure where the cameras will be mounted.
    – FreeMan
    Dec 16, 2022 at 14:16
  • @FreeMan Yeah I probably should have split this up, but Crip659's answer to my conduits basically cover one half of my concerns! To your question, the cameras are to be mounted outside. Dec 16, 2022 at 14:24
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    Well, then, edit this down to just the conduit part and maybe @crip659 will actually make an answer out of it. Then you can ask a separate question (noting that it's an external camera mount situation), about the floor/roof/wall penetrations.
    – FreeMan
    Dec 16, 2022 at 14:25
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    Still think it's too broad since it's still asking about conduit. Also, crip didn't answer, he commented, and now that you've removed most of the conduit related questions, his comment is basically unrelated and won't make much sense to future readers.
    – FreeMan
    Dec 16, 2022 at 15:31

2 Answers 2

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You're running CAT 5e/6 cable. They're not very big. Even making room for one pre-terminated cable to pass through a hole with 3 other cables in it (the smallest hole possible - smaller than trying to pass 4 plugs through all at once) it's not a very big hole at all.

I'd make one hole, drop each of the 4 cables through one at a time. Once they're through, I'd seal the the inside with duct seal (a putty similar to plumber's putty, designed for duct work, though) to fill all the gaps between the cables themselves as well as between the cables and the floor. Depending on the thickness of the floor and how much underfloor insulation there is, I'd put some sort of replacement insulation on the outside - spray foam would probably be fine, or you could use some fiberglass insulation if you've got some (though it would probably end up wet and that gets nasty - it may depend on how wet it is under the trailer in the rain & snow). Then, I'd screw up a layer of plywood to protect the insulation.

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    Running in conduit inside or outside is really a different question. I'd suggest some sort of physical protection for the cables to keep critters from chewing on the wires and to protect them from UV degradation and physical damage from things just hitting/bumping into them. It'll also keep them from whistling in the wind.
    – FreeMan
    Dec 16, 2022 at 14:48
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    Not to be obnoxious or stubborn, @manassehkatz-Moving2Codidact, but just to conform to the way SE does things, please write that up as an answer so it gets the attention (and possible votes) it deserves. Not everyone will parse the comments. Heck, the OP may not get this far, and not seeing your comments would be a disservice to him.
    – FreeMan
    Dec 16, 2022 at 15:18
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    I hear what you're saying, and I may yet do that. But I didn't see any reference to pre-terminated cables in the question, only in your answer. Which is why I commented here rather than on the question, and why I wasn't actually planning to write my own answer. The rest of your answer (one hole, duct seal, insulation, plywood) is excellent - the only issue is "pre-terminated". Dec 16, 2022 at 15:23
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    The 4 cables start in the home at a switch. In this case, it would most likely be a POE switch which would have 4 connections to the cameras and one connection going back to your "router". (Typical home router is a combination of a router, a switch (typically with 4 ports, but not typically with POE) and a WiFi hot-spot, and sometimes a modem.) The 4 cables go from the switch, through the floor then spread out to the 4 camera locations. At each location, you install a surface-mount jack on the end of a cable. You use a short-as-practical patch cable to go from the surface mount jack to the Dec 16, 2022 at 17:01
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    jack on the camera. The plugs/jacks/cables are all passive, so as long as the wiring is done properly (all 8 wires through, T568A or T586B throughout) it is as if the camera was sitting right next to the POE switch. Dec 16, 2022 at 17:02
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Getting anything through a mobile home attic is darn near impossible. Go through the floor. One hole would be preferred. You will (or should) have to puncture the underside insulation which has a heavier outer shield than regular faced batt insulation. Seal up the hole in the floor with putty or expandable sealant and tape up the hole in the insulation. There is special tape for repairing that insulation that can be purchased at mobile home supply stores. Tack the cables up to the frame where you can so they don't lay on the ground. No need to put the cables in conduit. One of the most important issues is to keep the ground under the home clean of debris and dry. You should not have issues with insects or rodents or other creatures if there is nothing for them to eat or make a nest out of. They will go to the neighbor that doesn't take care of their property. Then as another job cover the perimeter to the ground with blocking, or blocks and wire fencing or lattice. There is even "mobile home skirting" if you want to go that route. Then you should be free from pests under the home.

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  • Great, there are plenty of coverings already (lattices in a lot of the areas), so rodents or even snakes would find it hard to get in there, but I just wanted to make sure we did not have to deal with that. Would you suggest pulling the cables back up INSIDE the house and then sending it through the walls to the camera? Or pull it up outside and conduit the outside? Dec 16, 2022 at 16:56
  • It's very difficult pulling through the walls and exit inside. I would conduit the cables outside. Some homes have vinyl siding over the original skin. You can sometimes hide a low voltage cable behind the corner trim. Inside is a problem. Much harder than a site built home, and depending on the year it was manufactured, you can have all sorts of barriers in the walls.
    – RMDman
    Dec 16, 2022 at 17:13

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