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Hi I need to be able to mount a networking switch on the inside of a wiring box. The options I've come up with are mounting tape, velcro adhesive, and the conventional way of using screws drilled into the back of the box to hold up the switch. Any other options? What's the best route to take?

Also if I go the screw route, how should I do it? The box is made of thin white metal as you can see in the pic below with the old switch mounted on the metal backing. I've never done something like this before; how do I drill the holes and screw the screws into the holes? There's almost certainly no pipes/wires behind the wiring box right? Will there be wood behind the box? If not will a properly sized hole cut in the aluminum backing hold a properly sized screw securely enough to hold the weight of the network switch? (I'm guessing definitely otherwise the other switch wouldn't be held in place)

Sorry about the pic not being very revealing but I don't have any better pics and this is at a client's house.

Thanks!

enter image description here

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  • What's the size and weight of the switch? If it's similar to the one in the picture, Velcro is easiest. If it's heavy there are ways to use the various holes. Not screws into the back. Eg cage nuts in the square holes if the switch has keyholes for mounting
    – jay613
    Commented May 23 at 20:30
  • Heavy-duty velcro would be a good option if you need to move the switch in the future, and, perhaps, the quickest/easiest to implement.
    – gnicko
    Commented May 24 at 0:20
  • Definitely will consider those options, thanks. Commented May 24 at 22:55
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    I’m voting to close this question because it is work—for-hire and not DIY.
    – nobody
    Commented May 25 at 0:28

3 Answers 3

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Additional option - long cable ties.

With some moderate fiddling you should be able to get a cable tie through two of the rectangular holes in the back. Get a pair through side by side, and if they are not long enough, link another to each, and wrap right around the switch.

In response to comment asking how to easily fish them, here are cables ties as from the package (or as from my work pouch)

Cables ties as stored

Here they are with the slightly bent factory tip bent back against the tie body (180 degrees) and released.

Cables ties ends freshly bent

Here they are having been coiled tightly and released.

Cable ties freshly coiled and released

If you leave them they will eventually return close to the first picture, so time is of the essence. Bend tip and coil tightly (same direction as bent tip) then feed through a hole with the bent side towards you so you can manipulate the tip to come back out a lower hole (if going down) or a higher hole (if going up.) If there's not a lot of space behind the panel with the holes, the bent tip is most critical as the wall behind will push the tie forward. If there's lots of space the coil-curve is critical so you can get it to come back out without anything to push it forward.

Of course, you can also use stiff wire and tape to fish with, but ties are stiff enough to self-fish with a little care.

Trim off the free ends once it's tightened, and pay attention to where the corners of the switch are, with relation to the joining of the ties, so it looks neat and intentional when complete.

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  • What's the easiest way to fish a cable tie in one hole and then out another? Commented May 24 at 23:33
  • See edit with pictures. Too much fuss to set up pictures showing "in and out the holes," hopefully you have an imagination that works and can see how that functions.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented May 25 at 0:03
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  1. As @jay613 points out, Velcro is probably the easiest.
  2. Also as @jay613 points out, those holes are put into the networking panel on purpose. Figure out the manufacturer, and they probably offer ready-made mounting hardware that hooks into those holes to provide mounting points.
  3. I say that you could consider screws into the back. See that little standoff in the back in the lower left corner? That's there to help ensure that during installation there is a gap between the back of the network panel and whatever else is behind the panel (often drywall on the other side of the wall) to allow clearance for the manufacturer's mounting hardware through the holes. This also means that if you put a short screw through the back that is shorter than the depth of that standoff, you likely won't hit anything but air. But tap and/or push on the back to flex it a little bit to help confirm there is nothing interfering. Network switches often have keyhole mounting holes in the back, so a couple of strategically placed screws in the back of the panel that align with the mounting holes of the switch makes a nice installation. But you have to measure very carefully to achieve that alignment. If the panel is thin metal, sheet metal screws will probably suffice. You could use self-tapping so you don't even have to drill. If thicker metal, you could drill and tap holes and then use machine screws if you wanted to spend a little extra effort. This all assumes that you aren't going to be accidentally drilling into something important like AC wiring or plumbing. Do your due diligence to satisfy yourself that there is nothing important that you will accidentally drill into. If you can't satisfy yourself of that safety, then don't do it.
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    Actually the Measurement of the holes is simplicity itself. Tape a sheet of paper to the back of the switch. rub a pencil over the holes to make a precise pattern of where they are on the paper (assuming the instructions don't provide a pre-printed one) and then tape it to the metal to position your holes. Use sheet metal screws, since it's sheet metal.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented May 24 at 0:02
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    ....or use masking tape to rub the pencil against and just stick it where you want the holes....
    – gnicko
    Commented May 24 at 0:18
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    #2 .. what a rabbit hole! Looks like a legrand myq enclosure. Turns out, there is a whole line of specialized little holders and shelves on which you can spend your money and satisfy your ocd if generic cage nuts or Velcro leave you unsatisfied. There's a catalog of course!
    – jay613
    Commented May 24 at 9:21
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    Yup it's a Legrand On-Q EN4280. I'm leaning towards the mounting hardware seems like the most elegant way to do things. If not I'll probably go self-tapping sheet metal screws. Thanks guys! Commented May 24 at 23:32
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Most switches have holes for screws on the back:

enter image description here

So either you do it "the right way" and get the mounting bracket from the switch or metal box manufacturer, or...

A good way to put a screw in thin sheet metal is threaded rivet nuts ("rivnuts"):

enter image description here

First you make a hole, then insert the rivet and expand it (like a pop rivet). The end result is a threaded hole, where you can insert a screw to hold your switch. If you no longer need it, the screw can be removed and the rivet nut sits flush with the sheet metal so it's not a problem.

You can also use self tapping sheet metal screws, but in sheet metal there's not much thickness for the threads to bite.

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  • Yeah, a rivnut is a nice way to do that. I'm familiar with the use of those on bicycle frames where it's thin metal and you don't have access to the backside. Commented May 26 at 11:28

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