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I am about to run some network wires inside the wall at home. I had already done so but apparently too much pressure on them while pulling caused one of the pairs to go bad and therefore prevent gigabit speeds.

I am going to replace them so I was wondering what options do I have to make the pulling easier? I have been told soap (yes soap) could be used to pull AC cables but I am afraid it could damage the network cables? Would (sex) lube be any better?

Any thoughts on this?

Edit: Thanks everyone for the input! I just pulled some new wires, used dish soap and got someone to push from the other side and everything went really smooth!

  • Only in South America would they have they idea of using sex lube to pull data cable. – Tyler Durden Feb 17 '15 at 19:18
  • That's how I run my coaxial through the walls... haha – Juanpi Feb 17 '15 at 19:28
  • This will only really help if pulling through conduit. – Steven Feb 17 '15 at 21:46
  • These days u could just use ur electrical network to get gigabit speeds instead. Those wires are in the walls already – Peter Raeves Feb 18 '15 at 16:24
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When someone says soap you have to take in consideration their experience. They may very well mean soap, as it is slippery and would probably work. If, however, they're from the electrical/low voltage field they more likely mean Yellow-77 - or a similar variation available today. A gel-ish type is what you'll likely find at a big-box store. Personally, I prefer the yellow stuff, but I'm old-school like that.

I doubt sex lube is what you want. It's probably expensive and not really the consistency you're looking for. But it might work well enough if you've got an abundance laying around.

Ideal : Yellow77

When applying a pulling lube don't fall into the trap of thinking the entire wire must be saturated with the stuff. You shouldn't need much more than an initial amount on the head. It will work to coat the path for the following wire. This is why using the proper lube is beneficial. It's consistency works for you.

  • You mean like this: i.huffpost.com/gen/1075169/thumbs/… or just liquid soap? – Juanpi Feb 17 '15 at 18:59
  • No, I mean some liquid type. – ChiefTwoPencils Feb 17 '15 at 19:00
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    An abundance would be rather expensive for this task, I think. – Michael Hampton Feb 17 '15 at 19:00
  • @MichaelHampton, yes I said that'd be an expensive route. I meant if they already had the abundance. – ChiefTwoPencils Feb 17 '15 at 19:02
  • Wouldn't it cause any sort of corrosion on the wire? I mean, just normal soap. – Juanpi Feb 17 '15 at 19:02
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Lubrication is generally only useful when pulling through conduit. If you are pulling through open walls, usually the issues are obstructions, bends, small holes between framing members, etc.

All cables will stretch slightly when you pull them, the goal is to not pull so hard as to wreck the cable. Different cable types tolerate this better than others. Fiber optics have zero tolerance, Ethernet a bit of tolerance, and obviously big heavy gauge electrical wire will tolerate a lot more stress.

So usually bends are the issue as they significantly increase the required pulling force. After a few 90 degree bends, it becomes almost impossible to pull. When this happens, you will need one or more "pull points" where you can pull a section of wire into, and then continue pulling to the next area.

So for example, if you are pulling wire via your attic then down into a wall, first pull all the wire up into the attic including the amount of cable you need to get down the wall, and then finish fishing the wire down the wall.

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They make special lubricants that are used to pull wires and cables. Here's one example. http://www.homedepot.com/p/Klein-Tools-32-oz-Premium-Synthetic-Clear-Lubricant-51028/100660159

  • Thing is, I'm not in the US and I'm pretty sure this could be rather hard to find. I'm trying to get this done without very special items. – Juanpi Feb 17 '15 at 19:02
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    @Juanpi Do a search for wire pulling lubricant at your local suppliers. It's a fairly common item. Might be available where you got the Cat6 cable. – OrganicLawnDIY Feb 17 '15 at 19:03
  • Okay, I'll see if they've got anything to offer. Thanks a bunch! – Juanpi Feb 17 '15 at 19:06
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I can't imagine how hard you pulled the cable to snap one of the wires.

I suggest you reinstall the connectors. You probably just missed the conductor while putting them on.

If that doesn't work, pull the cable back out and look for any damage. It may have been snagged on a nail or something. Measure out where the damaged point would be in the wall and open it up. Then try to guide a new cable by hand past the potential rough spot.

  • I agree, I think it's more likely the cable was damaged pulling against something sharp (nail, metal bracket of some sort, splinter of wood). – Hank Feb 17 '15 at 22:32
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    @HenryJackson Thin copper wire isn't very hard to break. You can break #14 electrical wire pulling too hard on it. More likely, I'd imagine there was a kink that got pulled too hard, crimping the wire. The minimum bend radius for Ethernet is about 3". Bend the cable tighter than that, and you'll have signal problems. Although getting is snagged on something sharp could certainly do the trick, too. ;-) – Craig Feb 18 '15 at 5:05
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I have worked in the Caribbean on a couple of projects and I feel your pain on getting the right product to do the job, but I have to ask:

What are your walls made of? Solid Block? Hollow with Studs? What are you putting the cable in? Conduit? Free Air? How many Cables in the run? 1,2,3 Are you using a pull string of some sort?

Everyone wants to use "product" and the benefit only really comes when you can answer: "Are you EVER going to add additional cables to this EXACT location in the future?"

If the answer to that question is "no" Then you can definitely use LIQUID SOAP (it will dry sticky and make any future additions difficult with out adding water....... BUT IT WILL WORK

And yes......Sex lube will work also....... and agreed...... awfully expensive to use... but if you got it and you're in a pinch (pun intended) go for it.

ALSO...... DO NOT USE a petroleum product to lube your cables..... it will eventually destroy the outer cable jacket and effect the copper pairs inside.

Lastly.... try having someone push the cable while you pull

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You can use petroleum jelly. It's cheap and easy to find. Or wrap the cables in duct tape, duct tape is sturdy and has good gliding properties. Sex lube will not work because it dries out and is not viscous enough.

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    No, don't use petroleum jelly as it can degrade the insulation – Steven Feb 18 '15 at 1:08
  • Not under normal conditions. Petroleum jelly can only degrade insulation if it's liquid and hot. Choose a variant with high viscosity. – Martin Hansen Feb 18 '15 at 8:53

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