Conduit Woes... - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #1 of 5 Old 03-27-11, 10:19 AM Thread Starter
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Conduit Woes...

So i'm trying to work out this conduit situation for the projector. The Projector is going to be in the middle of the room, in a solid ceiling... Right now i'm pulling 2 x HDMI, 1 x VGA, 1 x componant, 2 x CAT6A -- pre-wiring is cheap....

But I want to future proof myself, problem is, there is no way to avoid a minimum of 2-3 bends... I also won't want to run 6" irrigation pipe (joke) in order to futureproof myself.

So I had a thought... what if I run my cables I am running now -- outside of the conduit, and install the conduit -- empty.

Seems overkill, but hey if I have access NOW - why put stuff IN the conduit....
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post #2 of 5 Old 03-27-11, 05:47 PM
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Re: Conduit Woes...

I think that depends on the building codes in your area. Here in Houston that wouldn't be a problem, but in Las Vegas I think all low voltage cable is required to be in conduit. Not sure where you are, but that is the only reason I could see for you having to put the new stuff in conduit.

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post #3 of 5 Old 03-27-11, 07:31 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Conduit Woes...

100% not required here.

Actually because of my setup I decided not to pull the conduit at all.

If I have a requirement for something in the future, i'll pull it across the ceiling from the soffit - then box it -- won't look bad, and much easier.
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post #4 of 5 Old 04-06-11, 12:10 PM
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Re: Conduit Woes...

The unknown in future proofing is the size of the cable and the size of the connectors on the ends. 3" conduit would be fairly safe. I ran 1-˝" for the HDMI to my projector and it only had one 90° bend. I did have a bit of an issue trying to feed it through because it was getting caught at the bend because the cable was fairly stiff. A more subtle bend would have prevented that (maybe two 45° bends or a smooth flexible elbow). The trend seems to be smaller connectors and even wireless. Display Port and HDMI are pretty small.

You will want extra space inside the conduit. Code for line voltage is about 1/3 wire to 2/3 empty space ( Of course the fules are a little different for low-voltage but packing the conduit too full will either prevent or make future cables runs difficult. It could also make pulling out existing cables impossible. So for future proofing go as big as you can. 3" or even 4" is playing it safe but you could get away with smaller if you don't plan on running too many cables through it.

One thing to do when first installing the conduit is to put a nylon pull string inside it before sealing up the wall/ceiling. When ever you run a cable use the pull string to pull it through along with a new pull string. That makes future runs easy.

The point to make about code standards is that bare cables run in-wall or through ceilings usually need to be in-wall rated. That is the jacketing is fire resistant and won't produce toxic smoke. The last thing you need is a fire starting at one end of your room and spreading super fast because a wire acts like a firecracker's fuse along a joist and/or the floor above it. Spread time is your best or worst ally in a house fire.

I'd say size your conduit and run the wires through it. Figure if they aren't you might not be able to fish them out. Even if you can fish them out, they might rip insulation out of the wall and/or ceiling and ruin all the hard work you did in soundproofing. If you replace the cables at some point you could resell them or use them somewhere else.
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post #5 of 5 Old 04-07-11, 10:52 AM
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Re: Conduit Woes...

Sounds like you are not going with conduit, but for future readers I'll offer this:
  1. Line voltage and signal wire MUST be in separate conduits. No exceptions.
  2. 2" conduit is actually very big and if dedicated for future use is plenty if not overkill.
  3. Recommend running empty conduits whenever possible for future use. Pulling wire through a conduit that already has (even a little) wire can be a pain not to mention higher risk of damaging cables.
  4. A couple of bends is not a major problem, but having long sweep elbows will make pulling cables much easier. If you need more than that, consider installing a pull box in a convenient (i.e., easy to access and easy to cover up) between the source and destination. Note that NEC requires a pull box if your total bends exceeds 360-degrees (e.g., four 90-degree elbows installed in any configuration).
  5. Don't forget the pull string. Just take a length of nylon string, tie a wadded up napkin to one end of the string and use a vacuum to pull it through to the other end of the conduit. Then tie the strings at both ends of the conduit (leave a few feet of slack to make tying to your cable easier).
  6. As has already been stated, but which bears repeating, is that any exposed wire installed above ceiling, within walls, or risers, needs to have the appropriate rating. Blue Jeans Cable has an excellent article explaining the different ratings and their applications.

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