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#61007 - 01/14/06 12:08 PM Fishing 5'' PVC  
ayrton  Offline
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 201
I have a 460' run of 5'' Sched 40. 2 90 deg bends. One on each end. I had string in the pipe. Had used air compressor w/4'' emt mouse and it sailed right through.
Now, a couple mos later when I am going to pull wire, my help doesnt show up. I tied mt pulling rope to the end of the string and started pulling fromt the other end. Well, I pulled my tail through. Rope was too short, which I had known, I was going to tie another rope onto it, but, too late.
Now I cannot get mouse through. Used compressor again to no avail. Just bunching up the string. Used full bucket already. ANY ADVISE APPRECIATED!!

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades

#61008 - 01/14/06 12:31 PM Re: Fishing 5'' PVC  
hbiss  Offline
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 886
Hawthorne, NY USA
Is this an underground run? Ice? Maybe a real mouse? You might try a rod rather than blowing a string. Otherwise you are going to have to locate the blockage then deal with it.


#61009 - 01/14/06 12:40 PM Re: Fishing 5'' PVC  
Celtic  Offline
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 361
First, you need to get that wad of string out. A 1/4" snake *should* get past it...alternately, you could use a vacuum on one one end (sucking) and a vacuum (blowing) on the other end.

There is NO formula for this..trial and error/skill and luck, etc. It is a royal PITA. WHo knows what else is in there? A family of mice, rats, bottles and cans, a wad of ice, etc.

After clearing the pipe of what you know you put in it (string, rope, sweat and tears, every four letter word known to man) need to make SURE it's clear. Pull a 1/4" or 3/8" rope through (attached to string).
Ater getting the rope out, attach a mandrel (See links at bottom) to that rope, with your actual pulling rope attached to the other end of the mandrel(properly sized). This will clear all the debris (rats nests, concrete, etc) out of the pipe.

Now you can actual start pulling in your cable.

Mandrels & brushes:

A set of radios will make this task infinitly more palatable.

I can't imagine doing a 450' pull with only 2 ppl - both will be quickly wiped out from material handeling alone. What size wire is going in here? 350, 400?

Good luck.

~~ CELTIC ~~
...-= NJ =-...

#61010 - 01/14/06 12:53 PM Re: Fishing 5'' PVC  
ayrton  Offline
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 201
I already pulled evrything out. The pipe is empty, except for some water. I am pulling 15kv concentric.
The wire pulling itself is the easy part.
I use a Greenlee super tugger with rigging.
The blowing and sucking at the same time sounds good, Really good!!, just kidding, seriously that is a good idea.
What did you mean by blowing a rod instaed of string?? It is underground by the way.

#61011 - 01/14/06 01:23 PM Re: Fishing 5'' PVC  
Celtic  Offline
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 361
Duct rods:
This one is on a reel -

This one is in pieces -

The reel could be used in your application (does it go 450'?)

The pieces are infinite (just get more) - limited only by your own strength and bends in run.

I have used both, each has it pro's and con's.
I have even used wooden rods that have wheels on them - they do help (manhole situations in a duct bank)

~~ CELTIC ~~
...-= NJ =-...

#61012 - 01/14/06 01:33 PM Re: Fishing 5'' PVC  
e57  Offline
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876
It's the water wieghing down the string. Using a 5" proper sized mouse might help, but with water, it will sponge up enough to also weigh it down too. Sounds like you need a 460'+ fish tape, (You can get them in 500') or wait until the water is gone....

Blow the compessor for a few hours through the conduit to help get some of the water out. (Not that it'll do much) Then put a 5" mouse on a 500' fish tape, and help the compressor by pushing it in too, is your best bet. If it gets stuck, pull it out quick, and hopefully a bunch of water will come out with it. And wrench out your mouse... You might have to do it a bunch of times to get past the water.

Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason

#61013 - 01/14/06 01:41 PM Re: Fishing 5'' PVC  
Helectric  Offline
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 90
Brandon, SD
You might try inflating a plastic bag to a size just larger than the pipes ID. Once inflated tie it off so that the bag is not taut i.e., you want the bag to be a little mushy. Then tie your string to that and try and vac or blow it in. Sometimes this will work when there is a partial obstruction in the pipe. It conforms to the opening at the obstruction unlike a mouse that will just jam. If the pipe is partially full of water it will conform to the "open" section and actually pass over the water laying in the bottom of the pipe. In this case it may move more slowly through the pipe as it will be pushing a wake as it goes.

I used this once in a similar situation although the run wasn't as long as yours. If there's an obstruction and it stops there you may have to play with the string a little or experiment with the inflation level.

I also use this a lot when I'm on a job and the proper size mouse comes up missing. A sandwich bag works great on smaller pipe although you'd probably want to try a small trash bag in this case. Be sure and trim off the excess plastic.

Good luck!

[This message has been edited by Helectric (edited 01-14-2006).]

#61014 - 01/14/06 01:57 PM Re: Fishing 5'' PVC  
iwire  Offline
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
North Attleboro, MA USA
We use the 'plastic bag' method quite often and it gets through when the mouse won't.

Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician

#61015 - 01/14/06 03:38 PM Re: Fishing 5'' PVC  
Radar  Offline
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 349
Los Angeles, CA
Plastic bag works well if the conduit is partly filled with water. In this case, at 460' long, it is likely that at some point the pipe is completely submerged, unless the pipe is fairly level the entire run. If there is a low spot the pipe will fill at that point.

If that's the case, you might be able to blow some air past that point but the plastic bag may not make it past a solid slug of water any better than a mouse. Worth a try though, but next step is the rod.


There are 10 types of people. Those who know binary, and those who don't.

#61016 - 01/14/06 06:39 PM Re: Fishing 5'' PVC  
luckyshadow  Offline
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 308
Maryland USA
What we have done in the past with 5" pvc underground is;
We used an air compressor blowing around 150 psi. We made an adaptor to seal the end of the pipe with the air compressor. this way All the air pressure is forced into the conduit. After blowing the pipe for a couple of minutes we place our " mouse" into the pipe and blow it through, there again seal off the feed end as much as possible. It's important to have as much air as possible blowing into the pipe.
The trick I use for 5" is a softball.
I took some old softballs and peeled the outer covering off, I ended up with a plastic ball just smaller then the inside of a 5" pvc. I place this inside a sturdy plastic bag, then tie the string to the bag real secure. I even tape it. The best part of this set up is it will not absorb water and be weighed down it will push any water along with it.

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