Get a pullstring through inaccessible ceilings with field-and-stream tactics

In older buildings, retrofitting is often difficult because hallways have drywall ceilings, making it hard to access the space above from below. There are also cases where the ceiling space is accessible, but the area below does not have the space for the necessary equipment for a long cable pull. In both cases, whether it`s composite or Category 5 cable, pulls are often too long to use a telescopic pole or similar device.

Jul 1st, 1999
Th Cim64177 15

Diana Rhinehart

Marine Corps Air Station Telephone Office

Problem

In older buildings, retrofitting is often difficult because hallways have drywall ceilings, making it hard to access the space above from below. There are also cases where the ceiling space is accessible, but the area below does not have the space for the necessary equipment for a long cable pull. In both cases, whether it`s composite or Category 5 cable, pulls are often too long to use a telescopic pole or similar device.

Solution

In the case of a drywall ceiling, find a plenum access area or go to an adjacent room that provides the best route to the ceiling space. Take a CO2 paintball gun and attach a fishing reel to the barrel with cable ties. Attach a round lead weight to the fishing line and wrap the sinker in masking tape. The taped-up weight should fit snugly in the barrel. The tape not only allows the weight to fill the circumference of the gun barrel, but also provides cushioning to prevent damage if the projectile hits a wall or another part of the ceiling. Aim and fire the pistol through the desired cable route. Attach a pullstring to the fishing line, and reel it in. The paintball gun should provide excellent aiming ability and a fairly flat flight for accuracy.

Procedure

•Use cable ties to attach a fishing reel to the barrel of the paintball gun.

•Wrap a round, lead weight with masking tape.

•Attach the lead weight to the fishing line, and muzzle-load the weight into the barrel.

•Carefully aim and fire the gun through the desired cable route.

•Remove the lead weight and attach a pullstring to the fishing line.

•Reel the pullstring back to the paintball gun.

•Pull cable with the newly established pullstring.

Click here to enlarge image

A paintball gun and a fishing reel can be fitted together and used to make a tough cable pull easy in an otherwise inaccessible environment. The firepower provides access for the pullstring, the ways and means for the cable.

Click here to enlarge image

Caution should be used when discharging any type of firearm, even a paintball gun. The cable route should be well thought out, and people should stay clear of the cable path.

Diana Rhinehart is an engineering technician at the Marine Corps Air Station Telephone Office in Beaufort, SC. This tip was submitted for the Cabling Installer Tips` Contest at Cabling Installation Expo `98, last October in Atlanta.

More in Home
AV over Twisted-Pair
Sponsored
AV over Twisted-Pair