The cabling tip in your July issue (“Retrieving a weighted string from an uninsulated wall,” July 2011, page 40), although effective and a quick win, can also be a huge health and safety risk. Sticking an uninsulated coat hanger into a wall sight unseen can lead to electrical shock.
In my 30 years in security I have witnessed this two times. Hence the reasoning for our own creation of an insulated, approved-to-600-v “coat hanger” for retrieval of cables inside of walls.
One important step also missing from this tip is the investigation as to what is inside of the wall using whatever methods are available, such as drawings, transducers, x-ray, speaking to the building owner, etc.
Chubb Edwards, a UTC Fire and Security Company
I question the tip suggesting the use of fishing sinkers and a wire coat hanger. My company and many others work hard to project and deliver professionalism in our appearance and product. We spend thousands obtaining and maintaining the equipment to complete proper installations. There is plenty of competition from lower-tier companies without having to compete with “Joe Everyman” who has a tackle box and a closet.
There is no doubt that in a pinch, many technicians have resorted to using whatever items are on hand to accomplish a task—including items such as a weighted string and hook. We often facetiously refer to this as “field engineering” or “pulling a MacGyver.” But to portray this tip as a common installation practice is sloppy, and perpetuates the myth that anyone can install cabling. You might as well run a tip telling people where in the van the new guy can find the cable stretcher.
Submitted via email
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