Conduit Mouse

Conduit Mouse

I’ve been playing with my snake a lot but there have been a few places it has been unwilling to go through the maze of conduits on our butcher shop walls. After much struggle I called on the mouse.

The conduit mouse is a cotton ball attached to a fishing line. I stuck the mouse in the conduit and then Ben used the vacuum to suck on the other end of the convoluted conduit. The mouse vanished from my end and nearly instantly teleported to Ben’s end of the conduit. It took seconds to do, including setup, and four minutes for us to stop laughing the first time. It’s that easy.

Seriously. I had spent half an hour struggling to get the snake, a long flexible rod of plastic, to go through this particularly nasty piece of conduit. Not only that but it was up in the ceiling of a tall room making life just that much harder. I tried the snake from both directions. No joy. It would go a little over half way from either end and stop.

The mouse did this in seconds. Maybe it was afraid of the snake.

We tied the mouse’s tail to the head of the snake and dragged the snake back through the convoluted conduit, after we stopped laughing, and attached the four 12 AWG stranded wires to the snake and pulled the snake back. Presto! Wires fed! Happy conduit!

Life is so easy with the right tools.

Outdoors: 24°F/4°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 64°F/60°F

Daily Spark: Just because someone has done something wrong doesn’t make it impossible.

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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6 Responses to Conduit Mouse

  1. Dan Moore says:

    Best. Idea. Ever!

    I’d have never thought of that Walter. So simple and so effective. Thanks for sharing.

    • I have read of people using ping pong balls like this but my conduits were too small for them so I was searching around for something smaller I could convince to carry a light line along the path. The cotton ball mouse works amazingly well. We were mostly doing 3/4″ conduit. For 1/2″ conduit I just removed a little cotton and then that flew through the tubing.

  2. traye says:

    I was an electrician in a past life and when we would install new equipment and have a long run of new conduit we had a soft plastic plug attached to string and wound use compressed air to shoot the plug then use the string to pull a pull wire then pull the wire bundle with the pull wire. That was much better than running in old conduit stuffed with wires, that was always a pain. Also very good boat builders will install wiring channel under the deck for installing new equipment, wiring on a boat is no fun.

    • Ooo… A compressed air gun. I’ll have to try that too.

      I installed significant amounts of extra conduit in the butcher shop when we poured the walls, floors and ceilings in anticipation of needing it in the future so we wouldn’t have to have surface mounted wires, or plumbing for that matter. Someday conduit.

  3. Farmerbob1 says:

    A little typo, Walter.
    “making live just”
    live = life

    We did this all the time for long runs when I helped build a mall, years ago. Instead of cotton balls, we used squares of plastic wrap and sandwich bags knotted in the middle and tied to a fishing line on a fishing pole, just like a lure. Open the bail on the fishing rod, start the vacuum at the other end of the line, and the plastic would shoot through the line. At the other end, the vacuum guy would remove the piece of plastic, and tie a piece of twine to the fishing line. The fishing line would then be wound back up by the guy with the fishing rod, dragging twine through the conduit. When the twine was all the way through, the guy with the fishing rod would then connect wires to the twine, get a bucket of wire grease, and we would start pulling wire back to the vacuum side.

    Back and forth. It worked pretty well up to 2″ conduit.

    Later, doing different types of wiring installs, I saw people using cobbled-together nerf compressed air rocket launchers mounted to fishing rods so they could shoot wires across wide open spaces in large drop ceiling enclosures. That was fun too!

    • Thanks for catching that. I have a friend who talked about the electric guy who installed for his house doing it through 2″ or 3″ for 500′. Like you described, they did progressively larger wires. The nerf sounds fun!

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