electrical wires threaded through plumbing
Saturday, December 6 2003
The snow that fell all day yesterday added up to somewhere between eight and ten inches. Last year we attempted a policy of benign neglect with regard to the snow, attempting to shovel as little as possible. What we ended up with was a slick glacier of compressed snow that lingered until April. This year though, Gretchen and I took a different, more proactive approach. We shoveled out the whole driveway before we even needed to go anywhere.
This evening I managed to wire the new double-hinged copper swing lamp, though the only thing I could easily pull through it was thin speaker wire, the kind that one doesn't normally see used in 120 volt electrical applications.
It's fascinating to see how various materials hold up to theory in experiments such as this. I'd had no idea what to expect from the various stringlike materials that I pulled through. Dental floss and jute rope could be pulled through easily, but they weren't strong enough to pull wire behind them. Thin nylon cord was the best pulling material, because it was flexible enough to be flowed through the fittings with water and it was strong enough to tow the wire. But sometimes the wire itself didn't hold up too well to the process of being towed. The wire's insulation tended to be compressed by a certain fraction of its length, leaving a good inch or more of exposed copper when the wire emerged from the far end. Lubricating the insulation with rape seed (canola) oil helped minimize insulation damage, but the amount of damage couldn't be predicted. For example, I could get a thicker sort of single-conductor wire through the trickiest (five bend) of the lamp's three sections, but in a less tricky (two bend) segment, this wire's insulation was rendered useless by a series of punctures from rubbing against the inside of the pipe. This might have been the result of just one patch of rough copper in just one fitting.
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