After our defeat last night at the hands of some stubborn wire, we decided to bring out some bigger guns. Not only did J. pick up some wire lubricant to make those wires slide through the conduit more easily, but he also snagged a chain hoist from Harbor Freight. Rather than break our backs, we'll let a tool do the hard work!
The deck is right above where we're pulling the wire, so he attached the hoist to the underside of the desk. You can see that in the pictures above. The green rope is what we are pulling through the conduit, and the wires are attached to the end of that rope.
With me lubing the wires and feeding them, and J. pulling on the other end, the wires were going through slowly. Every couple of feet, J. had to stop and reposition the rope on the hoist. We could gauge how far we were by how much rope was out of the conduit and, at about 2/3 of the way, I hear J. yell. Running as fast as I could with this bad back, I found him lying on his back on the ground. The rope had broken.
Fortunately, it broke outside the conduit and there was enough that we could continue to pull on. But that could have been disastrous! Had it broken in the conduit, we could have had to pull the wires out backwards and start all over.
Well, as you can see in that second picture, we finally have SUCCESS! Right as it was starting to get dark, the wires emerged from the conduit. We pulled it another 10 feet or so and called it quits for the evening.
This part of the project was pretty stressful and I think there are several lessons that we learned during this whole process. I'd like to share them here and maybe save someone some frustration.
- Always use bigger conduit than you need. We went by the solar company's specifications but going bigger doesn't violate electrical codes. It will only make your life easier.
- Minimize the number of angles. We had some bends in the conduit and then a 90 degree long angle near the house. The rule of thumb is that you shouldn't have more than two 90's and every bend or angle is going to make it harder to pull the wires through due to the friction.
- Invest in a bottle of wire lubricant and lube, lube, lube. It's messy, but the stuff evaporates later on.
- Don't tape the wires together before you pull them! The tape will snag on the conduit as you pull it.