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What, exactly, is smurf tube?

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
I have read about this on this site several times and people stated they could purchase it at HD, Lowes, etc. I went to HD, there seem to be a lot of things that could be it. Is it vacuum tubing? Electrical conduit? Does something special need to be used to be code compliant with low voltage stuff like HDMI and speaker wire? Any help would be appreciated.
post #2 of 35
Its Blue Carlon Conduit - you will find it in the electrical conduit area, Lowes & HD usually just stock the 1/2" and 3/4" but can be ordered bigger. Usually used for future proofing low voltage like Speaker wires and PJ cables.

Cheers,
Mark
post #3 of 35
Greg Powers has some good pics on his site (hope you don't mind Greg)





http://www.stargateunofficial.com/SGU_tSearch.asp
post #4 of 35
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the concise answer and pictures.
post #5 of 35
Carlon also makes various sizes of "smurf" tube in orange, the standard color for LV wiring, along with all the bits to do just about anything you'd want, like backless junction boxes, connectors, adapters. Here's a 2-page overview of the Resi-Gard line:

http://www.carlonsales.com/techinfo/...ng/IT-7F72.pdf

In our area, Lowes and HD have the 3/4" orange size in pre-cut 10' lengths, like the blue. Rolls are available from many places if you need a continuous run longer than that, or larger sizes.

If you are considering a new LV install before the drywall stage, the orange color would be worthwhile to distinguish the LV runs from anything else being installed.

I have no connection with Carlon; we used a lot of the Resi-Gard gear in our house to try to future-proof the LV wiring. Every LV wall junction box has an empty 3/4" tube up to the attic, or down to the basement (or both in a couple of important rooms), and there are several 2" runs from the structured wiring cabinet up and down too.

Mike
post #6 of 35
Any suggestions for a source for 1 1/2" smurf tubing? I can only find 1/2" and 3/4" locally. Carlon's catalog only gives 1 1/2" in 700' lengths (I need 10'-15'). I haven't found any online vendors yet.
post #7 of 35
Sleepy

If you only need about 10' - 15' try using the gray PVC conduit in comes in 1"1/2 and bigger
post #8 of 35
Smarthome.com sells 2". The word is check with your local electrical supply house, as the price and the shipping is pretty rich.
post #9 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by W00lly View Post

Sleepy

If you only need about 10' - 15' try using the gray PVC conduit in comes in 1"1/2 and bigger

Is that flexible? The studs are only 6" apart, so there's no way I can squeeze in rigid PVC. Is that common enough that I can pick it up at Home Depot?
post #10 of 35
Not something they stock locally at HD or Lowes around here. Might be possible via special order. Ironically, the local electrical supply house had even less than Lowes!
post #11 of 35
Has anyone ordered from this website? I know it's not the same as the Carlon, but I am having issues ordering in bulk from anyone (even local electrical supply companys). The price sure looks nice and the shipping fee is pretty good.

store.cablesplususa.com/networking-infrastructure-premier-conduit-raceway.html

Thanks in advance.

Mike
post #12 of 35
Hey guys.. I work for a major electrical supplier, and I'll tell ya we don't carry a whole lot of this stuff in the larger sizes. I only have 20' of blue 2" in the whole company..

Not sure what prices you're seeing out there but it comes up at $2.55 / foot here.. One thing you might consider is non-metalic liquid-tight conduit - it won't be as easy to install, but on the plus side it's tougher and there aren't any ridges to snag wires on. It actually comes up $.05 cheaper / foot too.

Just thought I'd throw that out there as another option that's probably going to be easier to get a hold of.
post #13 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by dc_pilgrim View Post

Greg Powers has some good pics on his site (hope you don't mind Greg)

http://www.stargateunofficial.com/SGU_tSearch.asp

I'am glad that the photos were helpfull.
post #14 of 35
There is also Petroflex Resi Guard, the dark orange stuff in the photos below... which comes in various sizes... similar to the Carlon (which is the light orange stuff in the photos below).

Used only for low voltage (will trim this up later):


and here's the left over... not sure what to do with it yet:
post #15 of 35
post #16 of 35
I can see how putting in an empty vertical run of smurf tube down from an attic or up from a crawl space would be good future proofing, but how about long horizontal runs that include corners (my situation) ? Some specific questions:

- Can you just push the wire in (as the Lowes guy I talked to suggested) or does it need to pulled with a snake/string ?

- How do you get the draw string in on a completed but empty run ? I read about the vacuum method but am wondering how long the run can be (I am installing 30' total with three 90 degree bends). Will a snake work ? Or is this something you do in sections, as the run is being assembled out of 10' lengths ?

- Once the tube already has cables in it, is a pre-installed draw string the only option for adding more ? At a pinch, could one of the existing cables be used to pull more ?

- How many Cat 5 cables is it realistic to put in one 3/4" tube ?

Sorry if these are basic questions. I am trying to imagine how all this will work out in advance but without having any hands on experience.

Thanks,
Brent
post #17 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwishred View Post

- Can you just push the wire in (as the Lowes guy I talked to suggested) or does it need to pulled with a snake/string ?

Vacuum, I use a shop vac. Try to push the line down a few inches or more and use a vacuum to do the rest. If the wire won't go down then use a piece of fishing line or string. I tie on a small piece from an old sock about the size of a marble, vacuum it down and then tie it on to the wire and pull the wire back.

This works in both Horizontal and Vertical runs.
post #18 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by killerdoberman View Post

This works in both Horizontal and Vertical runs.

But will it work with wires already in the tube ?

Thanks for the quick reply, BTW. This forum is wonderful.

Brent
post #19 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwishred View Post

- Can you just push the wire in (as the Lowes guy I talked to suggested) or does it need to pulled with a snake/string ?

Pushing only goes so far. Maybe 4-5 feet.

Quote:
- How do you get the draw string in on a completed but empty run ? I read about the vacuum method but am wondering how long the run can be (I am installing 30' total with three 90 degree bends). Will a snake work ? Or is this something you do in sections, as the run is being assembled out of 10' lengths ?

Vacuum worked well for 10-15 feet w/1 turn. Almost instaneous. Should work for longer.

Quote:
- Once the tube already has cables in it, is a pre-installed draw string the only option for adding more ? At a pinch, could one of the existing cables be used to pull more ?

I tied string to each cable as I pulled it. Rinsed and repeated with each subsequent pull.

Quote:
- How many Cat 5 cables is it realistic to put in one 3/4" tube ?

I was able to fit 3 12 ga speaker wires + a RCA cable in a 2" conduit. The last pull had a lot of friction to it. I'd guess for 3/4" only a couple cat5 cables. Go as big as possible for the conduit. Mind you 2"+ flex is difficult to source locally. Try electrical suppliers, or pay a fortune at smarthome.com
post #20 of 35
I use a fish tape to pull through the first pull string. Then every time I pull wire I also pull and New string through. That way you always have a string to pull additional wire through.

Also you need a pull box after every 360 degrees of bends/turns.

You can also buy small balloons at electrical supply house that are used to push (using compress air) or Pull using a vacum. The compressed air works better for long runs. I have a friend who has pulled string through 1000's of feet of conduit with compressed air.
post #21 of 35
does one have to use smurf tubing or simillar product when running low voltage wires? can i just run my speaker, rg6, and cat5 stuff inside the walls stapled to the framing? of course i will run conduit to the PJ location. thanks. later.
post #22 of 35
This conduit is typically used for L.V. stuff but is fully rated for line voltage. Still you don't want to mix them( line and lw voltage). Depending on what you can get your hands on regular aluminum flex isn't much different i price....

I have the infamous Carlon 'Smurf tube' in stock for local customers in Southern Cal. Costa Mesa to be exact. I cut 2" but smaller sizes you'll have to buy by the reel.
1/2" (200'), 3/4" (100'), 1"(100'). Also have one of the largest inventories of Lutron, also plenty of regular electrical items and lighting. You can contact me for more info paul@hankselectric.net
post #23 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by aham23 View Post

does one have to use smurf tubing or simillar product when running low voltage wires? can i just run my speaker, rg6, and cat5 stuff inside the walls stapled to the framing? of course i will run conduit to the PJ location. thanks. later.

If your wire is rated for inwall use it is ok. But it is unprotected and can be damaged during construction or in the future.
post #24 of 35
If you have complete access, why don't people use PVC? It's SO much cheaper than any of the flexible tube options I've been seeing.
post #25 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by msmCutter View Post
If you have complete access, why don't people use PVC? It's SO much cheaper than any of the flexible tube options I've been seeing.
The smurf conduit is easy to install. It can be purchased in a 100 foot roll so there are NO glue joints That way the wire does not gets hung up when your pulling it.

So basically it is ease and convenience!
post #26 of 35
I used lengths of flex conduit for a retrofit, inside a basement to attic chase. Rigid wouldn't have been possible.
post #27 of 35
I totally get it for a finished house. It just seems like overkill for a house without walls though. I wouldn't even both with glue in the exposed PVC.
post #28 of 35
I was told in another thread - PVC passes a ton of sound while this doesn't as much.
post #29 of 35
Yeah, the 1" conduit is easy to install.

50 feet of 2" is like wrestling with a bear, though.

Do any inspectors/AHJs have issues with the blue flex conduit for low voltage, since, I believe, it's rated for line voltage?
post #30 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

Yeah, the 1" conduit is easy to install.

50 feet of 2" is like wrestling with a bear, though.

Do any inspectors/AHJs have issues with the blue flex conduit for low voltage, since, I believe, it's rated for line voltage?

You can order it in the orange color, but most big box stores only carry the blue.
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