PVC for low voltage runs - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 14 Old 02-21-2008, 10:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello all-

I'm going to run PVC through the ceiling and walls to my media cabinet for easier runs later on. Any disadvantages or negatives to using PVC? If not, any recommended size for the PVC? (2in, 3in?)
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post #2 of 14 Old 02-21-2008, 10:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ericryd View Post

Hello all-

I'm going to run PVC through the ceiling and walls to my media cabinet for easier runs later on. Any disadvantages or negatives to using PVC? If not, any recommended size for the PVC? (2in, 3in?)


You should have no problems. Try an go with a minimum of 3" if you can, especially if you have a lot of angles in the run. I went with a 2" and it was awfully tight for just an HDMI and component cable run.
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post #3 of 14 Old 02-21-2008, 10:23 AM
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I think most people would say the 2" is the best minimum size (larger is great if you have room for it). Anything smaller than that can be hard to pull a wire through.

The advantage of plastic electrical conduit is that you can easily obtain "sweep" corners. These are the large radius bends that make pulling wire easier. Don't bother with regular 90 degree turns -- they are almost impossible to pull wire through. You can get "sweep" turns for regular white PVC, you might have to hunt a little for it though. And it still won't be quit as large a radius as the electrical sweeps.

The only other disadvantage to regular white PVC is that your electrical inspector might not like it. If someone starts poking inside your walls 10 years from now, they'll think it was a plumbing drain line.

Also, fasten it to the ceiling/walls very well. When you are pulling a thick cable, you'll be surprised how much force you can exert. I didn't bother running the cable is need *now* through it. I figure I'll just leave them in the wall when they are absolete. My conduit is for future use only.
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post #4 of 14 Old 02-21-2008, 10:23 AM
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The only negatives do not affect your wiring but may affect a construction inspection. For example, white PVC is often assumed to be water or sewer pipe, gray PVC is electrical, etc., but when it comes down to it your low voltage wires won't care that the pipe isn't blue or orange.

In college I learned the two answers to any question my boss ever asks. "It depends..." and "Given enough time and money..."
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post #5 of 14 Old 02-21-2008, 11:36 AM
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The wrong conduit type could also effect your fire insurance. At a minimum, you need to check the local building codes. Best to avoid an expensive mistake which is easily correctable before you begin.

Most building departments have the codes on line in searchable format, making it quite easy to do. A call to the code enforcement people would likely provide you with the answer quickly -- But if you lived in our area, they would also require you to have a permit and inspections.

Build to code, avoid the headaches ...
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post #6 of 14 Old 02-21-2008, 12:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks to all for the feedback.

I'm not too concerned about angles because i'm going to leave them open. The PVC will go from the projector running through a joist into a closet. The cable will then have about a foot of open room for the 90 degree, followed by another pvc that will go to the next curve. Again, as it is in the closet, it will be open so I can get to it.

I'll check the codes as well to verify i'm not doing anything that will cause issues later.

Has anyone installed a drywall access panel in the ceiling next to their projector? I was thinking of doing that. Have a small hole for the actual cables that are needed to go through and then the panel for gaining access to the pvc. Thoughts?
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post #7 of 14 Old 02-22-2008, 07:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ericryd View Post

Thanks to all for the feedback.

I'm not too concerned about angles because i'm going to leave them open. The PVC will go from the projector running through a joist into a closet. The cable will then have about a foot of open room for the 90 degree, followed by another pvc that will go to the next curve. Again, as it is in the closet, it will be open so I can get to it.

I'll check the codes as well to verify i'm not doing anything that will cause issues later.

Has anyone installed a drywall access panel in the ceiling next to their projector? I was thinking of doing that. Have a small hole for the actual cables that are needed to go through and then the panel for gaining access to the pvc. Thoughts?

I did 3" PVC... glad I did when pulling cables with larger connectors like VGA.



More pics

-Steve
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post #8 of 14 Old 02-22-2008, 10:32 PM
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Scaesare, where did you get the round blue outlet box in your picture?
I was looking all over for something like that when I was running my conduit, but could not find anything.


OP, I used three inch conduit as well. If you expect to use various signal feeds to your projector, now or in the future, the extra space is useful.

Thanks, PeaPod7.

PeaPod7
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post #9 of 14 Old 02-23-2008, 09:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeaPod7 View Post

Scaesare, where did you get the round blue outlet box in your picture?
I was looking all over for something like that when I was running my conduit, but could not find anything.


OP, I used three inch conduit as well. If you expect to use various signal feeds to your projector, now or in the future, the extra space is useful.

Thanks, PeaPod7.

It's referred to as a "mud ring", and you can get them in the elctrical aisle of any of the big box home improvement stores. I think I grabbed that one at Home Depot. They come in metal as well.

Here's a clearer shot if it:


-Steve
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post #10 of 14 Old 03-07-2008, 10:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ericryd View Post

Hello all-

I'm going to run PVC through the ceiling and walls to my media cabinet for easier runs later on. Any disadvantages or negatives to using PVC? If not, any recommended size for the PVC? (2in, 3in?)

We found it easier to use the following flexible wiring conduit in our theater - as you don't have to do any PVC pipe welds and it's real easy to do corners/curves. It's pretty heavy duty stuff, so it protects the cables well.

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post #11 of 14 Old 03-07-2008, 10:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgladiator View Post

The only negatives do not affect your wiring but may affect a construction inspection. For example, white PVC is often assumed to be water or sewer pipe, gray PVC is electrical, etc., but when it comes down to it your low voltage wires won't care that the pipe isn't blue or orange.

What about those color black flexible pipes that we sometimes hook to our spout? I'm guess there could be 3" versions of it. I'm thinking that it would be easier to insert them on holes that we will be putting on our ceiling joist.

Like this one

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post #12 of 14 Old 03-07-2008, 10:40 AM
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I don't think anyone mentioned in this thread - run a few strings through the conduit to pull with in the future. When you get to your last one some day in the future, use it to pull a few more through, if necessary. This makes it much easier, and smaller conduits aren't as much of an issue (though I'd still go with 3").

-Tim
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post #13 of 14 Old 03-10-2008, 05:10 PM
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I used Carlon ENT conduits (http://www.carlon.com/Master%20Catal....pdf)available at HD for all my speaker conduits and a central vac conduit for the video cables to the projector.

The ENT conduits are UL and CSA approved so your insurance will not complain. They are modular so making longer conduits is simple as snapping the two ends of each conduits to a coupling. The ENT will also snap into Carlon's low voltage boxes (http://www.carlon.com/Master%20Catalog/SCMS_2F54.pdf). I built a small panel that I mounted in my equipment room and all the conduits terminates in that location.

Once the conduits were all installed, I purchased nylon pull string from an electrical store. You tie an uninflated ballon to the string end and you insert the ballon inside the conduit at the low voltage box. In the equipment room, you use a shop vac at the other end of the conduit to pull the string into the equipment room. You can now tie your speaker cable at the box and pull your cable in the equipment room then cut the nylon string so if you can pull cables later in the conduit if you wish. I also used in the conduits in-wall speaker wires.

I have pictures of my contruction at this URL: http://picasaweb.google.com/electradriver/MyHomeTheater
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post #14 of 14 Old 03-18-2008, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miltimj View Post

I don't think anyone mentioned in this thread - run a few strings through the conduit to pull with in the future. When you get to your last one some day in the future, use it to pull a few more through, if necessary. This makes it much easier, and smaller conduits aren't as much of an issue (though I'd still go with 3").

Good point. Another way of handling this is to tie pull-string (available at your home center) that was as long as the conduit, to the end of the string that came with the conduit (or if you're building your own out of PVC - just run a pull-wire twice as long as your conduit run) . That way you can pull your wire through and then pull back your pull-line for use at a later date.
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