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Old 12-12-2018, 12:47 AM   #1
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Default battery powered vacuum on 20 feet emt conduit

Iam having a hard time unwinding and winding up a fish tape, and I have to install pull strings on 1/2 inch emt conduit that runs for about 20 feet, with couple of stub 90 bends in them. Would a battery powered vacuum work well?
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Old 12-12-2018, 12:51 AM   #2
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It's 20' of fish tape, that's like 5 seconds to wind and unwind. If this isn't finished space, I am not even winding it, just heading to the next conduit.

Not sure if the vac would work, but pretty sure it would take longer.
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Old 12-12-2018, 03:27 AM   #3
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Fish tape is your best bet. You could almost push the conductors through that. Almost and even maybe.
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Old 12-12-2018, 06:09 AM   #4
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You should be able to do that with a drinking straw, I am sure a battery vac will work. A 25' scrap of solid wire would work, just about anything would work.

Why are you having trouble with the fish tape?
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Old 12-12-2018, 06:34 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Wire Tags View Post
Iam having a hard time unwinding and winding up a fish tape, and I have to install pull strings on 1/2 inch emt conduit that runs for about 20 feet, with couple of stub 90 bends in them. Would a battery powered vacuum work well?
If you pull on a fish tape by holding the reel the steel tape will bind up. If you have done that just throw it away... trying to get it untangled will take you forever. Remember to only pull on the steel tape itself using an ideal hand puller or linemen’s pliers that have a tape puller built into them. With a good working FT what you are doing shouldn’t take long at all.
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Old 12-12-2018, 08:28 AM   #6
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If you can't buy a new tape you can clean some kinks out like this....

We used s bends in conduit too.

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
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Old 12-12-2018, 08:46 AM   #7
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I have never scrapped a fish tape. I have lost them I have given them away I have had them stolen I have occasionally spent way more time on them than they are worth, but I have never given up on a fish tape. I wouldn't allow someone to give up on a fish tape in my presence. They are always fixable.

Sometimes you just have to pull, sometimes you have to push it into the reel to get it to pull, sometimes you have to turn the handle, sometimes you have to whack it sideways.

Like with most things in life, my advice to you is lubricate. Use some WD-40, get it on the plastic seam, and the part of the handle that goes in the seam, and the tape inside the reel. Silicone would work better but it stains a lot of things permanently so don't use that.

I have tried the zig zag / slalom nails method @zac posted and it definitely works if you have nails on hand, but I usually straighten the kinks by tying one end of the tape to a fixed object and walking it out, and just straighten the kinks somewhat by hand as I go. Then wipe it with a rag (with some solvent or soapy water if possible) from end to end and double check there's no bad kinks. It doesn't need to come out perfectly straight.

Then reel it up, wiping it down with a rag wet with WD40 as you go, keeping light tension on it as you reel. It will be better than factory when you're done.

Last resort you can always take it apart, but beware, that is a SPRING in there Comedy can ensue. But if there's anything live around like an open panel or etc. it won't be funny at all for you, only for the less empathetic Youtube viewers later.
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Last edited by splatz; 12-12-2018 at 10:24 AM.
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Old 12-12-2018, 10:29 AM   #8
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When you say a 'couple 90s', is that as in 2 or maybe more than 4?
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Old 12-12-2018, 10:32 AM   #9
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I have never scrapped a fish tape. I have lost them I have given them away I have had them stolen I have occasionally spent way more time on them than they are worth, but I have never given up on a fish tape. I wouldn't allow someone to give up on a fish tape in my presence. They are always fixable.

Sometimes you just have to pull, sometimes you have to push it into the reel to get it to pull, sometimes you have to turn the handle, sometimes you have to whack it sideways.

Like with most things in life, my advice to you is lubricate. Use some WD-40, get it on the plastic seam, and the part of the handle that goes in the seam, and the tape inside the reel. Silicone would work better but it stains a lot of things permanently so don't use that.

I have tried the zig zag / slalom nails method @zac posted and it definitely works if you have nails on hand, but I usually straighten the kinks by tying one end of the tape to a fixed object and walking it out, and just straighten the kinks somewhat by hand as I go. Then wipe it with a rag (with some solvent or soapy water if possible) from end to end and double check there's no bad kinks. It doesn't need to come out perfectly straight.

Then reel it up, wiping it down with a rag wet with WD40 as you go, keeping light tension on it as you reel. It will be better than factory when you're done.

Last resort you can always take it apart, but beware, that is a SPRING in there Comedy can ensue. But if there's anything live around like an open panel or etc. it won't be funny at all for you, only for the less empathetic Youtube viewers later.

I have never tossed one either. I have cut a lazy 'w' pattern in a block of 2x4 and used that to pull the tape through with decent results for straightening.
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Old 12-12-2018, 10:33 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Wire Tags View Post
Iam having a hard time unwinding and winding up a fish tape, and I have to install pull strings on 1/2 inch emt conduit that runs for about 20 feet, with couple of stub 90 bends in them. Would a battery powered vacuum work well?
I know it is getting late in the year but this is easily post of the year so far.
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Old 12-12-2018, 10:35 AM   #11
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I have never tossed one either.
I do not believe this one bit.
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Old 12-12-2018, 12:36 PM   #12
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I do not believe this one bit.
You want a pick of the 30 I still have hanging around my garage?


If they get messed up I've cut them into smaller lengths for various uses.
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Old 12-12-2018, 07:27 PM   #13
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You want a pick of the 30 I still have hanging around my garage?


If they get messed up I've cut them into smaller lengths for various uses.
That reminds me of a guy that used to work for me who had 30 hammers. I feel guilty now that I only have 3. My career has been a failure!
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Old 12-12-2018, 07:43 PM   #14
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I have never scrapped a fish tape. .
I haven't either but I have chopped my share into 10' lengths

A fish tape will last a long damn time unless you do stupid **** with it. If you absolutely MUST pull it with a tool like sidecutters, don't freaking bend it.
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Old 12-12-2018, 09:45 PM   #15
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I haven't either but I have chopped my share into 10' lengths

A fish tape will last a long damn time unless you do stupid **** with it. If you absolutely MUST pull it with a tool like sidecutters, don't freaking bend it.
I messed up my BIL's fish tape. He bought it at Lowes or Depot and it looked like stainless but lighter. Not like Ideal fish tapes. Bright metal of some sort.

Anyway I tried to suck a jet line through an underground run without success.
I told him to go get one. He did.
Once it stopped I started twisting the reel. Instead of the tip spinning, the tape twisted.
Oops.

Turns out his contractor hit it doing some excavating.
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Old 12-12-2018, 10:12 PM   #16
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Quote:
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If you can't buy a new tape you can clean some kinks out like this....https://youtu.be/mfGvQEOunQM

We used s bends in conduit too.

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
weaving through the holes in a stick of unistrut works too
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Old 12-13-2018, 07:42 AM   #17
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That reminds me of a guy that used to work for me who had 30 hammers. I feel guilty now that I only have 3. My career has been a failure!
I may have more than 30 hammers if you add them up, ball pien, dead blow, claw, sledge, auto body, scaling, sheetmetal, yup maybe 40....or more.
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Old 12-13-2018, 08:04 AM   #18
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I would just unwind 20’ of tape and drag it from pipe to pipe.
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Old 12-13-2018, 08:05 AM   #19
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I may have more than 30 hammers if you add them up, ball pien, dead blow, claw, sledge, auto body, scaling, sheetmetal, yup maybe 40....or more.
I have one. I may have lost 40.
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Old 12-13-2018, 08:23 AM   #20
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I have one. I may have lost 40.

I probably have gapped 40 pairs of diagonal cutters (I guess it is not politically correct anymore to call them a pair of d*k*s ).
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