Design Issues and Solutions I need to run 10 cables up a cinder block wall. How can I mount them?

MRW Lights

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2017
Location
NYC
Do you have a hammer drill? Do you know what's on the other side of the wall? Is it permanent? What's above and below and WHY? I'm also assuming a standard pick line is not available to you for reasons of?

Sorry for so many questions, but I have so many questions!
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
I want to run 10 stage pin cables up a cinder block wall about 20' straight up to the grid. I have not done this before. Any ideas how to bundle them together and attach them to the wall?
Same queries as MRW Lights:
Permanent? One night?? One weekend??? One week???? One month?????
For a night or two; choke a Span set (Fire proof GAC Flex sling, even better) around the bundle near the top, add 3 to 2 block and lots of muscle.
Tie lines every few feet down to keep things tidy.

Nothing at the top more than adequate to support the weight:
Hammer drill. 3/8" or 1/2" lag anchors and BUTCH, preferably rated, eye hooks intended to be screwed into lag anchors.
One notch better: Hammer drill. Tamp-in anchors + rated FORGED shouldered eye-bolts.
PLEASE do tell more.
Calling: @egilson1 Please comment.

Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 
Last edited:

Morte615

Active Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2011
Location
Clermont, FL
If permanent (or temporary but may come up again) I would look at UniStrut. A bit more expensive but more robust and gives you other attachment options later.
 

MarshallPope

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2009
Location
Auburn, New York
If permanent (or temporary but may come up again) I would look at UniStrut. A bit more expensive but more robust and gives you other attachment options later.
There's a nice unistrut solution starting around 11 minutes into this video.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DRocker

egilson1

Senior Team
Senior Team
CB Mods
Premium Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Location
Boston, MA
I’d be curious as to the need/period that this is used for. There are some issue regardless, such as bundling that many SP cables together MAY cause some heating issues based on current draw.

Can we get some more info as to what your doing, how long it will be there for, and how much load will be on the circuits?
 
Last edited:

ACTSTech

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2019
Location
USA
This has so many variables. What's the gauge of the wires and what's the load going to be? Why are they running up the wall and where are they originating? Are they coming from a floor box going to an instrument?
 

Jay Ashworth

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2014
Location
St Pete FL USA
If it's permanent, you can't do it: that's an "extension cord" by code, and those cannot be installed permanently, I'm pretty sure. You'll need an electrician to pull THHW (probably) in conduit to the destination location, and put Bates receptacles *there*.

(Standard disclaimer: I am not an electrician (nor an attorney); if following my advice breaks something, you get to keep all the pieces. Or ashes.)
 

DRocker

Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2019
Location
Brentwood
So here is a little more info. I am the "technical director" for our drama dept. Really, I am the woodshop teacher who oversees the sound and lights for our shows. I have learned everything I know (And I don't claim to know much) by watching videos and I have a friend in the business who is an "expert" who helps me out when I get stuck on something. We have a school theater that needs more lights. I bought a dimmer that has 20 stage pin connections because that is what all the other lights use. It is the same dimmer that we currently have so I thought it was a good choice even though it is old. The dimmer is mounted about 8 feet off the floor near the company switch so it can get power. ( I put it there and I can move if as well) The added lights will all be up on the grid. I got hundreds of feet of stage pin cable at an auction for $40.00 with the connectors. So I thought I could just run that cable up the wall and then to the lights. But it sounds like that may be a problem. I do not want to do anything that is illegal or unsafe in any way. In my mind it's like running an extension cord. The wall is cinder block and I can drill into and mount brackets or whatever.
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
So here is a little more info. I am the "technical director" for our drama dept. Really, I am the woodshop teacher who oversees the sound and lights for our shows. I have learned everything I know (And I don't claim to know much) by watching videos and I have a friend in the business who is an "expert" who helps me out when I get stuck on something. We have a school theater that needs more lights. I bought a dimmer that has 20 stage pin connections because that is what all the other lights use. It is the same dimmer that we currently have so I thought it was a good choice even though it is old. The dimmer is mounted about 8 feet off the floor near the company switch so it can get power. ( I put it there and I can move if as well) The added lights will all be up on the grid. I got hundreds of feet of stage pin cable at an auction for $40.00 with the connectors. So I thought I could just run that cable up the wall and then to the lights. But it sounds like that may be a problem. I do not want to do anything that is illegal or unsafe in any way. In my mind it's like running an extension cord. The wall is cinder block and I can drill into and mount brackets or whatever.
@DRocker Idle curiosity: What dimmer(s) do you have; make and model?
In the Equity / IA regional theatre I was with, on a per production basis (10 rehearsal days on stage + 3 eight performance weeks) we'd have done exactly what you're proposing: I'd have choked a GAC-Flex sling around 2 or 3 feet below the vertical lift, then used an old-fangled 3 to 2 block to haul the cable bundle up to height.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 
  • Like
Reactions: DRocker

DRocker

Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2019
Location
Brentwood
@DRocker Idle curiosity: What dimmer(s) do you have; make and model?
In the Equity / IA regional theatre I was with, on a per production basis (10 rehearsal days on stage + 3 eight performance weeks) we'd have done exactly what you're proposing: I'd have choked a GAC-Flex sling around 2 or 3 feet below the vertical lift, then used an old-fangled 3 to 2 block to haul the cable bundle up to height.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
Thanks. Glad to hear I am not too far off base on this plan.
 

Jay Ashworth

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2014
Location
St Pete FL USA
Ok, well, that's a slightly different story.

One of the houses in which I work has ERI Scrimmer stick dimmers attached to each dead-hung batten, and extension cords of suitable rating going from those to the light fixtures. Since fixtures come only with short tag cords, and you can't put them close enough together to plug the tags directly into dimmers, you have to use extensions. So I assume that's legal, if you can plug the cords directly into the dimmer packs.
 

What Rigger?

I'm so fly....I Neverland.
Joined
Aug 24, 2006
Location
PPT.
So here is a little more info. I am the "technical director" for our drama dept. Really, I am the woodshop teacher who oversees the sound and lights for our shows. I have learned everything I know (And I don't claim to know much) by watching videos and I have a friend in the business who is an "expert" who helps me out when I get stuck on something. We have a school theater that needs more lights. I bought a dimmer that has 20 stage pin connections because that is what all the other lights use. It is the same dimmer that we currently have so I thought it was a good choice even though it is old. The dimmer is mounted about 8 feet off the floor near the company switch so it can get power. ( I put it there and I can move if as well) The added lights will all be up on the grid. I got hundreds of feet of stage pin cable at an auction for $40.00 with the connectors. So I thought I could just run that cable up the wall and then to the lights. But it sounds like that may be a problem. I do not want to do anything that is illegal or unsafe in any way. In my mind it's like running an extension cord. The wall is cinder block and I can drill into and mount brackets or whatever.
@DRocker, your profile says you are from Brentwood....as in LA? If so, message me, I may have contacts that may be available.

As for permanently mounting to the wall: You can't do this if it's a firewall, and that's not always easy to discern visibly. You would want the school to get that info for you. Drilling into a firewall kind of defeats the purpose, know what I mean?
And yeah, if you're talking about doing this permanently, you really can't. Any extension cord (and that's what these count as everywhere) in continuous use for more than 90 days and more than a certain amount of hours a day, has to be a conduit run. (ETCP electricians, help me out here....I can't remember the particulars)
What you might consider is talking with the schools facilities/plant operations department. Keep us updated, yeah?
 

RickR

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2009
Location
Spokane, WA the great "Inland Northwest"
Using portable equipment in a permanent installation is against NEC/ IBC and probably others. Lots of folks confuse portable and temporary, but they are very different in codes. The 90 day thing is for temporary. Portable is never allowed to replace installed, but that distinction is tricky.
NFPA 70 400.12 (4) bans attaching flexible cords to building surfaces. Except for busways, that could be a solution.

Rather than getting into those weeds, I agree you should have a talk with the powers that be. Maybe this idea can be used while permanent solutions are developed. Cover yourself from venturing beyond your field. Consider that the world is going LED.

FWIW my first thought for your question is rope. Secure the cables to a rope and lower it into place. Maybe hold off on spending more money and effort until you are certain of the best solution.
 

macsound

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2018
Location
San Francisco, CA
If what you're doing isn't actually permanent, which it doesn't sound like it is since you already have other permanently installed dimmers, and just planned on being used sometimes, like for band concerts etc, I'd recommend making yourself a bundle of cable with a rope and pulley and a safety for when the bundle is stored.
So when needed, you can heft your dimmer out, rope your cable coil down from the grid and plug into your dimmer pack.
 

mbrown3039

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2018
Location
vegas, baby..!
The bottom two thirds of the posts above mine are on point - these are extension cords which are acceptable only for temporary use (is it still 90 days in CA? It's 30 here in NV)...So, it's either conduit or you pull the cables in/out as needed and make sure someone sees you doing it so you can document that you actually do that.

The ocassional 1' stick of strut anchored to the wall (if fire-rated, fill the penetrations with intumescent fire caulk) with a D-ring or such to help hold the cable tight to the wall might be a good idea.
 

Users who are viewing this thread