After being disconnected from QuickBooks for literally the 30th time last Tuesday I decided that I had to run an ethernet cable to my upstairs office. Wireless does not work well in my house as it was built about 1910 and has plaster and lathe walls.

The cable comes into the house on the lower level so I had to figure out how to get the ethernet cable from the cable modem on the first floor to the upstairs office.

I used my internet provider’s speed test and clocked the wireless speed at 20.43 Mbps. No wonder QuickBooks kept kicking me out. The speed is about 99 Mbps near the router but the router is a long way from the office.

The solution came via the laundry chute.

Tools and materials used:

  • 2 six foot sections of 1/2” PVC conduit
  • One junction box
  • Cat 5e indoor & outdoor ethernet cable
  • Clamps to hold the conduit in place
  • Ethernet cable terminals
  • Ethernet cable crimper
  • Ethernet cable tester
  • Cordless drill
  • Drill bit
  • Headlamp flashlight
  • Non-contact voltage tester
  • Three shelving boards
  • Respirator
  • Gloves
  • Long sleeve shirt, long pants, and biker type skull cap
  • Work Boots
  • Spax (Torx T-20) screws. (I never use phillips screws if it can be avoided.)
  • Wire stripper/cutter
  • Wire fishing rods
  • 3m adhesive clip x 1
  • Cable holders
  • Patching compound

Time estimate: 4 hours

Actual time: 24 to 32 hours

I ran the cable from the office, into the attic, down the laundry chute, and to the router. It was a relatively simple project with the exception of running the cable through the attic.

 

The Conduit in my messy basement

 

 

Looking up the laundry chute with the conduit and ethernet cable in place. I dropped quite a few screws and other items down the cute while attaching the conduit. Ethernet cable would not require conduit but the conduit should help avoid clothes being caught on the wire. I plan to close the chute off and put a fire break or breaks in it eventually but that is a project for another day.

 

The blown in insulation from the 1980’s made moving around in the attic dirty and slow work. There is about 30 years worth of dust and who knows what else on top of the insulation.

 

The blown in insulation in the attic is filthy and hides many things. The boards are to avoid stepping on wires or through the ceiling.

 

What is below the insulation is knob and tube wiring that is still in use. I am planning on writing about my home rewiring project on this blog sometime in the not too distant future. The wiring will be uncovered as soon as I can get to the project.

 

Active knob and tube wiring covered by insulation. No problem. Not!

 

Since I didn’t know where the wires were I used the non-contact voltage detector to find the wires and turned off the power when I was in the attic. The testing turned out to be a very good thing as I would have drilled into a wire had I not used the tester.

 

Don’t Drill Here!

 

I used the shelving boards to crawl over and stand on while in the attic. With the insulation over the rafters, it would have been difficult to determine where it was safe to step. I also took down and disposed of an old TV antenna that was in the attic thus eliminating a hazard for anyone working in the attic.

 

These shelves are above the laundry chute and they are hardwood rather than pine. Drilling through them with the weak Ni-Cad powered drill didn’t work. I switched to my corded drill and it still was challenging.

 

 

There is the hole

 

My children helped with the project or it would have taken much longer than it did. And no, they didn’t go into the attic.

Since the insulation was put in in the 1980’s it should not be asbestos but I still covered up and used a respirator for protection then quickly showered after finishing in the attic.

 

The ethernet cable entering the office
The cable in the office. Yes, the extension cord will go away after the wiring project gets finished… whenever that is. In the meantime, I use a heavy duty extension cord and it is only carrying current to relatively low powered items.

 

Dog and Router.jpg
Behold the portal of knowledge!

I originally thought the project would take about four hours. The actual time was far longer. The project took most of the hours I had on Wednesday through Saturday. After doing the project I could almost certainly do it again in about a day but the first time through involved quite a bit of planning and figuring out exactly how to route the ethernet cable. Some time was also devoted to a ceiling fan project that I’ll write about when it is finished. Detected electrical wires in some spots caused me to have to change the routing from what I originally planned. Quite a few hours went to about four trips to the store and other errands that we did while out.

 

I am now making time estimates for each step of my current and future projects. Comparing estimated to actual time should improve future time estimates. As we all know, projects usually take longer and cost more that we plan on.

The speed direct wired is 174.65 Mbps. Much better. Now I gotta get to work.

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