Electrician Band and Meter

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electrician band (aka shtalband and fish tape) is a tool to pull electrical cables into pipes

using it is not complicated. you push it in untill it comes out the other end. then you connect the cables and pull . . . .

hey ! how we know how much cable we need ? the length of the pipe can be way more than the distance between the connection boxes we see !

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Step 1: Tools

electrician band

permanent pen or better paint

1 m (or 1 ft) size sample

Step 2: A Word About Paint

the signs smudge few mm after some use - especially at the ends

to prevent the band from looking like kid's drawing that was left in the rain - use paint that flakes off instead of smudging

if you dont mind that - just make any lines thick so they remain readable

do not use any mechanical or thermal ways to keep the paint intact or instead of paint. they make a weak spot in the band which may break

Step 3: Measure

place a thin line every meter

Step 4: Write

now we write the actual length from the start next to each line

think of a coding scheme which is easy for you to understand. use different lines and maybe colors (but keep in mind that colors cannot be seen well in darkness like crawl spaces etc)

you can write small digits but they are likely to wipe after few uses

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6 Discussions

thanks for ible, nice idea for pre-existing pipes

There is also a type of product on the market called true tape. It's not a fish tape however. It's more like a flat string with foot markers on it. We pull it into conduit to measure out wire that is cheaper to order in a more exact length. When it's pulled in we usually leave it until the wire arrives. Then we use the true tape to pull in a rope that is sized to handle the required pulling force. Also on another detail, couldn't you use some clear heatshrink to make those markings more permanent. It wouldn't require any damaging heat.

sometimes builders connect together pipes right inside the concrete if the band is not smooth it will have more difficulty getting through those places

. When I was working as an Electrician, instead of using a marker, we would just put a few wraps of electrical tape every six feet* and count 'em as we fed the fishtape in. But we didn't use a fishtape for measuring very often - most of the time the conduit was out in the open, so measuring was not a problem.
. You can also buy fishtapes with permanent markings, but that's not very DIY, is it? :)

*Why six feet? Why not five or ten? I dunno. That's just the way the guy that taught me did it.