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What can I use as a cheap alternative to cable raceway/conduit? Answered

I need to run some cables across my bedroom ceiling. I live in the basement, so the walls and floor are concrete. The ceiling is that cheap wood-veneer paneling you see in RVs. I'd poke it under the ceiling panels, but given what I know of the demented arrangement of floor joists in this house, I'd have to pull down the entire ceiling and start drilling holes. I'm after something like electrical raceway, but cheaper. I want it inconspicuous, but not costing me $25 to cover cable across 15' of ceiling. Ideas, O wise Hive Mind?


I use split tubing a lot:


Costs about $10 for 50feet. 

Dirt cheap and can remove and add cables very easily.  For a ceiling I would probably drill one side to the ceiling every few feet, then fit the wiring into it and secure the split with a 1" section of black electrical tape every few feet.


9 years ago

youre going to laugh at this... but rain gutter is amazing. We use it in our robotics lab.

Oh yea... we were running network cables and stuff for networking equipment. We also have a power extension, a router, and some of that glow lighting rope in it.

Lol, What's the need for lighting rope? Ah, you just wanted it to look unique didn't you? Cool.

You called it. It looks really awesome at night... we don't even need to use the overhead halogens usually, unless we need bright light. (like wiring the robot electronics)

Wow, It's sounds like you have an awesome robotics lab! I envy you.

You wouldn't happen to live somewhere in Australia would you?

It's far bigger than what I need, but that's a good idea. I'll have to remember that one for future reference.

If you don't have anything against using PVC pipe, that could serve such a purpose. It isn't the best looking thing you could do I suppose.

One of the disadvantages of PVC pipe is that you would have to pull the wire/cable through the pipe to get it out and it could potentially knot up inside the tube making a big mess...

Cut the PCB pipe in half lengthwise to create two half-channels? Or cut a full-length slot in it? (There are lots of slotted-tube cable wraps intended for organizing cables at a desk, but none of 'em are particularly attractive.)

hook up a shop vac to one end - pull string with something tied on the end thru the pipe with the vacuum, then use the string to pull the wire. Always keep a spare puller string in the pipe for additional wires.

But the cable you're pulling could always still get tangeled with the other cables, and since you can't fit your hand inside most PVC pipes, there would be a problem...

I've pulled a LOT of cables through a LOT of tight spaces - theres no reason for them to bind up if you're pulling. Pushing, yes, you can get caught, but pulling - tension self-fixes any problems. Always good to own a fish cable too - they're cheap (10-15 dollars) and can get wires in places you never imagined would fit.

true, but if you feed it through sections before making any final seals it wouldn't be too bad, especially if you have a flexible drain snake or some such semi-stiff rod to push either the wire itself or some twine through the pipe. If the latter, you could then tie the twine to the wire and pull it through.

We ran a lot of wire under crown molding, chair rail, etc. The key, obviously, is to pick a large-enough molding with a hollow area in the back. Most of these aren't very expensive until you get into the really big molding or fancy materials like oak. Have you got or can you borrow/rent a router? If so try some clear wood or MDF boards and route-out a channel or channels. You can then cap it with any thin material you have available or simply attach it to the wall channel-side-in.

Or: Just build a wooden "U" or "L" channel, run the cable thru it, and paint it to match the ceiling. (Essentially a rectilinear version of the crown-molding trick suggested above.)