Wired for Success

Our to-do list is growing at a high rate, and we haven’t been able to check many things off recently. One small accomplishment was completing the dividing wall, closing off the apartment from the shop. Now the only passage is through a 3 foot wide doorway, which leads me to the introduction of this week’s new toy…

Another scissor lift! This little rusty guy is electric and can fit through a doorway. We picked it up in Seattle and visited some friends while we were there. Sam tested the lift out and entertained a few dog walkers before we left.

With two scissor lifts and a bucket truck, the possibilities are endless! I’m already planning our greatest installment of Christmas decorations.

We returned from our big adventure and continued to chip away at plumbing and electrical work. Sam, John, and Aiden installed about 250 feet of copper pipe for compressed air. The air compressor will be in the attic (so we don’t have to listen to it), and the copper pipes will deliver air to outlets along the walls throughout the shop. This required a lot of soldering.

We also installed a lot more receptacles. John thought we were crazy for wanting an outlet every few feet. We thought he was crazy for calling a sandwich a sanger (pronounced “songuh”). Sadly, John returned to Australia. Our momentum seemed to leave with him…

Until a new box of cables arrived! These large cables were necessary to set up the breaker panels.

Huge cable!

Remember this diagram?

Power enters the building at panel 1. We needed to pull the cables through the conduit leading to panels 2 and 3. The cables were huge! I couldn’t bend them by hand. How on Earth would we be able to pull a bundle of these through 80 feet of conduit?!

Sam came up with a plan and bought a fancy Chinese finger trap to assist with the pulling. We were skeptical it would work.

We proceeded and attached a long piece of “mule tape” (very strong ribbon) to the cables and fed it into the conduit. Then we used a vacuum to suck the mule tape through to the other end of conduit.

Time to start pulling. Sam hung from a pulley to use his entire body weight…

I assisted by feeding the cable down the opposite end of conduit, pushing with all my strength…

It worked! The cables eventually came out of the other end!

We repeated the process for the other breaker panel, only we switched places because Sam’s job looked like more fun. What a workout!

Once all the cables were through, we terminated the ends. As you can imagine, the big cable is not easy to bend.

The tiny wires weren’t exactly a breeze to work with either. They tested my patience as much as the big wires tested my bicep strength. 

Check out the snazzy diamond plate in the mechanical room!

I eventually managed to turn a tangled bowl of spaghetti into something a little more organized (and without losing an eye!). I’m hoping to improve my speed because there will be a lot more wires to tame as we add more breakers. Currently, Sam can route 20 feet of wire (including drilling holes and terminating the wires) faster than I can bend one tiny wire.

We don’t have all the breakers yet for the other two panels, but at least the panels are set up now. Sam has been carefully planning which things can share a circuit, trying to keep the breaker count to a minimum, but there will assuredly be a lot.


One thought on “Wired for Success

  1. Guess this earns you guys each an Electrical Engineering Merit Badge! Holy Cow, and here I thought the Bali Thorpes had a crazy pipe-pull when we fed the water hose through a concrete wall, from our new dehumidifier. I failed to properly document the final method (involving a wooden dowel and a broken drill bit), but as in all things to do with plumbing, grunt work is a key factor. Good work, you guys.


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