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Old 08-30-2008, 06:59 PM   #1
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How to route BX cable


Hello all,

I'm doing some electrical work in my house and need to put a light on a wall in one of the rooms. I'm using BX cable. We live in a fairly old house; the walls are not made of dry-wall, as it is the case nowadays, but instead are made of some low grade concrete. It's not difficult to cut with rotary tool, the major point is there is no empty space between 2 rooms, the wall is solid so the proper route becomes important.

Now to the question:

The path is not straight, i.e. I need to make a few turns. Is it OK to make 90 degree turns (the red route) see the attached picture. I heard that the BX can snap if you bend it at 90 degree. True? False? Should I smooth the turn (the black route) I would rather avoid the free flowing (the green route) as I would like to know precisely where the power cable goes, should I do some further improvements in my apartment. Is there a guide/electrical code on how to route BX cables

Thanks a lot. Daniel
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Old 08-30-2008, 08:00 PM   #2
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How to route BX cable


Yes you can bend the flex tight enough to break it. Figure on a 6 to 8 inch radius on the bends with this size flex. There is no specific code on how to route this circuit. What you laid out, minus the sharp bends will be fine.

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Old 08-30-2008, 08:04 PM   #3
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How to route BX cable


Thanks a lot John.

Now to make things more fun my wife wants to put the light on the ceiling... 90 degree bend is inevitable in this case... What to do? Should I use nm-b wire?

Daniel
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Old 08-31-2008, 07:50 AM   #4
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How to route BX cable


NM is certainly a good option. But keep in mind that even with NM the radius of the bend must be a minimum of 5 times the diameter of the wire. Sharp bends are avoided with all wiring.
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Old 08-31-2008, 09:40 AM   #5
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How to route BX cable


I would remove the baseboard, use NM-B, come out of the outlet, remove the material from behind the baseboard, install wiring, install nailplates, reinstall baseboard, have a cold beer...
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Old 08-31-2008, 09:57 AM   #6
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How to route BX cable


Do you have any access to the attic. It would sure look a whole lot better if you could come straight down. Then you could use "Wiremold" instead of cable. It comes in white. Or you can spray paint it white. You could even use it in the same way you have drawn it, but with much better appearance. They do make a "Wiremold" extension box that would mount right on to the receptacle box.
Chris makes a good point. His method would be straight up.

You were not clear if you planned to cut the wall and hide the BX. If you plan to hide it, then you will not need "wiremold". But it would be much easier and would look okay in your small application. It mounts on the wall, not in it.
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Old 08-31-2008, 10:29 AM   #7
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How to route BX cable


Do you have access to underneath the floor or in an attic? It's much easer to go straight up or down and then you won't wreck your wall.
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Old 08-31-2008, 11:12 AM   #8
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How to route BX cable


Thanks a lot everyone for your replies. To clarify:

1. Yes, I want to cut the wall so the cable is invisible.
2. The wife wants the light to be on the ceiling, so it becomes a bit more complicated work
3. I live in an apartment building, not a private house, so I have other people living upstairs... there is no attic...
4. My major issue now is how to make the 90 degree bend coming from the wall and going to the ceiling.

Daniel
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Old 08-31-2008, 01:28 PM   #9
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How to route BX cable


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I live in an apartment building, not a private house, so I have other people living upstairs...
Don't forget that the lives of the other familys are in your hands.

I am going to say that, under no circumstances you should be doing electrical work yourself. Get permission and hire a professional.
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Old 08-31-2008, 01:43 PM   #10
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Don't forget that the lives of the other familys are in your hands.


I don't see how I putting a tiny lamp on the ceiling can possibly affect other families’ lives with the exception of some noise, which I'm sure, they will be able to withstand. I did hire professionals when I did the major renovation 2 years ago and observed how they worked very closely. I'm not doing to do anything they wouldn’t. Lastly this is a DIY site isn't it? I'm not installing a 10 mega watt projector weighting 10 tons.

but thanks anyway. Daniel
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Old 08-31-2008, 02:15 PM   #11
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How to route BX cable


I think it is unlawful for a tenant to do work in their apartment and likely the landlord as well. I believe it also has to be permited in most locales.
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Old 08-31-2008, 02:23 PM   #12
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I don't see how I putting a tiny lamp on the ceiling can possibly affect other families’ lives with the exception of some noise, which I'm sure, they will be able to withstand. I did hire professionals when I did the major renovation 2 years ago and observed how they worked very closely. I'm not doing to do anything they wouldn’t. Lastly this is a DIY site isn't it? I'm not installing a 10 mega watt projector weighting 10 tons.

but thanks anyway. Daniel
Electrical work done wrong causes fires, plain and simple.

I am all for someone with the knowledge to attempt a DIY project in a single family residence. However, an apartment building is much different. Not only will you be endangering other families besides your own if something were to go wrong, you could also void your landlords insurance, meaning if there were a fire traced back to your wiring the insurance company will not pay.

I have dealt with many landlords (who can be some of the biggest penny pincher's out there), and the only reason they call us is to keep everything legal with their insurance company - ie., work done by a licensed electrician with the proper liabilty insurance, permits, and inspections.

I would suggest discussing this with the property owner before you do any electrical wiring in their building.

If all goes well with that, I would suggest the same thing someone else already has and use Wiremold. It can be purchased at Home depot/Lowes with all the appropriate fittings etc...
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Old 08-31-2008, 10:07 PM   #13
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Just out of curiosity how said I'm a tenant and there is a landlord involved? You are ready to jump on conclusions: first I live in a 1 story house and there is an attic on top of the room, now I'm renting from a mister landlord... If you do not know the answer to my question, just save your time and don't post meaningless replies, don't waste your time.
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Old 08-31-2008, 10:22 PM   #14
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How to route BX cable


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3. I live in an apartment building, not a private house, so I have other people living upstairs... there is no attic...
Based on the above statement, there may be a bit of confusion.

If you do in fact share walls, floors, or ceilings with adjacent tenants, there are some issues that should be taken into consideration when doing any sort of modification. The issues have to do with the firewall and floor/ceiling fire assemblies. You cannot install a wall box within 24" (measured horizontally) of another box on the neighbor's side, because back to back boxes transmit heat and fire. Wall boxes must be rated for the burn time of the assembly they're installed in. Installation of a ceiling box is not normally problematic, provided it fits tight and is rated for the assembly it is being inserted to. Drilling through studs horizontally can create a firestopping issue, and drilling through the top or bottom plate absolutely will. Those holes would need to be firecaulked.

If you're in single family residential....A stand-alone house...The only hazards would be electrical, for the most part.

Nobody's trying to chastise you, they're trying to give you sound advice and help you out, because this IS a DIY site. If you choose not to use it, that is your decision.
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Old 08-31-2008, 10:23 PM   #15
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If you do not know the answer to my question, just save your time and don't post meaningless replies, don't waste your time.
First you live in a house, then it's an apartment. Make up your mind.

Any idiot can start a fire by installing wiring improperly so I'm sure you are more than qualified.

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