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I've used glow rods before, and think they work better than a fish tape.



Drill a hole from above, feed the rods down to the top of the box then using a thin blade just above the box I move the rod to a knock out and into the box.


Secure the wire onto the glow rod (there is a hole in the rod for this) and pull it up to the attic.






Other times, I just removed the existing box, pulled the wires, and used an old work box.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I've used glow rods before, and think they work better than a fish tape.

Drill a hole from above, feed the rods down to the top of the box then using a thin blade just above the box I move the rod to a knock out and into the box.

Secure the wire onto the glow rod (there is a hole in the rod for this) and pull it up to the attic.

Other times, I just removed the existing box, pulled the wires, and used an old work box.

Yeah I'm thinking maybe glow rods too given easier to hit the insert point on top of box than with a fish tape. I'm trying to avoid removing box but will if it comes to that, just wanted to ask if easy way to hit it in place.

BTW, I us Arlington boxes for my old work so I can still have screws into 2x4 to secure (little stronger hold IMO).
 

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You will have to use something on either end to fish out what ever you use to get down the wall the first time. You can go either direction. If there is no insulation in the wall, try a fishing line and lead sinker to see if it will go down the wall. Then you can use some solder, a piece of wire, a coat hanger, etc... to fish the string, then tie a larger string to that one, and pull it to the other opening, then you should be able to tie the wire(s) to that and pull them both.
You can always cut that box out of the wall do your work and install a cut-in box afterward. That will be the easiest.
There is no recipe set of steps. You try to use what ever you can find or think of. I have used many things over the years to fish a wire down a wall or across a ceiling.
 

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Ummm,

Hire a professional electrical contractor?

Not sure I have heard of Arlington boxes before. Went to supplyhouse.com, looks interesting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

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Lots of tricks to use. At a glance I see it's an outside wall... expect it to be packed with insulation. Also expect there will be a mid-span block (aka fire block or sob block, etc) above the switch box that you need to get the cables through.

There are long flexible shank augur bits that can be used to drill those blocks. I have had mixed results with them. A surer way is to accurately locate the block and cut an access hole no larger than can be covered with a blank wall plate and then notch the block with a chisel or hole saw (or equal) to allow easy passage. In your case you probably would need to cut a hole in that cabinet if it has a back panel. That also allows for easier fishing to a way point. Drop ceiling support wire makes an excellent fishing tool and can often work when all else fails... and it's cheap too!

Interior walls with no insulation are a cake walk.

In all cases, it's easiest and best to remove the switch box and install a new one when replacing it. Keep the hole the same size and you can use an old work cut-in box.

There are many other tricks but the ones you have heard so far will likely do. Hacksaw blades, forceps, long metal light jerk chain, large flat blade screwdriver, wonder bar, linemen pliers, super magnet... all tools you may or may not need. You won't know until you get there. You might get lucky and need very little... we can hope.

Alexandre Dumas said, "We live in hope, we die in despair" but Yoda said, "DO or Do NOT, There is no TRY.

SD2 said, "Good luck works better than special tools and techniques, go for it!"
 
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... Hacksaw blades, forceps, long metal light jerk chain, large flat blade screwdriver, wonder bar, linemen pliers, super magnet... all tools you may or may not need. You won't know until you get there. You might get lucky and need very little... we can hope.
Since you mentioned magnets, I've had good luck using a rare-earth magnet and a piece of small-link steel chain.



In some cases, I push the chain up so it sits on top of the junction box knockout, and then fish for it from the other end with the magnet attached to a string or a fiberglass rod.



Other times, I drop the chain from above and catch it with the magnet at the box.



This works well in uninsulated walls.



For insulated walls, as well as uninsulated, there is a great tool called a Magnapull.





It's not cheap, but can save a lot of aggravation when you are pulling many cables.
 

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Ran out of edit time window but wanted to add that if using a length of crop ceiling support wire, be sure to fashion the end to a small smooth loop or some other method to keep it from poking inside the insulation. Trust me, you can't pull anything back through that insulation, it makes the biggest wad you can ever imagine!
 

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Since you mentioned magnets, I've had good luck using a rare-earth magnet and a piece of small-link steel chain.


It's not cheap, but can save a lot of aggravation when you are pulling many cables.
Yes thanks! Good advice. Pushing it through the KO is especially clever! I have a smaller one that I use and drop either switch jerk chain or small jack chain to do the dangle job.
 

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A lot can be said for a nice picture hanging in front of a wall opening until you can get around to fixing it properly. Found that on a rental property I bought to flip. No wire behind it though! :plain:
 

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I've literally hundreds of walls. Many exterior with insulation, and never had a problem using glow rods.


I would use a stud finder to see if there is a purlin in the way. In that case, removing the box IS the way to go, since that will generally give you enough access to drill a hole in the purlin.




Tried the chains and magnets. Never had any luck with them, especially in a insulated wall. They were removed from my job site tool kit.



The rounded end of a glow rod pushes through insulation with ease, as long as it's not expanding foam insulation, and that end has a hole where you can tie on a feed line, or the actual wire.




Regards the D'versabits. Be careful, they will tend to roam, and you would be blind drilling, which is not a great idea. Besides, they don't work very well in a insulated wall anyway. Tend to knot up the insulation and make a huge mess.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thx so much everybody, you guys are great !

I have thought about the cabinet hanging there.

While I would never cut the back of the cabinet itself, I'm fine with removing it, opening up the drywall, and then repairing it and re-hanging the cabinet after running the cables.
 

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Pick up ceiling hanger wire push up from the box to the hole you drilled in the top plate of the wall stagger the cables and have someone feed from the top as you pull down keeping everything tight if you are careful you can pull through the insulation. The best way is hire a pro and not every electrician is good at it. Good luck with whatever you decide.
Paul

Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
 

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Pick up ceiling hanger wire push up from the box to the hole you drilled in the top plate of the wall stagger the cables and have someone feed from the top as you pull down keeping everything tight if you are careful you can pull through the insulation.
Yep, I agree and have used ceiling wire most of the time. If you bend a nice smooth loop on the end of it, it'll not dig into the insulation too badly. A good new piece is as straight as a die or you can bend one to suit your needs. Bend a crank on the end if need be and you're all set. The price is right too! You can spend a lot of bucks on a fish tape and glass sticks and they won't work any better, maybe not as good even.

Ceiling wire is an electrician's friend in another operation too. I used it as a jig when odd angle bends were needed. Bend a short length to simulate the bend and lay on the floor and bend the conduit to match. Saves lots of trips up the ladder.
 
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