Saturday, January 23, 2010


>BIANKA having an electric motor for auxiliary propulsion uses various forms of wiring run to various locations on board. In fact there are a few wires left over from the old diesel days that still need to be removed or reassigned to other duties. Then there are other projects requiring new wires. Like installing a new 12 volt receptacle in the galley area. Which I need to do so I can use the Braun mixer/chopper in the galley location instead of moving it and the 200 watt inverter that powers it to some other location on the boat to use it.

Running new wires behind walls or bulkheads is called fishing. Which is not the same as dropping a line over the side in the hopes of catching dinner. But, it can use a similar type of a fiberglass pole. It has been a learning experience for me as I used the technique on various projects. Here's what I found. At first I used a rod that was made from a wire coat hanger.
It was cheap but, also had some disadvantages. You could bend it easily but, it would also stay bent and that was a problem when trying to "fish" it around sharp bends. It would sometimes get hung up. Another disadvantage was it was conductive. You run the risk of having it contact some terminal or breakthrough a wires insulating jacket causing a short circuit, fire or shock hazard. Not an ideal situation or the ideal tool to use.
I then went looking for a better solution and found it at my local Home Depot store. This was a Greenlee 540-12 Fish Stix kit.

Which consists of several 1/4" fiberglass poles that interlock and allow one to run or pull wires in tight spaces up to 12 feet. They cost about $35 bucks. It was better than poking behind bulkheads with a conductive piece of metal coat hanger wire but, still not perfect. They bent a little but, did not stay bent like the a coat hanger wire method. But, they were a little too stiff for some of bends I had to run wires through. I started thinking that I might be able to also use them for an idea I had for another project so they still might still be useful on board.
One day while looking through an online catalog. I came across the Cen-Tech wire running kit. Since they cost less then the Greenlee 540-12 Fish Stix. I bought two sets for this other project. When I got them I realized that they were the perfect tool for fishing wires on board my boat much better than using the Greenlee sticks. For one thing they were thinner than the Greenlee poles and much more flexible. As you can see in the photo below:

Another advantage of the Cen-Tech poles is they come with a flexible screw on tip.

This makes it even easier to snake the pole into tight bends and spaces. You can also get a flexible tip for the much stiffer Greenlee Fish Stix but, at extra cost. Below shows a photo of Cen-Tech pole making a tight bend behind a bulkhead before pulling a wire through.

If you've got some wires to run I recommend using something like the Cen-Tech product. They also have other uses on board. I've used them to knock out Barnacles that found their way into some of the through hulls. So if you need to do some "fishing" inside the boat this is the tool to use.


Respite's Crew said...

Thanks for great suggestion on pulling wire. I noticed in your last photo that the hole in the fiberglass bulkhead did not have a grommet on it. Fiberglass is quite abrasive and can "saw" through wire jackets over time. You might consider lining the raw hole with a rubber or plastic grommet to protect the wires going through it.

Capt. Mike said...

Respite Crew:

A good point and something to I'll add to the boat list.