Best way to bury cable?

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Thailog

Thread Starter
Member
Sep 11, 2004
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I need to bury about 25 feet of cable. Should I rent a trench digger? What do the pros do?
 
9

95yj

Member
Sep 10, 2004
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Depends how deep you want it and what you're digging through and how "lazy" you are. Most installers turn over the top 4" of dirt, lay the cable and put the grass back on top. That doesn't provide much protection for the RG6 though.
 
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dulzen

Well-Known SatelliteGuys Member
Sep 4, 2004
34
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if it's only 25 feet, u don't need to rent trencher. just get showel. be sure your cable is direct buriel, they have gels in them. be sure to put in pvc conduit. how many lines r u running? if you are running 1 lines, put 1 spare line in there. ( so total 2 lines) if you are running dual, run 2 more, so you would spare line in case of you need to run new lines or cable goes bad. have fun
 
B

BarryO

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 11, 2003
188
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dulzen said:
if it's only 25 feet, u don't need to rent trencher. just get showel. be sure your cable is direct buriel, they have gels in them. be sure to put in pvc conduit. how many lines r u running? if you are running 1 lines, put 1 spare line in there. ( so total 2 lines) if you are running dual, run 2 more, so you would spare line in case of you need to run new lines or cable goes bad. have fun

Your soil must be nothing like mine, which the State Ag Dep't identifies as a type of "silty clay loam". In the dry summer season, you can barely get a pickfork through it, let alone a shovel.

Why would he need to install conduit, if he's using direct-burial cable? Doesn't make sense. Direct-burial is just that: it can go right in the dirt.

25 feet is not very long, so cost is not an issue. If it was a long distance and and cost per foot was a concern, I'd use direct-burial cable, no conduit. But I don't feel comfortable putting directly buried cable any shallower than 30"-36", minimum. Otherwise, it's just too easy to hit it. This requires a trencher.

For short distancees like this, I put in conduit (and that's REAL conduit, the gray stuff, not the white plumbing pipe). Mainly because I then feel OK with a shallower trench, 18", maybe 12" in some spots. You can use regular non-direct burial cable in conduit. Since most of the work is in digging the trench and then backfilling it, the shallower trench is worth the expense of the conduit. The amount of backfill material especially is much less with a shallow trench.

Whether you dig this with a trencher or a shovel will depend on your soil type, time of year, and your back. If it was me, I'd do a trencher in the summer, and maybe by shovel once the ground's been softened up at the start of the rainy season. Once we're well into the rain here in oregon, digging in soil is a big muddy mess and I just wait until spring.
 
Mike500

Mike500

SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 7, 2003
1,338
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Thiepval
Direct burial cable is hard to find in quantities of less than 1000 ft. I use it everyday in professional installs. If you want a small quantity, I might be able to help you. Send me an IM, if you are interested. I have both dual with messenger, single without messenger and single quad shielded with messenger. All are RG6.
 
T

Thailog

Thread Starter
Member
Sep 11, 2004
10
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Thanks for the repplies.

95yj said:
Depends how deep you want it and what you're digging through and how "lazy" you are. Most installers turn over the top 4" of dirt, lay the cable and put the grass back on top. That doesn't provide much protection for the RG6 though.

Oh, my Laziness knows no bounds. My motto is "Why do it right when you can Half ass it" :D . Ive got a 1000 ft Roll of top grade Commscope RG6. I doubt its direct bury though. This is for a Dishnetwork Dishpro system BTW. I should probably just rent the trencher and get some conduit. But the suggestion "turn over the top 4" of dirt, lay the cable and put the grass back on top". Is really sounding good to my inner sloth.
 
J

jimisham

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 31, 2004
170
0
I've seen posts about moisture getting into conduit. Before we went to Directv, we had a C band dish put in. Conduit was run into our garage from the dish and the conduit was sealed at the dish end. I don't see how moisture could have gotten in, but it did.
 
9

95yj

Member
Sep 10, 2004
13
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LOL. It'll work, but just remember that when you cut through your cable 2 years down the road and you have to pull it up and relay it.
 
D

dulzen

Well-Known SatelliteGuys Member
Sep 4, 2004
34
0
the reason using conduit with direct buriel cable is that, if you have to replace the cable, u can do it very easily. (it's gonna be bitch to pull all that cable back out if it's in the dirt) it is also for extra protection. just for a thought, u can always run in overhead! :)
 
TheTimm

TheTimm

Made In Detroit
Supporting Founder
Jun 18, 2004
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Charlotte, NC
dulzen said:
the reason using conduit with direct buriel cable is that, if you have to replace the cable, u can do it very easily. (it's gonna be bitch to pull all that cable back out if it's in the dirt) it is also for extra protection. just for a thought, u can always run in overhead! :)
Overhead's probably the best if you're worried about it being hit down the road. I put in lawn sprinklers for a living (pretty common for me to hit cables, gas lines, electrical , etc.) and if you're burying something, and not burying it deep enough to definitely make it unhittable, I recommend going as shallow as possible. In other words, just tuck it under the grass. That makes it real easy to locate and follow for anyone (such as a sprinkler guy, for instance) who wants to avoid hitting it. Also makes it pretty easy to pull back up should you ever need to. And I figured it just may appeal to that inner sloth of yours. :p
 
A

anik

SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 28, 2004
356
1
U.S.A.
We have soil that's mostly sand once you break through the (usually thin) layer of topsoil, so digging a trench is pretty easy even if you have to do it by hand. Nevertheless I always run wire through plastic irrigation pipe. It's relatively cheap (around here you can get a 100' roll of ½" stuff for a little over 5 bucks, if I recall correctly, though I'd spring for at least the 1" stuff in case you need to run more wires someday) and it has saved me a lot of effort on numerous occasions, and also it does provide some additional protection for the wires (I can't tell you how many wires I would have cut, or at least nicked, had they not been in a pipe. Even if you know about where they are and are digging gently, you still don't really want to dig into a wire with a shovel).

Here's what I usually do: Bury the pipe first. Get a roll of string (like kite string) long enough to run through the length of the pipe. Tie a small wad of something (a small hunk of rag, or even a piece of toilet paper works well if there's no moisture in the pipe) to one end of the string and on the other end, use a vacuum (shop vac or household vac with hose) to put some suction on the pipe. Play out the string a little at a time (this is easier if you have a helper, even a kid can do this!) and check every two or three feet to make sure it's not getting sucked up into the vacuum hose. When you get the string all the way through, tie it to the cable you intend to run (if it's a short run) or to a light rope (like clothesline) if it's a longer run, and pull that through. If you used light rope, tie the wire to that and pull it through.

(Of course, if you have an electrician's fish tape handy, use that instead, it will be much easier to work with than string and rope!)

If you later have to run another wire, just reverse the process - for example, disconnect the wire from one end, tape or tie a light rope to it, pull it back out of the pipe, tape or tie the end of the new cable to the rope and/or old cable, pull both back through. Now you have two wires, and no digging the second time around!

To keep moisture from getting into the end of the pipe that's outside, get a tube of *real* silicone caulk (NOT THE "SILICONIZED" CRAP THAT SOME STORES SELL AT ABOUT HALF THE PRICE!) and make a little silicon rubber "moisture plug" at the end of the pipe. The silicone should completely surround the wire and go into the pipe maybe 1/2 inch (if the pipe is much larger than the wire, you may have to build the caulk out from the wire in layers - try not to let any unhardened silicone fall into the pipe beyond about half an inch or so). You should try to build a little "crown" of silicone so it completely covers the edges of the cut end of the pipe. The idea is that any water coming down the wire cannot enter the pipe; it instead hits the silicone "plug" and rolls off. But should you ever have to remove the wire, it's not that difficult to work about half an inch of silicone out of the pipe, nor to remove the rubber from around the wire (assuming that you did use REAL SILICONE and not the imitation junk - I cannot emphasize this point strongly enough!).

As for the underground, gel-filled coax - I have NEVER used it and never had a problem, even with wires that have been in the ground nearly ten years. That doesn't mean you won't have any problem, but around here even the cable TV company doesn't seem to use gel-filled wire for underground drops. I use plain old RG-6; I figure if it ever gives me a problem it's easy enough to replace due to my insistence in burying all wires in plastic pipe. Again, I'm not saying you should do this, just that it's what I've always done.
 
O

oljim

SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 9, 2003
677
1
Beaufort SC
I have 2 runs of plan old RG-6 going to my Cband dish. They were put in 1 in PVC in 1982 and still work on my dish500.
 
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yooper.mi

SatelliteGuys Pro
Pub Member / Supporter
Sep 24, 2004
254
0
U.P. of MI
I have 150' of regular RG6 buried 4-6" deep for 10 years and have not had a problem. I also feel the simplest is sometimes the best ,it would take 16 dollars and a hour of my time to replace.
 
ciaraco

ciaraco

SatelliteGuys Family
Oct 6, 2004
44
0
Akron,Ohio
I use a lawn edger to cut a light trench and it seems to be just fine. I have had one fatality in three years (when a landscaper choped thru an infeed) peace...
 

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