RMC across driveway

Location
Portland
Occupation
Security camera installer
Hi everyone,

I'm a bit new to the conduit world, but have been running ethernet for some time for security cameras.

My question is if I can run RMC across a driveway in Oregon (or at all, for that matter). There is a fence that I am trying to get Cat5e across, and there is a slider gate. The gate is almost never used, but they would like to be able to use it in the future.

My first idea was to have EMT conduit running above the height of vehicles that would go through there, but it would be a pain and possibly not even that possible to do. The other option is running the RMC conduit (3/4") above ground across the driveway so my Cat5e cables are protected if they want to drive cars through there.

So a) is that legal? And b) is that safe enough?

Of course the third option in my head is running the cable under the driveway but I am in no way capable of doing that myself, and I'm not sure this client wants to get into that level of a project for these security cameras to work.

I am open to other suggestions as well.


Thanks in advance,
Dillon
 

Jerramundi

Senior Member
Location
Chicago
Occupation
Licensed Residential Electrician
[Q#1] My first idea was to have EMT conduit running above the height of vehicles that would go through there...

[Q#2] The other option is running the RMC conduit (3/4") above ground across the driveway...

[Q#3] The third option in my head is running the cable under the driveway...
[A#1] I mean, "technically," as far as I'm aware, there is nothing in the NEC prohibiting an overhead EMT conduit run, but it's just not typically done like how you're describing, especially in residential settings. The things that would prohibit it would be (1) strapping and support requirements and (2) vertical clearances. Although vertical clearances typically apply to overhead conductors, not conduit. I'm not aware of anything addressing vertical clearances of overhead conduit because, again, it's atypical and not something I would ever really think of doing...

[A#2] Again, "technically," as far as I'm aware, there is nothing in the NEC prohibiting running RMC conduit across a driveway, it's just not typically done, especially in residential settings. You might see something like this in a commercial or industrial setting, but I would still call it "atypical." If you did do something like this, I would recommend a cable/hose/pipe ramp such as this:

1602869735183.png

[A#1-2] The more knowledgeable guys on the forum here might know of something in the NEC prohibiting these types of installations, but as far as I'm aware, nothing explicitly prohibits them other than their respective installation requirements, such as the strapping and support requirements for EMT. But again, I would stress these are not typical solutions, IMO. The usual solutions are (1) overhead conductors, (2) underground conductors/raceways, (3) surface mount (e.g. side of a building).

[A#3] This would be the preferable solution and the one most seasoned contractors would go with, IMO.
 

Jerramundi

Senior Member
Location
Chicago
Occupation
Licensed Residential Electrician
Brings up an interesting question IMO. Say you did do something like an outdoor overhead conduit raceway and somehow were able to meet strapping and support requirements... does anyone know of anything in the NEC addressing "vertical clearances" of conduit raceways? or even better, explicitly prohibiting this type of installation?

I'm thinking more of an indoor commercial setting with conduit hanging down from threaded rod, etc. Not even sure how the OP would accomplish an overhead conduit run outdoors, but just wondering...
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
Probably your least expensive option is to go underground. You can get a trench dug for 10 or $20 a foot. If it is concrete you could even get directional boring done for not much more and not even have to dig up the concrete.
 

Todd0x1

Senior Member
Location
CA
This is probably not the best solution, but is the gate track a surface mounted inverted V or is it recessed and flush? If it is the surface mounted bolted down type, and given no other choice, I might look at running the cable under the gate track.

Are these 'real' IP cameras or something like a lorex system where the cameras just plug into the DVR? Another option is point to point wireless and using a ubnt solarpoint with a panel and batteries at the camera end. You would probably end up spending $1000 on parts and a day or two setting all that up though.
 

myspark

Senior Member
Location
SCV Ca, USA
Occupation
Retired EE
If it is just for home security. . . check out those ADT wireless cameras. They work great and the resolution is good for night and day light source.

Very low LUX feature for excellent use of available light.. I switched from hard-wired to wireless almost a year ago.
 

myspark

Senior Member
Location
SCV Ca, USA
Occupation
Retired EE
Buy drainage channel made for driveways and install it. Then run the rmc in the drain. No burial depth needed. Protected from cars.

Jon
I cannot (for the life of me) visualize the workability of this scheme. Installing a drainage channel across a driveway and running the RMC along the channel is a joke.
The owner (as OP stated) is not willing to go into this trouble. . .besides, you still need a trench to install the channel.

Even with this thing flush to grade level it will not hold to repeated exposure to the weight of a family car. . . they are made of plastic.

I have installed an eight feet long channel drain in my one and a half acre pad, but this is only unpaved on grass lawn--no vehicle traffic.
Because the house is built L-Shape, proper drain is a must otherwise rain water becomes trapped and nowhere to go.

Metal cast iron drainage channel is available for vehicle traffic. . . but why would anyone bother that will cost thousands of dollars.

A handyman not an electrician would probably do this but they don't know any better.

Buy the wireless camera. ..and you can't go wrong.

Leave it to others to do the CLOWNING. ;)
 

Jerramundi

Senior Member
Location
Chicago
Occupation
Licensed Residential Electrician
A handyman not an electrician would probably do this but they don't know any better.
So you're suggesting the individual w/ professional electrical training and experience is the one who suggests the wireless option??

Interesting. In my experience, it's the GC or the handyman without much working electrical knowledge that doesn't want to pay an actual electrician and simply turn a quick profit that usually goes with the wireless options.

Now if you wanna make the case that as an experienced electrical contractor, you've done a cost-benefit analysis of the various other options and wireless makes the most sense economically, I could see that invoking some electrical knowledge... such as what the other various options and their costs are, but it still requires one to explore the other options.

Simply slapping down "wireless" on the table without any additional analysis hardly invokes electrical training and experience, IMO.

That's not to say wireless may not be a practical solution in the OP's case... but to suggest that anything other than that is the result of being an inexperienced "handyman" is a joke IMO.

Personally, I think @winnie 's suggestion was rather creative and invokes knowledge about electrical work. Perhaps it won't turn out to be the most economical, but it definitely invokes some knowledge and experience as opposed to a knee-jerk "wireless" suggestion.
 

Jerramundi

Senior Member
Location
Chicago
Occupation
Licensed Residential Electrician
We're also getting to the point as a society where fewer people may know how to safely uncover and cut a security camera cable... than know how to hack a wireless system.

Personally, I like the old-school argument that "you can't hack a notebook."

I'm actually in the process of Frankenstein-ing a laptop that has absolutely ZERO means of external connection to the internet for this exact reason. Gonna keep all my customer data and sensitive material on it... and before you call me paranoid, remember that paranoia is a catch 22 ;)
 
Location
Portland
Occupation
Security camera installer
Thank you for the many timely responses!

Unfortunately these are Lorex cameras. But it would not make much of a difference, so far as Ptp goes because we have no power in the area I'm installing these cams anyways. I wish it was that simple!

[A#1] ...it's atypical and not something I would ever really think of doing...

[A#2] ...If you did do something like this, I would recommend a cable/hose/pipe ramp such as this:

View attachment 2554011

[A#1-2] ...(1) overhead conductors, (2) underground conductors/raceways, (3) surface mount (e.g. side of a building).

[A#3] This would be the preferable solution and the one most seasoned contractors would go with, IMO.
Thank you for the idea with the ramp. I will check more directly on the possibility of doing that. I think it could be made to look nice and wouldn't actually be too much trouble to do it that way.

However, I want to give more thought to your "overhead conductor" idea. I actually had thought of this as well, after making this post. I am going to be renting either a boom lift or scissor lift anyways (I am certified) so this may be a viable option. It would also take out about 60ft of Cat5e out of the equation which simplifies things a lot.

Of course I can't run Cat5e by itself aerially. It would only be two cables running that way, what would be the best material to use to ensure codes are met to cross about 70-90ft of distance? Also, is there a hight requirement for something like this (minimum)?

...You can get a trench dug for 10 or $20 a foot. If it is concrete you could even get directional boring done for not much more and not even have to dig up the concrete.
I didn't realize it was that cheap to go that route. I'll look into that.


Thanks again everyone for your suggestions and expertise! Really knocks it out of the park.
 

winnie

Senior Member
Location
Springfield, MA, USA
Occupation
Electric motor research
Only to OP can determine what is the best approach out of all offered. They know the requirements and the available tools and expertise.

I disagree with the assessment that RMC in a trench drain is a joke. Trench drains are made to carry vehicles, and would provide mechanical protection for the RMC without burying it. Burying RMC under a driveway means 18" depth requirement. This would essentially be a small scale 'utility trough', and such are a well known installation approach.

A professional installation will meet all codes, the customer performance and decorative requirements, for a reasonable price. Crossing a driveway surface may be the way to do this.

Jon
 

myspark

Senior Member
Location
SCV Ca, USA
Occupation
Retired EE
. . . . Of course I can't run Cat5e by itself aerially. It would only be two cables running that way, what would be the best material to use to ensure codes are met to cross about 70-90ft of distance? Also, is there a hight requirement for something like this (minimum)?
Thanks again everyone for your suggestions and expertise! Really knocks it out of the park.
The City of Los Angeles requires 12 Ft Min clearance for pedestrian traffic. For vehicular traffic they require 18 Ft Minimum.

The 12 ft. clearance is also required when crossing a swimming pool, a spa, a fountain, a wading pool or the like.
Of course AHJ mandates differ from state to state, city to city. . . some may require higher clearances.
 

Jerramundi

Senior Member
Location
Chicago
Occupation
Licensed Residential Electrician
Of course I can't run Cat5e by itself aerially. It would only be two cables running that way, what would be the best material to use to ensure codes are met to cross about 70-90ft of distance? Also, is there a hight requirement for something like this (minimum)?
I would suggest reading ALL of Article 225 - Outside Branch Circuits and Feeders AND ALL of Article 800 - Communications Circuits

Honestly, it's not an easy installation and there are ALOT of rules to follow, which is why I acknowledged that wireless may be more practical, I just don't agree with the idea that slapping wireless down on the table without looking at and/or discussing the other options equates to being well-informed. It's kind of a cheap cop out in my opinion outside of the context of a thorough analysis.
 

Jerramundi

Senior Member
Location
Chicago
Occupation
Licensed Residential Electrician
Of course I can't run Cat5e by itself aerially. It would only be two cables running that way, what would be the best material to use to ensure codes are met to cross about 70-90ft of distance? Also, is there a hight requirement for something like this (minimum)?
I'm curious about discussing the other options because I myself stand to learn something, as I did w/ @winnie 's suggestion, which I had not even considered. It's a valuable discussion to have.
 

Jerramundi

Senior Member
Location
Chicago
Occupation
Licensed Residential Electrician
Of course I can't run Cat5e by itself aerially. It would only be two cables running that way, what would be the best material to use to ensure codes are met to cross about 70-90ft of distance? Also, is there a hight requirement for something like this (minimum)?
Just for the sake of education, whether or not you go with this option, I think it's a discussion worth having.
I assume your two cables would be (1) power and (2) communication.

For the power cable...

Refer to 225.4 and 310.10(C), which address "conductors in cables or raceways" for outside branch circuits and feeders.
Basically it needs to be "rubber covered type or thermoplastic type... and in wet locations, shall comply with 310.10(C)," which lists a few acceptable conductor/cable types for wet locations. You also need an EGC, which is permitted to be bare or covered.

225.6 says "Open Individual Conductors shall NOT be smaller than... #10 AWG Cu / #8 AWG Al for spans up to 50ft... and #8 AWG Cu / #6 AWG Al for longer spans... unless supported by a messenger wire."

I'm not sure about supports for CABLES as 225.6 is explicitly addressing "open individual conductors." I would wager that a messenger wire would be required for your installation, but I don't have a code reference to cite for CABLES in aerial spans.

Does anyone know if the NEC addresses this? There has to be some rules addressing CABLES in aerial spans...

225.18 addresses Clearance for Overhead Conductors and Cables. 12ft for residential driveway.
 
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