“Sunburnt” PVC conduit?

We’ve been asked about conduit that has been stored outdoors exposed to sunlight and has started to show discoloration, or “sunburn”, so we checked out the facts. This discolouration is a common occurrence that has very little effect on the conduit and no effect at all once it is buried or painted.

There is a fractional decrease in impact resistance, but that’s all. 

"Sunburnt" conduit

Exposure to sunlight for an extended period of time changes the colour from orange to varying degrees of white, as shown here. It is nothing to worry about though. When buried, it works as well as any other pipe.

The degree to which impact strength is affected by sunlight depends upon a number of variables, including: time of exposure, climatic conditions, diameter of pipe, wall thickness of pipe, and type of PVC compound used. The thicker the pipe wall, the less noticeable the effect becomes. Care may be required when handling thin wall pipe to avoid impact or breakage, but once the pipe is installed there will be no effect on the pipe’s pressure capacity, or external load capacity.

Here’s a page with all the facts, but liked all technical stuff, it really reduces down to what you are have read above.


Rolls Royce quality, Toyota prices, V8 Supercar delivery

Rainbow Spirit plain name 250wide

Rainbow Electrical Bends always delivers Rolls Royce quality sweep bends

All PVC conduit underground sweep bends sold by Rainbow Electrical Bends are hand formed with attention to quality. They are formed using conduit produced in Australia to AS/NZS 2053 standards. Every bend is shaped on jigs with care and efficiency by our specially trained staff – all of whom are proud to be part of a very special operation. We are dedicated to producing goods of Rolls Royce quality.

Manager Amber Souter and her staff are aware that theirs is one of the few factories in Australia still producing hand crafted products in bulk. Our efficiency is such that these sweep bends are sold – talking in auto industry terms again – at Toyota-level prices. This pricing enables them to successfully compete on the open market, even against many products that are imported from China.

Rainbow Electrical Bends has another great advantage. With the advantage of hand crafting, Amber can cost-effectively produce sweep bend orders of any size, large or small and deliver them extremely quickly. Once this becomes apparent, her clients often consider Rainbow their own just-in-time supply base, saving the unnecessary expense of stockpiling product.

This is a modern day operation, (a) using old-style quality production techniques, (b) organised with an efficiency that enables strong competition in a normally mass-produced market as well as (c) speedy delivery.

Little wonder that industry observers find it quite remarkable.

– Don Eade

Does Google have the right to dictate to the World?

The latest newsletter from WebProNews reports that “Google has been enforcing its policies on paid links for years, but the search engine is really cracking down on advertorials and native advertising these days. Google’s Matt Cutts has been talking about the subject a lot lately, so if your site offers any advertorial content, you better make sure you’re doing it the right way, under Google’s guidance, or you just might find yourself slapped with a harsh penalty . . .”
I recall that when Bill Clinton was boss, the US Government tried to control certain aspects of the Internet and the whole world slapped them down in no uncertain terms. Increasingly now, Google is not just trying, but succeeding in doing just that, all in the name of imposing on all of us their vision of what the Internet should be. Unfortunately, what Google – as a big business – wants is not necessarily in the interests of the majority of us in small (electrical or otherwise) business.

History has proven two facts over and over again. Firstly, the public is not stupid and, when any power tries to take over the world, after a while the world stands up and starts to take action. Just take a look at most of the comments preceding this one if you need proof of that fact.

Secondly, when any country or entity grows so powerful that they take over control of anything they can get their hands on, they eventually go down and then out. Want proof? Look at the Roman Empire, the British Empire, or any other empire in history. Look at Hitler, Stalin, Mao, even Alexander the Great.

Don’t think that Google isn’t in their league. It has already proven quite conclusively that it is more powerful than any of our governments.

As a search engine, Google has already helped shape a new world, just by doing the job it was originally designed to, and doing it better than any other entity. It should do what it does best and leave general consensus to decide what the world should or shouldn’t become. Otherwise it will suffer the same fate of every other dictator in history.

 — Don Eade (Editor)

Suck it and see!

We’re always on the lookout for something to save you money, make your job easier or increase your knowledge, and this week I am sure that, if only in a small way, we have succeeded on all three fronts!

Quite often the most basic items are forgotten in the hurry and scurry of business, so it’s easy to overlook even the most basic of requirements.

For instance, we make PVC sweep bends – as you well know. You also may or may not appreciate that these sweep bends, which are basically just bent bits of conduit – albeit skilfully and lovingly bent – are as important to conduit as nuts are to bolts.

Why? Simple. Have you ever tried using a bolt without a nut? Have you ever tried to change the direction of underground conduit without using sweep bends? If you can do it without damaging the conduit or your own muscles, you’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din.

Be a sucker: Of course, the hardest thing to do with conduit and sweep bends is not usually installing them, but afterward, poking that length of string through a hundred feet or so of pipe, or trying to blast it through with compressed air while hoping that whatever shoots out of the other end isn’t a threat to life and limb.

Believe me, you’re better off sucking it through, and I don’t mean by putting your lips to one end of the pipe and using your own suction. With smaller diameter conduit, just grab mum’s old vacuum cleaner! Anyway, take a look at this video and you’ll see what I am rambling on about.

Of course, I may be telling you nothing if you have been in the game for a long time, but my experience in life tells me that of the 18,300 electrical contractors listed in the Aussie Yellow Pages, a percentage of them are doing it the hard way. After watching the video, make sure you check with your mates and pass the info along. Better still, just email a link to this blog.

By the way: We don’t just tell you about what we’ve found, we often try it out and in doing so come up with more helpful hints. I gave this a go over the weekend and it was spectacularly successful. With one loud ‘thunk’ the drawstring was sucked through about 12 metres of 25mm conduit.

What I learnt was – (a) if you can, turn the power down as low as possible on the cleaner. It will still work, but will at least feel more manageable. And (b) only lay out as much drawstring as the length of your conduit, plus a few centimetres. My wife had a huge laugh at my expense as I pulled the covers off the cleaner and extracted half a mile of string, plus the airplug, from all the stinking crap in the dustbag!

— Don Eade

Cable pulling techniques from around the world

I was checking through ASK.com for anything on underground PVC sweep bends – didn’t expect to find a darn thing as it is such a specialised subject – but amazingly found heaps of information.

One particular aspect covered in an engineering-based forum was one that concerns us greatly, but that usually (unless you have to do it) nobody else considers.

What are the best cable-pulling techniques?

Here at Rainbow Electrical Bends, as well as a darn good slippery lube, we sell a pile of Blowline and Megarope for cable pulling, but it still has to find its way into the conduit and then has to be used correctly. Cables have to be pulled in many different situations, with a wide variety of sizes and quality and under vastly differing conditions. As the forum had comments from real experts, I trolled through them all and reproduced the best of them here.

Make of them what you will – I have printed them in good faith but take no responsibility for them, other than to say, “I hope they save you some time, some money and some heartache”.
The question that started it all off was simply: “hi guys, have you tried cable pulling some cable wires in PVC pipes? If yes, what techniques/tips did you use?”
The answers, from at least eight different countries worldwide, were graded into “Good” and “Almost Good”, according to the opinions of the readers, with a pile of them not making the grade at all – so I’ll start with the “Good” first. They are . . .

From a Brit expatriate, based in Spain, came these points –

  • Don’t try and pull more than 3 bends!! After 3 it starts getting hard.
  • Careful if you are pulling cables when there are existing cables in the tube! If you pull too hard, the friction can burn through the insulation of the other cables leading to short circuits!
  • Best use quality cables, some cheap cables tend to burn through very easily while the better quality cables have a dry lube coating!
  • If the cables become stuck, pull them the other way a bit and then give a sharp tug forward again! Normally cables only get stuck in the bends or at tube joints!
  • Before squirting the pulling gel (or soap) in the tube, attach your cables to your draw wire! If you attach them (using tape ) afterwards, the tape will slide right off the cables leaving you to pass the draw wire again!
  • Pull and push!
  • There are many more, like choosing the right draw wire and fishing from both ends but I’m not going to give all the trade secrets away!

These points came from a guy in Indiana, USA –

  • If it’s an empty conduit how do you get the first pull string in there? Wait for it . . . wait for it, yes you use a large vacuum and a cotton ball with a pull twine and suck the first one through. Then attach the rest of the pull wires you will need to pull and a few extra for future use. AND A BIG BOTTLE OR TUB OF SLICKUM. Different names for it around the country but pretty much the same stuff. Just don’t spill it and then step in it or you might beat the wire to the other end.

And from one forum respondent in Sydney came :

  • “To connect your draw wire to the cables being pulled in I suggest using Cable Grips like these:

cable grips

  • Also I have never used it myself, but I have heard of talcum powder being used as a lubricant, although I’d recommend wearing dust masks and eye protection as talcum powder can be very irritating if inhaled and or gets in your eyes.”

As a point of interest, those answers rated as “Almost Good” were as follows – sorry, I left out the one suggesting the use of KY-Gel – wasn’t too sure about that!:

From a bloke in Idaho, USA, came –

  •   the most important step. Pull from high to low elevation, even if it is 2 inches difference.

And finally, from someone, somewhere, with a warped sense of humour who seems to know what he is talking about, even though he claims among other things to be a graduate of Brandenborg University at Lower Lichtenstein, with emphasis on Super High Intensive Training (check those initials and you’ll see what I mean) –

  • They make a device called a “tunnel rat” that is a spool of high strength very fine cord that is fired thru the conduit by a nitrogen powered gun. It unspools as it travels down the conduit. Different trade names exist, as well as different manufacturers.
  • As for how to pull the wire, it depends on size of wire, size of conduit and length of pull.
  • 270 degrees is the maximum turn allowed in most situations.
  • I have used a Rigid pipe threader anchored to the floor, with a 2 inch nipple as a capstan drive to pull wire through large conduit, and high powered winches for other situations. Very long runs of large cable require pinch conveyors and rollers to prevent damage to the cable. Cable manufacturers specify a maximum pull on their cable to prevent damage to the exterior as well as gauge change from stretching.
  • Lubricant is also standard equipment for cable pulling.

Some comments were useful, but different, such as:

From another Stateside contributor:

  • There has been some excellent advice given from other posters. The only thing I can think of adding that a lot take for granted is make sure all your cables are running parallel & not crossing over at any time. When even 1 cable wraps around or crosses over another it creates a lump that will not pull through a bend & will do damage.

And from one who gives his location as sometimes Wales, UK.. sometimes Libya!

  • MEASURE YOUR CABLE! The number of times I’ve seen cables pulled in only to find they are short by a FEW inches… Cable pulling can take ages and a lot of manpower and even longer if you have to pull it out again because you’ve cut it too short. Also don’t forgetting the “muppet” factor you now feel, and everyone who pulled the cable is definitely thinking! Measure twice.. cut once!

That’s all for now. We’ll keep our eyes peeled for other interesting topics connected with the industry.

Don Eade

Road toll reduction stalls in spite of everything


Just one of the factors that make us aware of the Aussie road toll are highly visible, privately erected, roadside memorials like this.

Tradies are on the road more than many, so the road toll is of interest to us all. None of us want to finish our lives as an addition to this serious statistic.

Although it seems to have hit a wall after five years of dramatic reductions, the Australian road toll is still either good or bad, depending on how you look at it. Even though 1301 were killed last year – up 1.9% on 2011’s figure of 1277, the figure gives most observers warm fuzzies when they compare it to the 1970 figure of 3798.

What the heck were those drivers up to in 1970? The figure promotes visions of Mr Magoo driving sedately down the M1 with other vehicles flying in all directions around him, pranging, rolling, dodging trees and pedestrians that mysteriously appear.

I was on the roads then, and looking back, I have to admit it certainly feels safer on the roads now. In those days, long delays while motorists ‘rubber-necked’ as they passed prang scenes were the norm rather than the exception on any long drive, especially during the weekend.

Why the massive difference? Plenty of reasons, with most changes such as new road rules and better roads involving the police. The boys in blue do a fantastic job while copping flak from many quarters whenever the chance arises.

But some things never change. Take a look at this poem I discovered a few days ago, framed on our office wall, here at Rainbow Electrical Bends. The words were penned over 40 years ago by our boss, Ken Souter, and could just as well have been written yesterday:

The Mug Copper

The copper’s lot’s not all sweet meat,
he travels far, out on the beat;
He keeps all kinds of rotten hours,
monotonous work loads he does devour;
He often goes to the head-on smash,
or the lonely house where the wife’s been bashed.
He wakes up in the dead of night,
with shaking fears of those awful sights;
He goes to the footy to contain the louts,
and can’t catch his breath in between the bouts;
He tests the breath of countless drunks,
and he’s abused and accused when he comes up trumps.

And the crims they treat him with disdain,
“Bloody mug copper” is their claim;
When he’s in trouble we say “good riddance”;
and for this he’s paid a lousy pittance.
Now through all this he must stay pure,
not take a bribe, nor feel insecure;
To do this he holds his head erect,
and we all say “what a pain in the neck.”

When he’s out on the highway with the radar gun,
trying to stem Mr Death’s lump sum,
We cry on site “oh, this can’t be true”
“He gotta have something better to do”;
He does you know, he visits a mum,
to tell her the road’s claimed her favourite, her son.

– K. P. Souter

Makes you think, doesn’t it? You can change the road rules, build better roads and cars, improve safety standards and educate our drivers to higher standards, but 40 years after this was written, it’s still the “Mug Copper” who has to carry the can. Make sure you give him the thumbs-up next time you pass him on the road.

– Don Eade