- Channel material. How to distinguish a quality product
- What types of cable channels are on the market
- Scope of application and required accessories
- Cable channels from leading manufacturers
- Schneider Electric
- Features of installation of cable channels
- Practicality and durability. Features of operation
Wiring in cable channels is very often included in the list of invariable attributes of modern design, but the range of these products is huge, so in the article we will tell you about the basics of choosing cable boxes, consider the range of cable channels on the market, talk about their installation.
Open wiring is very convenient, because you do not have to resort to chipping walls and bricking up the cable. In the case of easily combustible wall bases, this solution is more advantageous than the construction of hidden protective shells with absolute localization. In addition, the wiring remains available for repair, service, or various modifications. All electrical fittings are mounted without burying and installation boxes, they can be easily replaced or repaired.
From a safety point of view, open wiring is inferior to hidden wiring, since a potential ignition source is left without localization. In rooms with open wiring, it is mandatory to have a fire alarm with infrared flame detectors and primary fire extinguishing equipment – powder and carbon dioxide fire extinguishers. It is recommended to use the cable in double non-combustible insulation with reduced smoke emission.
Channel material. How to distinguish a quality product
Accessories for high-quality ducts are made of ABS plastic with additional additives that prevent the spread of combustion and the release of acrylonitrile vapors when heated (the composition is similar to the material of the plastic parts of sockets and switches). Also in the composition there are plasticizers that make the product more flexible, while maintaining its strength. The material is easy to recognize: its structure is uniform, there are no lamination, the product is very durable.
The cable channels themselves are made, as a rule, of PVC plastic compound. These products are characterized by increased elasticity and flexibility. The main feature of a high-quality material is that under strong mechanical stress, the channel changes shape and also easily restores it without significant changes. To give the desired geometry to the product, various hardeners are added to the plastic compound, therefore, with its flexibility, the material has the strength of ABS plastic.
There are also products on sale made by unscrupulous manufacturers using recycled fluoroplastic and petrochemical waste. Such material is quite dangerous, because it is not known what toxic compounds it will begin to release when heated, and how quickly it will spread combustion.
These channels are also very inconvenient to install: they constantly crack and break, their ductility is practically zero, and the locks do not hold the lid well. Over time, they dry out severely and change color to a dirty yellow. These boxes can be distinguished by carefully studying them: the edge peels off with light scraping, the box wall bends poorly, a network of small cracks remains on the surface.
What types of cable channels are on the market
Structurally, the channels differ in the shape of the profile and walls:
- U-shaped profile. The most simple and common.
- U-shaped profile with partitions. This is a duct with several sections for joint laying of cables for different purposes..
- W-shaped profile with two or three sections. Each section has its own cover.
- U-shaped profile with sides. Has two “pockets” for convenient cable management, the cover is inserted into the central part.
- Profile with grooves for cable and U-shaped cover. Has a more aesthetic appearance, but less internal volume. There is no way to mount wiring accessories directly into the box.
- Universal profile. Has grooves for installing removable partitions.
- Channels with perforated walls. They are used in electrical panel installations and switchboards to arrange multiple wires. The wall has the appearance of numerous teeth to lead the wire into the cable, there is no need to disconnect it or drill a hole.
- L-shaped profile. Used in triangular ducts with a flat cover for cable routing in the corners of rooms.
- Profile with curly edges. This is a skirting channel or cable support skirting board. Optimal for wiring in the corner between the floor and the wall, has the ability to install modular fittings.
- Straight profile with semicircular lid. It is used for laying cables across the floor. It has a thick wall and a special lock that does not open when pressed hard. May have partitions.
Scope of application and required accessories
Channels can be used in almost any premises, both residential and technical. Accordingly, different product lines are focused on a specific application sector. For office premises, for example, there are channels with a special profile that can accommodate power cables, twisted pair cables and fiber optics in different sections. Specially designed adapters allow you to mount sockets and other fittings anywhere near the channel; skirting columns are especially popular for supplying electricity to a separate workplace. So in a modern office, extension cords are no longer relevant..
By purpose, the channels are divided into:
- Trunk. Serve for connecting cable lines between different rooms and zones, they can easily fit more than a dozen heavy power cables.
- Wiring. Installation boxes are used for branches from trunk lines and associated installation of electrical fittings.
- “Mini” class boxes, in which one or two cables are laid to a specific consumer or wires of the lighting network.
Boxes can change the direction of laying due to special corner adapters. Their main feature is an adjustable angle. For some manufacturers, the adjustment is 7 ° in both directions, others make it possible to bypass sharper or obtuse angles with a deviation of up to 45 °, which is important in rooms of non-standard shape.
For the installation of branches, tees or special adapters are used that allow you to connect channels of different types: floor with wall or baseboard, as well as trunk with wiring.
Supports are supplied separately for mounting sockets, switches, etc. They can be surface mounted or free standing. The calipers are standardized for use with different channel sizes. For this, elements of different sizes are squeezed out on the inner side of the side walls, which can be easily broken off..
A number of boxes do not require supports for the installation of fittings. Special mounting brackets are used that fix the socket mechanisms in the grooves for the box cover. Basically, boxes of this type are used in residential premises due to their attractive appearance..
Cable channels from leading manufacturers
The highest quality and most versatile cable support systems can only be purchased from branded manufacturers. The products are of high quality and have the most simplified installation scheme. Here’s what the market leaders offer.
The German manufacturer Hager focuses on integrated solutions for offices, but products, due to their high quality, are used everywhere. The design of the products is modern and easily blends with most interior styles.
The tehalit.BRP series is used for the laying of trunk lines, has an impressive internal volume and a flat cover that is mounted in the center of the box flush with its surface. Instead of a cover, modular frames for fittings can be installed, which also does not protrude much beyond the dimensions. There is a double box of this series with two different compartments and covers, and the single box provides for the installation of additional partitions.
The tehalit.LFF series is a universal wiring box with fittings mounting via a small surface mount support. These boxes are slightly thinner than trunk boxes and are easy to install due to built-in connectors and cable clamps.
The tehalit.DA series is specially designed for offices and includes universal cable ducts, socket strips and columns, flexible and rigid floor ducts of two types. The general catalog also contains perforated boxes.
The Legrand DLP duct line includes several profiles of different standard sizes with a width of up to 220 mm. The cable duct can have from one to three separate sections. The outer and inner angles are adjustable in the range of 60-120 °. The cable duct has two types of partitions:
- the first ones are mounted in a special groove and divide the channel into sections;
- the second partitions are flexible and glued to the rear wall of the duct, they are designed to separate the bundles of cables inside the section.
Fittings of the Mosaic series can be installed in place of the cover, the plug holes of the sockets are rotated 45 °.
The rear wall has pre-assembled mounting holes. They are reinforced with plastic, so there will be no cracks or chips when fastening. The outer and inner corners are divided into three elements. The top and bottom elements are foldable and adjustable. The inner cage follows the baffle when cornering. But there is no side surface at the turn, instead Legrand offers a flexible cover that does not need to be cut. It follows the shape of the profile along its entire length, gently avoids corners and looks really great. A tee adapter is used for connection at flat corners. Cover joints are closed with a special overlay.
The Russian manufacturer offers a series of In-Liner cable channels of four types.
Wall ducts have a flat cover, which is installed in the central part of the profile. Tees, plugs and bends are placed over the duct, but do not greatly increase the overall dimensions. In general, the DKS parapet canals are quite compact. Initially, they are positioned as trunk lines, but there is a variant of dividing one large cover into two smaller ones to transform the channel into an electrical installation. In place of the cover, modular frames with fittings can be installed. These channels have an additional folding cover on the side, which covers a separate small section for routing telephony wires. For a tighter abutment to the wall, a soft seal is provided.
Very durable, complete with twists and easy to connect to each other.
All adapters and supports for installing sockets are very impressive in size and do not differ in compactness. This series has an adapter for connecting to floor ducts and special flat branches for mini ducts. The modular support allows you to mount a large number of wiring accessories, there is also a modular junction box. The skirting channel has a U-shaped cover.
Mini-channels and accessories for them are made in white and dark brown versions. A separate variation of these channels has a self-adhesive base and a foldable lid. To protect against dirt and damage, the surface is protected with an adhesive film.
The Schneider assortment is in many ways similar to the DKS, but it has its own characteristics. The Ultra series has two types of main channels, one of which has a second section with a separate smaller cover for low current. Outlets and switches fit in modular frames, and a full range of accessories is also available, including additional dividers, cable retainers and adjustable angles. On the back wall there is an oval perforation for fastening.
Channels “mini” have a U-shaped cover and are used as branch ones, they use adjacent supports for installing fittings. Mini ducts with self-adhesive tape are provided for quick installation.
All channel accessories are simply snap-fitted. For safety, the cover has a mechanism of increased reliability; it cannot be removed without a special tool. Schneider cable ducts have a protective film, it can be easily removed after the installation is completed.
Features of installation of cable channels
Installation of wiring in the channels is carried out after the completion of finishing work. The configuration of the cable network is marked on the wall with a pencil, the lines are drawn strictly along the horizontal and vertical levels.
The laying of channels begins from the input distribution board, first the main lines are mounted, then the branches from them. Most channels have mounting holes, but if there are none, you will have to make them yourself. The holes must be made exactly in the center of the back wall.
A channel section of the required length is applied to the wall so that the line on it is positioned strictly in the center of the holes. Then it is fastened with quick-fit dowels. The clamp should not be too tight, otherwise the channel will bend inward. When installing the connecting elements, the box is cut to the required length, and the accessory is temporarily fixed. Then the channel is installed on the other side and, if provided for by the installation scheme, permanent fastening is performed.
You need to cut the channels with a hacksaw for metal using a miter box. The maximum possible number of whole elements is set first, then the remaining material is cut and trimmed. Otherwise, independent installation does not cause difficulties, since manufacturers, when drawing up installation diagrams, are guided by the layman. Of course, when using channels of questionable quality, a problem-free installation is out of the question..
Practicality and durability. Features of operation
Most of the well-known brands supply products that do not lose their properties over time: the plastic remains snow-white even after 10 years, dirt does not eat in due to the glossy finish. It remains only to periodically wipe the dust from the channels.
At the same time, overhead channels provide full freedom in changing the network configuration and the owners use this. It is very easy to add or relocate the socket or connector of the communication cable, but the cover and base of the channel can be easily damaged. To prevent this from happening, it is necessary to disassemble the channel from the side of the accessory or installation product: pry the cover over the entire area and carefully disengage it from the lock.
If a part of the canal was damaged by a careless blow and a crack appeared, it is recommended to cut out a section and make an insert from the remaining remains of the bases, fastening them with the supplied connectors.
When a dent appears, you need to try to straighten it, pre-warming it slightly with a hairdryer.
Attention! Channel bases and covers are shipped separately, so it is recommended that you purchase several replacement covers in case you move your installed fittings.