Outside and buried wiring


Active Member
I'm thinking of putting a couple poles in to hold street lights, cameras, and some electronics for HA-style gear. I am planning on burying the wiring to the poles, and using weatherproof boxes for the electronics except for the actual sensors in use.

I tend to overbuild, but that way my stuff lasts forever. I hate digging in rocky gravel so I'll only do it once! Probably going to rent a trencher. ;-) For A/C I know I can get direct-burial rated cable, but for cat5 and coax I'm looking at conduit.

Since I live in a northern area, I've got to go down a couple feet for frost considerations. Has anyone done this sort of thing, or supported a campground or other buried or underground cabling as well as outdoor wiring and equipment? Any advice, do's and don'ts, gotcha's??

not sure frost is an issue . .. . IIRC, underground AC wire only needs to be 18" below grade, for safety reasons (shovels/picks) . . . even less if it's in conduit . . .

nice how-to from the folks at ACE hardware

another one here

also, you can get direct-burial coax and cat5 . . .

Pete C
This may go without saying, but always leave a heavy nylon (or wire) pull cord in the conduit. Never use a cotton-based or other natural material. Water gets into the conduits and will eventually biodegrade a natural string.

I always pull through a brand new pull-cord anytime I pull a new wire through a conduit because even though you think you'll never have to pull another wire in the future - you will.

One more thing. Pick a conduit at least one of two sizes bigger than you think you need. Bigger is easier to work with, and if you're like me, you'll fill it with extra wires just in case.

Been there, done that.