Simple problems and simple solutions 001 problem overview

Simple problems and simple solutions


Most developers have struggled with wires in SOA composites. You may find yourself in a situation where a wire has been deleted. Some missing wires are restored by JDeveloper. Other missing wires have to be added manually, by simply re-connecting the involved adapters and components. Simple.

Recently, I had a real life situation of missing wires. I had a conduit where there was no longer a wire inside. Normally, there is a wire inside that you can use to pull through all the wires that you require. However, here it was missing. From the attic down to the meter cupboard with electrical panel downstairs. A loooong wire was missing 🙁


001 problem overview

Normally, that’s not a big problem. You just take the fish tape, feed it through the conduit and ready.

002 fish tape


But not in this case. From both sides it was not possible to feed the fish tape through the conduit: it got stuck somewhere. Bummer – illustrated in the figure below:


002 schematic_background-start


I was considering alternatives: drilling holes through the floor to feed a cable through. No – too ugly. Or open up the wall on the point where the fish tape got stuck. No – too much work. I even got annoyed and was considering to get me one of these nice sledge hammers.


003 sledge hammer

No, that is also not an alternative. Because in the end, simple problems should have simple solutions. So a couple of weeks went by. It was on a Saturday afternoon. I was sitting on the couch, and again thinking about the conduit, the fish tape and the sledge hammer. And then, the solution came to me. I needed a cotton ball. It was time for a father-son project 🙂


Father-son project

I discussed the idea with my son and we decided that it would work. We started with a cotton ball and some fishing line. The cotton ball had a diameter of about 1cm and we attached the fishing line to it.


004 cotton ball


Next, we got out the vacuum cleaner. I never work with these, but this is how they look like:


005 vacuum cleaner


Normally, I’m pretty reluctant to using duct tape, but this is a good use case. We used it to attach some conduit to the vacuum cleaner:


006 conduit


Next, that same piece of conduit was attached to the end where the cable was missing:


007 conduit conduit


So far, so good. We moved to the attic with the cotton ball with fishing line. I pointed out to my son that he had to feed  the cotton ball into the other side of the conduit that was missing the wire. Illustrated below:


008 attick cotton ball




008 schematic


My son remained in the attic, with cotton ball, fishing line and I went downstairs. Both wondering if it would work…

When I got downstairs, I fired up the vacuum cleaner. I yelled upstairs ‘can we start?’. The response was ‘yes we can’.
Ready to go …
The result was astonishing: the cotton ball and its attached fishing line went through the conduit at an amazing speed. It was one of those moments where you’re really surprised that an idea can work so well in reality 🙂

After we had a good laugh, we attached a wire to the fishing line and then pulled that through the conduit:

Mission accomplished.

009 finished

… and if you’re looking for links to our IT business, I have some:

  • wireless is a great invention
  • developers should look for simple solutions for simple problems
  • managers should challenge for simple solutions, and most important, beware that simple solutions take a lot of time