twisting together three or more ends of wire

Old 11-23-04, 01:56 PM
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twisting together three or more conductor ends

it gets difficult twisting together three or more ends of solid 14 or 12 guage conductors

how do you effectively and safely do this ?

twist and solder them, or what ?

are there any special and inexpensive bolt/clamp type hardwares for this ?

if so then must they be copper only for use with copper conductors ?
or ?

or is soldering these safest and most recommended ?
what is the trick to twisting up three or more conductors evenly and effectively instead of just making a mess ? linesman pliers, or ?


Last edited by fast68; 11-23-04 at 02:39 PM.
Old 11-23-04, 02:04 PM
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You don't twist them together. Just put them into an appropriately sized wire nut and twist the wire nut into place.
Old 11-23-04, 02:42 PM
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I might also add that on the box of wirenuts, is a list of how many wires and what guage may be joined with a particular sized wire nut.
Old 11-23-04, 02:46 PM
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hmm.. ok :P

years ago i was watching someone wire up a stripped structure and all they used were those common red twist connectors and when they turned on the power to the circuit one of twist connectors, melted, burnt up

what might they have done wrong for such to happen ?

for connecting just two conductor ends together i always twist and tape, or twist and solder, sometimes i twist and use a red connector, but its rare, they just never seem to fit right, this is with 12 and 14 guage nothing special residential

ive never once ever had one of my twist connections do anything bad, ever,

are we not supposed to twist conductor ends together ever ?

what does the NEC say regarding conductor connections ?

i try to shy away from connecting three or more conductors together,
but sometimes you just have to,


Old 11-23-04, 03:26 PM
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Everyone does it differently.

I personally twist my connections together.
I will strip the wires a bit longer than what is needed in a wire nut, line them up and use a pair of linesman's pliers to twist them.
I then cut the end that was gripped with the pliers to the length that the wire nut needs.

Again, I'll say that the number of conductors that can be fastened with a particular nut is written on the box.

Here is Ideal's info:

Click image:

Image credit:

Link to installation tips.
Old 11-23-04, 04:02 PM
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The NEC has something very special to say about soldering: splices must be both mechanically and electrically secure _prior_ to soldering. You can use solder on the splice after you've twisted it enough, but you can't depend upon the solder to hold the splice together. IMHO soldering is a _bad_ idea because it is so easy to do wrong. Use proper UL listed fittings, and don't mess with soldering.

If you want something that will let you check the entire splice prior to insulating it, you should take a look at 'set screw wire nuts'.

These are brass barrels with a set screw in the side. Insert the wires, tighten the screw, inspect from the end to see that all of the wires are captive, and then screw on the plastic cover.

More expensive than ordinary spring wirenuts, less expensive than split bolts, and easy to use.

One warning, however. When you inspect the splice, look for wires sort of stacked up under the screw. The wires should be laying flat against the wall of the barrel. If they are stacked up, then they can wiggle to the flat position, and suddenly the screw will be loose.

Old 11-23-04, 04:59 PM
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A wirenut is the proper connection device to use. When you dont install wirenuts on an everyday basis it can be frustrating but watch someone who has installed thousands of them and you will get a lesson to remember. Dont solder....bad idea. Proper size wirenut installed correctly will not fail. You should give each wire a tug as a test for proper compression of all the wires in the wirenut. Read the below thread it is very informative. In this experiment the plastic of the wirenut was removed to show the compression device. Much discussion about techniques. The wirenuts were installed by me in a discussion on pretwisting and non-pretwisting of wirenuts. I do not install wirenuts on a daily basis so was the guinea pig in this discussion.
Old 11-24-04, 08:55 AM
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ok so bottom line is what- if a wire nut is installed properly then there is nothing to worry about right ? i just want to know what NEC says right now about making connections stranded or solid or both,

so wire nuts without pretwisting is the current NEC then ?

crimpable kind of nuts or non crimpable kind are to be used ?
i would think crimpable would be even better/safer than the non crimpable ones- tighter more secure connections the better in the field of electricity(no pun intended)

how do you properly install wire nut to connect solid conductor to a stranded conductor ? i mean when you are connecting a stranded and a solid conductor together with a wire nut do you hold the conductors so that the ends of them are together or what ? and how to know what size/color of wire nut to get ??

apparently NEC says soldering and twisting conductors together is less safe than wire nuts alone

but in my mind wire nuts fail too often and i cannot see how a twisted and soldered connection could ever fail, ever,.
i cant see how a little plastic nut is can ever possibly bind conductors together so well, conductor ends just side by side and compressed together and really tight if you are real lucky, thats a big gamble, alot more than with twisting and or soldering

but i wanna make connections according to NEC

but apparently it says to use wire nuts

but wire nuts are the most difficult to properly install,

really am stuck on this bad,

also does NEC say to wrap wire nut connections with tape ? probably so but i dont know ? three layers, or ? yes i have a roll of that white label UL listed tape that you see around, it is the only tape i will get, other tapes are too thick and dont stretch and are just junk quality.

am very capable of doing work in this field and everything and have quite a bit personal experience with old circuits removal and new circuit installations and even service panel installations and so forth, more than most other novice homeowners have, by far in most cases im sure, but i am just stuck on this conductors connections subject
im trying to go by logic but its not agreeing with what the NEC says apparently,

do wire nuts really do THAT well of a job connecting conductors together ?
i know they are definitely not foolproof and that they can be installed incorrectly, i live out in cornfields town USA where very little new construction happens or anything, so i dont know of anyone licensed as an electrician to go and talk to and i cant ask anyone like my great uncle who owns many, many houses and is one of those jack of all trades type ppl because he just told me to install the exterior lights on this house without a box at all! and well thats not good at all, i am not going to install a light fixture on or in a house with no box or anything, i cant believe that ppl will do such a thing, but most older houses are like this inside and out unfortunately, and ppl wonder why houses catch on fire and burn down

apparently im not going ot find answers i need online either, details about wire nuts and sizing and proper technique regarding installing them and so forth, and i have to get this job done like today somehow, im going to have to take my time installing these and check them and recheck them to make sure conductors get bound in the nuts well. and just hope that the boxes they come in will help me to figure out which one si need for various wire types and sizes

i dunno

this is why in the past i always twist conductors together neatly and soemtimes solder them, nice and tight and no chance of arcing at all,

which is the whole point

wire nuts thing is really confusing me, starting to piss me off

the connections that were in this house and all the wiring is all from 1982, black 12-2 romex, connections mostly all done outsid eof boxes and all just taped up, very bad, horrible,

so anything i do if i take my time with and recheck just plain HAS to be way better than what existed,

i mean the entire basement was all on one single breaker, come on.,.
washing machine, furnace, two lights all together


going to be all split up three breakers now and new NM cables and all new everything

making connections is my only catch, i want to do them as per current NEC

AFAIK its wire nuts,
but wire nuts confuse the hell out of me,
is a dark area, seems to be the most dangerous and riskiest way of connecting conductors together, ive seen one fail, i dont like the idea of them, they really seem like the least safe way to connnect, have thjje most potential of having loose connection not bound tight enough, unlike if you evenly twist and tape up and/or solder them

no chance then

how can there be a chance of evenly twisted and//or soldered conductors ever failing ??

i dont understand

ive never seen or witnessed or had an evenly twisted and/or soldered connection fail

im very safety conscious paranoid in life especially with wiring connections, it is extremely rare for me to take a risk in life unless i have covered bases and researched and so forth first

so i dunno

im gonna have to go to lumber hardware store and look at boxes of nuts until i figure out which i need for X connections i need to make in the basement and just hope for the best and recheck the connection after installing them

if i could afford to sign up for and attend electrical course then id be there in a flash, but i cant, i have been laid off no employment ofr over two years, courses cost $ that ill probably never have and all the red ink that you have to use to get into a course and such kills alot of deals too, nothing exists here anyways we dont have any school here with any basic electricians course so i have to do everything on my own or it wont ever be done, some day and somehow i wont be here anymore, ill be where population exists, where i can get opportunities to attend courses and such and learn what i need and want to learn, electrical is one for sure.. big time, id love to come across a contractor or someone who would acdept someone untrained as an apprentice, but i checked the union in springfield and they are sooooo slow that they clami they only accept two ppl a year for apprenticeship, so out the door that goes, thats a dead end, it seems that electrical field is dying off, or gone, no one does this work from what i can tell,

theres still plenty i need to find out, such as whether NEC requires use of wire nuts for all residential connections, stranded and solid and all,
12 guage or less
it seems to be extremely hard and frustrating to find out anything about this very subject
really starting to piss me off big time
want to do this right for a whole host of reasons, but cant seem to find out very much at all that directly relates to this, but i have to do this no matter what, i dotn like to have to wing things, but it looks like ill have to just wing this project either way,


thanks for your time
Old 11-24-04, 10:07 AM
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I don't recall seeing anything in the replies to indicate what caused the red wire nutted connection to burn up. The cause was that the wires were not connected together firmly. Either not twisted tight enough, or the red wire nut was too large for the size and number of wires connected in it, making the connection loose. Juice will try to "jump" from one wire to another, like the bluesmobile crossing a raised drawbridge. This is caled an arc, and arcing causes heat.

It was said that everybody does it differently. That's true. I was once told by a licensed commercial journeyman electrician that you shouldn't twist your wires before installing the wire nut. Line up the ends of the stripped wire close together and parallel, and the spiral grooves inside the wire nut will bite into the wires and draw itself down them like a nut & bolt, drawing them tight as the cone shaped threads get narrower. I wouldn't twist my wires together first, personally. That's just my $0.02.

But it has been said in this thread to look at the rating on the wire nut box to see how many of what guage wires are permitted. That's a must. The right size wire nut, coupled with making sure all the wire ends are even with one another before twisting on the wire nut, and twisting the wire nut on there very, very tightly, then doing the tug test, almost guarantees a solid electrical connection that will not fail.

And so that I can handle any situation I encounter, I always keep one box of orange, one box of yellow, and one box of red wire nuts in the house. These will handle most situations in residential.

Also, in case nobody said so, terminations of any kind must be in a box and must be permanently accessible.

I only use crimpable connectors on low voltage DC wiring, like in automotive wiring. I don't know the code on this, but it's because I don't do it so I never looked it up. I just don't view this type of connector to be as safe as a proper, UL listed wire nut for household wiring. And I only buy 3M, Buchanon, or Ideal wire nuts. Also, I like my connections to be removeable. Which is why I never, ever solder household wiring and never use crimp-type connectors. Again, just my $0.02.

Solid-to-stranded - OK, here's a situation where I would use solder. I usually just twist the stranded very, very tightly, making it almost like solid wire. Then when I twist on the wire nut the stranded does not seem to fray. But it is permissable to "tin" a stranded wire, making it essentially solid. Just twist the stranded tightly, heat it up, and let it drink some solder. Then when it cools treat it just like solid wire when connecting. But again, I am not saying to solder the two wires together here, I don't recommend it, personally.

The NEC does not require wire-nutted connections to be taped. Some guys do, some don't. I do it if I feel the situation calls for it. You could do it on all your wire-nutted connections if you wish. A tip, though. After you're done and you cut the tape, fold back about 1/4" onto itself. This "tab" will help the next guy find the end so he can peel the tape off if needed in the future.

Also, I never buy junk electrical tape. I only buy 3M Super 33+. (For colored tapes, though, I will use any grade tape if it's 3M brand. I usually just use it for color-coding my wire anyway, not for insulating it.) I know there are other UL listed, name brand tapes out there, but I don't care. I'm convinced this stuff is the best. If it costs 2 bucks more, I just don't care, it's worth the peace of mind.

There are many kinds of connectors out there, some of which were discussed in this thread already. But I can tell you, wire nuts are acceptable by the NEC for all wire-to-wire connections in residential wiring. I rewired most of my house myself. All connections are by screw (receptacles, switches, certain light fixtures, etc.) or else they're by wire nuts. I'll bet I have more than a hundred wire-nutted connections in my house that I made myself and I sleep great at night. I am extremely confident in the way I install them. Properly sized for the guage and number of wires I am connecting, stripped the right length, nice and parallel with ends even before the wire nut goes on, and twisted on very firmly and tightly, and I absolutely trust them with my life. Literally.

It sounds like you could use a good book. There are a bunch of good basic home wiring books out there, but I find the Black & Decker "Basic Wiring & Electrical Repairs" well illustrated and very clear and concise. It's $14.95 and available at Borders and other book stores. At Home Depot they have Sunset books. One is "Basic Wiring" for $11.65. It's pretty good. The other Sunset book I can recommend is "Complete Home Wiring", for $17.95. I actually bought this one, although I had been doing electrical repair and installation for about 15 years, mostly to help me help friends like you. My explanations can sometimes be overly technical and I can see I'm not getting through my point to someone who doesn't know what I know. Anyway, you seem to have some doubts and grey areas, and these books are all well illustrated and not only tell you what is OK by Code, but also help with tips and techniques.

I really hope this helps you.

Old 11-24-04, 10:54 AM
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When properly installed a wirenut is a great connection. I dont care for the Scotch brand, I throw them out. Something about the angle of the taper. Wire Nut, Wing Nut or Twist Lok. No pre twisting, it keeps from compressing the wires together. I like to tighten them far enough that the wires twist a couple wraps outside the nut, not that you would need to but its just a habit and my hands are strong and its not a problem to get them tight.
Old 11-24-04, 08:41 PM
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The information that you want is not going to appear online in any one
place; essentially what you want to know the chance of failure of a
particular splice.

When you say "but in my mind wire nuts fail too often and i cannot see how
a twisted and soldered connection could ever fail, ever,..." keep in mind
that 'the code' is not something that people thought up out of thin air;
instead it is the distillation of the _experience_ of electricians over

Soldered connections used to be the primary way of making splices, and the
experience learned was that solder is not suitable as the _mechanical_
support for a splice. Thus the rule, explicit in the NEC that soldered
splices _must_ be both mechanically and electrically secure prior to
soldering. Splices are expected to get warm, or even hot; THHN wires are
rated for use up to 90C. Solder gets softer when it gets warmer, and you
could imagine a cascade failure where the solder gets soft, and the splice
loosens just a bit, and you get more heating. Thus the mechanical and
electrical security requirement.

The NEC doesn't explicitly say anything about wirenuts directly. The NEC
simply requires 'listed' wire connectors, and leaves it up to 'Nationally
Recognized Testing Laboratories' (for example UL) to determine if a
particular splicing device is acceptable. There are many, many different
types of wiring device, some of which are probably more secure than
ordinary twist on wire nuts.

As far as crimp connectors are concerned, there are crimp devices that are
UL listed for electrical wiring. These require the use of proper crimp
tools; I've used the Buchanon C-24 crimper; in my experience these splices
don't work very well with solid wire.

If you are willing to look around and pay a bit more, you will certainly
be able to find a wire connector that suits you.


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