How many conductors under a breaker terminal?

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  #1  
Old 12-02-05, 08:50 PM
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How many conductors under a breaker terminal?

Hi Everyone,

I hope this one is simple - How many wires am I allowed to put under a breaker terminal? Say, for example, I have a simple lighting circuit in the house with two homeruns back to the panel. Is it ok to land both wires under the terminal? Assume that the terminal is able to accept the wires. Is it to code? Thanks.

Greg
 
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  #2  
Old 12-02-05, 09:07 PM
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I believe it is only allowed if the breaker is specifically rated for two wires.

The simpler thing to do is to attach the two wires to a pigtail with a wirenut inside the panel box, and attach the pigtail to the breaker.
 
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Old 12-03-05, 04:31 PM
dcohalla
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one wire per breaker

I would have to agree w/the previous reply.

I cannot state the specific code reference, but the rule of thumb is one breaker terminal, one wire. Another, and in my mind, better way to do it is to go back to the first logical place and join the two runs ( assuming that the runs are sized properly for the load on them and the total load does not exceed the breaker capacity) inside a junction box and bring a single run into the breaker box. Personally, I would not like to have "junctions" inside my breaker box. Be sure to label the junction box with it's contents and voltages so that it is easily discernable what it contains in the future.

Also know that there are double breakers that take one "space" in the box, but contain two seperate breakers, this would eliminate the need to add a junction box plus you would have individual control of each run... which might come in handy down the road. Plus it leaves you open to expand each run a little (if circuit capacity allows) down the road.

Drew
 
  #4  
Old 12-03-05, 06:32 PM
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Thanks for the replies. I am going to stick to one-to-one myself, I was just curious if you could do it.
 
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Old 12-03-05, 08:35 PM
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I've got a Cutler Hammer Type CH breaker sitting on my desk. 15 Amp. There is a rating embossed in the plastic which reads in part
"
(1) #8-14 AL/CU 20 LB/IN
(2) #10-14 CU ONLY 30 LB/IN
"
So on this breaker I can use two (2) #10-14 copper load wires.
 
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Old 12-05-05, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by ArgMeMatey
So on this breaker I can use two (2) #10-14 copper load wires.

I would definately only connect two wires of the same guage in that case. A #12 & #14 (since your example was a 15A breaker) under the same screw would likely leave the #14 wire a little loose, or the #12 crimped so bad it could break.
 
  #7  
Old 12-05-05, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by chirkware
...A #12 & #14 (since your example was a 15A breaker) under the same screw would likely leave the #14 wire a little loose, or the #12 crimped so bad it could break.
Good point. The CH terminal screw has a wide flat blade that clamps the wires down into a U-shaped valley. I only have two circuits with two wires hooked up, but they are both using only #12 stranded. I wonder what it looks like if you have a #10 and a #14. However they don't say (2) #14, (2) #12 OR (2) #10, so rating-wise, it would appear to be OK.
 
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Old 12-05-05, 05:34 PM
dcohalla
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# of conductors on breaker

QUOTE:
"I've got a Cutler Hammer Type CH breaker sitting on my desk. 15 Amp. There is a rating embossed in the plastic which reads in part
"
(1) #8-14 AL/CU 20 LB/IN
(2) #10-14 CU ONLY 30 LB/IN
"
So on this breaker I can use two (2) #10-14 copper load wires."
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Good point ArgMeMatey.
Doing so on a breaker rated and specified as two wire would be fine. I had forgotten about those, I don't see them that often.
I would say though, in general, that most breakers employ a 1:1 relationship. I have seen many improperly wired panel boxes with up to 2 or 3 wires on a single terminal breaker. That's a hazardous condition there.
Drew
 
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Old 12-05-05, 06:12 PM
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Any new(er) HOM or QO will also accept two wires.
 
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Old 12-06-05, 01:07 PM
dcohalla
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# of conductors on breaker

Originally Posted by Speedy Petey
Any new(er) HOM or QO will also accept two wires.
Guess I'm just out of the loop on breakers, since I don't mess w/them every day. I have to say that from a personal standpoint, I'd rather see just one wire per terminal for simplicity's sake. Not to mention the possibility of overloading circuits by a H.O... but then again, I am stubborn and stuck in my ways.
Drew
 
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