12 gage pig tails?

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  #1  
Old 02-12-06, 06:41 AM
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Question 12 gage pig tails?

When wiring a double 20 amp receptical with 12 gage wire and 20amp breaker, does the pig tail have to be 12 gage? Wouldn't it make it difficult to tie four 12 gage wires together? Is there another way?
thanks for any help.
 
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Old 02-12-06, 06:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Bebop
When wiring a double 20 amp receptical with 12 gage wire and 20amp breaker, does the pig tail have to be 12 gage? Wouldn't it make it difficult to tie four 12 gage wires together? Is there another way?
thanks for any help.
-Yes.
-Kind of for a DIYer. Use the proper size wire nuts. Reds would be fine.
-Yes. Use spec grade receptacles with back wiring. NOT "backstabs" or "quickwire". Back wired means there are 4 holes for the wires in the back of the receptacle, near the screws. The wire are held by a small plate tightened by the screws.
You can wire up to 4 wires on each side. More than enough for any receptalce.
 
  #3  
Old 02-12-06, 07:16 AM
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12 g pig tails

I have commercial grade recepticals but without holes for backwiring.
There are two copper screws, two silver screws and a green for the ground.
Can I use one copper screw on each receptical and run a black 12g wire between them? and do the same with the sivler(white wire) and ground.?
This would reduce my pigtail to three wires. Is this not advisable?
thanks.
 
  #4  
Old 02-12-06, 07:40 AM
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You cannot place more than one wire under a screw terminal.

However if this is a standard duplex receptacle, then the top and bottom halves should already be electrically connected by a break off tab. In normal installations, you run a single black wire to _one_ of the brass screws, and a single white wire to _one_ of the silver screws, and the entire duplex receptacle is energized.

So the totally normal way to pigtail in receptacles would only put three wires together under the wire nut.

If you don't have a shared neutral circuit, then you can use the receptacle itself as the splice. Connect the black supply wire to one brass screw, and the black load wire to the other brass screw. Connect the white supply wire to one silver screw, and the white load wire to the other silver screw. Pigtail your grounds and connect the pigtail to the grounding screw. This wiring technique is legal but strongly frowned upon if using cheap 'back stab' receptacles. It is reasonable, and possibly as good as pigtailing, when using commercial grade receptacles.

-Jon
 
  #5  
Old 02-12-06, 08:19 AM
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I guess I wasn't clear. I have two double outlets side by side.(4 sockets). Each outlet has two copper,two silver, and one ground. Rather than run four wires to the pigtail,(one from each outlet, one from the load and one from the return, I am hoping I can wire the two sockets together and run one pigtail wire (for each color). So I have only three wires under the nuts.

About the splice idea, maybe I don't have to pigtail at all.
If I connect the two outlets?
advise is appreciated
 

Last edited by Bebop; 02-12-06 at 08:33 AM.
  #6  
Old 02-12-06, 09:22 AM
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Making your splice through the receptacle is called 'series wiring'. (IMHO a very confusing name because the receptacles are electrically in parallel, but that's language for ya )

Series wiring is frowned upon because the continuity of the circuit depends upon the device. So if you have a long chain of receptacles, and one fails, you lose the rest of the chain. However 'pigtail' wiring depends upon the wirenuts working well.

If you are using good quality receptacles, then I figure that either approach would be quite acceptable.

If you use your pair of duplex receptacles as you describe, with no wire-nuts, then you will end up having twice as many splices 'in-line' to the end of the run versus using a single wire-nut splice in each box. Since each splice is a chance for failure, I would recommend against this approach.

My gut tells me that using three wire splices in each wire nut, and then jumping from one receptacle to the adjacent receptacle, is the best approach given the materials that you already have on hand.

If you get some of the 'four hole' commercial grade 'back wire' receptacles (the ones with the screw pressure plate that Speedy described), then you can get rid of the wirenuts without increasing the total number of splices. IMHO this is a reasonable approach, although the good backwire receptacles are costly.

-Jon
 
  #7  
Old 02-12-06, 09:28 AM
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Connect your incoming power hot wire to one brass screw. Use a short piece of 12 gage wire to connect the other brass screw on the same receptacle to one of the brass screws on the other receptacle. Connect your outgoing hot wire to the final brass screw.

Do the same with the neutral wires and the silver screws.

For the ground wires, you have several choices. You can wire nut them together and run pigtails to each receptacle and another pigtail to the box (if it is metal). You can also use one long pigtail to go to one receptacle then to the other receptacle (and even on to the box, if it is metal).
 
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Old 02-12-06, 09:38 AM
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Thankyou so much

I am very grateful to find this resource and everyones help.
I promise not to be a pest however I have one more question:
I just physically positioned the recepticals in the box and was dismayed to find how close together one hot terminal was from the adjacent silver. A current could easily jump across and short it out or worse.

Should I put one receptical uside down so that the silver screws are near each other?
Last question, promise.
 
  #9  
Old 02-12-06, 10:24 AM
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If these are proper duplex boxes, then when everything is screwed down the screw terminals should be held far enough apart to be safe.

But it couldn't hurt to flip the receptacles are you describe. And if something goes wrong, it might help.

-Jon
 
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Old 02-12-06, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Bebop
A current could easily jump across and short it out or worse.
No, that is not the case under 500V.
If you have over 500V why should you care if the current does jump?

If you have an upside-down receptacle, it will look like you didn't know what you were doing.
 
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