Better wire nut?

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  #1  
Old 09-09-06, 03:05 PM
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Better wire nut?

I was working on a junction box in my garage with one circuit of 5 -12 gauge solid wires together in a wire nut. One set for the hot and one for the neutral. I needed to replace one of the romax lines and put everything back and all works well. I used the same wire nut the electrician used when it was first installed a few years ago. He had the 5 wires under the same wirenut. I just needed to rerun on of the wires for a new light fixture. I feel very confident doing wiring and my connection is tight but I was wondering if there is a better wirenut for 5 wires, maybe one with a set screw. I have seen those pushin connectors for 6 or 8 wires but they remind me of the backstab connectors. I thought of breaking it up with pig-tails but I think it would crowd the box.
 
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Old 09-09-06, 03:09 PM
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5 12 guage wires.. I would strip 1/2 inch long, pre twist, and use a big blue wiirenut.

I also never re-use wirenuts. Get new ones.
 
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Old 09-09-06, 03:42 PM
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I persoanally prefer a big blue nut although I believe (I think with Ideal anyway) that 5 #12's is acceptable in a red nut. I don't like it though. It never feels right and everything has to be perfect for them all to stay in the nut.
 
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Old 09-09-06, 07:52 PM
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I think some wire nuts are better than others, some a lot better. While I try to stock stuff for almost any contingency, by far the 2 I use most are Ideal 341s (tan) and 342s (gray) And, unlike JW I don't pre-twist (I know-another war started). The 342s are good for six #12s but I much prefer to limit #12s to 4 or 5.

These wirenuts seem to me that they bite better than most others and it's been years since I've had a bad connection using one of these and consequently don't use anything else any more when I use wire nuts where these will fit.


Unfortunately I don't see either of these in small quantities. As a home owner you ought to have an assortment of wire nuts around because I do agree that they probably shouldn't be reused.

As to the push-in type connectors, (yep-more issues) I've probably used close to 10,000 by now and no problems yet. The connector looks to be constructed differently than those in receptacles and switches. In my estimation they may actually be better for a DIYer than wire nuts because there is no learning curve - just strip the wires and push them in. I do limit my use of them to #14 wire and to situations where the wire for whatever reason is just too short to get a wire nut on. My infrared tester doesn't show me these connections get any warmer than the wire nutted variety even under heavy sustained loads. If you're unsure of the connection in a wire nut these may be the way to go. And. since you don't wind up with a bunch of wire twisted together, they wind up taking up less room in the box which can be an issue with GFCIs and dimmers.
 

Last edited by itsunclebill; 09-09-06 at 08:12 PM.
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Old 09-09-06, 08:02 PM
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Leave it to "uncle Bill" to start a war (or me if he's not around, (Wink))
Ideal, I find to be the better nuts around. I personaly don't use the stab ins'.
A trick on these connections ,is to make them longer than normal, match all the insulation up then twist them(clockwise)Now trim them back, and you have a nice uniform tight splice.

This is considering the box is large enough to accept all these cables.Not my choice, but it is what it is.
 
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Old 09-09-06, 08:27 PM
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For some reason...(just to antagonize) i was under the impression that while pre-twisting was not code per se' it was kinda mandatory. I understand if i am misunderstanding I was trained by an "ol timer" (i was 14 when i started) and he required that i learn to pre-twist He was a stickler for tight joints (no ha ha there) so yeah i agree...Strip longer (like with 5 #12s I would strip about 1- 1.5 inches and match up the insulation and twist the dickens outta it...but thats my two cents into the war on joints
 
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Old 09-09-06, 09:18 PM
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I don't arbitrarily pretwist every single time. But five #12s in a wirenut would almost always want a pretwist in my experience. I'd most likely use an Ideal Gray Twister wirenut.

I also have used thousands of the Wagos and the Ideal equivilents of the push-in connectors. They work very well, nothing like the questionable connections in backstabbed devices. They are especially nice for crowded boxes as they take up less space for themselves and the wires can be shorter if necessary (try to keep them at Code length, of course) and aren't twisted.
 
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Old 09-09-06, 10:31 PM
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If I'm making splices that I know will never need to be taken apart I like to use the Buchanan steel Crimp Caps with the Buchanan crimping tool. No twisting necessary and those babies will NEVER come apart.
 
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Old 09-10-06, 08:06 AM
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Talking

[QUOTE=itsunclebill]
"unlike JW I don't pre-twist (I know-another war started)."

KA-BOOM! (First Salvo)
Nothing like digging around in ceiling insulation to locate a JB only to find a loose wire under a wirenut because the sparky didn't pre-twist the conductors.
Actually not a bad service call. Easy to fix (after you find the JB), and a good opportunity to land a new customer after you explain what caused the problem in the first place, that the sparky was in too much of a hurry to pre-twist the wires. Sometimes they want you to inspect the rest of the JB's and see if anymore are like that.
steve
 
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Old 09-10-06, 08:11 AM
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QUOTE=furd "If I'm making splices that I know will never need to be taken apart I like to use the Buchanan steel Crimp Caps with the Buchanan crimping tool. No twisting necessary and those babies will NEVER come apart."

Everytime I install something that I am absoutley sure I will never have to go back to, therefore I do something like add that extra thick layer of super duty calk, I am back within six months working on it again for some reason. (not necessarily my fault, customer may want to add or change something)
 
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Old 09-10-06, 08:16 AM
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[QUOTE=hillbilly ace]
Originally Posted by itsunclebill
"unlike JW I don't pre-twist (I know-another war started)."

KA-BOOM! (First Salvo)
Nothing like digging around in ceiling insulation to locate a JB only to find a loose wire under a wirenut because the sparky didn't pre-twist the conductors.
Actually not a bad service call. Easy to fix (after you find the JB), and a good opportunity to land a new customer after you explain what caused the problem in the first place, that the sparky was in too much of a hurry to pre-twist the wires. Sometimes they want you to inspect the rest of the JB's and see if anymore are like that.
steve
The only time I do not pre twist is when I am using Ideal Twisters. The sales dept at Ideal didn't lie. Put the wirenut on, use your 5/16 nut driver to tighten it, and when you take it off the wires are still twisted and stay together.
 
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Old 09-10-06, 08:26 AM
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this is from Ideal'sŪ website reagrding wing-nutŪ wire connectors.

Three color-coded models available to meet your needs
Accept #18 through #6 AWG wires
Contoured wing design for secure grip
Live-action, square-wire spring
No pre-twisting required
UL Listed and CSA Certified
Reusable
Shell rated for 105° C
Flame-retardant polypropelene shell

Note the direction of no pre-twist required. I couldn't find the instructions for use but if I remember correctly, it does instruct the user to twist the connector until the conductors have been twisted a certain amount.

Now I know I am going to get heat from this. It also lists them as reusable. Both things are individual user preferences but they (wing-nutŪ) are UL listed for use without pretwisting as well as reuse.

with that in mind Ace, be careful of voicing your preferences as a requirement or failure to provide quality work. You never know, one day you may be working at the home of an Ideal employee and you stating that it is a requirement for a reliable connection could get you into a bit of legal trouble. Not a likely scenario but a possibility.
 
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Old 09-10-06, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by nap
Now I know I am going to get heat from this.
Not from me. I agree with you. I even sometimes reuse this type of wirenut when I would not think about re-using other types.

Ideal Twisters are just a great product.
 
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Old 09-10-06, 09:35 AM
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Cool

Originally Posted by nap


with that in mind Ace, be careful of voicing your preferences as a requirement or failure to provide quality work. You never know, one day you may be working at the home of an Ideal employee and you stating that it is a requirement for a reliable connection could get you into a bit of legal trouble. Not a likely scenario but a possibility.
nap....
If any company that manufactures a product states that it will do a specific thing, then I'm not allowed to question it?
If giving my opinion and stating facts that are known to me gets me in trouble, lets the cards fall where they may.
I don't lie, but the truth may sometimes hurt.
If I see work that is in my opinion shoddy, If asked, I will give my opinion.
A fact ....I've never seen a single wire (that was pre-twisted in a bundle of wires) fall out of a wire nut, I don't care what the brand.
It's not the hardware, it's the person installing it that's usually at fault if a problem arises.
Most wire-nut manufacturers say that pre-twisting is not required. My preference is to pre-twist.
ps. I didn't mention any brand names...you did.
steve
 
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Old 09-10-06, 09:54 AM
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Years ago, when I was still just a helper, we were on a troubleshooting job when I found some loose connections in an attic, and wires comming out of a not properly tightened romex connector.

I told the J man I was working with what I found, and he went up to the HO and started telling him about the bad work that the previous electrician had done.

The previous electrician was from our company, and the HO ended up getting a free service call.

Both guys got a chewing from the owner. One for the bad workmanship and the other for not watching what he was saying to customers.
 
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Old 09-10-06, 10:21 AM
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Calm down ace. It wasn't meant as an attack, simply an observation. In todays litiguous society, people get sued for little of nothing. All I was meaning to say is that if you state an opinion (totally allowed) as a fact and that info is disparaging, the owner of the product can sue for damages.

In other words, there is a difference in whether it is your opinion or your preference as to the correct way to do something as opposed to telling somebody that such and such product does not perform as designed and listed. Unless you are willing to prove such, then your opinion needs to be expressed as such.

You are correct though in your statement of

"It's not the hardware, it's the person installing it that's usually at fault if a problem arises." (boy I miss the "quote" function)

If a product is used as directed and it fails, then there is a factual and design problem. If it is not used as directed and fails, it is a failure of the installer and not the product. I have found it is usually the installer rather than the product. Many use a product outside of the designed parameters and then gripe when it does not work as intended.

I have also had situations that appear to be a workmanship problem. There are often many factors not immediately apparent that may have influenced the outcome as seen. Unless it is obviously poor workmanship, I tend to tread lightly.

I do not pre-twist (generally) and have not had a problem with twist on connectors when used as directed.(for that reason anyway). If installed per directions, then removed, you find the conductors are twisted very similar to as they were pre-twisted. As I posted before, the last time I read the directions, the nuts required turning until the conductors were twisted a certain amount (obviously external of the connector). If directions were not followed, the wires inside were not twisted then either.

I grabbed Ideal products because that is what I generally use. No other reason.
 
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Old 09-10-06, 10:23 AM
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very appropriate anecdote j.
 
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Old 09-11-06, 06:18 AM
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I ve done both the twist and no twist and dont see a lot of difference. Like others I strip the wires extra long before I twist which makes it much easier and sometimes possible to twist the wires to gether neatly. I also try to get a few twist down on the insulated part of the wires. Holding the wires together before they enter the nut actually seems to do more good than twisting the bare wire together.

I am begining to believe the the no-twist method has come about because there are a lot of people who can not properly twist the wires together. Screw up and have to start over a couple of time and you wind up with your wires too short.
 

Last edited by JimmieDee; 09-11-06 at 06:31 AM.
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Old 09-11-06, 08:13 AM
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Well, all I can offer in defense of the way I do things is the number of years I've spent in one facet or another of the business (35), the number of callbacks I get for problems caused by something I did rather than failure of a part, and the willingness of my customers to refer me to other folks.

On the other hand, I do a reasonable business following up guys that believe they have all the answers and need to be telling the rest of us just how bad we are at our trade because we don't do things like they do. For what it's worth I spent plenty of time pretwisting wires before I decided that with the type of wire nut I use it's unnecessary.

I'm also probably a bad tradesperson because I'm willing to try new things and don't take everything others say and do as gospel. I also tend to be a bit skeptical of someone who can judge the quality of my work without having seen it.
 
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Old 09-11-06, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by JimmieDee
Holding the wires together before they enter the nut actually seems to do more good than twisting the bare wire together.
*****************
Similarly, when working with roughly 4 or more stranded #12, I have found it most helpful to strip extra long, twist the individual strands together on each wire, tape the wires together tightly, and then trim the wires to exactly the same length. Then I use Ideals with the wings.

Also the passage quoted by "nap" said "No pre-twisting required." It did NOT say "DO NOT PRETWIST". So it becomes something like, dare I say, the ground blade orientation on a receptacle.
*****************
 
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Old 09-11-06, 11:59 AM
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Not trying to start a controversy, but how about also taping the nuts to the wires? I know some very experienced electricians who do this whether they pre-twist or not.
 
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Old 09-11-06, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by itsunclebill
Well, all I can offer in defense of the way I do things is the number of years I've spent in one facet or another of the business (35), the number of callbacks I get for problems caused by something I did rather than failure of a part, and the willingness of my customers to refer me to other folks.

On the other hand, I do a reasonable business following up guys that believe they have all the answers and need to be telling the rest of us just how bad we are at our trade because we don't do things like they do. For what it's worth I spent plenty of time pretwisting wires before I decided that with the type of wire nut I use it's unnecessary.

I'm also probably a bad tradesperson because I'm willing to try new things and don't take everything others say and do as gospel. I also tend to be a bit skeptical of someone who can judge the quality of my work without having seen it.

You should see someone about your issues.
 
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Old 09-11-06, 07:35 PM
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I HATE seeing taped wirenuts. I always assume they were taped because they weren't installed properly.

What in the world would be a good reason to tape a properly-installed wirenut?
 
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Old 09-11-06, 08:51 PM
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I just love these debates, when are we going to have one on wire strippers???

Mac... I once was in a homeowner finished basement that required our help because everytime the guy turned on a breaker it immediately tripped. Seems he contracted a retired railroad person who claimed he was skilled electrician. This guy not only taped the wirenuts he color coded the tape with the color of his wirenuts. Reminded me of Christmas everytime we opened a box. It was a PITA taking all that tape off.
As for why the breakers were tripping the railroad electrician had a different use for white wires than you and I would.

Now before all you railroaders throw bricks at me the mentioned fellow worked for a railroad, turned out he was a janitor. He had been laid -off and was recommended by his grand daughter who worked for the homeowner. Seems he wasnt real truthful with grand daughter.

So Mac the answer to you question is....A laid-off railrod janitor.


Roger
 

Last edited by Roger; 09-11-06 at 11:19 PM.
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