Tucking wires into the box


Old 05-19-09, 10:32 PM
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Tucking wires into the box

As recomended by the books I read Im leaving 8'' of free conductor in the outlet boxes. When pig tails are added there is a substantial amount of wire to tuck into the box.
What is the prefered way to to do this neatly and profesionally?
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Old 05-20-09, 04:54 AM
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First, make sure your box is deep enough (with proper cu. in. volume) for the number of wires. If that is ok, then it just takes practice. I stretch the wires out at the bottom of the box, then begin a collapsing of the wires about 3" at a time folding them under and over until they all fit.
Old 05-20-09, 05:00 AM
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The code only requires 6" of free conductor, measured from the back of normal device boxes. This leaves about 3" of wire out of the front of the box.

Like Larry, I use an accordian fold.
Old 05-20-09, 09:47 AM
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Occasionally a blunt tool like the handle of a screwdriver can help "encourage" wires to fold where you want them to. Just be mindful not to pinch or kink anything, and don't use something that could cut the insulation like a screwdriver blade or needle nose.
Old 05-20-09, 10:47 PM
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Thank you for replies,I tray to use boxes larger than needed to make it easier
Old 05-22-09, 07:23 PM
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The blunt tool idea is a good one, but just be VERY careful not to scrape the wire past a KO or anything else in the box that might take the insulation off.

I find that longer wires are much easier to shape into the box than shorter ones. It might seem illogical because there is more wire in the box, but when the wire is longer you have increased leverage over it (try bending a 1" piece of solid #10 vs a 4" piece).

I mostly do commercial work where we always use a 1900 (4" square) box for all outlets, switches, etc. so I don't have to waste time trying to shape wires perfectly to fit into the tiny box.

BTW, IMO 3" out of the box just isn't enough. It's harder to shape and it's not giving the next guy enough wire to work with if he needs to cut and strip.
Old 05-22-09, 10:24 PM
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Myself I rather have at least 6 inches out of the box and make it easy to fold it some case what I do is make a corkscrew not too often but I do that once a while as well.

Most of my time just useally fold it and work pretty well if you do it right in first time.

Old 05-23-09, 08:49 AM
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I once measured how much wire I leave and it is around 6 inches.

The secret to this is to get deep boxes in the first place. The deeper, the better!

And you don't have to run 6 wires into that box for the light switch (or whatever), instead run ONE wire to the switch box and use a junction box in the attic (or other accessible place) for the other wires.

Also you can get a deep double gang box, yet use a single gang plaster ring, and you have all sorts of room inside that box!

Other than that, BEFORE I connect the switch/outlet, if the wire is entering the box from the top, I push it to continue to the bottom of the box, then bend it going back up to the top of the box, then bend it down to go half way, then out.

Then I cut them to length and connect them to the switch/outlet.

So now I have an "accordion" and everything pushes easily back into the box.

With a hex shaped junction box in that attic, the trick here is to go around in circles with the wires. And I route them around in the circles first. THEN I cut them to length, strip, twist wires together, trim that little nub off that one wire sticking out , and wire nut.

Here are pictures of various plaster rings...
Find Box Extensions and other Electrical Boxes at Aubuchon Hardware
Old 05-23-09, 08:59 AM
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P.S. Look at outlet boxes and switch boxes as opposed to light fixture boxes.

Notice that the outlet or switch goes INTO the electrical box taking up space.

BUT notice with a light fixture, it lays flat against the top of the box and does not take up any space inside the box.

So you have more available space in the light fixture box for wire connections than you do in a switch box. Thus I prefer to run power to the fixture as opposed to the switch box and make the connections at the light fixture box.

Wiring in this manner comes in REAL handy when you get 4 or 5 switches in the same box. (4 or 5 gang box.)

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