Ideal wire connectors revisited

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Old 07-28-11, 10:11 AM
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Ideal wire connectors revisited

Any of the residential electricians here using the Ideal type wire connectors instead of wire nuts? Are they eventually going to replace wire nuts?
 
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Old 07-28-11, 10:22 AM
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Which type are you talking about? Push in?

If so...my opinion is that it will be like Sharkbites for plumbing. You may have a few early adopters, but even then they are mostly used for temporary repairs or accessible areas, even though they are allowed to be used anywhere and have been in other countries for quite a few years. Notice how many variations on those are out now?

Until something has been in use for quite a while and the price drops, people will stay with what they know works.

btw...what did they use before wirenuts? Solder and tape?
 
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Old 07-28-11, 10:55 AM
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Imo, those push wire connectors are just like backstabs. I will either use wirenuts or solder and heatshrink.
 
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Old 07-28-11, 11:43 AM
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I use them occasionally, but they are still quite a bit more expensive than wirenuts. I personally haven't seen one go bad yet. They're common on recessed light cans. I believe it's the Halos that ship with one preinstalled on the can leads. They are very useful in an old box where there is not a lot of conductor left to work with.

As with most things designed to save assembly time and utilize untrained laborers I expect the major rollouts of this type of product will be in manufactured housing (mobile homes, pre-fab, etc). A line worker can make up push-in connections a lot faster than wirenuts and as long as it meets the bare minimum of fire standards it goes out the door.

Before wirenuts, barrel crimps insulted with a plastic sleeve or tape were common. Prior to that generally you will just see twist and tape or sometimes solder and tape. Some guys still prefer to use barrel crimps for making up ground wire bundles.
 
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Old 07-28-11, 11:55 AM
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I use them similar to Ben, the cost keeps me from using them everywhere.

Justin, look at a push-in connector from Ideal and you will see that the contact area is different from a backstab and the spring is more robust.

For a DIY the push-ins are almost foolproof.
 
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Old 07-28-11, 12:12 PM
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Justin, look at a push-in connector from Ideal and you will see that the contact area is different from a backstab and the spring is more robust.
Okay. Ill see if my supply house has a real small pack.
 
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Old 07-28-11, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by ibpooks View Post
I use them occasionally, but they are still quite a bit more expensive than wirenuts. I personally haven't seen one go bad yet. They're common on recessed light cans. I believe it's the Halos that ship with one preinstalled on the can leads. They are very useful in an old box where there is not a lot of conductor left to work with.

As with most things designed to save assembly time and utilize untrained laborers I expect the major rollouts of this type of product will be in manufactured housing (mobile homes, pre-fab, etc). A line worker can make up push-in connections a lot faster than wirenuts and as long as it meets the bare minimum of fire standards it goes out the door.

Before wirenuts, barrel crimps insulted with a plastic sleeve or tape were common. Prior to that generally you will just see twist and tape or sometimes solder and tape. Some guys still prefer to use barrel crimps for making up ground wire bundles.


Originally Posted by pcboss View Post
I use them similar to Ben, the cost keeps me from using them everywhere.

Justin, look at a push-in connector from Ideal and you will see that the contact area is different from a backstab and the spring is more robust.

For a DIY the push-ins are almost foolproof.
Yeah Halo and Commercial Electric (Home Depot brand, obviously made by Halo) cans both come with these preinstalled. I just installed two dozen of them in my basement, and you can tell the spring definitely has more 'bite' than a regular backstab.
 
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Old 07-28-11, 03:59 PM
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The reason I asked about them is that I just painted a bedroom in the older part of my house. All of the receptacles were the old style backstab so I decided to replace them when I removed the cover plates for painting. When I read the comment about backstab receptacles I had second thoughts - sorta'.

I ended up not only replacing the receptacles using the push wire connectors but I also replaced all the wire nuts on two switches and a ceiling light. I could not believe how much quicker and how much extra room there was in the boxes. The nearly flat connectors push up against the side of the box out of the way.

I also did a tug test with pliers. I could not pull the wire out.
 
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Old 07-28-11, 04:50 PM
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Justin, you can't solder alternating current conductors. ALTHOUGH, I ran into one in a house yesterday. House was less than 15 years old and pigtails were all soldered and taped. Cut them out and used push in connectors!
 
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Old 07-28-11, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by chandler View Post
Justin, you can't solder alternating current conductors. ALTHOUGH, I ran into one in a house yesterday. House was less than 15 years old and pigtails were all soldered and taped. Cut them out and used push in connectors!
If I may disagree the book I learned from said to twist, solder, wrap with rubber tape, then wrap with friction tape.

The soldering irons were heated with a gasoline blow torch.
 
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Old 07-28-11, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by chandler View Post
Justin, you can't solder alternating current conductors.
Why not? What is it about alternating current that will not allow soldering? What about all the electronic equipment that has soldered connections on the AC side?
 
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Old 07-28-11, 06:28 PM
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The old wiring in my house is soldered and taped. That's how the old timers did it.
 
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Old 07-28-11, 06:29 PM
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I agree with that, and you grew up the same era as me.....lead pots and oakum for plumbing fittings, but I believe 1993 only allows wire nuts, crimps and exothermic welds. I knew when I wrote it I'd have to go get chapter and verse. Gotta run to the shop.
We're both right. It can't be solder alone. 110-14b..."soldered splices shall first be so spliced or joined as to be mechanically and electrically secure without solder and then soldered."
So it gets down to "why bother" if you have it secure without solder.
 
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Old 07-28-11, 06:33 PM
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Justin, you can't solder alternating current conductors. ALTHOUGH, I ran into one in a house yesterday. House was less than 15 years old and pigtails were all soldered and taped. Cut them out and used push in connectors!
Why not? Until about 16 years ago my house was all soldered and taped. The lines feeding my garage were all soldered and taped about 100 years ago and are still working today.
 
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Old 07-28-11, 06:39 PM
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Justin, the NEC probably didn't apply 100 years ago. Just because it is still intact, doesn't alter the fact things change. Solder alone was found to release with certain amounts of heat in splices, making for a frowny day. Code reference in post 13/
 
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Old 07-28-11, 06:40 PM
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Ummm Justin? You say a lot of mine and my...but since you are only about 16....how does that work?

btw...there was no real tape 100 yrs ago, as we know it today.
 
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Old 07-28-11, 06:42 PM
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You're not kiddin'! He IS only 16 I got socks that old! No offense, Justin. We're just having a good time. And you're "it".
Luana, I'm not referring to electronic, but line voltage connections in switches and receptacles, etc.
 
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Old 07-28-11, 06:42 PM
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Look in 110.14(B) (2011) Solder may be used, but you may not rely on the solder for the connection. It must be a mechanically and electrically secure without the solder and then be soldered. So really, there is no need for the solder.

I don't mind the Ideal push-in connectors for the reasons others have mentioned but I only like to use them in switch or receptacle boxes. Not boxes for fixtures. It makes the wires a little more flexable.

IMO - I don't like to make any connection where you have to rely on the device for the connection. Backstab or or screws. Pigtails all the way!
 
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Old 07-28-11, 07:22 PM
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Ummm Justin? You say a lot of mine and my...but since you are only about 16....how does that work?
The place I live, eytc. Shared with my parents and sisters.
 
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Old 07-28-11, 07:27 PM
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Why wouldn't you twist your wires together before you soldered them? I can't imagine trying to solder several loose wires together.
 
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Old 07-28-11, 07:32 PM
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You don't "twist" them, you have to have them mechanically and electrically secure, which I gather means an exothermic weld or crimp, THEN solder, which seems unnecessary.
Justin.....it's cool, man. At least you don't have a problem taking on us old geezers!
 
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Old 07-28-11, 08:06 PM
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Splices that are soldered are perfectly acceptable as long as the solder is not used to make the splice mechanically sound. Look up (Google) Western Union Splice to see an example of a mechanically acceptable splice.
 
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Old 07-29-11, 03:57 AM
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Exactly my point. Why solder if you have a sound connection? Warm and fuzzy?
 
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Old 07-29-11, 06:10 AM
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I guess the bottom line is that it used to be the 'right' way, because they didn't have wirenuts, but it's still acceptable, provided it's done right. But to do it 'right' involves much more work for pretty much zero advantage over just using a wirenut, so why bother? With the number of twist/solder/rubber tape/friction tape joints I cut out of my house during rewire, I would've HATED to be an electrician in 1939.

Also keep in mind this is household wiring we are talking about. In an automotive setting, solder is king. With automotive you are dealing with stranded wire and climate extremes. Corrosion is basically guaranteed when using crimped or twisted connections, especially under the hood. Not only that, but mechanical joints in stranded wire are very weak and susceptible to 'pull apart'. They must be soldered and heatshrunk to ensure their integrity and longevity.
 
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Old 07-29-11, 09:55 AM
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A well made solder joint will resist corrosion much better than any other connection out there short of welding. It also vastly increases the surface area of the joint leading to lower resistance and lower heat on the joint. It is a very good way to make connections, but for most work, a big overkill given the very successful track record of wirenuts and screw terminals.
 
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Old 07-29-11, 02:19 PM
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I looked at the price of the push type wire connectors compared to wire nuts. At HD the push type (Ideal) were about 15-18 cents each in a package of 12. A large contractor box of 300 wire nuts were around 9 cents apiece. I could not find a large container of the push type connectors.

Given the amount of time savings, I think if I were a residential electrician I would make the switch from wire nuts.
 
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Old 07-29-11, 02:35 PM
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The actual contractor quantities you get at the supply house are better pricing than the large retail packs at the big box stores. Believe it or not you can actually buy them by the keg or barrel if you're so inclined although the more common contractor sizes would be 1000s, 2500s, 5000s, etc. The time savings isn't that significant for someone who is very practiced at making up wirenuts.
 
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Old 07-29-11, 04:57 PM
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I'm not en electrician, but thinking about the pain I have in my wrists from woodworking, I might pay the extra money to avoid all that twisting.
 
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