How to tighten a wire nut with one hand?

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Old 10-13-11, 07:52 PM
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How to tighten a wire nut with one hand?

I have a few recessed lights that I need to do some rewiring.

Basically I am feeding a new #12 conductor through a series of junction boxes above the soffit, those junction boxes also serve the recessed lights. They are all connected via EMT pipes.

In order to access to boxes, I had to remove the existing recessed lights, and the junction boxs are within six to eight inches from the soffit cut outs. I reached inside and unscrew the blank covers, and I need to feed a wire from there to the next junction box, and so on. I am at the same time re-configurating some of the wiring.

Sometimes the wires are long enough, I can pull them towards the cut out and wire them and push them back into the box. Some other times the wires are too short and I have to reach part of my arm in, hence I can't see, and I need to twist three wires together and put a wire nut on. Have to do this with one hand and completely by feel. I am having a real hard time. Any suggestions?

Oh it is a flat roof section there, so no attic access from above is possible.
 
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Old 10-13-11, 07:58 PM
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Well, my first comment is that the boxes do not sound very accessible as they should be. Being inside a recessed light cut-out seems bad enough, but being that far inside that you can't see it? I'd worry about making those connections well. Is there any way they can be moved?

That said, can you juryrig something using a digital camera set to video? Maybe you can see the display taking a picture of what your working on? Other option would be to get a small mirror and position it just right.
 
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Old 10-13-11, 08:48 PM
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I can see the wires from below the cut out, what I meant was, some wires are short so I have to reach in with my hand (and part of my arm), and when that happens, the arm is in the way I can't see what I am doing...also, I am standing on almost the top rung of a ladder. So my other hand has to lean against the wall to stablize myself.
 
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Old 10-13-11, 08:48 PM
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This might be a good spot for the push-in connectors like the Ideals or Wagos.
 
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Old 10-13-11, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by pcboss View Post
This might be a good spot for the push-in connectors like the Ideals or Wagos.
My impression is that they only work well with solid copper conductors. Would they work with stranded? It seem stranded wire would not be "rigid" enough to push in?
 
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Old 10-13-11, 09:10 PM
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My impression is that they only work well with solid copper conductors. Would they work with stranded? It seem stranded wire would not be "rigid" enough to push in?
While I have no experience with these, I think you're supposed to twist the strands tightly.
 
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Old 10-14-11, 05:42 AM
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Some are listed for use with stranded. Some recessed are coming from the factory with them installed.
 
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Old 10-14-11, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by pcboss View Post
Some are listed for use with stranded. Some recessed are coming from the factory with them installed.
When I checked these out a few years back, what I recall is that the manufacturer said they were OK to use with stranded, but that they could not be removed from stranded without destroying the connector or cutting the wire.
 
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Old 10-14-11, 09:54 AM
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I installed a bunch of cans that came pre equipped with push in connectors. The stranded wires had been tinned.

I'm a fan of the push in connectors so I just tried to assemble one with stranded wire. I could not push the wire into the connector without it bending to the side or the strands becoming undone. I tinned a wire and it inserted OK.

ArgeMeMatey - I tried removing one from a tinned, stranded wire. Pulling with linesman's pliers it came out under a hard pull. I could not pull a solid wire from the connector.
 
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Old 10-14-11, 10:29 AM
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First I would try to get the wires lined up and bundled tightly with a zip tie or a couple wraps of tape, then screw the wirenut on.
 
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Old 10-15-11, 01:19 AM
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Originally Posted by MiamiCuse View Post
I am standing on almost the top rung of a ladder. So my other hand has to lean against the wall to stablize myself.
This raised a red flag with me. If you don't have a stable platform on which to work, either use a taller ladder or build a scaffold. Do not take any chances. A fall can result in permanent injuries. Believe me -- I've seen it happen several times on job sites.
 
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Old 10-15-11, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by ArgMeMatey View Post
When I checked these out a few years back, what I recall is that the manufacturer said they were OK to use with stranded, but that they could not be removed from stranded without destroying the connector or cutting the wire.
I do know the Ideals are a one time use only. If a wire needs to be removed and re-inserted you would use a new connector.
 
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