How to twist multiple wires?

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  #1  
Old 01-02-14, 07:33 AM
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How to twist multiple wires?

What is the best method for twisting 3, 4 or more #14's and #12's? Its very hard to work with for me, is there an easy method to do this?
 
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  #2  
Old 01-02-14, 07:38 AM
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I've always used the right size wire nut and then double checked to make sure all the wires are tight. The electricians should be along later with better insight .... I'm just a painter.
 

Last edited by pcboss; 01-02-14 at 08:55 AM. Reason: clarification
  #3  
Old 01-02-14, 07:42 AM
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Twisting before putting the wires in a nut is not required.
 
  #4  
Old 01-02-14, 07:44 AM
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More basic is to twist or not to twist if using wire nuts. Some twist on connectors say no need to twist. Some pros say always twist. Basically good linesman pliers is one way to go. My way which the pros may object to is to twist as many as I can together easily then strip the remaining a little more and wrap them around the group of wires already twisted.

twisting 3, 4 or more #14's and #12's
Usually you would have only one wire size. Why two wire sizes?
 
  #5  
Old 01-02-14, 07:51 AM
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Usually you would have only one wire size. Why two wire sizes?
That's not what I meant, im not mixing gauges.

I probably should mention my asking is not to start a pretwist vs no pretwist wirenut debate.... theres plenty of those.

I just want to know the best method for twisting wires... I find it akward to twist them.

The yellow wire nuts are only for 2 wires
Off topic, but that's not true. Check your package of yellow nuts. Ideals I believe goes 3 or 4 #14's I think.... of topic though.
 
  #6  
Old 01-02-14, 07:59 AM
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Strip a full inch from the wire ends and use plies on the extreme ends to twist them together. Then use dikes (diagonal cutter) to snip off the extreme tips so the exposed ends are the right length for the wire nut.

So called "no-twist" wire nuts can be used for four or fewer wires. These wire nuts have a spring inside that bites into the wire ends. WIth more than 4 wires there is chance one or more wires, if not twisted, will be in the middle and not caught by the wire nut spring and then stand a chance of being pulled out.
 
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Old 01-02-14, 08:05 AM
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If/when I twist... I normally just strip a little long, then use needle nose from the side or linesman pliers grabbing the wires from the end and twist together. Trim the twist to length as stated earlier. That said...I don't normally twist...makes it a pain to disassemble later if needed.
 
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Old 01-02-14, 08:53 AM
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Stripping an inch of insulation may make the wires too short after being trimmed.

Also if the connector says no pre-twisting is needed it can be done with any combinations of wires in the listed range, not just up to four conductors.

If you can't make a secure connection with wire nuts you can use something like a Wago or Ideal push-in connector.
 
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Old 01-02-14, 10:33 AM
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For a non-electrician DIYer I would suggest these: In-Sure™ Push-In Wire Connectors No twisting need. They are available at the big box stores.

FYI - I always twist my wires together using my Kline linemens pliers. They are about $35 if you wan to buy a pair.
 
  #10  
Old 01-02-14, 10:48 AM
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It's not easy twisting that many wires and practice does make perfect. Like previously mentioned..... a good set of linesman pliers helps...... as does leaving the bare wires a little longer when twisting and then trimming at the end.
 
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Old 01-02-14, 11:17 AM
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Do you line them up one right next to each other (one layer sandwhiched between your pliers) or do you bundle them like say 4 (2 layers)?
 
  #12  
Old 01-02-14, 11:21 AM
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With 4 conductors I would make a square and then twist.
 
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Old 01-02-14, 11:27 AM
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I'll agree with some of the other suggestions to use a good pair of linesman's pliers. They work like a charm!
 
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Old 01-02-14, 11:28 AM
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With 4...yep...like pcboss said (though I always make a diamond...lol). Don't think you could do it any other way.
 
  #15  
Old 01-02-14, 12:35 PM
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I think the two problems I am having is

1. I can get it to twist with my linesman pliers but some of the copper is touching the other wires insulation.

2. Sometimes one of the wires stays more straight than I think it should and the other wires wrap around it.


Plus I am left handed !! LOL...

Two other observations:

When I apply the nut I am used to not pretwisting, so I am used to really reefing down on the nuts. When its pretwisted I cant torque it down like I am used too.....

Also should I be holding the wires close to the pliers or lower? Does the non-plier hand apply twisting too?


I apologize if I come off kind of looney on this one!!
 
  #16  
Old 01-02-14, 01:09 PM
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Wrong handed explains a lot...lol.

I hold the wire bundle in my left and slightly turn opposite of the plier twist direction in my right...not a one for one ratio.

I imagine the reason you can't go as tight when pre-twisted is that there is less gap/clearance between wires, so less tightening of the nut is needed.

You've probably been told this by friends...but no need to over think it. Not like these wires are carrying 200A at 480V. Just think...when you plug a fan in the wall outlet...how much of the conductors are touching?

Twist or no twist...put on the wirenut...tug on all the wires...if none are loose...call it good.
 
  #17  
Old 01-02-14, 03:15 PM
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Twisting wires

Many moons ago a wire-nut mfg did a study of electricians twisting wire-nuts by hand without pre-twisting conductors and found it did not take long before the wires were not twisted enough. The solution was that you don't need to pre-twist the conductors if you use a wire-nut socket on you battery drill. Set the drill so you do not over-torque but all the wires twist down from the wire-nut a bit. Then came the Wego connectors so you can just strip and push and can see that the conductor went in all the way. There was also a bent screw driver device with a wire-nut socket on the end to twist wire-nuts manually. If your doing it all day, the battery drill is great.
 
  #18  
Old 01-02-14, 03:55 PM
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It has already been mentioned to remove extra jacketing. Thats one thing I do.
And this may not make sense but...
I don't look at it as "twisting" them together, more as working them into each other. If you just clamp on to 5 #14s and twist you will likely screw it up. But gentle half twists to work them in is how I successfully do it.
 
  #19  
Old 01-03-14, 05:21 PM
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I was messing around with some scrap #12 today. I was able to twist 4 after a little practice, but some of the bare conductor was touching insulation of the other conductors. Sometimes one of the wires wouldn't twist as much as the other 3 that twisted around it.

Its easy enough with scrap wire and room to twist my wrist and get a firm grip with the other hand. Its working in a box that I am worried about. If I mess up then likely there wont be enough wire to snip and re-strip......
 
  #20  
Old 01-03-14, 05:24 PM
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Just use the Wagos or Ideal push-in connectors. Way easier for a DIY and you can see if the wire is fully inserted.
 
  #21  
Old 01-03-14, 05:38 PM
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Just use the Wagos or Ideal push-in connectors. Way easier for a DIY and you can see if the wire is fully inserted.
Maybe for a light fixture I would try those but what about something like a high load homerun or a neutral connection that cannot be broken...from what I am learning some splices are more critical than others.....

Those push in sure would make my life easier but I just figured the right way is to use the tried and tested way.
 
  #22  
Old 01-03-14, 05:52 PM
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Both the Wagos and Ideals have been used for years.
 
  #23  
Old 01-04-14, 06:01 AM
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PCBOSS = Both the Wagos and Ideals have been used for years.
I have to agree with Mommy here; as appealing as those connectors are Im not sure I trust them on the type of connections she is referring too. PCBOSS, would you use those in your own home on a multiwire branch circuit for example?

Sorry Mommy, I cant help with the wire twisting thing though, im not very good at it either... I hope to get a better "grip" on the issue in this thread. (pun intended )
 
  #24  
Old 01-04-14, 06:28 AM
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Twisting Wires

Sometimes one of the wires stays more straight than I think it should and the other wires wrap around it.
Twist two of the largest, same sized wires first. Then twist each of the others around the bundle, giving a final twist with linesman's pliers.
 
  #25  
Old 01-04-14, 06:33 AM
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I have never had a service call because of a problem with those push-in connectors. I would use them in my house. Heck I have used them in customers houses where I might need to go back and repair something on my dime.
 
  #26  
Old 01-04-14, 09:31 AM
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1. I can get it to twist with my linesman pliers but some of the copper is touching the other wires insulation.
The second step after stripping the wires is to hold them so that the ends of the insulation are even. Even so, they may not all wind up exactly even. That doesn't matter so long as they are well-twisted and there's plenty of each conductor in the splice after trimming.

2. Sometimes one of the wires stays more straight than I think it should and the other wires wrap around it.
That's common when mixing gauges. With all one gauge, it shouldn't happen if you're grabbing the tips of the wires with lineman's pliers.

Plus I am left handed !! LOL...
Oh well! Do whatever works for you to make a smooth clockwise spiral. Our two lefty sons somehow manage it.
 
  #27  
Old 01-08-14, 05:32 PM
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ANother thing I am noticing while practicing, after twisting say 4 #12 I torque on a red ideal wirenut and the pretwisted bundle after I snip the end seems to stress the body of the nut a bit... you can see where the plastic stretches a bit.

That's not a good thing right?
 
  #28  
Old 01-08-14, 06:25 PM
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I don't reef down or whale down or haul down on the wire nuts. Once I did and the wire nut seemed to be getting tight but all of a sudden it got very loose and started spinning like a screw whose threads got stripped. I took it off and found that the spring inside was quite kinked and deformed.

Yes, use a reasonable force but not tremendous force.
 
  #29  
Old 01-08-14, 07:00 PM
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Yes, use a reasonable force but not tremendous force.
I don't have popeye forarms so I don't think it was too tight when it stressed.

However, everything I ever read said a properly applied nut is one that would almost break your wrist if you twisted anymore. Extremely tight seems to be consensus no? Or is that the difference between giving it the pretwist?
 
  #30  
Old 01-10-14, 01:18 PM
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We used to teach our apprentices how tight to twist a wire nut by telling them to twist one on until it broke, then throw that one away and replace it with one twisted just a little less. And that's on top of a well-twisted set of conductors! It was only partly "Get me a left-handed monkey wrench" stuff.

If you trim the end of the splice to come to a bit of a point, the sides of the nut should not become deformed. What size (color) and brand of wire nuts are you practicing with on how many conductors of what size?

Bottom line, though - if you haven't broken any wire nuts you haven't spliced enough wire.
 
  #31  
Old 01-17-14, 04:53 PM
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NASHKAT1- What size (color) and brand of wire nuts are you practicing with on how many conductors of what size?
Ive been using Ideal twist a nut brand wirenuts and have been doing 1-2 #12 and 1-3 #14 in a yellow. 4-5 #14 in a red and 3-5 #12 in a red.

I am also still working on a method that works for me. Im getting closer, thanks to ELECTRICAL TAPE.

Say like 4 wires I give them a light wrap to keep them together, that has helped. I also bought a pair of 9" klein brand pliers and they feel proportionally better than what I was using before......


So how about the twisting under the skirt of the nut??

The instructions for the nuts I use says 3 visible twists. I can do that when I don't pretwist but when I twist prior its not as easy or at least I haven't pushed it that far.
 
  #32  
Old 01-17-14, 05:19 PM
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Ive been using Ideal twist a nut brand wirenuts and have been doing 1-2 #12 and 1-3 #14 in a yellow. 4-5 #14 in a red and 3-5 #12 in a red.
That sounds like the right number of conductors by size for each.

I use Buchanans. Yes, I know they're made by Ideal, but there's just no comparison, IMO.

Sometimes I splurge and use the skirted wire nuts from 3M.

I am also still working on a method that works for me. Im getting closer, thanks to ELECTRICAL TAPE.

Say like 4 wires I give them a light wrap to keep them together, that has helped.
That's an interesting trick.

I also bought a pair of 9" klein brand pliers and they feel proportionally better than what I was using before......
I'll bet.
So how about the twisting under the skirt of the nut??

The instructions for the nuts I use says 3 visible twists. I can do that when I don't pretwist but when I twist prior its not as easy or at least I haven't pushed it that far
That's what we all shoot for. I never thought of doing it without pliers unless it was just a few small wires.
 
  #33  
Old 01-17-14, 06:21 PM
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I always use a pair of 9" Kline Lineman's Pliers . You will need a red or maybe a gray wirenut . Or a blue , if you keep adding wires .

God bless
Wyr
 
  #34  
Old 01-17-14, 06:24 PM
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Maybe not required ( by the documentation ) , but I have seen a wire " jump out " from the inside of the wirenut . The wires had not been twisted .

I always trist them as best as possible . Then put the wire nut on TIGHT .

God bless
Wyr
 
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