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Trouble twisting 5 14 AWG wires for nuts -- end up with 1 wire in the middle

Trouble twisting 5 14 AWG wires for nuts -- end up with 1 wire in the middle

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  #1  
Old 03-07-17, 07:08 PM
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Trouble twisting 5 14 AWG wires for nuts -- end up with 1 wire in the middle

I need to splice 5 14 gauge solid ground wires, 1 bare and 4 insulated (surface mount metal 4" extension box fed by romex, to be spliced to THHN ground pigtails for 2 outgoing EMTs, box ground, and device ground; prefer to only make connections at end of romex ground wire because I'm paranoid about messing up and shortening wire so I don't want to use the romex ground wire for the box and/or device ground).

I have practiced on scrap wire and find that usually when I try to pre-twist 5 wires I end up with 1 straight-ish wire in the middle with the other 4 wires wrapped around it. This means that when I put on a wire nut the threads of the nut will only contact 4 out of the 5 wires. Is this acceptable, or does the wire nut have to bite into all of the conductors? With the wires twisted together I don't think it's likely that any of the wires will pull out, but I'm wondering about the quality of the electrical connection.

I could use a copper crimp sleeve (I have only seen those used for bare ground wires but I don't see why they can't be used for a mix of bare and insulated) instead of wire nuts, but I think I would have the same issue.

I find that 2 or 3 wires are easy to twist together using the nut (no pre-twisting but if I take the nut off the stripped conductors are nicely twisted), 4 wires requires pre-twisting but I don't end up with one wire in the middle like I do with 5.

I'm using Ideal tan twisters if that matters to anybody, which are good for up to 5x14 AWG.

Thanks for any advice!
 
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Old 03-07-17, 07:54 PM
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Some pros will say you don't twist wires before using a wire nut, instructions on some brands of wire nuts say no pre twisting needed so maybe you don't need to twist just use a large enough wire nut or just use a split bolt connector.

I will admit I have in the past twisted perhaps three wires together then individually wrapped the other wires around the twisted group and then applied the wire nut.
 
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Old 03-07-17, 07:59 PM
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As for no pre-twisting:

The wire nuts I'm using say pre-twisting is allowed but not required.

If I do 2 or 3 wires without pre-twisting, apply the wire nut, and then remove the wire nut the stripped ends are twisted together tightly.

If I do 4 or more wires without pre-twisting, the stripped ends don't get twisted together by the wire nut (but the insulated wire outside the nut does get twisted), they are basically just straight and parallel when I take the nut off. Is that ok?

I guess what I'm asking is: does no pre-twisting required mean that the stripped ends are supposed to get twisted when the nut is applied, or does it mean that it's ok if the bare conductors inside the nut don't get twisted together?
 
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Old 03-07-17, 08:13 PM
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Opinion only: The spring inside the wire nut helps to hold all the wires in good contact twisted or not.

You could try my technique in my first post and see if that works for you. If doing that method I strip a little more insulation off the wires that I wrap around the core grop then trim as needed.
 
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Old 03-07-17, 08:15 PM
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Thanks, Ray. I may give that a try.
 
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Old 03-07-17, 08:53 PM
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You can get push in connectors that do not require any twisting. You may find these easier than wire nuts.
 
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Old 03-07-17, 09:26 PM
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Yeah, I was just thinking about the push in connectors. Thinking about the Wago 221 (newer style with levers). I assume it's ok to not use all of the holes/ports, since those only come in 2, 3 and 5 hole varieties?
 
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Old 03-08-17, 04:44 AM
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I use THESE push in wire connectors. With arthritis in my fingers it is getting harder for me to use my fingers. These are a bit more expensive than wire nuts but make it much easier to connect many conductors.

And yes, it is ok to leave an empty port. If I have more conductors than ports I just take a jumper from one connector to the next and place the last two or so conductors in that second connector. Trying to twist together 4 or more conductors gets tricky sometimes.
 
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Old 03-08-17, 07:18 AM
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Split the 5 wires into 2 groups, one 3 wires and the second 2 wires. Add a #14 pigtail between the 2 groups and use wire nuts to connects wires in each group. Now one group has 4 wires and the other group has 3 wires.
 
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Old 03-08-17, 12:18 PM
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Just align the conductors next to each other and screw on the wire nut.
 
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