Neutral Wires on the same merrett

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Old 09-06-16, 02:54 PM
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Neutral Wires on the same merrett

Hi, I just replaced my Programmable Light Switch (PLS) with a new one and the wire setup is a little different and I was hoping you can help.

My previous PLS did not have a white wire to connect to the Neutral wires in the 2 gang box... and the new PLS has one which I connected (merrett) with the existing one (one merrett) only for 5 white wires (including the new one).

My question is: Can I split the load of the 5 wires from one merrett to 2 merretts, i.e. 3 whites wires on a merrett and the 2 last ones on another one ?

I believe I can as this is Neutral wires, but I prefer asking before doing so.

Here is more info on the setup:

Double gangbox.
4 cables entering the double gangbox, called C1-C2-C3-C4 for below.
Right hand side - a single switch for 1 indoor light fixture (entrance-home)
Left hand side - a PLS for 3 outdoor light fixtures
All on the same circuit

C4 : for the right hand side wall switch and going to indoor light fixture (entrance-home). Black going to Light Switch.

C1 : for the Left hand side PLS going to the outdoor light fixtures. Black going to PLS.

C2 and C3 : I'm assuming one is the incoming current (source) and the other going to another part of the house i.e. light switches for other rooms in the house.

C1-C2-C3-C4 White, all merretted together.

PLS: Blue is the LOAD going to C!,
Black is the LINE

As discussed above, I now have a new white wire (neutral) coming from the new PLS which I have merrett with the 4 wires existing white wires for a total of 5 wires on the same merrett. I tried the new switch and everything up to now works well.

Please see the pics below.

Just re-asking the question: Can I merrett the 5 white wires on 2 merretts instead of the 5 wires on only one ?

Your help would be greatly appreciated, thank you.

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Old 09-06-16, 03:56 PM
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If you don't want your 5 neutrals in one wire nut, you can split them into two groups.
I prefer that method especially when connecting a single stranded wire to a group of solid wires.
I would call what you want to do a pigtail or a jumper and it's OK. The important thing is the neutrals are never broken.
 
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Old 09-06-16, 04:30 PM
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Ok and just to make sure I understand... I would have:

White from C1 and C2 to the first wire nut.
White from C3 and C4 to the second wire nut.
The pigtail, a new short white wire from the first wire nut to the second wire nut ?

Many thanks...
 
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Old 09-06-16, 04:38 PM
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Any combination of neutrals will work.
 
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Old 09-06-16, 06:34 PM
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So, can I leave out the Pigtail in between the 2 wire nuts ?
therefore I'd have:

- White from C1 and C2 on the 1st wire nut
- White from C3 and C4 on the 2nd wire nut

or is the above configuration considered breaking the neutral path ?

Thanks.
 
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Old 09-06-16, 07:02 PM
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I now have a new white wire (neutral) coming from the new PLS which I have merrett with the 4 wires existing white wires for a total of 5 wires on the same merrett. I tried the new switch and everything up to now works well.
Hold on for advice from a professional electrician.
All the neutrals in that box must be connected one way or another.
Why is it so important to avoid 5 wires in a wire nut?
 
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Old 09-06-16, 07:41 PM
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The new white (5th) wire is stranded wire. I had trouble trying to make it fit and did not feel like a robust setup.

I just checked the specs for that wire nut and the max is 3 wire (#14).

The 2 above reasons are good enough to make the new config.

I'm just trying to understand and your get some help.

Thanks.
 
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Old 09-06-16, 08:09 PM
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I recommend you keep all the wires together. Your concerns about a good connection are valid and here's what I would do:

Use a Red (large) nut, winged.
Untwist all wires and flatten/straighten with pliers. Pretwist the 4 solid wires with pliers before adding your stranded.
This is like connecting two wires if you pretwist the solids and will be strong. Strip the stranded wire a little longer than the solid bunch.
 
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Old 09-06-16, 08:31 PM
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The pros may disagree but I would twist the solids as Brian suggests but then I would strip slightly more insulation off the stranded wire then the solid and then wrap the stranded wire around the solid wires before adding the wire nut.
 
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Old 09-07-16, 10:31 AM
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You must have the jumper (pigtail) between the wire nuts (marrettes) if you split up the neutrals.

Leaving out the jumper will break the neutral path for some part of the branch circuit.

In Canada, wire nuts and pigtails count towards the number of items allowed in the box. At any rate it would be better to keep all the neutrals in one bundle if it is hard to stuff two bundles into the box.

A branch circuit starts as a single cable or matched group of wires from the breaker panel. It can go to one outlet box at a time and continue on as a daisy chain, or (in your case) different parts of the branch circuit can fan out from one or more boxes. There is (should be) exactly one neutral path from any point in the branch circuit back to the panel. Should you take a group of neutrals and break it into two subgroups with no jumper in between, then some neutral paths from the far reaches of the circuit will come to that box and not continue on to the panel.

(OT; The neutral must follow the same routing as the corresponding hot wiring the whole way except for certain switch wiring methods referred to as switch loops. You may not have some parts of a circuit with the hot wire coming up one way and the neutral tapped into the neutral of a different branch circuit at some outlet box along the way.)
 

Last edited by AllanJ; 09-07-16 at 10:55 AM.
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