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Generators & Electric Motors General Discussion Antique Generators and Old Electric Motors: Questions and answers about restoring and showing old power generation systems.

Generators & Electric Motors General Discussion

What is the best way to connect wiring these days?


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  #1  
Old 06-16-2018, 02:48:31 PM
Railroads Railroads is online now
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Default What is the best way to connect wiring these days?

Hi everyone, For as long as I have been working on electrical I have always used the bog standard wire nuts from ideal in orange, yellow, and red. Sometimes I have used the blue ones for lighting circuits.

I have been aware of the different style connectors used in the UK and in Europe. But I have always been told not to use the stab-lok connectors on the outlets or switches and have experienced one outlet burnout from that connection method.

With the new style connectors available these days I am wondering if wire nuts are still the best option or should I be considering the now available EU style connectors?

I have always had issues with stranded to solid core wiring and feel that wire nuts might not be the best option for joining the NM to THHN stranded wires.

The different types are screw terminal, stab in connectors and spring loaded lever connectors.

General review of different connectors.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMEy0wHYT_c

Wire nuts and their proper use.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ohmd_dsetss

Push in connectors

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jydoYvGSUGs

Wago lever style connectors

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ekh65Jx1Qc0

Ideal brand lever connectors

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07Mtt9qzhAA

Wago lighting connectors

Wago lighting connectors

Various wago connectors

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzQRBDzBNck

Screw terminal block

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HM7JecCL3Uc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kK5ynevyhpA


Special connectors for Aluminum NM wire.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKDlzjDmXRo It would be nice to have something like this for copper wires.

Some other connectors for Aluminum wire are,

purple 65 twister AL/CU wire connecter which seems to have high failure rates.

Canadian product Marrette Brown 65 for Aluminum wiring not UL listed or available in US sadly. The brown wire nuts seems to be used in some original Aluminum installations in the states.

Another interesting topic is the use of NM cable and the white as a live conductor. In Canada it seems there is NM style cable with Red and Black with ground for electric heat. I think this wire should be available here in the states for 240 loads and for lighting circuits so white is no longer needed as a live conductor since some don't have enough sense to remark the wire.

https://www.homedepot.ca/en/home/p.e...e-gauge-122---

So what is the general consensus on wire connections and wire color coding?

Generally I am liking the new Wago and Ideal connectors of the lever type and push in types. Push in for solid and lever connectors for stranded to solid connections for lights. For Aluminum I like the Aluminconn style connectors over the other options. I do wonder if the screws will work loose eventually though?

Lastly should outlets have the ground pin up or down?

https://www.archtoolbox.com/material...ientation.html

I have thought about this a lot and still am not 100% sure which way is more correct?

Robert
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  #2  
Old 06-16-2018, 03:28:05 PM
Birken Vogt Birken Vogt is offline
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Default Re: What is the best way to connect wiring these days?

Tan/red wire nuts from a supply house are usually a good deal higher quality than solid color ones and work for most things. But I only use them where things are dead still, no vibration. Big blue wire nuts for big wires where approved and $$$$ Polaris connectors for larger.

Wire nuts work fine for stranded to solid, need to lead the stranded wire a little and make sure you are using the correct size, not too big.

I like the Wago lever locks for generators where things might be vibrating a little bit.

Use regular black/white Romex and tape the white wire whatever color you need. I would only consider special colors if I was using it by the truckload, otherwise why carry another SKU# ?
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Old 06-16-2018, 03:56:39 PM
Railroads Railroads is online now
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Default Re: What is the best way to connect wiring these days?

I still use pigtails for outlets especially when working on mobile homes. I have heard a lot of about using and not using pigtails but find that with 14 AWG pigtails work very well and usually have 3 wires to a wire nut and all seems to be fine as long as a suitable wire nut is used. 12 and 10 AWG wire it's mandatory to pre twist the wires with a pair of lineman's pliers. It is required to have 2 good twists of the conductors for a proper connection.

Robert
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Old 06-16-2018, 06:22:21 PM
Vanman Vanman is offline
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Default Re: What is the best way to connect wiring these days?

Definitely do not want to be twisting wires prior to installation of a wire nut though. The wires must be even and straight.
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Old 06-16-2018, 06:45:12 PM
Birken Vogt Birken Vogt is offline
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Default Re: What is the best way to connect wiring these days?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Railroads View Post
12 and 10 AWG wire it's mandatory to pre twist the wires with a pair of lineman's pliers. It is required to have 2 good twists of the conductors for a proper connection.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vanman View Post
Definitely do not want to be twisting wires prior to installation of a wire nut though. The wires must be even and straight.
Oh boy here we go.

All the old school heavy duty electricians I know say to pre-twist and snip.

But the way I crank them on they get twisted anyway.

I know of no official guidance that says they may not be twisted, but I know of none that says you must, either.
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Old 06-16-2018, 08:41:09 PM
Railroads Railroads is online now
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Default Re: What is the best way to connect wiring these days?

From my experience with the 12 and 10 the wire is just too hard to twist together using the wire nut. I prefer to pre twist the heavy wire first and then just cap it with the wire nut.

Robert
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Old 06-16-2018, 11:06:04 PM
Vanman Vanman is offline
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Default Re: What is the best way to connect wiring these days?

Ok, how about this: If the wires are getting twisted by the wire nut more than just a little, you are over tightening the wire nut.

Properly assembled, they really do hold well. Wires nice and even, laying right next to one another, wire nut twisted on snug, the wires cannot be pulled apart.

The connection is by virtue of the pressure between conductors, and the force required to generate that pressure is provided by the conical spring.

I would maintain that it is possible for the wire nut spring to tighten against the pre-twistesd wires and not really be forcing them together.

Oh, and the quality of the nut makes a difference too. I don't like anything GB brand. Junk. Ideal makes good stuff. And those old Buchanans, well, I've never tried installing one, but getting them off is an exercise in frustration as the plastic just spins on the spring inside. But they do demonstrate that the nut need not be very tight to make a secure connection.
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Old 06-17-2018, 12:31:43 AM
Thaumaturge Thaumaturge is offline
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Default Re: What is the best way to connect wiring these days?

Keeping in mind that most of my experience occured back in the 70s.... My own preference was for genuine Scotch loks for solid copper and Ideal wire nuts for stranded to solid transitions. Twist and trim before adding connectors. Yes, the original Scotch lok required a separate specialty tool. But tool fit in my large ideal pouch. For in panel wiring I prefer the European barrier strips. For aluminum connections my preference is to let someone else handle them, because I want nothing to do with them.
Doc
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Old 06-17-2018, 12:34:56 AM
Steve Dawkins Steve Dawkins is offline
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Default Re: What is the best way to connect wiring these days?

I always twist #18-#10 wires before installing a wire nut, regardless of whether they are solid or stranded conductors. The twisted wires will give more contact area for current flow than just the spring of the wire nut holding untwisted wires together. If installing one stranded wire with one or more solid wires, the solid wires get twisted together and trimmed first. Then the strands on the stranded wire get untwisted, and wrapped flat around the solid conductors. When the wire nut is installed, the threads on it will help hold the stranded wire against the solid wires. Make sure the insulation ends are equal, so that one is not longer than the others. This will help to make sure you don't have a bare wire hanging out of the wire nut. It takes a little practice to get the hang of this technique. After making the connection, ALWAYS check it by holding the wire nut with one hand, and tug on the wires individually with the other hand, PARTICULARLY the stranded wire. You will quickly find out whether you've got a good connection or not. If the connections are subject to vibration such as a motor or generator, wrap some electrical tape around each connection, starting about halfway of the wire nut and working down the wires about 1" past the wirenut. TIP: When finishing the tapeing, fold the tape against itself for the last 1/4"-1/2". This will create a small "flag" that will be easy to find to unwrap the tape if the connection has to be accessed again, without having to try to find the end of the tape.

I am not a fan of spring type push-in connections for wire connectors or wiring devices. Some are better than others, but I have seen too many failures with them over the years. When you can hold a receptacle with one hand and move it back and forth 3-4 times while lightly tugging on the wire that's stabbed into the back of it, and the wire comes out...that is NOT a good electrical connection!

As for ground up or ground down, my personal preference is...ground down! Ground up just looks dumb, like a cyclopse with big ears. (I'm gonna catch hell for that statement.) I've heard the argument for ground up, and understand it from a safety aspect. In reality, the only time I've ever seen where it would be beneficial is when a metal receptacle plate is used and the plate screw loosens and falls off, allowing the plate to drop down on the hot and neutral prongs of the plug. In a 45 year career, I probably saw that happen twice. I'm not aware of any codes that require ground orientation one way or the other, but the code official for a municipality or the electrical specifications for a particular construction project may call out the ground orientation for receptacles.

That's my $.02 worth.
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Old 06-17-2018, 04:03:14 AM
Thaumaturge Thaumaturge is offline
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Default Re: What is the best way to connect wiring these days?

Might get me in trouble with Harry.... but proper plug orientation.
Doc
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