WIre nuts - joining 5 x 12gauge - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 28 Old 04-15-2009, 01:30 PM - Thread Starter
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To the electrical guru's - How can I connect 5 12 gauge solid conductors in 1 junction box? If I use wire nuts, I can only put 3, 12 gauge wires in a Red wire nut, right? I know I could use pigtails and go to multiple wire nuts, but I was wondering if there was a good product that I just don't know about.

This is also going to be above a double drywalled and green glued ceiling, so I don't want to ever have connection come loose.

Should I just try to re-do my electrical run so I won't have to join 5 conductors in one box, or is there a good solution.

Thanks
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post #2 of 28 Old 04-15-2009, 01:55 PM
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I'm no electrical guru, but I'll throw this one out there:

I haven't used them yet, but I've really been thinking about these push-in connectors from IDEAL:

http://www.idealindustries.com/produ...in/in-sure.jsp

I've seen the 5 port connectors at the 2 big box stores, and they're pretty inexpensive too.


I'll be in the same boat as you soon...need to install a 4 zone GE, but I want the fewest connections possible. Does anyone have any experience with these connectors?
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post #3 of 28 Old 04-15-2009, 01:59 PM
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You could actually put 4 wires in the red wire nuts.
You might just have to pigtial 2 sets (of 3 or whatever) together.

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post #4 of 28 Old 04-15-2009, 03:08 PM
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Use a blue wingnut.

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post #5 of 28 Old 04-15-2009, 03:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDvids4all View Post

Does anyone have any experience with these connectors?



scotch locks. I haven't used them in years, but when I did, I found them expensive and gimmicky. They ARE faster to install, (which IMO is why they exist.) And while I understand that they have been thoroughly evaluated by UL (i.e. people smarter than me), they just don't seem to provide as robust a mechanical connection as do properly made up wires in a conventional wirenut.


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post #6 of 28 Old 04-15-2009, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDvids4all View Post

I'm no electrical guru, but I'll throw this one out there:

I haven't used them yet, but I've really been thinking about these push-in connectors from IDEAL:

http://www.idealindustries.com/produ...in/in-sure.jsp

I've seen the 5 port connectors at the 2 big box stores, and they're pretty inexpensive too.


I'll be in the same boat as you soon...need to install a 4 zone GE, but I want the fewest connections possible. Does anyone have any experience with these connectors?

I used these when we remodeled our bedroom, they worked great. Clean and easy.
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post #7 of 28 Old 04-15-2009, 06:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GPowers View Post

I used these when we remodeled our bedroom, they worked great. Clean and easy.

These work well for solid copper.

Bob
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post #8 of 28 Old 04-15-2009, 07:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. I'll pick up a few of the ideal thingies and see how solid they feel. I definitely want something that will be dependable.

I didn't know there was a blue wire nut. Would I have to go to an electrical supply house to get these?
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post #9 of 28 Old 04-16-2009, 05:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsampson View Post

This is also going to be above a double drywalled and green glued ceiling, so I don't want to ever have connection come loose.

Is this junction box going to be accessible without removing drywall? In Canada it's illegal to cover up junction boxes. I assume the same is true down in the US.
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post #10 of 28 Old 04-16-2009, 06:07 AM - Thread Starter
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In Canada it's illegal to cover up junction boxes. I assume the same is true down in the US.

That will change my plans then. I think I'm going to be better off using the extra wire and putting everything in series to avoid the junction box.
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post #11 of 28 Old 04-16-2009, 07:29 AM
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You didn't say what is above the ceiling ... if it is an accessible attic space, like with open floor joists and some sort of scuttle hatch or doorway to get into the area, then the junction box would be "accessible" even if it weren't accessible from the theater itself.

Of course, if you can't access the space above the room, or if you were just going to stuff a junction box in the space between the ceiling of the theater and the floor of the room above, then that would definitely be a no-no.

It appears my hypocrisy knows no bounds.

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post #12 of 28 Old 04-16-2009, 01:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsampson View Post

I didn't know there was a blue wire nut. Would I have to go to an electrical supply house to get these?

Ideal Wing-Nut #30-454 (Actual part # if that saves you time driving around)

I'm looking at a box of them right now and according to the box, you could actually get away with the red Ideal Wing-Nut #30-452

If you use the #30-452 you will be more likely to actually use the entire package. The #30-454 ones are inconveniently large to use them where you do not need to.

Any big box home improvement store near you should have both.

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post #13 of 28 Old 04-18-2009, 12:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDvids4all View Post

I haven't used them yet, but I've really been thinking about these push-in connectors from IDEAL:

http://www.idealindustries.com/produ...in/in-sure.jsp

Similarly, Wago WALL-NUTS:



I first encountered these last month while installing some recessed lighting, because Halo cans use them instead of wire nuts. After seeing how easy they were to use, I quickly found a supplier and ordered a bunch for the rest of the project.

No problem with 12g solid copper, and they are also rated to accep 12-16g stranded if the strands are not too fine. They also have a special model with one smaller hole that will take 18g stranded or 18-22g tinned stranded.
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post #14 of 28 Old 04-18-2009, 05:15 AM
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Be Aware that devices with stab-in connections have proved less reliable over time. I think many areas now do not allow stab-in outlets. My house was built with stab-in receptacles. After failure of an outlet I traced the electrical path back from outlet to outlet and when I pulled out a receptacle in the garage the back looked like a charcoal briquette.
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post #15 of 28 Old 04-18-2009, 06:18 PM
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I think they make something that you use a wrench to tighten a clamp mechanism. Also, you can cover a junction box in the USA either.

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post #16 of 28 Old 04-18-2009, 07:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

Be Aware that devices with stab-in connections have proved less reliable over time.

Yeah, before I switched to the push-in nuts I made a point to do some searching about that; several years ago one of my relatives had a small fire that I think was traced to a backstabbed device. I've found electrician-types on several forums talking about these newer connectors and haven't found any horror stories yet.

The clamping mechanism is very solid and there is no release tab like in those old devices. There is a window so you can be sure you got it inserted all the way. Some people pointed out that these are used a lot commercial and modular construction; there are thousands of hotel rooms in Vegas where hair dryers and other high-current devices are being run through them daily, and nobody seems have heard of any problems. One guy says he even checked the temperature and found them to run as cool or even cooler than wire nuts under similar load.

For myself, I feel they provide a more secure connection and I can check each wire to be sure. I have occasionally had to try several times to get a good fit with screw-type nuts when dealing with stiff 12g wire, especially when trying to connect several of them or pair them to something like a tinned stranded Insteon wire.
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post #17 of 28 Old 04-18-2009, 08:53 PM
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source?

they are UL and NEC approved...backstabs got a deserved bad wrap when aluminum wire was used in houses because of thermal changes the connections did come loose and cause arcing....

what are you basing you comments below on? I have not heard anything like that in over a decade...(i personally dont use or do backstabs, but they are still on nearly every outlet/switch sold in the U.S.).


Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

Be Aware that devices with stab-in connections have proved less reliable over time. I think many areas now do not allow stab-in outlets. My house was built with stab-in receptacles. After failure of an outlet I traced the electrical path back from outlet to outlet and when I pulled out a receptacle in the garage the back looked like a charcoal briquette.

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post #18 of 28 Old 04-18-2009, 09:04 PM
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ideal red wire nuts are good for 5 - 12 awg conductors. I read the packaging the other day at work.
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post #19 of 28 Old 04-18-2009, 10:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by longtimelurker View Post

they are UL and NEC approved...backstabs got a deserved bad wrap when aluminum wire was used in houses because of thermal changes the connections did come loose and cause arcing....

It's not just aluminum; there are strict limits on copper:

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Originally Posted by UL View Post

Screwless terminal connectors of the conductor push-in type (also known as "push-in-terminals") are restricted to 15 A branch circuits and are for connection with 14 AWG solid copper wire only. They are not intended for use with aluminum or copper-clad aluminum wire, 14 AWG stranded copper wire, or 12 AWG solid or stranded copper wire.

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post #20 of 28 Old 04-18-2009, 10:43 PM
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yes, i agree, and it is physically IMPOSSIBLE to stuff a 12ga wire into a switch or outlet backstab hole.....that has nothing to do with his comments that they are not allowed in some areas??? afaik that is completely false.
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post #21 of 28 Old 04-18-2009, 11:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by longtimelurker View Post

yes, i agree, and it is physically IMPOSSIBLE to stuff a 12ga wire into a switch or outlet backstab hole.....

It may depend on the device. The Leviton 1451-2W toggle switch claims to accept 12 AWG push-in and is sold in the US. The product literature mentions something about a difference in the push-in wire size in Canada, but it's not clear if they actually sell a different switch body in Canada or just rely on people reading the instructions.
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post #22 of 28 Old 04-19-2009, 05:36 AM
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OK the BIG mouth needs to amend his statement. Back-stabbed devices should be against code. I did some reading on this subject on contractors discussion forums and apparently this gets discussed about as much as should I put sand in the stage? or should I paint the ceiling black?.

It seems that the general consensus is that many an experienced electrician has seen problems caused by a bad push in connection and avoids the practice out of caution but it is still UL approved and code legal.

I even found a thread that nick names the push in entrance as Profit Holes because electrical contractors can increase their profits due to the lower labor costs associated with quick stab in method rather than a screw down clamp. When you are installing 100's of devices the time can add up.
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post #23 of 28 Old 04-19-2009, 05:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dododge View Post

...because Halo cans use them instead of wire nuts...

Yes, they are handy for wiring cans. But if I recall correctly, they are only rated for 5 additional cans "downstream." Which means 500W max and 300W typical (5 PAR30 60W lamps).

I think they are fine for that use, but I would be nervous if a stab connector was used in a situation where ther might be a full 15 or 20 amp load.
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post #24 of 28 Old 04-19-2009, 06:51 AM
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Great discussion!

I especially like that dododge actually seems to have gone to the trouble of looking up the Standard in the White Book.

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post #25 of 28 Old 04-19-2009, 07:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottS View Post

I think they are fine for that use, but I would be nervous if a stab connector was used in a situation where ther might be a full 15 or 20 amp load.

According to Wago, WALL-NUTS are "touch-proof and rated to 105° C, UL Listed/CSA certified for 600 volts (1000 volts for fixtures and signs) and current rated to the largest conductor used". They also make a 10 AWG 30 amp model. Apparently just last month they also passed a bunch of IEC extreme shock and vibration tests to show they are suitable for HVAC, rail cars, trucks, and such. OSHA even suggests them for ergonomic reasons.
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post #26 of 28 Old 04-19-2009, 08:43 AM
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Yes, for the type intended for that purpose. But the ones in the Halo cans are not. They have a specific load rating.

And yes, they are allowed by code -- even for full loads. But history is littered with items that were once approved (in the electrical world, medical world, etc.) and now are not. Traditional screw connectors and wire nuts have a 50+ year history of safe operation. If you are comfortable with stab connectors for full loads and want to use them, great.

I would not want them used in my home, however. Perhaps that makes me a neo-Luddite. But in the real world copper and brass oxidize which raises the resistance at the point of contact. If you have ever unscrewed the wire connector on a 50 year-old receptacle, the copper under the head of the screw at the point of connection is bright and shiny, just like it was when the original electrician tightened the screw many years ago. Unless the new stab connectors have very strong "stabbing" force, air will penetrate the point of contact and it will oxidize. Over time this will cause problems and for high current circuits it is a fire hazard.

All the approval seals and affirmations in the world won't change the laws of physics.
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post #27 of 28 Old 04-19-2009, 04:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottS View Post

Yes, for the type intended for that purpose. But the ones in the Halo cans are not. They have a specific load rating.

The ones in the Halo cans appeared to be Wago part 773-164, which is not rated any lower than the rest of them. The H7 online spec sheet says the junction box is "listed for through branch circuit wiring" and the H7 installation instructions (PDF) don't make any mention of a limit on the connection load.
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post #28 of 28 Old 04-20-2009, 10:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dododge View Post

Similarly, Wago WALL-NUTS:


When I was finishing my basement, I had to undo some wiring that the builders installed with these things, and I had a heck of a time getting the wires out - I usually ended up destroying them to do so. So I had no qualms about how reliable they were.

I didn't bother with them for standard 2 or 3 wire connections, but I had a couple boxes where I had to join 4, 5 or even 6 wires where they really came in handy. I was very close to the capacity of some of the boxes, so wouldn't have been able to get away with using pigtails and multiple wire nuts.
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