having trouble fitting wires in box

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Tacomaking09
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having trouble fitting wires in box

Post by Tacomaking09 » Tue Aug 27, 2019 5:19 pm

I am running electrical in my basement. I am going to be doing 12/2 wiring for future-proofing on a 15a Breaker.. I have 14.5 CU and when folding up the wires and cramming in the receptacle it gets pretty tight.. I was leaving the length of the wires coming from the sheath around 5", and then cutting 6" pieces for the pig tails. Im not sure if I'm leaving too much wire or not.. I was working near an area with houses being built and I checked out some of their rough electrical.. to cut down on pigtailing I copied what they were doing with their grounds (one cut short around the screw, and the other one was left long to wrap around the screw + go to receptacle), however I didn't notice if they were pigtailing the conductors or just putting both sets of wires to the line and load on the receptacle. I managed to squeeze a bit more space out of my box by mimicking the grounds rather than pig tailing since the box will provide a continuous ground and pig tailing that seemed wasteful. But now I need to try and get the conductors to sit in there good.. Should I bother pigtailing these or just put them to the terminals instead? They are bloody stiff! I haven't dealt with an inspection yet for electrical so I am unsure on how the inspectors are :geek:

Thanks in ahead!

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Aaron
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Re: having trouble fitting wires in box

Post by Aaron » Wed Aug 28, 2019 12:22 am

Can you post a pic of your work? It would be really helpful to see what you're doing in order to offer suggestions.

Generally a common thing novices do is not strip the sheathing of NM cable far enough back to where the cable enters the box. The correct procedure is to insert the cable into the box, clamp it, then strip the sheathing up to about 1/4 inch from the point it enters. You only need enough length for the wire to extend a few inches beyond the front edge of the box, I'd say 5-6 inches total length from the back of the box.

A sharp utility knife is simply the best tool for taking off the sheathing, just be extremely careful to cut the sheathing so as not to cut into the wires within it. Use finesse and cut straight down the middle of it slowly.

Tacomaking09
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Re: having trouble fitting wires in box

Post by Tacomaking09 » Wed Aug 28, 2019 4:09 am

Aaron wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 12:22 am
Can you post a pic of your work? It would be really helpful to see what you're doing in order to offer suggestions.

Generally a common thing novices do is not strip the sheathing of NM cable far enough back to where the cable enters the box. The correct procedure is to insert the cable into the box, clamp it, then strip the sheathing up to about 1/4 inch from the point it enters. You only need enough length for the wire to extend a few inches beyond the front edge of the box, I'd say 5-6 inches total length from the back of the box.

A sharp utility knife is simply the best tool for taking off the sheathing, just be extremely careful to cut the sheathing so as not to cut into the wires within it. Use finesse and cut straight down the middle of it slowly.
Here is how I was planning to do it (If I pigtail the conductors), however if I don't pigtail then I would just put the hots to brass, whites on silver line & load terminals, this wire is just temporary. Then electrical guys when they did their grounds on that job site didn't even wrap the ground around the screws they just had it straight down one side only, mine i wrapped them clockwise.
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Aaron
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Re: having trouble fitting wires in box

Post by Aaron » Wed Aug 28, 2019 5:54 am

Yeah that looks pretty normal to me. That's a shallower box so perhaps 4" length total looks like it could be fine. The pigtails to the receptacle could be shorter.

Pigtailing is generally a good idea because then the current flows through the splice downstream the circuit, instead of through the receptacle. The receptacle effectively is just tapped into the circuit. This is the preferred way of wiring.

Good on you to wrap the wire clockwise around the screw, that is how it should be done. Do the same with the terminations to the receptacle.

after everything is terminated, I usually just fold everything neatly and tuck it into the back of the box, starting with ground, then neutral, then hot last. But whatever works with how your wires lay.

You complained about lack of space, you're not putting in a GFCI receptacle by chance? That box would indeed be too small for that.

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emtnut
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Re: having trouble fitting wires in box

Post by emtnut » Wed Aug 28, 2019 9:51 am

Tacomaking09 wrote:
Tue Aug 27, 2019 5:19 pm
I am running electrical in my basement. I am going to be doing 12/2 wiring for future-proofing on a 15a Breaker.. I have 14.5 CU and when folding up the wires and cramming in the receptacle it gets pretty tight.. I was leaving the length of the wires coming from the sheath around 5", and then cutting 6" pieces for the pig tails. Im not sure if I'm leaving too much wire or not.. I was working near an area with houses being built and I checked out some of their rough electrical.. to cut down on pigtailing I copied what they were doing with their grounds (one cut short around the screw, and the other one was left long to wrap around the screw + go to receptacle), however I didn't notice if they were pigtailing the conductors or just putting both sets of wires to the line and load on the receptacle. I managed to squeeze a bit more space out of my box by mimicking the grounds rather than pig tailing since the box will provide a continuous ground and pig tailing that seemed wasteful. But now I need to try and get the conductors to sit in there good.. Should I bother pigtailing these or just put them to the terminals instead? They are bloody stiff! I haven't dealt with an inspection yet for electrical so I am unsure on how the inspectors are :geek:

Thanks in ahead!
As Aaron mentioned, if this is a GFCI recept (or any larger type device compared to a regular recept) then that box is too small. You said 'line and load' so I'd think GFCI or AFCI which is a larger device.

Maybe a bit late, but we Canucks 'rarely' use 12awg/20A circuits for general use recepts. If you think you may need the extra capacity, then adding a circuit is the way to go, and use 14AWG.
Just a note, if you do go to 20A breaker, then you need to change all recepts to 20A devices.
~~ Ford Ford Ford Ford Ford Ford :mrgreen: ~~

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Aaron
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Re: having trouble fitting wires in box

Post by Aaron » Wed Aug 28, 2019 1:39 pm

Another thought is that GFCI receptacles have back-wire terminations. So you strip the wire insulation, insert into the back hole of the device, and tighten the screw. This method is as good of a termination as wrapping around the screw.

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Shannon
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Re: having trouble fitting wires in box

Post by Shannon » Thu Aug 29, 2019 8:09 am

You could also go with a 4" square box and mud ring if you really had to.
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diytexas
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Re: having trouble fitting wires in box

Post by diytexas » Thu Aug 29, 2019 4:58 pm

Had to look up a mud ring.

So are you suggesting you can get a mud ring when it's too tight? :lol:

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Aaron
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Re: having trouble fitting wires in box

Post by Aaron » Thu Aug 29, 2019 10:03 pm

Well the mud ring is designed to go on a 4" square box. Looks like this:

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The 4" square box comes in two depths: 1 1/2 inch and 2 1/8 inch. You'd be fine with the shallower one.

Usually the 4" square boxes just have solid covers on them to act as junction boxes. The mud rings turn them into a combination of a device and junction box.

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Shannon
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Re: having trouble fitting wires in box

Post by Shannon » Sat Aug 31, 2019 9:10 am

thanks for the pic Aaron.
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Tacomaking09
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Re: having trouble fitting wires in box

Post by Tacomaking09 » Sat Aug 31, 2019 9:29 am

I managed to find some deep boxes from the store, originally those one piece welded 14.5 CU ones were 2.5" deep, so I scooped up some 3x2x3" gangable 15 CU deep ones. Also picked up some 14/2 wire. So much room for activities inside those boxes now :lol:

Rodango
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Re: having trouble fitting wires in box

Post by Rodango » Thu Sep 05, 2019 4:18 pm

I was reading through the thread thinking I’d suggest using deeper boxes, or ganging two or more boxes. If the wires don’t want to fit, often the box is too small. It costs just a little more, but you save with the convenience of easier work, and tight bends just aren’t good practice.

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Aaron
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Re: having trouble fitting wires in box

Post by Aaron » Thu Sep 05, 2019 4:36 pm

Amen. I've resolved to using 4" square steel boxes with 1/2" mud rings for almost all receptacles and switches now. The cost for the standard 1 1/2 deep box AND the mud ring, at least in the US, is cheaper than a single gang steel box!

It's sooooo nice to have ample space for splices, it's well worth not having the headache and guilt of stuffing splices!

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