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#37164 - 04/22/04 08:01 PM Q on how best to pre-twist solid conductors
Sparkeee32 Offline

Registered: 03/23/04
Posts: 32
Loc: Federal Way WA USA
I have taken some advice from this forum into practice, and now I try and pretwist all my solid conductor connections before putting the wirenuts on. My particular problem I'm having, is that most times, several wires twist beautifully, around a single, straight conductor. I redo it once or twice untill it's right. I want it perfect the first time! Tell me how, thanx! Brian.

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#37165 - 04/22/04 08:30 PM Re: Q on how best to pre-twist solid conductors
BigB Offline

Registered: 03/31/04
Posts: 725
Loc: Tucson, AZ USA
As you twist, pull away toward the ends with the linesmans. I don't pretwist unless its over 3 wires. Channel Lock makes a pair of linesmans with a hooked end on one of the handles which keeps them from slipping out of your hand when you're pulling outward on those pre twists. It also works great for pushing #12's into the back of the box. Plus they're lighter than Kliens, and they're spring loaded. I love Klien but it seems like the only thing I ever used my linesmans for was a hammer.

#37166 - 04/22/04 10:41 PM Re: Q on how best to pre-twist solid conductors
karlwayne Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/19/04
Posts: 8
Loc: Swartz Creek, MI USA
Part of the trade - live with it

#37167 - 04/23/04 04:06 AM Re: Q on how best to pre-twist solid conductors
winnie Offline

Registered: 09/15/03
Posts: 652
Loc: boston, ma
I've been trying 'pre-taping' rather than pre-twisting.

Wire-nuts work just fine without pre-twisting....provided that the spring grabs onto the wire and squeezes the entire bunch together. It is that final provision that bites ya on the bum sometimes.

With pre-twisting, either you have something less than one twist, which would just barely hold the wires together, and really only serves to prevent them slipping past each other as the wire-nut is applied, or you have several twists. In the latter case, you can get to the point where the twisting itself serves to hold the wires together and make the splice, but then you have the wires pretty stressed in a very tight spiral in order for the several twists to fit inside the wire nut.

What I am trying out is taking the stripped wires, holding them together, and then taping the bunch about an inch down from the stripped section. This holds the wires neatly together in parallel, perfect for the wire-nut to grab.

I saw the taping suggestion here, where someone suggested it for stranded wires so that they don't all spring apart when the wire-nut is removed. They were putting the loop of tape on _after_ the splice was made, and they weren't doing the classic DIY 'tape the wirenut' trick, but instead were taping the _wires_ a bit down from the wire-nut. I took this and decided to see where it would go with the 'pretaping'.


#37168 - 04/23/04 08:49 AM Re: Q on how best to pre-twist solid conductors

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 178
Loc: toronto canada
1 believe all solid wire connections should be twisted first,to prevent the separation of the conductors given a bad wirenut leading way to arcing with a chance for a potential fire.

#37169 - 04/23/04 09:31 AM Re: Q on how best to pre-twist solid conductors
Spark Master Flash Offline

Registered: 07/28/03
Posts: 145
Loc: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
That one straight wire can pull out. As you're twisting the group of wires, when you're halfway done, check the wires for any straight ones, then use your linemans pliers to grab some of the wires along with the straight one, twist that group some to get the straight one to start twisting, then grab all of them again and continue the twist and finish. The whole twist will stay uniform without any protrusions and will go in the wire nut like normal.

One other danger from not twisting your wires is that when you're removing a wire nut, the tightest, shortest wire can pull out of the wire nut suddenly as you're loosening it and arc on the box, etc.

I know good electricians who come from residential where they had to go fast to compete and they jam a bunch of straight wires under a wire nut, but to be honest with you, I look at them as careless, lazy, unsafe and selfish when they use wire nuts that way. They just want to get done quick and don't care about the next guy, safety or doing a quality job. Just my opinion.
"When in doubt, short it out"

#37170 - 04/23/04 05:56 PM Re: Q on how best to pre-twist solid conductors
ayrton Offline

Registered: 12/21/01
Posts: 205
Loc: Pa
In my opinion your wasting your time "pre twisting" If you put a wire nut on correctly you shouldnt have to "pretwist"

#37171 - 04/23/04 07:00 PM Re: Q on how best to pre-twist solid conductors
JCooper Offline

Registered: 12/30/02
Posts: 229
Loc: Kendall Park, NJ USA
So make sure you pretwist and its ground up I usually strip the wires a few inches, start out mostly flat, all conductors parallel, grab the bunch, twist and cut off the rest, but why don't we just solder and tape, I am sure the 40 watt iron will heat up 4 #12 in an 8 hour day...

#37172 - 04/24/04 03:57 AM Re: Q on how best to pre-twist solid conductors
Joey D Offline

Registered: 10/10/03
Posts: 263
Loc: Arlington MA U.S.
I can't see how a splice can be tight if you don't pretwist it. All my splices are good and tight and stay together with out the wire nut. I tape them 3-4 inches from the splice to be sure.
I have had more splices fall apart when opening a j box and it's due to not pretwisting.

#37173 - 04/24/04 05:00 AM Re: Q on how best to pre-twist solid conductors
winnie Offline

Registered: 09/15/03
Posts: 652
Loc: boston, ma
*ducks head in shame* I'm sorry that I mentioned a technique that doesn't involve pre-twisting in this thread. I forgot how quickly thing degrade into ' you should pre-twist' vs 'you shouldn't pre-twist'. I'd like to request that the discussion remain on _how_ to best pretwist.

IMHO a pre-twist done poorly is like an over-torqued lug: harder work for poorer results. If, in pre-twisting you overstrain the conductors at the beginning of the twist, then you could end up with the situation where the wire itself breaks just before the splice. Similarly I can see problems if the conductors get scraped up during the pre-twisting. With two wires, I can see getting several twists in the proper insulation length for a wire-nut, but with 4 or 5 conductors I can't see twisting the wires tight enough for them to hold together in a length short enough to fit in the wire-nut. But I am speaking from the point of view of someone who _doesn't_ pre-twist.

For them as do pre-twist, what techniques do you use? Do you pre-twist _all_ splices, or do you use a different technique for splices with more conductors. Does it make a difference if the wire is 14,12 or 10 gauge? Does the 'pre-twisting' extend down into the insulated section, and if so, how far? How do you inspect your splices after the fact?


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