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Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 830
Another question concerning supporting light fixtures in suspended ceiling independantely of the grid. I know that the code says to attach light fixtures to the grid, but the requirement for tie wires is not in there ( I can't find it anyway). I know it must be in the building code or some other code. Does anyone know the "gauge" wire that is required to support them? I've looked in the North Carolina building code online, and I can't find anything about it. I've tried the "search" on the forum here but still can't find anything. I'm thinking it's a #12 steel wire, but am not sure. Thanks again...

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Joined: Apr 2002
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Likes: 4
10 or 12 ga should be OK
Check the specs if you have any for the job.

FYI, I used to have the ceiling guys install wires for me, and pay them; instead of using electricians time.

Last edited by HotLine1; 03/29/14 03:48 PM.

Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 830
Thanks John. The reason I'm asking is that I think the owner was expecting to use little #17 gauge wire (it may be a little bigger, can't remember exactly what # was on the roll, but it was small. On a roll kinda of like # 10thhn wire is on)
I just wanted an official note of some kind to tell him. I'm sure I wouldn't want to be standing under one of the lights, if the ceiling fell with the kind of wire he has. Thanks
And yes, I'm going to get them to install the wires, but want to make sure they install the right ones. There's going to be a lot of them.

Joined: Jul 2004
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ASTM C 636 says #12 steel

Greg Fretwell
Joined: Apr 2002
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but does steel wire gauge go the same as AWG; larger number smaller diameter?

And, thanks for the standard!

Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,273
The history of wire gauges goes back into British industrial history -- and can get involved.

The original wire standard was exclusively for steel. It was devised for it. Copper wire -- for electric use came generations later.

While not exact, #12 in steel is pretty close to #12 in copper, and so forth. #10 is bigger in cross section for both, etc.

( Over a century ago, they actually were the same sizes. Then better steels caused them to re-standardize the steel gauge somewhat. Pure copper stayed copper.)


The numbering system got started by way of the technique:

A #1 (steel) wire had been drawn through the first (largest) die.

It was then annealed.

Next it was drawn through the #2 die, the second die, and it grew longer and thinner.

It was then annealed.

And so forth.

The 'oughts' ( 2/0 ) were the first attempts at back sizing upwards.

4/0 was as big as they needed, so it stopped there.

Last edited by Tesla; 03/29/14 07:11 PM.

Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 830
Thanks Greg. I tried to pull up the actual document so I could reference it to the owner, but couldn't find it. I'll let him know though. I did find where North Carolina has adopted the ASTM C 636 standard back in 2006 if I read right. Thanks again... Steve

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