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#67019 - 06/24/06 01:59 PM Switch and outlet make up  
e57  Offline
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876
Been meaning to throw this question out there for some time now.

Is there an industry standard for rough make-up?

Been doing it this way for about 16 years...
  • Conductors for each device taped together, and rolled in the position they will go in ganged situations.
  • Travelers twisted together (4-ways in and out twisted seperate, and taped to thier ground)
  • Commons of 3-ways and switch legs of single poles with a with a tight loop on the conductor. (3-ways travelers twisted seperate, and taped to thier common and ground)
  • Line side of GFI's taped to ground, load taped seperatly to them.
  • Recepticals just get the hot, neutral and ground taped together.

Like I said, been doing it this way for about 16 years now, just about everyone I have worked under, with, or those coming on below me have been simular with few exceptions. Some, instead of tape, the ground is used to bind the conductors together. Some mark circuit number in box, some do not....

Anyway, I recently have had someone (The PM for the Company...) suggest that it should be standard to make little markers out of romex sheath, and mark each conductor, "Hot", "Neutral", "Travelers", "Line", "Load", and what the switch leg is for, i.e. "Cans" etc. Which is done by a few people in the company I currently work for, and I often fine these labels coated in paint, unreadable, or missing. I also see it as time consuming and redundant...

What do you think, and do you know of any other methods?

Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades

#67020 - 06/24/06 02:48 PM Re: Switch and outlet make up  
Trick440  Offline
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 248
Waterford, MI, USA
Is this for residential?

If so , I never seen anybody use tape?

We rarely twist anything together. Occasionally we do.

I roll the wires in thier respective position in the box, for what order I want the switchs in.

The last thing I tuck in is the grounds and I tuck those in horizontally. Protecting the other conductors from the dreaded dry wall guy.

We strip the line side of GFCI.

The only time markers are ever made are for stacked switches that aren't obvious. Or other boxes that may be confusing.

[This message has been edited by Trick440 (edited 06-24-2006).]

Shake n Bake

#67021 - 06/24/06 06:42 PM Re: Switch and outlet make up  
Larry Fine  Offline
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 693
Richmond, VA
I do it slightly differently:

I make up every connection I can at rough: grounds, neutrals, feed-ins and outs, pigtails, etc., complete with wirenuts, and even strip and hook the device and ground wires.

Come trim time, the wires for each device are right where it will be going. The only tool needed is an electric screwdriver, and the freshly-painted walls stay a lot cleaner.

Larry Fine
Fine Electric Co.

#67022 - 06/25/06 07:52 AM Re: Switch and outlet make up  
Tiger  Offline
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 706
Crystal Lake, IL USA
I do residential remodeling, so every job is very different and I use few wire colors. I make everything up like Larry so final is simple.

If I were doing new tract homes I'd do it like Trick440, use more wire colors and let wire color make the final connections obvious.


#67023 - 06/25/06 09:00 AM Re: Switch and outlet make up  
Sixer  Offline
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 265
I've been doing it this way for 13 years:

GFI's - strip the line wires if the GFI is protecting more receptacles
3-way switches - strip the common, and always try to use black for common
Single pole switch with 3-wire going out to device - we always use red for switched line and black for steady hot
4-way - in and out twisted separate
Ganged boxes - wires twisted together and rolled into position they will go
Very seldom do we use tape


"Will it be cheaper if I drill the holes for you?"

#67024 - 06/25/06 01:26 PM Re: Switch and outlet make up  
BigJohn  Offline
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 391
Boston, MA
When I got into residential, I made tags for the wires and pushed them all together back in the box. The labels took up a lot of space (making it more likely something would get nicked with a Rotozip), and they were coated with paint and unreadable when I went back to trim out. And then you still had to take the time to find the right wires for the right devices.

I changed to simply grouping all the wires for a device together, and wrapping the EGC around them once to hold them together

- 3-Ways: Common is always stripped about an inch. Travelers are always black-and-red.
- 4-Ways: Each set of travelers is twisted, but it's usually un-necessary.
- GFCIS: Any load side conductors are wire-nutted together.

Multi-gang boxes, each set of wire is positioned where it's respective device will go.

No tape, no labels, works well.


#67025 - 06/25/06 01:32 PM Re: Switch and outlet make up  
e57  Offline
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876
So, it all looks fairly simular....
All the conductors spliced, and in location. And all are familiar enough that it would not be too hard to figure out.
For me, I use the tape out of habit, from years of working with stranded wire in predominately piped work, where the tape worked out better keeping it all together. But often just use the ground wire.... The tape would be at the back as it exits the box, so there is free end to work with, so doesn't get in the way of finish install.
I too know some people who strip load side of gfi for identification.
Another thing that I do often with cable installations is use the ground in the cable feeding the box to ground it, that way I know later, if I ever go back. (Used to work in a situation where we re-modeled over our own work constantly in the same complex of buildings for about six years.)

Anyway, it seems as of yet nobody is making little labels for each conductor?????? [Linked Image]
(Except for John, who did, but doesn't any longer....)

Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason

#67026 - 06/26/06 05:17 PM Re: Switch and outlet make up  
Trick440  Offline
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 248
Waterford, MI, USA
Larry discribed it good. Thats how we do it too. except we dont hook the wires. WEe hook the wires on the final with the device itself.

Shake n Bake

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