I just read a brief article in The Family Handyman about small press-in wire connectors which are used in place of wire nuts. The illustration shows them with 2, 3, 4 and 5 holes for various applications. Knowing the problems caused by 'back-stabbed' connections in switches and recepticals, I was just wondering how the profession feels about this type of connector. Are they considered to be safe and reliable? On a related note, in a visit to Germany, I observed that most fixture connections are made with screw-in terminal blocks. This seems to be a very practical and secure method for making connections.
Various connectors ... Wago, In-Sure, etc ... are available. They seem to be much more reliable than the "back-stab" connections on receptacles. hey actually seem to be working in the 'real' world.
A couple of cautions, though: - All of these connectors need clean, straight wires in order to make a good connection (no 'used' scored and twisted wire, please!); and, - Most of these connectors have no way to remove the wires, short of destroying the connector.
There is no scientific evidence to suggest that back stabbed receptacles are any more prone to failure than side wired. In my career I have replaced hundreds of faulty receptacles and the vast majority were side wired.
It's an urban legend perpetuated by electricians. They would not bear the UL listing label if the backstabbing feature were not safe and effective.
To hear people talk, you'd think that all guys do all day is replace faulty back stabbed receptacles, but everything in our trade goes bad and needs replacing, breakers, fixtures, etc.
As for Wagos and other connectors, I use them but not on the neutrals of multiwire circuits.
No use tempting fate...
[This message has been edited by 1000BaseT (edited 01-19-2007).]
Some splices *are* more important than others. It's easy to see when you think about the consequences of a splice failure. I am so paranoid about open neutrals on 3 wire circuits, I should probably start soldering those.
Are 'stabbed connections as good as side wired? No, but they're good enough. "Good enough" is what most jobs are about anyway. It's ironic to note that the "Stabbed vs. Side Wired" debate nearly always occurs on jobs wired with Romex. People get so fixated on the quality of their connections, they forget about the total quality of the job, otherwise they would've installed Flex.
It's like buying a Yugo and arguing about the quality of the radiator cap.
I wire a lot of houses where the only reason I'm there was I was the lowest bid. On these jobs, I use the cheapest materials and fastest wiring techniques I can. I sometimes get these jobs because I'm $50 cheaper than the other guy. On a 2000' house, sidewiring adds at least an hour to the job. Believe it or not, I just can't afford that extra hour. The customer will not pay for it and I don't work for free, so backstabbing it is.
I do my fair share of custom homes. Really nice, upscale homes where the customer expects and can afford a higher level of quality. On these projects I sidewire and use fewer receptacles per circuit and a host of other things because the customer is paying for them.
I have no problem with these clips to connect a device in the makeup box of, say, a can light which at most will only sap 90 watts off the circuit, but in place of wirenuts? I think I'll stick with strip & twist. Not sure I would trust those things with 15 or 20 amps. Inside makeup boxes they actually save time and reaching for more than just wire strippers, so long as you are just shoving solid wire in, otherwise- *snip*
I also noticed those orderly, neat little terminal blocks in Germany when I lived there. While they are quite novel, I don't think they'de be as practical as wirenuts, since they only accept at most, a 12 wire- and that would be a tight squeeze, they might be good for light fixtures, etc (which was where I saw them used mostly) but as soon as you are dealing with more than 1 wire in and 1 wire out per block, the usefulness of these things disappears. You couldn't, for example have power coming in to a box, tied to a wire continuing the circuit to another box, and a tail out for whatever device would occupy the box. Any solution you could come up with to accomplish this would take four times the space to realize, compared to a simple wirenut and then there is the issue of making sure those little screws are adequately tight everywhere they are used... And who wants to twirl a screwdriver that small all day? I was really impressed at the novelty of these little blocks myself but after thinking about it a while I understood why they never made much of a splash over here. You can find them in supply houses too.. I believe Ideal makes them or imports them or whatever. An application where I do think these things would shine is automotive DC wiring, or wiring inside any machine cabinet where neatness and tidyness of the wiring was important, the wires were small and circuits were simple, i.e. not requiring many wires to get the job done
Just to (eh hmm) break from the back-stap controversy for a moment - the stab-in wire junctions are in common use in a number of recessed can lights - they come already placed on the can wiring in the make-up box.
I've had zero problems with them in that particular application.
Removal is not so difficult, once you know the trick (this also works with old back-stabbed recepticles). The trick is to hold the wire firmly while twisting the device (recepticle or wire junction block) side to side and pulling (some force is needed). This sort of "unscrews" the wire from the lock-in tab. This also seems to retain the holding properties of the lock-in tab for re-use.
Stranded wire presents difficulties, unless it's tinned like the can light leads are.
I'm up for trying any device that saves time and presents no comprimise to the quality and longevity of my work.