Old wire thicker than new wire?

Page 1 of 3  
I've come across some wire that is probably 30 years old and is marked 14 gauge. The minimum gauge I want snaking around the house is 12 gauge, so I was about to pull it out when I noticed that the copper is about as thick as new 12 gauge (and thicker than new 14 gauge). Is the copper thinner now because of improvements in the manufacturing process, or something? Is the wire rated by thickness or by current carrying capacity? If it is current carrying capacity, then are they using thinner wire because newer copper is a better conductor? This isn't the plastic insulation I'm talking about, it's about the copper itself.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Gauge is actually a measurement of thickness, just like inches and feet are a measurement of length. I don't think it has ever changed. Did you put a gauge measuring tool on both?

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Bob wrote:

It appears markedly thicker visually, but I'll use a vernier this evening. I just thought they might be selling thinner wire rated for the same capacity, kinda like they sell something 1.5X3.5 and call it a 2X4.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

12 gauge can be a bitch to work with, especially when you need to cram it behind the switches in boxes that aren't big enough. Are you sure you want it running EVERYWHERE in the house?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
cant go wrong running 12 gauge, but it is hared to work with. I wonder why they dont make boxes bigger, that would help a lot.
its likely the same conductor size but old wire used real rubber coverings, that were thicker. that may explain the confusion
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Smaller boxes are harder to work in. More difficult = more manly man, or some such bullshit. That's the only reason I can figure out. Code dictates that as you run wires along beams, you don't bend them more than a certain amount. Keep the bends gradual. Then, code says it's OK to jam the wires into boxes in a way that doesn't match the previous rule.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 26 Jan 2006 21:36:32 GMT, "Doug Kanter"

ONe is not supposed to make sharp turns in cable tv coax either**, but then the cable folded the cable twice and stuffed it in that little box outside my house. It annoyed me.
**That because the insulation between the center wire and the braid can be compressed, and the distance between the two becomes less, and that can cause signal reflections and ghosts in the picture. I think the picture was good though. I'm not too picky. :)
Remove NOPSAM to email me. Please let me know if you have posted also.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 26 Jan 2006 21:36:32 GMT, "Doug Kanter"

That leaves Michael Jackson out of the picture :)

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

wires in a square box with a mud ring. There is a NEC requirement on the minimum size of box used based on what is in it.
bud--
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"12 gauge can be a bitch to work with, especially when you need to cram it behind the switches in boxes that aren't big enough. Are you sure you want it running EVERYWHERE in the house? "
It's not a bitch to work with if you use stranded wire.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Stranded wire for house wiring? I didn't know that existed.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

That's what's typically run inside conduit.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Stranded is not code [NEC]. A good home inspector should catch it and required it's replacement before getting an occupancy permit.
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 27 Jan 2006 00:55:16 GMT, "Jay Stootzmann"

Cite that.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I don't know for sure, but they might be mixing up some issues about the type of cable sheathing. If stranded THHN, etc was in conduit, I can't see how it wouldn't be approved.
Bill

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 26 Jan 2006 21:35:49 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Yes, please..... Stranded has been used in conduit for years. Unless this changed recently, this is not correct....
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Jay Stootzmann wrote:

Really? Why would stranded THHN/THWN be prohibited in residential work?
cheers Bob
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Can you cite where the NEC says this? I'm pretty new to this, so I might be missing something, but I can find nothing.
A quick web serch leads me to believe that this is common enough practice that it hardly warrants mention. The closest question that comes up is whether it's OK to connect stranded wire directly to the screw terminals on outlets. The nearly unanimous answer is that it is code as long as the outlet is listed for it. All this discussion would seem pretty pointless if you're not allowed to run stranded wire at all...
Just for laughs I looked up the UL info on the outlets I've been using, and the only thing it bothers to specify is that you MUST use 14 awg solid for the slide in connectors on the back. For the screw termianls it just says "up to No. 12 copper or copper clad wire"...
The closest thing I can find in the NEC is that 8 awg and LARGER run through a conduit MUST be stranded. This does not imply the contrapositive...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Conduit? Hard pipe conduit? Or, other?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
You can buy stranded wire in a cable form...I dont know the designation...I just call it "cable tray wire". Its used a lot in industrial plants where the vast majority of wiring is run in large cable trays...the cables are then dropped off the tray at the machine or appliance it is serving. Its probably expensive though and I dont know what the code says about running it in concealed places...but I know the sheath is probably just as durable as the outer sheath on romex.
Use crimp on ring or fork terminals for stranded.
I dont have any problem with 14 gauge wire....the problem is fat lazy americans and their power strips.....trying to run a 30 amp load on a 15 amp circuit....of course people are just ignorant...and electrical supplies are available to anyone old enough to pick it off the shelf.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.