Old wire thicker than new wire?

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On 26 Jan 2006 12:41:46 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

How about when trying to get it around screw terminals?
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Mark Lloyd
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Mark Lloyd wrote:

I thought stranded couldn't be used under screws but I looked a while and didn't find a restriction. It is definitely can be a problem. I break the wire into 2 sets of strands and twist them tightly - works good except behind device grounding screws. Can always pigtail to solid. Poke in connections tightened by screw work good. I also thought stranded couldn't be used with back-stab connections but in 1991 it could.
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wrote:

It's even more of a joke to use stranded with wire nuts. But, people do it.
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What is it on this user group about wire nuts. I work in a plant and it is hard telling how many thousand connections are made with wire nuts. I would guess it has to be around 100,000 or more. Everything from some low level signal wires up to some 10 HP 480 volt 3 phase motors. Most all the wire is stranded. If they are put on correctly we have almost no problems with them. I don't usually use any tape on them except for some motors that seem to shake and viberate alot. The tape is not so much for the wire nuts themselves, but a few have rubbed through the insulation of the wire nuts so much of the tape is just around the thin covering on some of the wire nuts. The ones we use do not require any twisting. Just cut the insulation to the proper length for the wirenut and put the ends together. Then let the turning of the wire nut take care of things.
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I use them when appropriate, but I've seen them fail (as you probably have). There are boxes which you cannot change unless you want to rip it out and replace with a bigger one. If the box is too small and the existing wire is crowded, wire nuts make me nervous. I'll use crimps, as long as there's enough wire to work with in case the crimp has to be cut off at a later date. For new work, I always install an oversized box so there's enough room to use wire nuts correctly.
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On Fri, 27 Jan 2006 19:16:11 GMT, "Doug Kanter"

It would take a few tries to get it tight.
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wrote:

If you look at commercial installations youy will seldom see anything but stranded THHN. It works just fine on screw terminals and wirenuts. They are both listed for stranded wire. Maybe homeowner/electricians are just not up to the task ;-)
Seroiusly, if you twist the wire tightly it will be fine. Some old timers say twist it backward from the way it is made. That does seem to work.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Yea, I havn't had problems with tightly twisted stranded on hot and neutral. I'm not real happy with the ground because the screws don't have adjacent barriers to prevent the wire from spreading/coming out like the hot and neutral do. Backwards is an interesting idea. You have to be more careful using wirenuts on stranded but made right they are reliable.
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There are always crimp terminals, if done right.
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wrote:

I has a few stranded wires to connect to screws (on a standard receptacle) before Christmas. I used a short piece of solid wire on the screw and wirenutted to the stranded.
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On 26 Jan 2006 12:41:46 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

It's not a bitch to work with the soild #12 wire either after doing it for years and years....
Always pre-start the bends before cramming the wores in the box. Just cramming makes the job tough and is more likely to develop a short or broken wire.
Want a challenge, try using #10 wire in a standard box with an outlet or switch. When I used to work for electricians, I once ran into a house that someone had used a whole bunch of #10 for 15 and 20A circuits. It was definately a low loss, and would never overheat, but working with it was a nightmare.
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Maybe the "thicker" 14 ga. is stranded, and the thinner 12 ga. is solid?
Greg Guarino
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All romex (nm) and armored cable is solid. I have NEVER seen any type of stranded permanent electric wire used in a house.
I did also notice that it appears older wire was thicker than todays comparible cable.
As for 12 guage being a pain in the ass to work with??? Bah! you'll get used to it, just like anything else. I rather have the higher compacity cable in the walls just in case I want to go 20 amp rather then having to rewire when all the walls are up.
Tom
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Yeah, try some 500 MCM copper if ya wanna wrestle some bear.
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On 26 Jan 2006 13:01:51 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

There's plenty of THHN 12 ga. stranded in my house. Some people complain that HD doesn't sell THHN solid anymore, This may have recently changed, but in NY City all the wiring in your house had to be armored cable (in walls) or in conduit (exposed). The stuff that's in conduit in my house is largely stranded. It's easier to pull through the conduit. It seems to be powering this computer very nicely. :)

Greg
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If I had to guess as to why older wire is thicker than new wire with the same gauge rating it might be more of a quality control issue than anything else. I bet the manufacturing process today is more accurate.
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Today's process probably HAS to be more accurate. Heard a science thing last week on the radio. In this country, there is now more copper installed in houses than there is in the ground.
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Doug Kanter wrote:

Yeah, and back in the early 70's, there was a wide spread claim that all of the U.S. copper mines would be mined out in 20 years.
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Nexus7 wrote:

I believe that there was some copper clad aluminum wire used for house wiring a while ago.
Aluminum has only about 70 percent of the conductivity of copper. If what you found is copper clad aluminum then it makes sense that it's a bit larger in diameter, but marked 14 gauge because it has the same current carrying capacity as 14 gauge solid copper wire. Try filing on the wire and see if you get down to aluminum.
If that's not it, then I'm gonna make a WAG that if your vernier shows the older copper is in fact solid copper and of a larger diameter, the difference may be because the newer insulation materials can withstand a bit more heat than the older stuff could. So, they can dissipate a few more watts in resistive losses without danger of the insulation going up in smoke or falling off. But that's a verrrrry WAG I theenk.
Jeff
Jeff
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Old Romex Type NM used type TW conductors. New Romex Type NM-B uses THHN conductors. The insulation is thinner but the conductor <metal> itself is the same size.
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