Stranded vs solid wire

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If a correctly designed crimp tool is used, crimp connectors are extremely secure. Unfortunately, it's practically impossible to find a correctly designed crimp tool in big box stores or local hardware stores.
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Tony wrote:

Suppose I wanted to replace an 18-gage lamp cord. If it had 19 strands of 30-gage, like much automotive wire, it would probably screw down to the socket pretty well. But 18-gage lamp cord may have 41 strands of 34-gage. Twelve-gage zip cord could be worse; it might have 65 strands.
It can be hard to get wire with a lot of strands to stay under a screw. What would be wrong with tinning? Within the lamp, strain and vibration shouldn't be problems.
If instead of a screw terminal, I wanted to use a wire nut on zip cord with a lot of strands, I might try tinning if I had trouble. I wonder if that would violate the NEC. (Some wire nuts will screw down far enough to clamp the insulated part of a cord.)
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E Z Peaces wrote:

If there isn't a vibration or strain problem, then there is no problem that I see.

If I am joining zip cord, or stranded wire in a light fixture to 14 solid, I just strip the stranded wire longer than the solid wire and twist it around the solid wire first, then add the wire nut. It's always worked _great_ for me. I do make sure there is more of the stranded wire toward the end of the solid, it's just how I found it to work the best. Maybe it's not code if I strip the stranded wire longer than the strip gauge? I don't know. I do know that it works very well code or no code. Give it a try and you won't have to worry about tinning.
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Tony wrote:

Now I remember where I've tinned stranded wire: speaker wire! Some small-gage speaker wire has very fine strands. Tinning the ends makes it easier to insert it into the terminal on a receiver or speaker.
I discovered that the tinned ends made it easier to use wire nuts on speaker wire. I've also tinned stranded wire in electronics where I wanted to use a wire nut for a connection that could be done and undone as easily as a plug.
I've never tried this in a 120V circuit. I don't know if there would be drawbacks.
Most of my connections using stranded conductors are in vehicles, and the strands are usually stiff enough that I don't need pretwisting. It depends on the design of the wire nut. I try to screw the wire nut down onto the insulation for mechanical reliability.
Like you, I'll pretwist if the strands are so flexible that they get pushed out of the way of a wire nut. I use about 1/2 turn CCW. The wire nut twists the bundle CW, and the pretwist gives the wire nut a head start on that twisting.
I've used a wire nut on conductors whose strands were silky thin. It was the cord of a set of headphones, which I accidentally snipped with pruners. There were three conductors: left, right, and ground. I "spliced" each conductor by pinching it in a piece of masking tape, then screwed a live-spring wire nut over the whole thing.
The wire nut provided electrical reliability by squeezing the taped connections. It helped mechanically by clamping the insulated cords together. I've used those mended phones for ten years without trouble. Wire nuts can be very useful!
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wrote:

Just "hard twist" the wire and you are usually OK. IF you solder the end, make sure there is a strain relief close to the connection to prevent flexing of the wire near the soldered end.
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Existential Angst wrote:

Like everyone else said, stranded for flexibility pulling through conduit and whatnot. For termination at receptacles and the like, get the back wire type devices, not to be confused with the push wire type which suck. The back wire have a hole you stick the wire in and then tighten the screw which clamps the wire solidly. This is similar to terminals in plugs and works well with stranded wire.
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Those are fantastic outlets/switches! I don't know if HD carries these -- do they? I'm sure they are much more expensive than yer 50c HD stuff. The few I've seen looked really high quality.
--
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Existential Angst wrote:

Yes, you can find them at 'Depot / Lowe's. They are typically the "Spec" grade devices and a few dollars each vs. under a dollar. The entire construction is better than the cheapos, better terminals, better receptacle contact area and pressure and better more durable body. For a given project the better receptacles will cost you and extra $20-$30, pretty negligible for the significantly better parts.
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AND, easier to attach a wire to, and a more reliable attachment. Proly actually cheaper, from a net cost (labor) pov.
Push-wire devices ought to be made illegal. Fires waiting to happen, imo. Esp. push-wire devices used with stranded! That *has* to be illegal, no?
--
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Existential Angst wrote:

UL: "14 AWG solid copper wire only."
--
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Pete C. wrote:

Very good advice.
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On 11/13/2009 6:39 AM Pete C. spake thus:

You've made a convert out of me. From now on I'm going to use those receptacles, instead of the el cheapo wrap-the-wire-around-the-screw types.
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wrote:

The real answer is in ther manufacturers instructions and how it was listed. Some may specify one wire size but I bet there are none that say 2 wires only. With that in mind a smaller wire on one side has to be better than zero so I doubt there are any that say "same size only" either. I know, on the Square D breaker, it says 1 or 2 wires from 8 to 14.
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