Doesn't sound like that much problem. I use wire nuts with a 'live
spring'. The spring doesn't have plastic right behind it and deforms
over the wires making a more secure connection (IMHO). If you take a
wire nut off that has been tightened you can see the deformation. (Far
as I know these don't exist in a size smaller than yellow.)
Use wire combinations the manufacturer indicates are in the capability
of the wire nut. As suggested elsewhere I extend stranded wires slightly
IMHO 2 #12 solids and a stranded #18 is a bigger problem - the #18 can
sit in the 'valley' between the solids. I twist the solids and keep the
smaller wire straight.
A nice tight wire nut connection has always worked for me even with a
mixture of solid and stranded wires and I've taken the connections apart
several times afterward to make sure there was good contact area. I agree
that pre-twisting the solids helps. In earlier days, I just soldered the
bundle and put a wire nut over the top for insulation.
This is what I do: Strip and/or clip the solid wire so that the exposed
wire is short or about 1/2 the length of the wire nut. I strip the
stranded wires a bit longer maybe full length of wire nut. (I am using
the yellow color/size wire nuts.). I then use lineman or needle nose
pliers and bend the ends of the solid wires a bit so that the wires have
a bit of a ripple. Then wrap stranded wires around the solid wire and
twist on nut as normal.
I never use the small wire nuts that come with the fixture.
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