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Lots of Pigtails in Panel


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This 20 year old panel had 15 pigtails because the wires were not long enough to reach the breakers. I don't believe this an issue other than some astonishingly bad electrical work. Maybe the wire nuts should be turned upwards? Thoughts?

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Properly installed wire nuts are not likely to fall off regardless of position. if gravity is the only thing stopping them from falling off you have greater issues.

Speaking of proper installation of wire nuts...the conductors need to be thoroughly twisted together before installing the wire nuts right?

Lots of mine came loose until I started twisting them.

Marc

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I have never seen instructions from the manufacturer that stated pre-twisting was necessary. In fact the instructions say "No pre-twisting necessary".

I could swear that wire nut instructions used to require pre-twisting back in the '70s. There was an intervening decade or so where I didn't pay much attention, but by the early '90s most of the wire nut manufacturers were advertising that twisting was no longer necessary. My memory is that the "no pre-twisting" label was a selling point not unlike peanut butter that didn't need to be stirred.

A good wire nut connection has always been all about technique, though. Pre-twisting helps, but if you do everything else right, shouldn't be necessary. For instance, I was taught to strip my wire ends with a pocket knife using the "whittling" or "pencil sharpening" method. This not only reduces the risk of nicking the wire, but it also produces a gently sloping shoulder where the insulation ends. When you bring several wires together to place them under a nut, these sloping shoulders allow the conductors to lay together more easily and lead to a better connection.

When connecting stranded wire, I was taught to fan out the strands of each wire so that they each looked like a little corn broom, then lay them together and twist them with my fingers. This ensured that each set of strands was thoroughly interleaved with the others.

I doubt that most electricians do any of that today. Most electricians these days use a battery-powered drill to twist on their wire nuts and if you hold on tight to the stems of the wires, that drill will bind those wires together very tightly.

The splices in the original post look fine to me.

I've heard some electricians say that the nuts should point up so that, if any water drips into the panel, the water won't get into the splices. But I'm wondering why that would be a bad thing. A drop of water in the splice would only enhance the connection . . .

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Recently, I asked that question about wire nuts to an electrician. He said it depends on the nut - "read the package" he said. So I read the package and it said either way was ok. Accorning to the sparky I asked some nuts require pre-twisting so don't. I find that if I'm connectig two wires I don't need to twist them, if it is 3 then I pre-twist them. Not that I do a lot of electrical work, but recently I've been rehabing a house and built a new bathroom laundry and bedroom in the basement and I did the electrical myself.

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My house was built in '62. All of the original splices that I've opened had the wires pre twisted.

Wires with properly installed wire nuts will have the same look as pre-twisted conductors.

I disagree. I've strong forearms and twisting a wire nut tightly on 3 conductors doesn't get the same effect as pre-twisting the wires, if that's what you were saying.

Marc

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Just to add another "twist", along with stripping with sloped shoulders, I was taught to strip the wires twice as long as needed, make the twist, then snip before adding the wire nut. The extra length of the stripped wire made the twist easier and neater. But as Jim said, no one does it the old fashioned way anymore.

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I converted to pre-twisting about 3 years ago, except when connecting stranded to solid. I grab the ends of the wires with the sidecutters, twist, and cut off the end tails. Then I add the wire nut, and twist it by hand until the insulated portions of the wire also show a twist.

When connecting stranded to solid, I lead the stranded a bit longer and allow the wire nut to do the twisting.

When using a tool to twist the wire nut, it is really easy to overdo it and drive the wire right through the end of the plastic.

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