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Torque on exterior A/C disconnect


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I am redoing the wiring to an exterior A/C compressor and to/from the exterior disconnect box (made by GE). The disconnect box instructions say to torque the lugs to 32-35 in-lb. I've ruined several lugs trying to do this. They have a single slot that is so wide that I can't find any driver bit that engages the slot securely, definitely not securely enough to accomodate that kind of torque. Is there a special tool for this or am I missing some trick of the trade? Also, should I be using a torque wrench also on the connections to the A/C?

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Thanks, I was getting there myself since I want to be done before the sun gets to that side of the house!

One more question about this - I assume that for the lug connections you strip off enough insulation (about 1/4"-3/8") to inert the bare wire under the lug, then just tighten the lug down on it. In other words, the wire doesn't wrap around anything, right?

(Allow me to vent for a moment: I can't believe manufacturers can get away with being so vague about something that they claim is supposedly critical - in addition to the impossible torque numbers, the instructions actually say to strip off "__ in" (direct quote - there's no number there) of insulation and they include no illustration of the lug connection. Copyright 1991 GE, so it's been like that over 20 years).

Thanks again, very much appreciated.

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The special tool is a torque screwdriver and the connections should be greased. You might be able to do it with a torque wrench, but it would be awkward. Unless you're doing this professionally, day in and day out, there's no need to measure the torque - just tighten them up very firmly.

In order to do this, though, you'll need a good screwdriver. If your screwdriver doesn't engage the slot snugly, you won't be able to make a nice tight connection.

The same goes for the connections at the AC.

Your assumptions about the lug connections are correct.

GE assumes that the equipment will be installed by electricians who've been trained in their trade. Their instructions aren't meant for do-it-yourselfers.

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GE assumes that the equipment will be installed by electricians who've been trained in their trade. Their instructions aren't meant for do-it-yourselfers.

You're too nice a guy! They sell them at big-box stores so they aren't targeting electricians only. 25 years using the same almost illegible copy-of-copy-of-copy instructions? You should see the diagrams - how many have been installed wrong by homeowners?

In addition to that I would say the soft metal and weird thickness of the screw slots come close to design flaws. Home Depot is getting it back with the shredded screw slots.

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GE assumes that the equipment will be installed by electricians who've been trained in their trade. Their instructions aren't meant for do-it-yourselfers.

You're too nice a guy! They sell them at big-box stores so they aren't targeting electricians only. 25 years using the same almost illegible copy-of-copy-of-copy instructions? You should see the diagrams - how many have been installed wrong by homeowners?

In addition to that I would say the soft metal and weird thickness of the screw slots come close to design flaws. Home Depot is getting it back with the shredded screw slots.

If something is sold in a big box store, it certainly does not mean that it's necessarily intended for use by do-it-yourselfers. Despite popular culture, electrical wiring is not something that you can learn from a book or from a set of printed instructions.

There's no reason why you have to shred a screw slot on a GE disconnect box. If you did, it means you were using the wrong tool or you were using it improperly.

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There's no reason why you have to shred a screw slot on a GE disconnect box. If you did, it means you were using the wrong tool or you were using it improperly.

I'm not so sure. Reason being, I think I know from whence Suobs speaks. It's not every disconnect that stripped that way but I've had some models that weren't very tight before the doggone screw head deformed, became smoothed over and the screwdriver could no longer grip it in a clockwise direction. They were soft aluminum screws. It's aggravating when it happens.

Marc

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