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Coiled Wires (Pigtails) On Breakers?


dtontarski
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Originally posted by dtontarski

This is a new one on me - A local electrical inspector claimed that the coiled wires (pigtails) on GFCI & AFCI circuit breakers must be straightened out when these breakers are installed. The claim was that these are only coiled to facilitate packaging.

Any validity to this claim?

I'd just ask the guy to provide a verifiable source.

Did he try to talk you into a snipe hunt? Or open the box where the fake mongoose flies out?

WJ

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This was presented to my local ASHI chapter by a representative from a reputable company that does municipal inspection contract work over a 6-state area. I will get in touch him and seek a reference. I owe him a call regarding Doug Hansen's book. I explained to him that this would be a good read for him, as home inspectors approach things differently from code inspectors.

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Hi,

Seems like it should be easy enough to confirm; just stop into the orange box, take one off the shelf, open it up, pull out the instruction sheet and read it.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

P.S.

I just came back here after visiting the Square D site. There is a lot of information here about AFCI's, including installation instructions and sheets to help one diagnose why one is tripping, but I saw nothing there anywhere that said that the coiled wire needs to be straightened out; in fact, they clearly show the coil in one of the illustrations.

Maybe another manufacturer has that rule but I don't have the time or the energy to go look at them all.

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Originally posted by dtontarski

This is a new one on me - A local electrical inspector claimed that the coiled wires (pigtails) on GFCI & AFCI circuit breakers must be straightened out when these breakers are installed. The claim was that these are only coiled to facilitate packaging.

Any validity to this claim?

I've never heard that before. What's supposed to be the problem with the coil? If you straighten it out, what are you supposed to do with all that wire?

There's certainly nothing in the NEC about this. If it's a manufacturer's requirement than the manufacturer's are doing a great job of keeping it a secret.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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A big fan of Douglas Hansen, I shot him an e-mail on this topic. He substantiated what everyone else it saying and what I suspected - this is an "inspection myth". There is nothing in the codes and standards supporting this. Douglas explained that these neutrals are coiled to support a tidier installation. Standard and best practice is to always follow the manufacturer's installation instructions, and so far, no one I have run this pass has ever seen this requirement documented.

I have a good memory - photographic but slightly out of focus - I never saw this documented before. I decided to post this because a few of the more seasoned inspectors at my meeting acted like they knew this myth to be a rule when it was presented. Now I take it that maybe this is a local myth being perpetuated by local electrical inspectors.

Now I've got a new story to tell my clients when I find issues in panels that should not have passed an electrical inspection. This will help to sell that these electrical inspectors don't always know all of the facts.

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