new smoke detector - connecting solid to stranded questions

will91tJuly 26, 2010


I want to replace my 15 year old smoke detectors. Inside each electrical box, there were four 14 gauge white and black wires - each bundle wire nutted together. Three of each color originated from romex style cable and the fourth was was used as a pigtail to wire to the back of the smoke detector (inserted to the back of the unit). A third red wire was wired directly to the back of the detector.

The new Kiddle detectors came with a flexible wiring harness using 16 or 18 gauge (can't quite read it) stranded wire (white, black and red) with pre-tinned ends.

My question is how to connect the stranded wire to the solid gauge wire. Should I leave the white and black pigtails as is and wire nut the white and black stranded wires to the pigtails or should I eliminate the pigtail and connect each stranded wire to the bundle of three 14 gauge solid wires? My limited experience with wire nutting stranded to a bundle of solids is that the wire nut never really tightens up without shredding the stranded wire. Also, obviously the bundle of solid wires are already twisted, so should I straighten them out (or cut off the twisted sections) before laying the stranded wire alongside and putting on the wire nut?

Thanks for any help.

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Either leave the pigtail and wire nut to that, or remove the pigtail and wire nut to the splice. Doesn't matter.

DO NOT untwist or cut off the splice. Absolutely no reason to.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 7:25PM
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Add another pigtail.

Getting a number of solid and stranded wires (especially small stranded) into a single wire nut is a PITA, even when you do it many times.

It is far easier to add another pigtail into the wire nut using solid wire, and then join that single solid wire with the smaller stranded wires.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 4:32PM
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