Termination of stranded wire

jaysgardenNovember 9, 2010

Question: when terminating stranded wire at a receptacle or switch does is it proper to just twist the stranded wire around the screw terminal on the device or should the end of the stranded wire have either a crimped on fork terminal or crimped on ring terminal to connect to the screw.

In a high school electric class the instructor is telling the students when terminating stranded wire always use a crimped on connector do not just wrap the stranded wire end around the screw terminal.

Any thoughts?

Thanks

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wayne440

It depends on the device in question. Most of the time a properly crimped terminal is appropriate.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 7:26AM
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jaysgarden

The device in question was either a SP switch or a 15A or 20A duplex receptacle.

Thanks

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 7:35AM
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joed

Crimp is not required by code.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 8:12AM
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Ron Natalie

As long as the device doesn't state solid only on it (or it's instructions) direct to the screw is fine. Make sure that you "squeeze out" any of the strands while tightening the screw.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 8:45AM
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brickeyee

Twist the stands together tightly, then place under the screw.

No spade lug is required.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 8:56AM
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Billl

jaysgarden - if you haven't noticed by now, lots of experienced, skilled tradesmen have particular ways that they want things done. Most times, those particulars exceed code. Nothing forces them to do that except for pride in their work and a sincere belief that a particular practice leads to superior results.

If you are lucky enough to have a teacher that falls into that category, I wouldn't go busting his chops quoting minimum code. Instead, I'd ask him why he thinks crimping works better. "Why" he recommends it will teach you more than "that" he recommends it.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 9:11AM
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jaysgarden

Bill I've noticed that. This teacher is not my teacher but a family member in high school. I have no problem with his suggestion. When I strip stranded wire for attachment to a screw terminal on an switch or receptacle, I leave the piece of insulation on the ends of the wire to kind of hold the ends together.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 12:17PM
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DavidR

It also helps to twist the strands counterclockwise. They tend to untwist less as you tighten the screw.

Another trick is to tin just the very end of the wire, about the last 1/8" or so, to hold the strands together. However, it's time consuming and I don't usually have that much patience.

Crimping on a spade lug is relatively quick and easy.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 3:27PM
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mike_kaiser_gw

Another trick that helps a bit with stranded wire -- avoid using it. :-)

Strip the wire as you normally would. Twist the strands. The strip another 1/16" of insulation. Slide the little piece of insulation to the end of the wire. That helps keeps the strands in place as you wrap them around the screw.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 6:29PM
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alan_s_thefirst

I didn't know stranded wire existed for running in walls etc.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2010 at 2:09AM
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Ron Natalie

Not common for the gauges usually connected to switches but it's possible. One common case is that some devices (dimmers, timers) may have their own stranded leads connected that you may want to put under a screw on an adjacent device or terminal.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2010 at 7:52AM
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brickeyee

"I didn't know stranded wire existed for running in walls etc."

Stranded is preferred for pulling into conduit systems.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2010 at 9:30AM
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randy427

Using back-wired (not backstab!!) devices makes using stranded wire a lot easier.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2010 at 9:46AM
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countryboymo

I used miles of stranded romex when I worked as the lead in the electrical area for a company years ago that got into the cabin cruiser business. It was interesting to work with. It was like an extension cord with a romex jacket.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2010 at 1:21PM
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pharkus

I'd love to get my hands on a few thousand feet of that!

    Bookmark   November 11, 2010 at 6:32PM
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