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A typical bus bar has this design:

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and connecting a solid wire to it is more or less easy. But how do I connect a stranded wire? I expect the following to happen: when I drive the screw in, the screw splits the strands and so I end up with the screw driven in and the strands all around the screw instead of being pressed to the bus bar. I'd like to avoid this and get a good connection capable of carrying many amperes of current.

How do I connect a stranded wire to a bus bar?

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Insulated or uninsulated ferrules might work. Would have to check codes to make sure they can be used. –  Tester101 Mar 5 '12 at 15:28
    
Is this in a load center for a 120V circuit? –  Jay Bazuzi Mar 6 '12 at 0:24
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what size wire? The connection to the ground rods is often 6AWG stranded bare copper; my feeders are 2AWG aluminum. Both work fine under the set screws. –  Jay Bazuzi Mar 6 '12 at 0:26

2 Answers 2

I sell a lot of stranded wire and I've never heard of anybody tinning a wire that goes on a neutral or ground bar. AFGI & GFCI breakers come with stranded copper and is rated to fit into these bars, along with solid. I would just make sure the hole you are using matches up with the wire you are using. Most of the ground and neutral bars have different size lugs with different size ratings, like 14 to 10 awg, or 14 to 4 awg or 6 to 2/0 awg.

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You could tin the wire with solder, or connect it to a pigtail of solid wire, and connect that to the bus bar.

If this is going to be carrying household current (i.e., this is the bus bar in your panel), I'd terminate the stranded wire in a jbox near the panel and use a length of NM to the panel itself.

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Tinning the wire would have been my suggestion; it's the go-to method for making a solid end for "bare" speaker wire, so the clamp terminals can get good contact without destroying the wire. –  KeithS Mar 5 '12 at 15:47
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Speaker wire handles very different voltages, however. I'd be concerned about the solder holding up over time (i.e. not melting off the leads, leading to a loose connection). –  Alex Feinman Mar 6 '12 at 20:34

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