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146
votes
2answers
21k views

What is the purpose of these holes on my wire stripper?

I have been using this wire stripper for a while, but I have always wondered what was the purpose of those holes in the center and above LOOP, and those teeth on the handles.
12
votes
4answers
37k views

Do I really have to fasten interior-wall electrical wire to a stud to keep it from moving?

I am fresh out of cable staples and would rather not go all the way to Lowe's just to get a box. What are the implications of not fastening loose electrical wires to a stud? It's not like there's ...
8
votes
1answer
6k views

Can I extend an electrical ground wire with a copper wire crimp?

I am working with an electrical socket and I need extra length on the ground wire. It doesn't seem unreasonable that I can attach an extra three inches to the existing one and attach it with a copper ...
6
votes
5answers
3k views

Is this exposed wire dangerous?

I have this wire some of the inner part of which is exposed. My friend claims that this is highly dangerous, but I don't think that touching it would be lethal, and in the worst case scenario there ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

What is this lamp base wire clip and how do I remove the wire without breaking the clip?

I'm trying to replace the socket in an old desk lamp, and I need to pull the wire through. However, the wire is secured tightly by a black plastic clip at the base. I'm wondering what this clip is ...
6
votes
5answers
7k views

What's the suggested standard gauge wire for a given current?

I'd like to see a reference to an US or EU standard that lists in a table the suggested wire gauges for AC/DC and volts / amps.
6
votes
4answers
34k views

Is it safe to install a three pronged wire into a four pronged dryer?

I just moved into an old home that has a three pronged wall jack as shown below: I have a newer dryer that has a four pronged wire. Please see the back of the dryer, I've removed the four pronged ...
5
votes
2answers
146 views

Why do electrical devices use such small wire?

I know that it is unwise to use 14 awg wire on a 20 amp circuit and that 12 gauge should be used because the larger wire can handle the larger load, right? Then how come when I open up a night light (...
5
votes
7answers
32k views

How should I wire for a security system during construction?

I would like to run wires in anticipation of a future hard-wired security system. However, I have yet to find any information that pulls everything together regarding what is required. From what I ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

Do metal junction boxes used solely as pull boxes need to be grounded?

I am planning to pull three sets of four conductors (3 AWG wire) through 2" EMT conduit for a 30' length that is common to all three sets of wires, and then branch off at a listed metal junction box (...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Can i run my cables from the outside box to the inside breaker box through 2x4 studs?

I am turning our carport into a living room and we have a 100amp breaker box outside that feeds power into the breaker box on the inside of our house. the conduit is going to be in the way of the wall ...
5
votes
3answers
4k views

What gauge wire/cord do I need for these outdoor lamps?

I have two 700 watt outdoor halogen lamps, each connected to a splitter, then back to a power source. Given the distances illustrated below, what gauge cord should I use?
5
votes
2answers
3k views

Are the wires for my generator transfer switch undersized?

I purchased a Reliance Q510-C transfer switch to use with a 50 amp generator at my house. The transfer switch is rated at 50 amps. I have wired it into my main electrical box. I also wired a 50-amp ...
5
votes
1answer
305 views

Hangman's Noose vs Uni Knot

Is there any practical difference between the Hangman's Noose and the Uni Knot (a.k.a. Duncan loop)? The difference I see between the two is that the coils are wound inside the loop in the uni knot ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

How can I secure NM cable to a metal stud?

I use NM staples to secure NM cable to wood studs but I am unfamiliar with the options to secure NM cable directly to metal studs despite trying a number of different search terms. Would it be okay to ...
4
votes
6answers
1k views

What can I use to lubricate CAT6 cables while installing them?

I am about to run some network wires inside the wall at home. I had already done so but apparently too much pressure on them while pulling caused one of the pairs to go bad and therefore prevent ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

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

A typical bus bar has this design: 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

How can I route an unknown amount of wires through an outside wall?

I'd love to figure out the best way to make a reusable junction through an outside wall for routing cables through it. (Specifically, ham-radio coax cables). It would be fairly simple if I was going ...
4
votes
2answers
14k views

What type of wire should I use to feed a 70 ampere subpanel?

Finishing a basement and I need to add a subpanel. Main panel is outside. Subpanel will be in the basement. 70 Amp breaker in the main to feed the subpanel. I was thinking THHN but would this mean ...
4
votes
4answers
7k views

How can I fix chewed through wires?

I have two standard two prong wall plugs my puppy has chewed through completely, and he managed to sink his teeth into a laptop cord as well. I'm thinking the wall plugs are history (a lamp and a ...
4
votes
1answer
947 views

Can I use romex in my unfinished, detached garage or should I use MC?

I bought my house with an unfinished detached garage. I will never finish the walls. The previous owner has junction boxes with romex coming out of them and going to the fixtures. I've only seen MC ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Do I need to derate wire ampacity for two or more sets of wires in the same raceway for subpanel wiring?

I was planning to pull three sets of four conductors (3 AWG wire) through 2" EMT conduit for a 30' length that is common to all three sets of wires, and then branch off at a listed metal junction box (...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

How should I label and organize my home electrical circuits?

I am looking to make the wiring updates in my home extremely simple to understand while doing so in a code-approved manner. I cannot find anything against wrapping a thin band of colored electrical ...
3
votes
3answers
16k views

is it possible to do a 3 way switch if power source is in the second switch?

In my research on how to install a 3 way switch, i've seen different ways on how to install the wires but i haven't found the schema that would help me in my situation. Here's a screenshot of my ...
3
votes
2answers
300 views

Are these wires dangerous?

I pulled on a cord for the light switch hanging from the ceiling in my bathroom and some plastic and metal casing fell off. This is the result. I know nothing about electronics - these look like ...
3
votes
2answers
8k views

Why doesn't my motion sensor light work?

I want to install a simple motion sensor (Lutron Maestro MS-OPS2) on a single pole switch in my garage. When I installed it the light would not turn off. The instructions (PDF) that come with the ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

New light switch has blue, black, and white wires. Wall has black, white, and ground. Can I make it work?

I bought a new light switch that is supposed to allow me to automate my lights easier. Here is what it looks like: It has blue, black, and white wires. Coming out of my wall, however, I only have a ...
3
votes
2answers
486 views

How should I apply ambient air temperature ampacity correction factors when exact temperature is unknown?

Is there a good method or rule of thumb for determining ambient air temperature for wire runs through non-climate controlled areas in residential applications (e.g. attics -- I've read literature from ...
3
votes
1answer
153 views

Can I install wiring in the space used by a sealed air duct and PVC water supply lines?

I have a space between walls that is about 14" deep and 8 foot wide, and goes from the floor to the ceiling. This space is on the second floor. Petty much in the center of the house. The space ...
2
votes
2answers
207 views

What kind of wire is this?

It's black, with white in the middle, and copper around the white. Any ideas? I have a picture but not sure how to add it...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

Can I use a 20 amp breaker in the situation of having 15 amp wire connected to a 20 amp main wire?

Can I use a 20 amp breaker in the situation of having 15 amp wire connected to a 20 amp main wire? If I can't would using a 15 amp breaker be ok?
2
votes
2answers
633 views

Can I use THHN/THWN-2 within a lamp post?

Foreword: I've been using UF wire for about 10 years now, and I've really grown to hate it. It's hard to work with, hard to strip, and hard to pull through conduit. I prefer all my underground wire to ...
2
votes
2answers
8k views

Options for lubricating wires for conduit?

I am trying to pull four #8 stranded wires through a flexible PVC conduit that is 25 feet long. I can get the wires just a few feet into the conduit before they bind. I know there is a commercially ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the best way to run underground electrical and low voltage in the same trench?

I'm putting in a couple of new electrical lines for my back yard. I have a trench dug from point A, to B, to C, etc.. I then had a bright idea. Why don't I put speaker wires and CAT6 under ground ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

What are these wires I found in my yard?

I was digging the holes for some crepe myrtle saplings and I sliced into a wire with one unlucky shovel stroke. They do not seem to be carrying any voltage, but I haven't hooked my multi-meter up to ...
2
votes
2answers
5k views

How do I design the circuit for baseboard heaters?

I am designing the circuit(s) for my basement apartment (cca. 800 sq ft) baseboard heating solution. I am planning to buy Berko HBB Series heaters and distribute them as shown in the below table. ...
2
votes
1answer
5k views

Is it possible to do two 3way switched circuits that share a common power source but the power source and the light wire are in the same box?

I'm trying to connect two separate circuits from a single power source using 3way switches. My trouble seems that my wire from my light and my power source are in the same box. Is there a way to do ...
2
votes
3answers
942 views

Inferring wire gauge from cable size

Is there any way to infer the gauge of the wires inside an NM cable from the size and shape of the cable? I reckon a round cable is generally -/3 W/G and a flatter cable -/2 W/G, but I do not know how ...
2
votes
1answer
91 views

How do I separate these wires?

My ceiling fan stopped working and I want to remove the light box from the fan so that I can replace an in-line fuse holder. In order to separate the light box from the fan rotation device, I need to ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Where's the C terminal on my boiler control?

The new thermostat I purchased doesn't run on batteries, and needs 24 volt power. I have only a red and a white wire connected between the boiler and the thermostat, but there is also a third, unused ...
2
votes
2answers
786 views

How close can speaker wire be to a recessed light before heat is a concern?

I'm currently building a home and have plans to install in-ceiling speakers in my family room when the house is finished. The package that the builder offers is obnoxiously expensive and I can't do it ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

NEC Definition of “Maintained Spacing” for Wire in Free Air

This seems like a simple question, but I cannot seem to find the answer in the 2008 NEC. There are references to "maintaining spacing" in many sections of the code such as the following: 310.15.B....
1
vote
2answers
99 views

How to wire switch with 8 gauge wire?

I want to connect 8 gauge wires to a 30 amp safety switch (http://smile.amazon.com/Leviton-3032-2W-Toggle-Double-Pole-Grounding/dp/B002MPPTBQ), but the wire is too thick to wrap around the screws on ...
1
vote
2answers
16k views

What gauge wire is typically used for the input to a home breaker box?

I have a moderately-sized home (~2400 sq. ft.) in the United States that was constructed in 1999. I am looking to build a home energy monitor to track my electricity usage versus time. Obviously, in ...
1
vote
6answers
102 views

Cutting wire/cable in close quarters

I need to cut some steel wire/cable (the type that's a bunch of little wires twisted together--not sure the technical term for it). The wire is maybe a bit more than 1/16in in diameter. The access ...
1
vote
1answer
177 views

Should I replace the neutral wire that I accidentally cut in a Romex cable when installing a new outlet?

So I'm installing a new outlet in my home. There's an existing Romex cable that goes up the wall into my attic above the new outlet. When I was stripping the wire to go in the box, I accidentally ...
1
vote
2answers
9k views

How can I remove the wires from this lamp holder?

The wire on my lamp is too short, so I'm trying to replace it. The fitting/fixture (what's the correct term?) however doesn't play nice: I can't see the correct way to remove the old wire (and still ...
1
vote
1answer
34 views

In Wire Gauges Is ga shorthand for awg?

Is GA shorthand for AWG (American Wire Gauge)? Someone seemed to use the terms interchangeably in this question and then never let me know if they were interchangeable terms.
1
vote
2answers
194 views

How Do I Connect 00 AWG Wire to a 100A breaker?

I'm hooking a 100A service panel to my meter pan. There is the 100A disconnect panel on the right side that feeds the little house, I'm installing another panel on the left side to service my barn, an ...
1
vote
1answer
54 views

grounding wire from ceiling with no place to attach to the fixture?

I was took down my parents 45 year old kitchen light fixture to tighten a screw and when i went to put it back up i noticed that there was a grounding wire coming down from the ceiling but no place to ...