Connecting Stranded Wire With Solid Wire

TIP: for connecting stranded wire with solid wire. Sizes #10, #12, #14 wire gauge.

If you have more than one stranded wire to be connected, strip the insulation of all wires and wrap the wire strands together. If connecting these with one solid wire, place all the wires parallel making sure that the end of the stranded wires do not fall below the end of the solid wire, i.e., the ends of all the wires should be even. Install wire connector. If connecting the stranded wires with more than one solid wire, first twist the solid wires together, Twisted wirethen cut the tip of the solid wires diagonally, then place all the wires parallel. The ends of all the wires should be even. Install wire connector. Some electricians find it better not to twist the solid wires when using “wire nut” or “wing nut” type connectors; my experience has proven different. After installing the connector, with one hand hold the wires, with the other hand try to pull the connector straight off. It should not come off with mild pulling force. Try pulling the stranded wires separately. They too should not come off
with mild pulling force.

Make Room For Devices

If your connection box is full and it is difficult to insert the device (switch or receptacle), find out what kind of wire connectors, if any, are used. There is a type called “wing nuts.” If you have this kind, do the following.Wire Nut

After installing the wire connectors on the wires, cut the wings off the wing nut with diagonal cutters or linesmen pliers. Do this as close to the body of the connector as possible. You may be surprised how much easier it is to position the wires inside the box after the wings are cut off. If you have to remove the wing nut later, you can easily do this by grabbing on to the wing nut using linesmen pliers, then twist off.

What Is A Buss Fuse?

Buss fuse is an electrical device used to interrupt an overcurrent in an electrical circuit. It acts similar to a device called a circuit breaker. However, a fuse has a link that melts when call upon to protect the electrical circuit. This blown fuse or fuses have to be replaced in order for the electrical circuit to continue carrying an energized load. Buss fuses are manufactured by Cooper/Bussmann.

Seating a Switch or Receptacle Snuggly

TIP: When Switches or Receptacles are recessed too much because of faulty installation of box or plaster ring.

Sometimes in the installation of a device box, a craftsperson may install it too deep in the wall not allowing for the thickness of the drywall or plywood covering. If a metal box is used, they may use a plaster ring too shallow; again not allowing for the thickness of the drywall or plywood covering. As a result of this kind of installation, the device, such as a switch or duplex receptacle may not seat properly when fastened down. In addition, sometimes the tabs on these devices do not seat against the drywall when fastened down because the opening for the device box of the drywall was cut too much.

Switch Receptacle Fix

Correct cutout compared with oversize cutout.

If you find an outlet box that has not been installed properly or the device opening on the wall covering too large, there are at least four things you can do to have the device seat snuggly.

1. You can use an appropriate size metal or plastic spacer over the hold down screw. If you do not have these handy, read on for other methods.

2. This next method is more complex and does not always work given the materials and time to work with. If you have the right type of flat head screw for the device hold-down, this next method might work sufficiently. Unless it has been changed by a maintenance person, the standard size screws are number 6-32. Put the screw in the device hold-down hole or if the screw is already in the device hole, take the paper card that holds the screw off. Take a 6-32 nut and screw it on the number 6 screw that holds down the device. Screw the nut all the way, it should not put pressure on the device itself. If it does you will not be able to screw the screw to the box. For the ideal, there should be some light play or slop so the screw has movement. If this cannot be achieved, move on to the next method. Take another 6-32 nut and screw in on the screw. Adjust the nut on the screw to the proper distance needed so that the device does not sink into the wall when screwing the screw. You may need to do this process with both screws that fasten the device to the box. If the nut turns while screwing in the screw the purpose of the nut will be defeated. You can carefully crimp or cut a groove on the screw diagonally across the threads. This will prevent the nut from moving any further than desired while screwing in the screw. The threads of the screw have to be cut exactly where you want the nut to stop.

3. This next method is less complicated and will work well if you have the parts. With the device 6-32 hold-down screws, use a combination of oversize nuts like 8-32 as wide spacers and small flat washers. You can also use a 6-32 nut to hold them in place. The washers work well to make fine adjustments to length.

4. With this next method you make your own spacer. Take  #12 insulated soft drawn solid copper wire and wrap a length of it around the screw. Soft drawn copper wire is easier to bend and work with. Keep the insulation on the wire. It may be easier to first form the wire, then slip it over the screw without taking the screw off the device. Form the wire longer than needed, install on screw, then cut to proper length with diagonal pliers or cutters.

With all these methods, make sure your device is grounded properly. Some of these methods may compromise a good ground. In this case use a bare or green insulated copper wire attached to the device’s ground screw and proper ground. It just takes some practice to see which method works best for a given situation. Give it a try.

Tell Me About Surplus Fuses

Here is information you need to know about overstock, oversupply, or surplus fuses that are new, nos, and used. This information could save you a significant amount on your fuse purchases.

How fuses are described by the distributor is important for the purchaser in making informed decisions. It is especially important for the surplus fuse supplier that their descriptions remain consistent. The following is the standard for Alan’s Sales.

The word surplus sometimes carries the idea of products being cheap, unreliable, or inexpensively manufactured. But this is just not true if the surplus fuses are named brand. If you purchase a named brand fuse you are getting the same product whether it is surplus or otherwise. With surplus new or new old stock (NOS) fuses, they are simply new and not used. That is, they have not been energized to carry an electrical load.

With a used fuse or those that are shop worn, these blemishes or conditions have no effect on the reliability and performance of the fuse. The interesting fact about fuses is their reliability relative to time.

There are no moving parts, so with a NEW or NOS fuse there is no wear or tear to the product, except for handling, such as in storing and for a USED fuse, handling, installing and removing the fuse – that’s it!

According to Ferraz-Shawmut (Mersen) a leading fuse manufacturer, “The speed of response of a fuse will not change or slow down as the fuse ages. “In other words, the fuse’s ability to provide protection is not adversely affected by the passage of time.” (The Advisor-Application Information, 10 Reasons For Using Current Limiting Fuses)

On occasion, some NEW or NOS fuses may look used, shop worn, or even dirty. The appearance of the fuse does not affect its performance. From a practical sense, it does not really make a difference what the fuse looks like when you install it and put it to work? However, with Alans Sales not all surplus fuses are bad looking. In fact, Alan’s Sales has some pretty good looking USED fuses at some better looking prices. However, the appearance is not guaranteed. Remember, it is the technical and performance aspects of the fuse which serve the purpose in overcurrent circuit protection.

Whether you are purchasing NEW, NOS, or USED fuses, only purchase fuses from dealers who will stand behind their product with a fair refund/exchange policy. Also check out Alan’s Sales high standards for fuse quality control.

Faster Metal Drilling

TIP: Make drilling into mild steel metal boxes, cans, and fixtures easier and faster.

I find that using any kind of petroleum based oil applied to the tip of the drill bit or hole saw speeds up the cutting of the hole. For larger size holes reapply the oil when the cutting slows down. Always use a sharp drill bit.

Drilling With Ivory Soap

TIP: How to drill your lag screws more smoothly.

Ivory soap can be used for more than cleaning. Soaps can be used as lubrication for screwing sheet metal or lag screws into wood. Take the screw and draw the threads of the screw across the soap to apply the soap. Be liberal with the soap. With lag screw, first drill a pilot hole smaller in diameter than the lag screw. Make sure to apply the soap at the beginning of the threads of the screw.

Keeping The Strands of Wire Together

TIP: How to keep the strands of numbers 10, 12 & 14 stranded wire together.

When normally installing wire on the binding screw of a device (switch, etc.), you simply strip the insulation off, make your hook, then install around the binding screw, then apply firm clockwise rotating pressure of the screw on the wire. No problem when installing solid wire, but with stranded wire you will usually end up with the wire fraying away from the binding screw. This is not the best connection. Here is one way to keep the strands together.

First, strip completely off the wire about 7/8 of an inch to 1 inch of insulation. Next strip about 3/16 of an inch to 1/4 of an inch of insulation, but do not take this piece of insulation off. Slide the piece of insulation all the way to the end of the wire; keep about 1/16 of an inch of wire visible at the end of the wire.

Stranded Wire

Now make your hook and install wire on the device binding screw.

Getting A Drill Through Carpet

TIP: How to get a drill bit through carpet without making a carpet run.

Do not drill though carpet. Cut a cross + in the carpet with a utility knife. The middle of the cross is where you will drill. Keep the cuts small. When drilling, this will prevent the bit from grabbing on to a carpet thread and creating a carpet run.

Holding Screw On A Screwdriver

TIP: How to hold a screw on the screwdriver.

An easy way of holding a screw on a screwdriver is to simply use a “holding screw screwdriver.” If you do not have one of these tools, there is another way.

Take a piece of black electrical tape. While holding the screwdriver and the screw with the screwdriver in the slot of the screw head, wrap the tape around the head of the screw and screwdriver together. Make sure to have more tape on the screwdriver than on the screw. Black electrical tape can be stretched to fit the unevenness of both parts. After installing the screw part way, simply pull the screwdriver away from the screw, the tape should come with the screwdriver. Use another screwdriver to drive home the screw. This way you can reuse the tape on the screwdriver for another screw. This tip works best with Phillip”s screwheads.