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Old 06-14-2008, 09:19 AM   #1
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Default Stranded or solid 12 awg wire?

Since the recent wire prices our company only buys solid 12 awg wires now which I don't have a problem using. But a lot of guys complain cause they cant work with it or even pull the wire as easy as stranded.

When I lived in L.A. all they used was solid wire and nobody seemed to have a problem using the wire there.
Here in Chicago land I got guys telling me you cant use solid the inspector will fail you, I have never failed an inspection using 12 solid wire.

There's $12- $14 savings between solid and stranded per 500'.

I either have a bunch of lazy guys working around me accustomed to the easier softer way. Or they just don't know how to handle 12 solid.

Most guys cant even pull stranded right nor know how to untangle stranded wire quickly and the right way.

Stranded is definetly more friendly in tight areas I will agree on that, Although with the rising price of copper solid is the more economical choice as of now.

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Old 06-14-2008, 09:35 AM   #2
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I prefer solid myself. To me it's not much tougher to pull if you don't have many bends (less then 225) and terminating is alot easier in my opinion.

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Old 06-14-2008, 09:37 AM   #3
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solid wire;

your labor costs are higher because it is more difficult to install

there is more danger of skinning a wire while pulling it in so it takes more time (money). finding and repairing these scrapes, if needed is expensive.

I believe box fill is challenged becuase solid is obviously not as compliant as stranded so even staying legal, it tends to cause people to limit the wire in a box greater which results in more runs, bigger boxes, etc.= more money.


I used to work for a contractor that was on a job and did not realize the wire was spec'd solid until well into the job. He believed in the items I listed above so much he offered to eat the cost difference so we could use stranded. (and this was a pretty good sized job.)
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Old 06-14-2008, 10:20 AM   #4
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It depends on the application.
If the mud rings are already on then stranded is easier to control while pulling. That is the only real advantage I can think of for stranded wire besides trimming but people can get used to trimming solid wire.

If the mud rings are off, on the other hand, then there is no reason to go with the stranded. Solid is easier to pull/push with out a fishtape, you get stronger splices, and you will get stronger man hands. Unfortunately, you'll probably get guys whining either way so you should go with the applicatioin and cost.
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Old 06-14-2008, 10:29 AM   #5
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I generally use solid. Stranded if I'm wiring up something that moves, shakes or vibrates... like motors n such.
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Old 06-14-2008, 10:31 AM   #6
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wire bending is key most electricians dont know how to bend the wire properly to install ina box. There is a method.

Is it really more work or is it not?

That seems like a common lie going around more scuns more work. If the pipe work is installed properly there no more bends then needed and the wire fill is low . Then in my opinion solid is easy to install.

If your getting scuns in the wire you must have untrained employees there is an art to pulling wire the right way. And bending the wire into boxes.

Stranded isnt less work either some times if the guy on either end of the fish tape is not a seasoned wire puller he can also create scuns in stranded wire. Stranded wire can also cause for more knots in the wire the feed guy may not know how to untangle.

Most guys cant pull solid cause they only use their forearm strength and not their body strength to get the job done.
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Old 06-14-2008, 10:37 AM   #7
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OK, I'll bite.

What's a scun?
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Old 06-14-2008, 10:47 AM   #8
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like I said, this multi-millionaire business owner was willing to eat the cost of the stranded. He didn;t get to be a multi-miilionaire by throwing away money. If he saw the benefit, I can assure you, financially, it was there.

Quote:
That seems like a common lie going around more scuns more work
common LIE? It is a common situation. With stranded, I can pull from and to a box that is 50 feet off the ground, even if the pipe is not turned downward. If it is not neccessary to have that downward turn, it costs more to put it in. Pulling and feeding from the ground allows me to avoid the time it takes to hop in the lift and slow speed it back and forth or going up and down to deal with a curl or such.

that saves a LOT of time and as we all know, time = money.

Quote:
Stranded isnt less work either some times if the guy on either end of the fish tape is not a seasoned wire puller he can also create scuns in stranded wire.
so now you are going to use the same argument against stranded wire that you did against the installers of solid wire having problems. Obviously, if you are working with inexperinced hands, everything is a challenge but try comparing apples to apples, not apples to watermelon.
Quote:

Most guys cant pull solid cause they only use their forearm strength and not their body strength to get the job done.
again, excuses. I use every part of my body. Sometimes I actually use the weight of my body. You ca nargue and claim all you want but it takes more power to pull solid wire. That means there is more tension on the wire. Than means there is more pressure on a turn in a pipe wich means there is more chance of scrubbing the insulation or God forbid it is PVC, grinding out a corner.

Quote:
wire bending is key most electricians dont know how to bend the wire properly to install ina box. There is a method
true, but even in the best of folding and such, it takes up more room and it takes more time to stuff it. time=money.
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Old 06-14-2008, 11:19 AM   #9
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I buy stranded wire almost exclusively. I believe it is easier to pull if one man is working alone, which is quite often the case for us. There are trade offs of course. Costs more, harder to control, and solid wire looks waaaay better made up in a panel, but still.
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Old 06-14-2008, 12:25 PM   #10
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I only use stranded conductors. I even use stranded MC. I don't use devices with binding screw terminals, only pressure plates. I have used solid #12 in conduit and found it more time-consuming to install and easier to damage the insulation. MC with solid conductors lacks the flexibility and cooperation of stranded. In the time studies I did years ago on the job, the additional cost of stranded vs solid was easily recouped in labor savings.
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Old 06-14-2008, 01:13 PM   #11
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Sure stranded is easier to work with, but come on, Solid is not that tough to pull or make up in a box. I never used solid until I moved from detroit to socal but it did not take long to get used to.
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Old 06-14-2008, 01:51 PM   #12
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I can go either way. If the equipment installation instructions say to use stranded conductors, or if flexibility is a factor then, so be it.
I recall something in the UL White book that required stranded copper for equipment listed for Marine Use, but that’s just going from memory.

Quote:
Originally Posted by calimurray View Post
There's $12- $14 savings between solid and stranded per 500'.
Solid it is. …. Tell the guys if they want to chip in the extra $12 to $14 per spool, they can have stranded.


[quote=nap;
I believe box fill is challenged becuase solid is obviously not as compliant as stranded so even staying legal, it tends to cause people to limit the wire in a box greater which results in more runs, bigger boxes, etc.= more money.
[/quote]

Not sure I understand this.
Although Table 8 in Chapter 9 states that #12 solid and #12 stranded have the same Circular Mill Area, it seems to indicate that the overall diameter of #12 solid is 0.081 inches and #12 stranded is 0.092 inches. Wouldn’t that actually make it just a tad larger than the #12 solid overall?
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Old 06-14-2008, 02:01 PM   #13
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What ever it takes.

You use solid to install controls in a switch gear and I'll slam the crap out of you.

Use stranded for branch circuit wiring for outlets and I'll question you on it.
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Old 06-14-2008, 02:14 PM   #14
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Just y'all remember.... most folks here don't have much say on what they install. They install what the person who signs their paycheck says to install.
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Old 06-14-2008, 04:04 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 480sparky View Post
Just y'all remember.... most folks here don't have much say on what they install. They install what the person who signs their paycheck says to install.
I have total say over what I install. (I know, you said "most folks")

Quote:
Not sure I understand this.
Although Table 8 in Chapter 9 states that #12 solid and #12 stranded have the same Circular Mill Area, it seems to indicate that the overall diameter of #12 solid is 0.081 inches and #12 stranded is 0.092 inches. Wouldn’t that actually make it just a tad larger than the #12 solid overall?
the fill count is the same. Not the point. Solid is less conforming so it actually takes up more room.

Quote:
I only use stranded conductors. I even use stranded MC
.Amen. the last time I priced the differences, it was only about $2 more for the stranded. I also do not use aluminum MC unless that is all I cab get. Steel is the metal of choice but I am guessing that is another discussion.
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Old 06-14-2008, 04:46 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 480sparky View Post
OK, I'll bite.

What's a scun?
I'll second that bite, don't know. Google had 101,000 hits on scun, and the first few pages of hits did not match our trade.

Work'in For That Free Tee . . .
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Old 06-14-2008, 05:04 PM   #17
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the last time I priced the differences, it was only about $2 more for the stranded.

Well then that must have been a few years ago. And to say stranded is more conforming than solid is true and .00000002 is bigger than .00000001
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Old 06-14-2008, 05:13 PM   #18
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Good enough I got the census I was looking for! iits about 50/50 all over the board.

The real issue is how much time is wasted when your guys are whining about the solid wire?

On the job the last thing I want to hear is one my guys complaining about the material we chose to use.
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Old 06-14-2008, 06:03 PM   #19
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No matter who has what say, I have little or no respect for electricians that use solid wire for switchgear controls ESPICALLY from the gear to a hinged door.
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Old 06-14-2008, 06:14 PM   #20
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Any small (10-12 awg) wire spools I get from the shop are always stranded. I know it's easier to pull and for flexibility it's just better.

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