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Can't seem to get 12 gauge wire into LOR


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So I am just wiring up my two LOR 16 channel boards (the hobbyist 40A boards) and for the life of me cannot seem to get the 12 gauge stranded wires into the holes. It seems as if the 12 gauge wire is too big, but you need 12 gauge wire to get 20A per side.

Any suggestions? The WIKI only says 'use 12 gauge wire'. Am I the only one that has ever had trouble getting 12 gauge into the LOR?

Thanks!

-Louie in Melbourne FL

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In addition, one of the two controllers is going in the attic where a bunch of the power cords come into the house. I have 12 gauge romex run up there, can I just run the Romex into the LOR? I would think it would be hard for that small clamping screw to hold down the solid core Romex, but with all the problems I'm having with the larger size of the 12 gauge stranded, it may be worth it.

-Louie in Melbourne FL

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Ok just read this link:

http://planetchristmas.mywowbb.com/view_topic.php?id=9583&forum_id=25&highlight=12+gauge

..... I was going to tin my stripped ends on the 12 gauge stranded tomorrow at work. For the life of me I can't get the 12 gauge into the socket screw down terminals without a strand or two poking out, even twisted (actually twisting makes it fatter and more difficult to get it in).

Am I missing something? What a pain in the rear....

-Louie in Melbourne FL

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I complained about the SAME thing in my post. 12 GA stranded is a pain in the butt to land the wires in the designed terminal strips. 12 GA solid wires work ok, but I don't run ROMEX wire to my controllers, I run 12 GA stranded. I think that this should be a suggestion to Light-O-Rama to design the incoming power terminals to be able to handle 12 GA stranded wire without much hassle. My 2 cents.

Althought I don't have any complaints about the hardware itself, excellent stuff for my first year. Very happy with the choice so far.

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Make sure that you have loosened the screw all the way on the connector. We have gotten 12 awg into the connectors but it is pretty tight. You may have a wire that is a little "fatter" than normal. It will not hurt anyting if you have to remove a couple of strands of wire to get it in.

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Tim,

Your right, don't get too crazy...........

Removing "hairs" is like choking your wires ablity to conduct the rated amperage. Wires size are those sizes for a reason to conduct the current you induce on them.

If you remove too many strands, all of a sudden your 12 ga wire just became a 14 ga wire and could create massive amounts of heat build up at the terminal strip screws. So be very careful, if not REFRAIN totally from removing any strands.


I was able to get 12 GA stranded into the terminals without removing strands, but it was a trick that involved standing on my head and licking my fingers to twist the strands pretty tight. I almost heated up my solder pot to take them for a dunk...

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chakorules wrote:

Tim,

Your right, don't get too crazy...........

Removing "hairs" is like choking your wires ablity to conduct the rated amperage. Wires size are those sizes for a reason to conduct the current you induce on them.

If you remove too many strands, all of a sudden your 12 ga wire just became a 14 ga wire and could create massive amounts of heat build up at the terminal strip screws. So be very careful, if not REFRAIN totally from removing any strands.


Right-- but you're only removing it for a VERY small distance. And you don't want to move nearly enough to make it down to 14AWG...

As an aside, the wiring to my new dishwasher (rated 20A) is required by code to be 12-gauge. The little wires inside the dishwasher which I wirenutted these to, appear to be 14, maybe even 16 gauge. Why is that? Well, it's probably a higher rated insulation, but also a lot of the reason they require 12gauge for the house run is that it's going something like 50' vs. maybe 2' inside the dishwasher. Length matters...

But it's good advice not to go too crazy... :)

-Tim
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tfischer wrote:

As an aside, the wiring to my new dishwasher (rated 20A) is required by code to be 12-gauge. The little wires inside the dishwasher which I wirenutted these to, appear to be 14, maybe even 16 gauge. Why is that?

Gosh darn it, that's one of my PET-PEEVES too...I hate that too...some people's kids.......
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Thanks for the posts everybody. Part of the problem is trying to insert the 12 gauge stranded while the LOR is in it's enclosure that I have it in. I tried inserting it into my other LOR that is not in the enclosure yet and after doing some serious wiggling, was able to get it in.

I am going to tin the wires just enough to get them all stuck together, maybe I will snip off a few before doing the tinning. I think once they are all better bundled together, it will fit in better.....

I did have the screw all the way open, too, maybe my wire is just a hair thicker for 12 gauge or something.... I really didn't want to use the Romex because I just can't see the screw terminals holding onto that Romex..... it is HARD stuff.

-Louie in Melbourne FL

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Just wanted to post a follow-up after tonight's activities.

Basically, if you buy an extension cord grade rubber insulated cable, 12 gauge, three wire (that kind of wire is labelled 12/3 when it is black, white, and green because they are all jacketed wires), it won't work (again, I'm talking about the stuff they sell at the BORG by the foot). Think thick black rubber protection on the outside of the cable. Anyway, that cable is stranded and it is too thick to fit in the screw terminals. Period. I had to snip away around 8 strands of wire, which doesn't make me comfortable.

So, the solution? I don't like it that much, but it's better than loose wires. If you go and buy loose stranded 12 gauge wire ($0.32/foot at the BORG), that stuff fits in the screw terminals, barely. The problem is that, I wanted a rubber jacketed extension cord type thing going from the wall to the LOR, not loose stranded wire wrapped in electrical tape, etc. So I simply ran that rubber jacketed extension cord into the weather-proof enclosure that I have and the wire-nutted the loose stranded wire to the extension cord (black and white) inside the weather-proof enclosure..... and insert the loose stranded wire end into the screw terminal.

Problem solved, but it is getting crowded in the box.

So I was at Home Depot and was going through their extension cord selection thinking that maybe I would just buy a 12 gauge extension cord or four and cut the female plugs off..... well their damn 12 gauge extension cords says "good to 15A". I don't know, but where I come from, 12 gauge anything = 20A.

-Louie in Melbourne FL

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Just wanted to tell you what I have done to fit 12 gauge wire into the LOR controllers.

Basically as you stated before, I have given the wire end a bit of a twist and then tin all of the wires before trying to insert them. I have had almost no problems getting the wires into the controller.

The one problem I have had is that one of the screw down terminal screws has stripped out and I can't secure the wire. One out of 160 isn't to bad though.

Is there a fix for stripped out terminal screws?



Darrell

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Is there a fix?



I could think of a few but being that the screw terminal strips are assembled in slip together blocks, I don't think it would be too much of a chore to replace the bad section. I'm sure you could probably get LOR to throw one in the mail.

~Todd
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I found it better NOT to twist the wire after stripping. Just make sure you don't let one of the little strands get out of whack or you have to cut and strip again.

Yes, and be sure the screw is all the way out. It will fit.

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I just assembled 3 controllers with 2 cords each, using 12/3 SOW cable, and had no problems at all getting the wires in the screw terminals. Try to keep the strands as straight as possible and don't twist or tin it, and it'll go right in.

If you prefer not to try to put the 12 guage in there, 14 would be fine for the input cords. 14 guage rubber-jacketed cable can carry 20 amps as long as it's not more than a few feet.

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Is the 12/3 SOW the rubber jacketed stuff? The cable I have described as not working is the stuff I bought to make a 220V extension cord for my heavy duty table saw (with TwistLok plugs on the ends). If so, no matter what I did, which includes:


  1. twist ends
  2. leave ends straight
  3. tin ends with small amount of solder


would work. I literally tried for around 4 hours. The 12 gauge loose stranded wire I bought fit right in, but it is noticably smaller diameter, which blows my mind. I know that the rubber jacketed stuff is 12 gauge because it still says it on the outside of the rubber casing. Maybe I got a bad batch of 12/3 rubber jacketed stuff, but if someone could get this into a screw terminal, I would have to give them a $20 sweepstakes because it is impossible....

Either way I should be off and running. One controller in the attic today and one in the garage and hopefully I get to start the sequences tonight or tomorrow night! I'm only a little behind I guess.

Louie

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You just have to work at it to get it to work. I ended up using a really good wire stripper and that helped in insuring that the cut was uniform and I was able to wriggle them in to the slots.

(Believe me, I am NOT an electrician by any means)

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nutz4lights wrote:

Is the 12/3 SOW the rubber jacketed stuff?

Yes SOW is the jacket rating. Here is the UL listing for jacket ratings:

Nomenclature Key
S = Service Grade (also means extra hard service when not followed by J, V, or P)
J = Hard Service
V = Vacuum cleaner cord (also light duty cable)
P = Parallel cord (also known as zip cord) – Always light duty
E = Thermoplastic Elastomer (UL/NEC designation ONLY)
O = Oil Resistant*
T = Thermoplastic
W = Outdoor-includes sunlight resistant jacket and wet location rated conductors (formerly "W-A")
H = Heater cable
VW-1 = Flame retartdant
FT2 = Flame retartdant

Your cable:

S - Service Grade
O - Oil Resistant
W - Outdoor
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I was able to get 12 gauge stranded from a hacked up extension cord into my controllers. At first I was having a real problem. The solution for me was to strip only half of what I normally put into the screw terminals. When I say half, I'm not saying half the wires, just half the length. Doing it this way, the jacket helps to keep the wire together. It doesn't take much to "bite" the wire when inserting it.

If immediately after stripping the wire it doesn't go in. Any strays... don't try and fix it. Cut it, strip again and try with fresh cable. Worked on 6 cords this year...

J.

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Ok I tried again with my 12/3 SOW (thanks for the grade definitions!) and still won't go in, even with the controller out of the box and looking right at the screw terminal. My 12/3 must be out of spec.....

I am fine now though because the loose stranded wires I bought from the BORG are doing the trick, just have to wire nut them with the input power wires, which is within code because that is what you typically do in a junction or switch box....

-Louie in Melbourne FL

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