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Stretching Wires 18 Inches?

 
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Old 11-22-2006, 09:34 AM   #1
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Stretching Wires 18 Inches?


Here is the next hurdle. Took out the dropped ceiling in the kitchen, got all the plumbing tucked up into the joists now the electrical needs to be dealt with.

The pictures show you the before and the after, as you can see they used the soffit as a chase for about every wire in the house. To the right of the window on the outside of the house is the service panel, I had that upgraded a couple of years ago, to a 200 amp main and a 100 amp sub-panel. All those wires are going to the panel on the opposite side of the wall.

Problem is now in order to raise the ceiling all of the wires shown are at least 12"-18" too short to make the 'tuck' above the new ceiling.

The plan is to fur down the existing joists by 3 1/2" and use that new soffit to tack all the wiring to the bottom of the existing joists. I knew there were some wires to deal with, like 5 or 6, I didn't know there was going to be 30 plus!

I've got my electrician scheduled for Monday, all he knows is he is coming over for a kitchen remodel, haven't dropped this bomb on him yet. Any bright ideas on what to do here to get the extra stretch I need?

The only thing that even comes to my mind, is there a possibility there is enough extra wire in the service panel? Could I have him reattach all those wires to the panel and gain the extra length there?

Looking for any solution to have before he gets here.

Be so easy to snip em all and add in 2 feet, but no code legal way to do that without having junction boxes all over the ceiling right?

Last edited by Mike Finley; 04-25-2007 at 02:36 PM.
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Old 11-22-2006, 10:06 AM   #2
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Re: Stretching Wires 18 Inches?


Put in one bigass junction box just inside the wall closest to the main box?

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Old 11-22-2006, 11:53 AM   #3
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Re: Stretching Wires 18 Inches?


That is an ugly run of wires. I'm not sure that you have much of an option other than leave it the way it was. Or a couple of big j-boxes somewhere.
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Old 11-22-2006, 12:16 PM   #4
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Re: Stretching Wires 18 Inches?


A big junction box behind a built in refrigerator would be considered accessable wouldn't it?

Didn't I read here one time about some sort of connectors that were code to leave behind walls outside of junction boxes?

Here is the corner with the walls removed where all the wires run to the service panel.

Last edited by Mike Finley; 04-25-2007 at 02:36 PM.
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Old 11-22-2006, 01:43 PM   #5
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Re: Stretching Wires 18 Inches?


You could put that large "J" box in the ceiling.
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Old 11-22-2006, 02:21 PM   #6
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Re: Stretching Wires 18 Inches?


Another vote for a large j-box. Yes it can reside behind the fridge. Do not know what you mean by;

"Didn't I read here one time about some sort of connectors that were code to leave behind walls outside of junction boxes?"

Oh, and hello from Highlands Ranch.
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Old 11-22-2006, 02:29 PM   #7
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Re: Stretching Wires 18 Inches?


I just saw an advertisement in Electrical Contractor magazine for romex connectors that don't need a j-box. They are made by MOLEX.

http://www.smarthome.com/7104.html



I'm gonna order a couple of these just to see what they're about.

Last edited by Plan 9; 11-22-2006 at 02:44 PM. Reason: Removed long story about an episode of Giligan's Island I saw where Lovey Howell and the Skipper became romantically...
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Old 11-22-2006, 02:41 PM   #8
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Re: Stretching Wires 18 Inches?


It is questionable in my area whether these Molex connector/taps can be burried. No one has been able to give us a straight answer.
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Old 11-22-2006, 03:26 PM   #9
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Re: Stretching Wires 18 Inches?


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Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
No one has been able to give us a straight answer.

Then I would go ahead and use them...someone will come up with an answer.
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Old 11-22-2006, 04:11 PM   #10
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Re: Stretching Wires 18 Inches?


Those connectors have been used for a decade or so in modular homes. They do burn up, as they only pierce the cable. Don't use them unless someone's holding a gun to your head... that's my advice based on my experience with this style of connector.

To extend those wires... here's a couple of ideas. I think I have it clear that these cables go to a panel mounted on the exterior of the home.
  • Remove the cables from the panel and run them into a weatherproof junction box higher on the wall, and splice in that junction box and run new pieces down to the panel.
  • Remove the cables from the panel and splice them in a junction box mounted behind a removable panel in the exterior soffit.
  • If the kitchen lighting layout will feature recessed lights, splice longer tails onto the short cables in junction boxes that can be accessed through the recessed lighting holes. (all recessed cans can be removed from their plaster frames after the ceiling is finished, giving access to the joist bay) The code requires that all junction boxes be accessible, but the definition of accessible does not include the word "easy".
Just a few ideas off the top of my head without looking at the job in more detail myself. It is possible, even probably, that a few of these short runs could be re-run more economically than splicing them. Particularly if they go to something nearby.
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Old 11-22-2006, 04:14 PM   #11
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Re: Stretching Wires 18 Inches?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Finley View Post
A big junction box behind a built in refrigerator would be considered accessable wouldn't it?
It absolutely would be, if your client can live with that solution. In fact, that's a fantastic idea. Here's the NEC definition of accessable:

ARTICLE 100
Definitions
I. General

Accessible (as applied to wiring methods).

Capable of being removed or exposed without damaging the building
structure or finish or not permanently closed in by the structure
or finish of the building.

Last edited by mdshunk; 11-22-2006 at 04:15 PM. Reason: type-o
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Old 11-22-2006, 04:51 PM   #12
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Re: Stretching Wires 18 Inches?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Plan 9 View Post
I just saw an advertisement in Electrical Contractor magazine for romex connectors that don't need a j-box. They are made by MOLEX.

http://www.smarthome.com/7104.html



I'm gonna order a couple of these just to see what they're about.
Those things look like trouble.
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Old 11-22-2006, 05:45 PM   #13
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Re: Stretching Wires 18 Inches?


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Originally Posted by mdshunk View Post
Those connectors have been used for a decade or so in modular homes.
True. And anytime I see them I cut them out and box the splice.
They are legal. They do sell. I still cannot bring myself to use them.
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Old 11-22-2006, 07:17 PM   #14
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Re: Stretching Wires 18 Inches?


Looks like a lot of the stuff that the 'big boys' use.

OK, I also do some commercial stuff, it helps make ends meet (sometimes). Plug and play is getting more common.
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Old 11-22-2006, 07:23 PM   #15
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Re: Stretching Wires 18 Inches?


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Looks like a lot of the stuff that the 'big boys' use.

OK, I also do some commercial stuff, it helps make ends meet (sometimes). Plug and play is getting more common.
Yeah, you're talking about a 'Reloc' system. That is worlds away from this garbage that's approved for romex. Reloc is absolutely fine. These trailer home connectors are trash. (no pun intended) There is a very defined difference in quality. The problem with these trailer home connectors is not where they plug into each other. The problem is with how they connect to the romex. It is a piercing type connection with a prong or prongs of sorts that poke the conductor. I have seen many, many of these fail at that juncture. Where the connectors mate with each other seems to be solid.
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Old 11-22-2006, 07:28 PM   #16
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Re: Stretching Wires 18 Inches?


I'm with you. Like the stab type replacement lampcord plugs? Scotchlock connectors (DC)?
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Old 11-22-2006, 07:33 PM   #17
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Re: Stretching Wires 18 Inches?


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Originally Posted by Teetorbilt View Post
Like the stab type replacement lampcord plugs? Scotchlock connectors (DC)?
Yes, thank you for that comparison. Lots of people are famaliar with how replacement lamp cord plugs install on lamp cord, and how those (normally blue) scotch connectors connect onto wiring (often for a teenage car stereo install). That's how these white trailer home connectors join to the romex. They are UL approved for use to connect one romex to another (or, in the case of the previous picture here, to tap a romex), but they are bad news in my observation. They are the next "aluminium home wiring" catastrophe in our industry if they catch on, I feel sure. I worked for the company that makes the most popular version of this connector (Tyco Electronics/AMP) for a long time, but I feel no special residual loyalties that would ever cause me to falsely recommend this connector type.
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Old 11-22-2006, 07:45 PM   #18
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Re: Stretching Wires 18 Inches?


md, I could post a number of reasons for all of the above being bad. I'm really against the Scotchloks as they have/cause the greatest failures in my area. BTW, they aren't all blue. The red ones cause more problems and the yellow ones less. Here they seem to be mostly used in the marine enviorment and slice the insulation and part of the stranded wire. Corrosion and resistance provide the rest of the damage.
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Old 11-22-2006, 07:50 PM   #19
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Re: Stretching Wires 18 Inches?


Quote:
Originally Posted by mdshunk View Post
[*]If the kitchen lighting layout will feature recessed lights, splice longer tails onto the short cables in junction boxes that can be accessed through the recessed lighting holes. (all recessed cans can be removed from their plaster frames after the ceiling is finished, giving access to the joist bay) The code requires that all junction boxes be accessible, but the definition of accessible does not include the word "easy".[/LIST]
Are you saying remodel cans or new work cans? New work cans aren't removable are they? That is one slick idea!

What about putting some splices inside the boxes that come attached to the cans themselves? Probably not enough room to do that huh, run into the volume issues?

I've been mulling, scheming and trying to figure ways to get this done all day. Molex is out, talked to the building dept, they knew what they were and said not acceptable, won't pass.

I think I can get these to all work under code with a combination of rewiring some, some are just legs off of outlets in rooms on the opposite side of the wall, and with the walls open in the kitchen now can be easily rewired, some I think I can take care of with a junction box behind the refrigerator, building said no problem as long as the refrig could be moved. A few are going to maybe need MDs trick of the box outside by the panel. 1 I think is going to have to be dealt with by tearing up the sub-floor and running it under the floor and if MD's trick with the cans is acceptable that will take care of the rest.

I think it's going to come down to just 1 or 2 real problem ones.

Keep the ideas coming, I need all the help I can get. Gonna have to lay off the turkey, it's going to be a long few days sorting this out one at a time, don't need that chemical in the turkey putting me to sleep.

Oh, I'm the client on this one, or should I say the wife is.

She's a lot of help, she has no concept on what a mess this is, she just says, you'll figure it out. Nice to have the confidence, but it would be easier if she held a master electrician license!
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Old 11-22-2006, 08:02 PM   #20
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Re: Stretching Wires 18 Inches?


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Are you saying remodel cans or new work cans? New work cans aren't removable are they? That is one slick idea!
Yes, indeed, new work cans are removable. That's how you access the junction box for the recessed light. There are nuts, wing nuts, or clips inside that you remove to slide the can down out of the frame. The can connects with a short factory whip to the recessed light junction box. I'm not saying that stashing a junction box near all the recessed lights is necessarily your best option, but it is a legal option. The 'accessible' requirement does not mean 'easy'. It only means that you may not damage something getting to the junction box. Accessible also does not mean that the entire population of electricians will be able to work on it (read, fat guy or guy with big hands).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Finley View Post
What about putting some splices inside the boxes that come attached to the cans themselves? Probably not enough room to do that huh, run into the volume issues?
Eh, you'll run out of room in a hurry. Might be able to splice the odd 14-2 in a can here and there. Trouble is, those boxes on the recessed fixture aren't really listed as a junction box, per se. They're really only supposed to be for connecting the fixture. You'd be in uncharted territory there, I believe. You'd best ask your inspector before you try that one. Chance are, he'd never notice anyhow to be truthfull about it. He sure would notice, for instance, if you tried to splice a heavy wire in a recessed light junction box. That would stick out like a sore thumb.

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