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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I brought the EC who originally trained me into a job recently for his manpower etc. He is now using stranded 12 & 14 where he used to hate it. We always used solid 12 & 14 when I worked for him years ago.

I respect him but his reasoning for the switch was unclear to me. (He wasn't even really sure, they just switched over the years)

Here are my perceived pro's with stranded vs: solid (12 & 14 only)

Solid
Stays aligned on spools better (less "knots")
Easier to terminate on devices (no rogue strands to worry about)
Much neater service panel work
Twisting terminations more solid (no pun intended)
Easier to push through greenfield for whips

Stranded
Easier to press larger devices like GFCI's and dimmers into boxes
Smoother pulls on long home runs

I'm curious what your experiences are.

EDIT-I neglected to mention that all work in my areas is required to be in conduit. We can't use romex at all. (Thanks Woodchuck)
 

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12 and smaller, solid unless specs or manufacturer dictates otherwise.

10 and larger, stranded if at all possible.
 
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Head Grunt
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For me it depends on the job and what requirements are agreed upon. Anything in EMT/Conduit is stranded but most other work is solid wire. I do however like to use Ideal Pigtails for most connections as they are 12ga stranded copper with a forked connector so the connections can be pushed into the back of the box and there is less stress on the device.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
For me it depends on the job and what requirements are agreed upon. Anything in EMT/Conduit is stranded but most other work is solid wire. I do however like to use Ideal Pigtails for most connections as they are 12ga stranded copper with a forked connector so the connections can be pushed into the back of the box and there is less stress on the device.
Thanks woodchuck. I guess I should have mentioned that in my area, all work is required to be in EMT. I'm going to edit the OP to reflect that.
 

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Capra Aegagrus
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Stranded is certainly easier to pull.

Electrically, there's some theory I learned decades ago--and don't know if it's been disproven or not--that says electrical current tends to travel mostly on the "skin" of a conductor. If that's truly the case, stranded would provide much more surface area for that flow and therefore be significantly more efficient.
 

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Great Question ! Having worked in Industry for many years-we used mostly all stranded wire & cable. Some advantages are it is much easier to pull in cable trays & conduit. It also seems to have a much tougher covering on it, unlike solid which cuts so easily. Another is a strands can be broken off & the rest are still there to conduct. On solid they break off completely & you lose connection,
On the downside stranded cable is much harder to strip. The conductors don't wrap around screws good, but we always used crimped connectors on them which IMO is even better. Another downside is a strand can be sticking out of where it should not & cause problems down the road- like one sticking out of a wire nut-which I have gotten a few shocks from........ Time for breakfast- hopefully we get more input..................
 

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Stranded is certainly easier to pull.

Electrically, there's some theory I learned decades ago--and don't know if it's been disproven or not--that says electrical current tends to travel mostly on the "skin" of a conductor. If that's truly the case, stranded would provide much more surface area for that flow and therefore be significantly more efficient.
Absolutely true.
 

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Absolutely true.

And this is why, when you drive by and look at an electrical substation, many of the conductors look like pipes.

 

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And this is why, when you drive by and look at an electrical substation, many of the conductors look like pipes.

Good point. I do not think it is necessary to involve physics when discussing wires. The if the UL and NEMA consider a wire as sufficient to carry a load, that's OK with me.

In real numbers, what is the ampacity difference from say, 12 solid and 12 stranded? Pretty small I would guess
 

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Good point. I do not think it is necessary to involve physics when discussing wires. The if the UL and NEMA consider a wire as sufficient to carry a load, that's OK with me. ........
Well then, let's throw Ohm's Law out the window.........
 

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My point is as far as conductors, there is no real difference between solid and stranded. It becomes more of a preference for the behavior of the wire as a working meduim. By that I mean pulling, stripping, connecting, and the longeviety of connections.
 

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on machinery, or places with a lot of mechanical stuff and vibrations we've always used stranded with crimp on connectors.



I used to work with a company wiring premade MCC control towers and stuff for gravel pits and tar sands, that were shipped in sections and reconnected on site. We used mostly all stranded and connectors like that in the buildings.

For the control circuits they were solid wire but they were all going into terminal blocks, relays, fuse holders etc.

95% of all other work I ever did (mostly residential) has been solid.
 

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Interesting replies. Especially about the skinning effect.
Common sense would tell me that the electrons would "skin" to the outermost surface. (Including the assembly of all combined strands, thus making stranded and solid about the same)

Am I wrong?

It looks at this point that I am going to stick with solid 14's & 12's.
 

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Interesting replies. Especially about the skinning effect.
Common sense would tell me that the electrons would "skin" to the outermost surface. (Including the assembly of all combined strands, thus making stranded and solid about the same)

Am I wrong?

It looks at this point that I am going to stick with solid 14's & 12's.

SMILEY AD REMOVED
Why is there an ad in your post? :blink:
 

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Capra Aegagrus
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Common sense would tell me that the electrons would "skin" to the outermost surface. (Including the assembly of all combined strands, thus making stranded and solid about the same)
Well, anal-ytically, that's the outermost surface of a solid conductor. Stranded wire consists of several solid conductors, which at the atomic level are miles apart except at the ends where they're crimped or otherwise compressed together.

So in theory, the [majority of] current travel takes place in parallel, on the surfaces of all the conductors.

But Anti is right; you'd most likely never really notice the difference in efficiency between stranded and solid outside of a lab. So it basically comes down to whatever's most comfortable for you to work with.

For me, that would be stranded any time I have to deal with pulling the stuff through conduit, if there are any elbows at all involved. I'll gladly trade some fussiness at the terminations for less gruntin' & cussin' during the pull. :thumbsup:
 

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?-The dremel ad? or am I missing something else. (I usually am:laughing:)

Your SmileyCentral link. I think you copied the URL of the website itself and not the smiley you wanted.
 

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For 12-14AWG might want to read the devices you you use... most screw terminals are not aproved for stranded and specifically "state solid wire only"
 

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Whoa, i think this solid vs stranded and the skin effect is headed down the wrong path in a hurry. Yes there is a skin effect, some electricity also flows through the core of the wire. 14ga solid and 14ga stranded THHN are rated for exactly the same current capacity. stranded wire is just thinner overall and more flexable. We're not throwing ohm's law anywhere, it's already been figured out :eek:

AWG as it is orginally defined relates to solid wire only. look up "American Wire Gauge on Wikipedia"





 
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