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Old 07-06-2011, 11:16 AM   #1
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Confusion over how many conductors in an electrical box


Well I finally came to the point where I couldn't find an answer, without asking the question myself on here.
I am confused about the Canadian Electrical Code, when it comes to the limits, to the amount of conductors that are allowed in a box. I understand it except for part: 12-3034(2)(b) one conductor for every pair of wire connectors with insulating caps (no deduction for one wire
connector, deduct one conductor for 2- or 3-wire connectors, two conductors for 4- or 5-wire
connectors, etc.)

What exactly does this mean if I have a junction box with 3 groups of 3 wires with wire nuts, + 3 insulated grounds connected with a wire nut?

Do the insulated grounds(group) count as 1 or 3?

I am confused about the wording of the rule 12-3034(2)(b). Do I subtract one conductor for the 3 wire nuts, only, or do I subtract a conductors for EACH group of 3, that is connected with a wire nut?

(So not counting the grounds) Is this 9 conductors + 1 for 3 wire nuts, or 9 conductors + 3 for 3 groups of 3?

Thanks all for your help so far
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Old 07-06-2011, 04:26 PM   #2
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Confusion over how many conductors in an electrical box


The US code (NEC) doesn’t have this particular code, and I want to see what our resident Canadian friends here say about this. I’m sure one of them will be around shortly to give a definite answer.
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Old 07-06-2011, 04:31 PM   #3
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Old 07-06-2011, 04:46 PM   #4
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Confusion over how many conductors in an electrical box


Yes I find that rule really confuesing as well. It took me a while to get my head around it.

Basically take the number of marrets and divide it by two. So 10 marrets would be five conductors.

So with 4 marrets you would have two conductors and with 5 marrets you would have 3 marrets. 99% of the time you don't round down when dealing with code rules.

Let me know exactly what you have in the box for wire, marrets, and devices and I will let you know how many conductors you have.
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Old 07-06-2011, 04:46 PM   #5
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Confusion over how many conductors in an electrical box


You only count the nuts. It does not matter how many wires are under each nut.
It means if you have one nut don't count it.
If you have 2 or 3 wire nuts count them as one wire towards the wire count.
If you have 4 or 5 wire nuts count them as two wires towards the wire count.


Your example is 9 conductors + 1 for 3 wire nuts or 10 conductor count.
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Old 07-06-2011, 11:17 PM   #6
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Confusion over how many conductors in an electrical box


Basically I have 1; 1/2" EMT conduit with 2-#12 conductors, 1-#12 neutral, and 1-#12 insulated ground, going into a 4x4x2 box. In that box is one 120V duplex receptacle. There then will be 2; 1/2" EMT exiting that box, going to 2 different 120V duplex receptacles.

So the answer should be:
9 wire ends (9)
3 wire nuts (1)
1 receptacle (2)

9+1+2=12

Don't the grounds count as 1 conductor as well?
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Old 07-07-2011, 06:37 AM   #7
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Confusion over how many conductors in an electrical box


if they are bare grounds you don't count them, but i believe if they are insulated you have to count each one as an insulated conductor.
im not 100% sure on this but that's how i interpret the code when i read it.
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Old 07-07-2011, 07:37 AM   #8
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Confusion over how many conductors in an electrical box


Some of the rules for conductor counts from the Ontario book

The rule(12-3034) specifically mentions insulated conductors.
conductors running through the box with no connection shall be counted as one
add one conductor for for one one more fixture stub or hickey(sorry I don't know what that exactly means)

There is no mention of grounds only insulated conductors. So I would take it that insulated grounds count but bare ones do not.
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Old 07-07-2011, 08:41 PM   #9
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Confusion over how many conductors in an electrical box


Couple examples of fixture stubs & hickeys...

In the states, we add a single volume allowance for one or more studs or hickeys in the box, based on the largest conductor present in the box.

Joe, I'm guessing this is the same as what you mentioned. Like your code makes you count one for the volume a wirenut takes up, studs and hickeys take up space that needs to be counted.
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Old 07-08-2011, 02:58 AM   #10
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Confusion over how many conductors in an electrical box


Well this is just a guess

Maybe you count insulated ground wires as conductors and not bare grounds in boxes, because theoretically in conduit applications you could tape the green ends with another colour tape and use it as a hot wire, and use the conduit as the ground, and still be legal. Thus it must be assumed that it could happen.

Like I said, just my guess. Non the less, I have enough room in my boxes, counting my grounds as conductors.
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Old 07-08-2011, 06:33 AM   #11
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Confusion over how many conductors in an electrical box


Not sure about Canada, but it is not leagle to remark a green wire and make it hot!
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Old 07-08-2011, 07:43 AM   #12
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Confusion over how many conductors in an electrical box


Box file code only mentions insulated conductor. It makes no mention of grounds.
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