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Old 07-13-2009, 12:38 AM   #1
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Too many wires in an octogon light box!


I added two light feeds to an existing octagon box and it's at a point where there are way too many wires to connect all together with a wire nut. It just does not seem safe as it's not as tight as I'd want it to be, and I'm afraid that the wires settle out inside and cause a partial contact which could lead to small sparks and potential burns. A fire hazard waiting to happen.

What is the best way to deal with this? Basically I got like 5 wires per wire nut (neutral and hot). I decided to separate them into two nuts then join them with another wire but then there's still too much to push inside the octagon box, and I don't know if joins like this are to code. Seems kinda hackish.

Should I just get a deeper box and bigger nuts? (squirrels like bigger nuts) Or is there a better way to deal with this?

There's also a mystery wire in there where it just passes threw, and the white is just cut and left there, so I also need to trace that one out and see wtf they did there. The fun stuff you can find in a previously owned house amazes me.

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Old 07-13-2009, 02:32 AM   #2
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Too many wires in an octogon light box!


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I decided to separate them into two nuts then join them
That just makes it worse.

Tip: If the cables all come into the same side of the box, the make up will be cleaner.

Use a bigger box.

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Old 07-13-2009, 06:58 AM   #3
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Too many wires in an octogon light box!


Octagon extension box will give you the space you need Lowes or H-D will have them or supply
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Old 07-13-2009, 08:28 AM   #4
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Too many wires in an octogon light box!


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Octagon extension box will give you the space you need Lowes or H-D will have them or supply
Oh that's what these are for. Seen them at home Depot and Canadian Tire. I'll give that a try. And what is the best way to twist so many wires together? I kind of figured adding two nuts was not the right way of doing it.
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Old 07-13-2009, 08:38 AM   #5
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Too many wires in an octogon light box!


How many wires under each wire nut?
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Old 07-13-2009, 08:55 AM   #6
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Too many wires in an octogon light box!


yellows - 2 number 12s 3 number 14s
tans - up to 3 number 12 wires, 4 number 14s
reds - up to 5 number 12s, 3 number 10s
grey - 4 number 10s, 3 number 10s 2 number 8s
blues ( big ones ) - , 3 number 8s 2 number 6 (If red does not work try grey)
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Old 07-13-2009, 10:00 AM   #7
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Too many wires in an octogon light box!


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Originally Posted by 300zx View Post
yellows - 2 number 12s 3 number 14s
tans - up to 3 number 12 wires, 4 number 14s
reds - up to 5 number 12s, 3 number 10s
grey - 4 number 10s, 3 number 10s 2 number 8s
blues ( big ones ) - , 3 number 8s 2 number 6 (If red does not work try grey)
Thanks for the info. There is about 4-5 wires per nut. I'll see if bigger nuts will work out better, may even have some lying around if not I'll have to go buy some. The wires also seemed thicker then normal, they may be #12's.
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Old 07-13-2009, 10:02 AM   #8
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Too many wires in an octogon light box!


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yellows - 2 number 12s 3 number 14s
You can't go by color alone. Some yellow Ideals I have, without the wings, take 3 #12s or 4 #14s. Check the box to be sure.
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Old 07-13-2009, 01:18 PM   #9
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Too many wires in an octogon light box!


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You can't go by color alone. Some yellow Ideals I have, without the wings, take 3 #12s or 4 #14s. Check the box to be sure.
I think the yellow ones I have are rated the same as what ZPM stated. I know 4 #14 fit in the yellow wire nuts just fine, though ocasionally I'll opt for the red wire nut.

I have never had any issues using a jumper wire between wire nuts. If I have a lot of wires in the box (and of course the space to work with) I'll use a jumper between two wire nuts to make the connections. So long as the wire between the two wire nuts is of at least the same size as the supply or the rated ampacity of the breaker there should be no problems.
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Old 07-13-2009, 03:16 PM   #10
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Too many wires in an octogon light box!


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I think the yellow ones I have are rated the same as what ZPM stated. I know 4 #14 fit in the yellow wire nuts just fine, though ocasionally I'll opt for the red wire nut.

I have never had any issues using a jumper wire between wire nuts. If I have a lot of wires in the box (and of course the space to work with) I'll use a jumper between two wire nuts to make the connections. So long as the wire between the two wire nuts is of at least the same size as the supply or the rated ampacity of the breaker there should be no problems.
And that it's not a ground wire. I started doing that and i'm like "wtf am i doing" and changed that quick and used a #14 piece. I went out and bought two of those extender boxes (one in case i need it in the future) so i'll go fix up that circuit today. I'll restrip all the wires as the ends are probably weak from all the twisting around.
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Old 07-14-2009, 09:40 PM   #11
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Too many wires in an octogon light box!


I managed to get it to work with lot of trial and error. The ends kept breaking off and I had to keep restarting.

Here's something really weird:

This box has the feed for the light + 2 light sources that I added, so that makes 3 wires (3 white 3 black) no problem. Now here's where it gets weird. There's two other wires that come to this box, one that appears to be another feed that bypasses the light switch, so it's on the same circuit but always on. The white and black together give about 90 volts. If I take the voltage of the black and one of the other whites, then I get my normal 120. If I put a light bulb between the black and white that gives 90 volts, it does not light up. It's like phantom voltage or something. I found that this feeds the other wire coming out of the box, which goes to the kitchen fridge plug. I'm guessing this circuit was added later on as the fridge might of been tripping the breaker and the crawlspace is only a few lights so they branched it there.

I was unable to trace this wire otherwise I would of checked what's up with the white, but it goes through a vent (intake).

So the fridge plug is basically fed through this extra wire and the existing whites from the lights. Is it a bad idea to mix whites like that or does it not really matter as they all end up together anyway? The feed white is just capped (was cut originally, but I capped it just to be safe).
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Old 07-14-2009, 10:03 PM   #12
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Too many wires in an octogon light box!


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Originally Posted by 220/221 View Post
That just makes it worse.

Tip: If the cables all come into the same side of the box, the make up will be cleaner.

Use a bigger box.
Or an Extension "collar" as it used to be called! But according to the NEC, the max. amount of wires (wirefill) in an Octagonal box is FIVE. (Ideally).Don't Drink and Drive!!!
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Old 07-14-2009, 10:09 PM   #13
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Too many wires in an octogon light box!


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Originally Posted by Red Squirrel View Post
Oh that's what these are for. Seen them at home Depot and Canadian Tire. I'll give that a try. And what is the best way to twist so many wires together? I kind of figured adding two nuts was not the right way of doing it.
What'd ya think. (As I did many centuries ago) That they're damaged boxes?!Don't Drink and Drive!!!
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Old 07-14-2009, 10:15 PM   #14
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Too many wires in an octogon light box!


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What'd ya think. (As I did many centuries ago) That they're damaged boxes?!Don't Drink and Drive!!!
Had no idea, figured they had a smart purpose but could not put my finger on it. Installed nicely and works well. Bought two in case I need one somewhere else.
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Old 07-19-2009, 02:04 AM   #15
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Too many wires in an octogon light box!


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Had no idea, figured they had a smart purpose but could not put my finger on it. Installed nicely and works well. Bought two in case I need one somewhere else.
Honestly. I DID think they were damaged Octagonal boxes, the first time I encountered them (before there was a Home Depot or Loews.) Congrats on your success. Even though Electrical work is my specialty, I am also a DIY'er. I have the utmost respect for people who will tackle any problem or project, rather than raise their hands in despair. On the other hand, there are times when things are best left to professionals. The trick is to know when. Some problems involving the control of Electricity or Gas can be dangerous to someone without sufficient knowledge about their Basic principle of operation. But consulting a forum such as DIY Chat is always a good idea. With the vast amount of knowledge and work experience by its subscribers, one can get an education equal to (or better) the best formal Education in any field.Don't Drink and Drive!!!

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