M. Stevens ground screw?

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chris kennedy

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Location
Miami Fla.
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60 yr old tool twisting electrician
The M. Stevens bell boxes are what my supply houses stock. Do you use these and have you noticed that if you try to land a #12 solid EGC in these the box strips before the desired torque is reached?

I have been using a 12 stranded pigtail with a sta-con for a while in these now. They have a self tapping type ground screw thats a little short on thread.
 

Dennis Alwon

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Location
Chapel Hill, NC
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Electrical Contractor
chris kennedy said:
The M. Stevens bell boxes are what my supply houses stock. Do you use these and have you noticed that if you try to land a #12 solid EGC in these the box strips before the desired torque is reached?

I have been using a 12 stranded pigtail with a sta-con for a while in these now. They have a self tapping type ground screw thats a little short on thread.
I have never heard of that brand but the ones we use often have that problem. I also noticed on many strip light fluorescents the green screw will not hold a #12 and sometimes the #14 is a problem. Cheap crap out there.
 

chris kennedy

Senior Member
Location
Miami Fla.
Occupation
60 yr old tool twisting electrician
Dennis Alwon said:
I also noticed on many strip light fluorescents the green screw will not hold a #12 and sometimes the #14 is a problem.
I love to open those things and see the GND screw almost sideways. We tap our own in the same raised hole. Most come with a #8 green screw and we tap them to 10-32. How many threads do we catch???
 

mdshunk

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chris kennedy said:
How many threads do we catch???
That probably depends on whether you use a bottoming tap or a regular taper tap. I'm glad these things only come with 8-32's (or whatever metric is close to that), since the only reasonable repair is to tap them out to 10-32. Some brands have an extra untapped boss you can use for a 2nd try. I have a small quanity of short 12-24's for special occasions. They're not green, however, so that might confuse the fault current electrons.
 

Dennis Alwon

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Staff member
Location
Chapel Hill, NC
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Electrical Contractor
chris kennedy said:
I love to open those things and see the GND screw almost sideways. We tap our own in the same raised hole. Most come with a #8 green screw and we tap them to 10-32. How many threads do we catch???
Here is a great tool for tapping. Even if it went thru the box it probably wouldn't be an issue with a little silicone.

 

chris kennedy

Senior Member
Location
Miami Fla.
Occupation
60 yr old tool twisting electrician
mdshunk said:
They're not green, however, so that might confuse the fault current electrons.
At 60 cps I don't think they have time to look at the color of the screw.
 

mdshunk

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Dennis Alwon said:
Here is a great tool for tapping. Even if it went thru the box it probably wouldn't be an issue with a little silicone.
They're great for tapping sheet metal! If you tap something thick with those, you stand a 90% chance of snapping it off. I've tried many times, because I have a hard head. If the tap threads start to grab material before the drill point has fully drilled through the material, the tap threads will be pulling that sucker through faster than the drill point can drill. Next thing you know, you've got a broken expensive DTAP. Those things are 5 or 6 bucks each, you know.
 

Dennis Alwon

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Chapel Hill, NC
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Electrical Contractor
mdshunk said:
Those things are 5 or 6 bucks each, you know.
I know they are expensive but I was thinking of tapping a hole separate from the raised hole. There appears to be plenty of thickness for the threads.
 

mdshunk

Senior Member
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Right here.
frizbeedog said:
You got that right! Hate 'em.

Solutions?
Just buy good Bell boxes and be careful. For what it's worth, I have far fewer problems with the P&S branded pot metal Bell boxes than any other brand locally available. I got some Magnecraft (? maybe Magnetech) branded boxes once upon a time that were total junk in that regard. Ne'er a one could you get the ground screw to hold.
 

Dennis Alwon

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Staff member
Location
Chapel Hill, NC
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
This is why I prefer a plastic box. No issues with the ground although they often do have a ground screw connected to the metal threads. Seems odd that this is necessary with a grounded device.
 

frizbeedog

Senior Member
Location
Oregon
mdshunk said:
Just buy good Bell boxes and be careful. For what it's worth, I have far fewer problems with the P&S branded pot metal Bell boxes than any other brand locally available. I got some Magnecraft (? maybe Magnetech) branded boxes once upon a time that were total junk in that regard. Ne'er a one could you get the ground screw to hold.
Thanks for the tip. :smile:
 

e57

Senior Member
mdshunk said:
They're great for tapping sheet metal! If you tap something thick with those, you stand a 90% chance of snapping it off. I've tried many times, because I have a hard head. If the tap threads start to grab material before the drill point has fully drilled through the material, the tap threads will be pulling that sucker through faster than the drill point can drill. Next thing you know, you've got a broken expensive DTAP. Those things are 5 or 6 bucks each, you know.
I've got many that have lasted a few years (2.5) and many that have lasted a half hour - in transit to the job. I like 'em though. As for the OP - take one of these and go through the bottom of the box from the outside or anywhere through the back.
 

mdshunk

Senior Member
Location
Right here.
frizbeedog said:
Just curious. I make my own holes for the size I need.
That would be okay for truck stock, but if you're doing a job where you've had a bit to think about the run(s), buying the right one's can save a ton of time. If I'm doing an all PVC job sight-unseen, I'll still show up with some FSC, FSS and FSE type boxes in 1/2 and 3/4. That will cover 90% of most small things I run into. Naturally, I still take some "no hole" boxes along for the weird things.
 
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