Plug Tail vs. Conventional

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I know this has been discussed before, and I have read through those posts. But the posts are quite old and I would like to bring it up again. We are working on a Hospital remodel and six floor addition. We are strongly considering using plug tail devices or something similar. Our thinking is that with only about 12 months to do this project, we are going to be quite compressed at the completion of this job. We feel that in order to prevent problems with per diem and high labor cost, bringing in out of town workers, we could use these on the rough in stage and use more economical labor at trim out. We are looking at about 6000 devices total and the cost difference equates to about a buck or two a device. And we haven't even beat up the suppliers yet. What I really would like to know is if anyone has any experience with these that could share their opinion and cautions in going this route. It seems like a good move at this point. But you never know until you are through.
 

sameguy

Senior Member
Location
New York
Occupation
Master Elec./JW retired
I have used them, they work fine made in switch form too."There's no screwing with plug tails"
That is the time you will gain in the splice between joint and recept. If you use stranded wire and make up the pig tail with a piece of stranded wire and use devices with pressure plates I do not see where a "plug tail" will save any money. It should end up costing more with "plug tail".
Ours was a spec. so had to be used. Idea was for easy replacement for maint. elec.
 

dbuckley

Senior Member
Is this like a clip-together modular wiring system?

They are hellishly expensive, but you save a fortune in time because of the reduced labour needs. Particularly when you get AHU drops that have date and power done together, and when there is BMS to the ballasts.

I saw this in a building I ended up working in, I was chatting to the engineer, and he showed me a spreadsheet of the pricing and I couldn't believe it. But then I just stood and watched as two blokes rattled through a floor before my eyes...
 

wireguru

Senior Member
Is this like a clip-together modular wiring system?

They are hellishly expensive, but you save a fortune in time because of the reduced labour needs. Particularly when you get AHU drops that have date and power done together, and when there is BMS to the ballasts.

I saw this in a building I ended up working in, I was chatting to the engineer, and he showed me a spreadsheet of the pricing and I couldn't believe it. But then I just stood and watched as two blokes rattled through a floor before my eyes...
no, these are switches and receptacles that have a connectorized pigtail instead of terminals on the device. During rough you install the pigtail, then on trim you only have to snap it onto the device. I like it because it eliminates getting little pieces of wire and insulation all over the place at trim.
 
I just found a price on a 20A hospital grade plug-in type standard receptacle, like $20.00 each. Seems pretty expensive.
We only pay about a third of that. Actually col 3 is about 20, but my OTC price is only about 6 for an 8300-HI. List price for the PT is a little cheaper than conventional, but you have to buy a plug tail separately. On a quote, I am averaging 2.50 per device difference between conventional and PT. (before we beat them up).

If OT and PD cost me 25 dollars and hour more than standard time, I have to do 50% more devices at trim out per hour to break even. I actually think they could be done twice as fast, and with cheaper help.

Of course, this is all in theory. Real world often differs. Now if I show up at trim out and they are just then putting the tails on I will be pissed, not that we don't watch the job now. And of course you always have the factor of "dang that was quick, let's go have a cigarette."
 

MarkyMarkNC

Senior Member
Location
Raleigh NC
Device companies have been hawking plug-tails for ten years now. If they really saved contractors money, they would have caught on better by now.
 

big john

Senior Member
Location
Portland, ME
Like I said see my post. Pressure plates would be as fast and cheaper.
Pressure-plate devices would be a lot cheaper, but I don't see how they'd be faster.

For both types of devices, you're making the same number of splices, and then with each pressure device you also have to strip three wires and tighten down three screws.

I bet the plug could be inserted on a plug-in device in about the same amount of time it takes to strip one conductor.

There's no doubt in my mind that plug-ins are the fastest option, it's just a matter of figuring out if your saved labor makes up the added material costs.

-John
 
Imho

Imho

Earlier verisions of "pigtail" devices failed to cover wide range of receptacles. I considered using them on a large High School (342K SQFT but not the Taj Mahal's (sp) California has been building). In 2006 they could not offer a IG or a GFI receptalce in P&S. So used standard instead.

If you are considering, take a look at Cooper Arrow Hart Modular they spent the time to build a better mouse trap and cover majority of applications less occupancy sensors.
Have not priced for a project but an outstanding feature of thier "pigtail" is that the pigtail includes wiring block to land branch circuit conductors doing away with wirenuts for the most part and saving room in the box.
 

jmellc

Senior Member
Location
Central NC
I've never used these, but they look good from the ads I've seen. 1 concern would be safely storing the devices until trimout. They come together with the pigtails, right? If someone installed the tails @ rough and the devices got lost before trim, that would be a fortune extra. As far as damage, if using sq boxes with mud rings, I don't see wiring in them damaged as often as in resi.
 

sameguy

Senior Member
Location
New York
Occupation
Master Elec./JW retired
Big J I said as fast not faster. If you strip pig tails in bulk both sides the extra time would be :
1) stripping the pig tail (I do not remember how much the factory strips?restripping?)
2)2/3 insertion time
3)screw in time of pig tail(drill?)

plug tail:
1)pull off bag = trash same as pig tail stripings (carry a box)

damage of plug tail to pig tail (1) plug tail = ? how many scraps of wire you replace, all 3 with plug tail only the damaged wire with a pig tail. how much time and money saved there?
You are right how many pig tail will it take to make up the higher cost of the plug tail?
 

horsegoer

Senior Member
Location
NJ
Ok so baicaly you have to splice in the box the "plug tail" portion and that just plugs into the receptacle instead of your wire just landing on the receptacle? Is that right and if so it does not seem like that much of a time saver but I'm not an electrician.
 
Time Saved - Dollars Saved

Time Saved - Dollars Saved

Time saving from these devices are supposedly when trimming out. Face it the whole world colapses in the electrical contractor towards the end of a job. The Cooper devices I spoke of are a hybrid from previous designs. The branch circuit wiring is connect to the pigtail by means of "pressure plate termanation" doing away with wire nuts except in the IG terminations. The units are shipped seperately the bag is normally used to cap and protect the "pigtail". These things done prior to end of job collaspe allow the time to trouble shoot the circuits if requried. When it it time to trim out, provided the boxes are level in the wall it is a matter of pulling receptacle to pigtail and plating out. The time savings are geared more towards the final trim out as the circuits have been checked out and high level folks are not needed for trimout / trouble shoot. I am not salesman for the product - if they are in fact at $20 price point they are not cost effective in regards to material costs versus labor savings.
 

M4gery

Senior Member
How do these compare to installations of pressure plate devices without pigtailing the feed-in and feed-out? Many companies don't want time wasted on pigtailing devices. They have trimout guys go thru with a small screwgun and attach both blacks and both whites to the device, which is a very fast process. That saves time during rough in since the only thing that needs to be made up is the grounds.
 
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