Pro Tips: Knowing What to Do

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First place

Know the weight

Pro Tips May 2020

To easily determine how much wire is left on a partial spool, buy a small luggage scale. Weighing a full spool so you can calculate the weight per foot for each wire gauge. We keep one on each truck. The cost savings from being able to efficiently use partial spools will pay for the scales quickly. Even more significant is eliminating the time and frustration that results from having a conductor that is a bit too short.

--Reynold Martin
Manheim, Pa.


A few years ago, we needed to cut about 2,000 boxes in ¼-in. steel wall at a prison. The requirement was to install a splice box over each hole on the back side in the secure chase, then drill and tap the grind smooth on the prisoner side. This would take an extensive amount of time. Instead, we purchased a stud welder to weld studs on the secure side, using a jig for location. We attached a washer and nut very quickly, which saved about 1,000 man-hours.

--Thomas Sansone
Clifton, N.J.


Share ideas that have saved you time or money on the job with readers of ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR. Your fellow electrical professionals would like to hear about them. Be sure to include a good photo of your idea if you can; hand-drawn sketches may be hard to interpret. Note that some similar ideas are sometimes submitted by more than one person. In these cases, the one that is more clearly written and includes a photo is given precedence. 

Each published author in Pro Tips receives a $50 Lowe’s gift card. In addition, the first-place winner will receive a $100 Lowe’s gift card. 

Use the online submission tool at to send your tip and photo, or email it to or send a letter and photo to Pro Tips Editor, ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR, 3 Bethesda Metro Center, Suite 1100, Bethesda, MD 20814-5372.

DISCLAIMER: The ideas presented in this article are for consideration only. Neither ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR nor Lowe’s, Inc. assumes any liability from your use of these or any other ideas. 

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