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patcat88

join:2002-04-05
Jamaica, NY
kudos:1

1 edit

Lowes can special order from Southwire

I was looking for a coil of 10/4 (yes 4, not 3) stranded MCAP, it is only made by Southwire (AFC only makes it in solid). neither Lowes or HD sell 10/4 armored of any kind. Trying to get this cable is as easy as finding spare parts for a Space Shuttle. Going to supply houses, either they refuse to special order for non-account customers, or they quoted $1300-1400+$140 S&H to counter for a 250' coil (hahaha, SW's MSRP is $1494). Based on HD's website's SW MC vs SW's MSRP, I got 2 different discount % from MSRP prices for SW MC from HD. Since MCAP and MC are priced identically according to SW's MSRP sheet, you can do the math to estimate what the fair retail cost would be of the MCAP. The discount from MSRP for SW 10/2 MC is higher than SW 10/3 MC at HD. SW MSRP says 2 10/2 MC runs are cheaper than 1 10/4 MC per foot, yet a 10/4 MC uses less materials (162 lbs/1000ft) than 10/2 MC (2 10/2 MCs are 246 lbs/1000ft). Interesting business model. Explains why I've seen 3 way switches, with a red THHN electric taped every foot to NM in some houses. My estimated price for 250' MCAP 10/4 stranded was $450 to $600 if HD or Lowes sold it based on the math above.

HD (1 floor clerk, bad sample size i kno) claimed they dont do special orders so if its not on the HD website, they can't order it. Anyway HD carries only AFC brand armored on shelf retail, but on their website they have some SW armored. Lowes has SW brand on shelf retail. At Lowes they call the procedure for ordering something not in their computer a "Manual Order". Using the clerk who normally does "special orders for lighting fixtures", who apparently is the only one who can do it (electrical special orders) in the store, it involves him researching the product on Google (Firefox on Linux). Calling the public 1-800 number of Southwire. Getting to "retail sales" dept at SW (including painful hold times), figuring out the SKU of the product with the phone monkey on the end, calling the Lowes department manager to figure out what Lowes account number is with Southwire (department manager knew it), waiting for a quote invoice to be faxed from SW to the local Lowes (3 mins), entering the SKU into the Lowes mainframe to make it sellable and add the "Lowes margin" to the price. Total time, 1hr 10 minutes. Final price $500-600 (I wont write the actual price I got), no minimum quantity of coils, no S&H for delivery to store for pickup. 7 business days for delivery.

No MSRP pricing/"we only sell to licensed electricians", no delivery fees, no minimum quantities (we only order by the pallet, we wont cut open a pallet for you, and since it is a non-stock item, you must buy the whole pallet, we wont add it to our warehouse), and no "we dont use that around here, why aren't you using greenfield if you want stranded MC?" (atleast they are being helpful), no "that is not a residential product and therefore we are not allowed to sell it [per our contract with Southwire/Ideal/Hubbell/P&S/etc]" (product is exclusive to Graybar and clones), and no cost-plus LTL shipping charge for what is easily UPS ground.

This isn't an advertisement for Lowes. It just shows that there is an alternative to mafia pricing at Grainger/Graybar when you want pro-grade materials that are not sold online due to weight/size, and what is a sane alternative to Grainger/Graybar if you have enough patience. If someone has a story on how to order non-catalog, non-stocked, supply house only things from HD or another residential HI store, they are welcome to share it.

edit: since Nunya gave his price, Lowes quoted me $573

Another electrical supply place gave me a quote of $1000 exactly for the 250' coil today, free UPS ground since they operate by parcel/freight delivery mostly, not counter sales (not brick and morter, although warehouse pickup is possible). UPS ground would be going 140 miles. USPS Parcel Post would be ~$60 I estimate for the coil, so $1000 is better than $1300 but still a "we dont want cash" price.



nunya
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
Reviews:
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$609 at the local supply house here for 250' stranded. In stock and ready.
They have solid too if you want it cheaper.
I would think 10/4 STR MCAP would be a "stock item" everywhere, but I guess it varies by geography. I have 1/2 of a roll of 10/4 sitting on the shelf with about 1" of dust on it. I can't even remember why I bought it.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.



IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
reply to patcat88

Just out of curiosity, what are you using this for? It sounds like a 3-phase application.

If its for a generator transfer switch (like I installed), you only need 10/3 NM (3 sheathed 1 bare ground romex). It's an orange color jacket.


patcat88

join:2002-04-05
Jamaica, NY
kudos:1

said by IowaCowboy:

Just out of curiosity, what are you using this for? It sounds like a 3-phase application.

1 outlet with a 5-20 and 6-20 socket.

patcat88

join:2002-04-05
Jamaica, NY
kudos:1

2 edits
reply to patcat88

Click for full size
Updates, about a week later I came back to buy the MCAP 10-4 STR, SW told the Lowes rep they have none in stock and they want an order of 10000 feet for a manufacturing run. Talking to manager didn't help. I had to tell the Lowes rep to give up. I called SW once, got a SW rep, they said they have none in stock. Called again to ask about 277 colors (doesn't hurt but I wont put money on it being there), this time I got transferred to a non-SW distributor, the non-SW distributor said there is 1 coil, just 1, of it in SW's Plainfield IN (Google Streetview shows a Southwire logo on the road), non SW distributor said a retailer/supply place can order from it, and gave the phone number of that warehouse. Next day went to Lowes, told them to call SW again, (didn't tell them about Plainfield IN), and SW rep found it instantly (10 minutes), and I bought it. Lesson is, with corporation try everything with 3 phonecalls with the same topic, average the results of each phone call. Now what can go wrong?

1. this will be a return fraud coil where someone switched the tags, returned the coil to supply house, supply house returned it to SW, and then inventory audit scanned its barcode and 10/4 solid regular MC became 10/4 stranded MCAP.

2. when the stockman pulls the product, he finds out it doesn't exist, or its not MCAP and cancels order

3. it will take a month before this Lowes gets its next SW delivery (got a phone call from Lowes that which told me the SW truck comes with six pallets, there won't be a delivery from SW until 6 pallets of SW products are needed by this Lowes), I think delivery time for the "5 to 7" business days will be longer than that

4. delivered to store, put on shelf, and someone swipes/purchases it to sell on ebay for $25 a foot

edit:
Forgot to mention price went up from $573 to $606 in 1-2 weeks. Either the price is copper market pegged, or Lowes took a hire profit margin on the product. It is still 1/2 to 1/3rd the "cash" price at any supply house so I shouldn't be complaining.


nunya
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12

Copper bumped up this week. It's supposed to go up a lot this summer. YAY!
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.


Zach1
Premium
join:2006-11-26
NW Minnesota

1 edit

Nearly every time placing a special order through a big-box is my only option, it's a PIA. They get the cash upfront and don't really give a damn whether or not the material ever arrives.
--
Zach



LazMan
Premium
join:2003-03-26
canada
reply to nunya

said by nunya:

Copper bumped up this week. It's supposed to go up a lot this summer. YAY!

Awesome... I'm sitting on about 1300# of buss to be scrapped... I'll sit a littler longer.

saratoga66

join:2002-08-22
Saratoga, CA
reply to patcat88

Out of curiosity why does this MC have to be stranded?

Why does it need to be MCAP? Why not just standard 10/4 MC with an insulated ground?

In my area suppliers stock very little MCAP compared to standard MC. I guess the product usage really varies in different areas.



nunya
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
Reviews:
·Charter
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·surpasshosting

Working with solid wire sucks butt. About the only time I use solid is for fixture whips. Of course, with romex you have no choice.

MCAP saves on box fill and termination time. It pulls easier and is easier to handle. Every little bit helps.
I don't always use MCAP. Most of the time, I use standard MC.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.


saratoga66

join:2002-08-22
Saratoga, CA

said by nunya:

Working with solid wire sucks butt. About the only time I use solid is for fixture whips. Of course, with romex you have no choice.

MCAP saves on box fill and termination time. It pulls easier and is easier to handle. Every little bit helps.
I don't always use MCAP. Most of the time, I use standard MC.

I agree that it is easier to work with. It sounds like the OP is just using this MC for a single run. I would get what ever my supplier had in stock for this project. Its not worth spending days and many phone calls for the minimal difference in installation ease. If I'm doing a large project then I'll spend more time getting the best material for the project.

patcat88

join:2002-04-05
Jamaica, NY
kudos:1
reply to patcat88

Click for full size
said by patcat88:

Updates, about a week later I came back to buy the MCAP 10-4 STR, SW told the Lowes rep they have none in stock and they want an order of 10000 feet for a manufacturing run. Talking to manager didn't help. I had to tell the Lowes rep to give up. I called SW once, got a SW rep, they said they have none in stock. Called again to ask about 277 colors (doesn't hurt but I wont put money on it being there), this time I got transferred to a non-SW distributor, the non-SW distributor said there is 1 coil, just 1, of it in SW's Plainfield IN (Google Streetview shows a Southwire logo on the road), non SW distributor said a retailer/supply place can order from it, and gave the phone number of that warehouse. Next day went to Lowes, told them to call SW again, (didn't tell them about Plainfield IN), and SW rep found it instantly (10 minutes), and I bought it. Lesson is, with corporation try everything with 3 phonecalls with the same topic, average the results of each phone call. Now what can go wrong?

1. this will be a return fraud coil where someone switched the tags, returned the coil to supply house, supply house returned it to SW, and then inventory audit scanned its barcode and 10/4 solid regular MC became 10/4 stranded MCAP.

2. when the stockman pulls the product, he finds out it doesn't exist, or its not MCAP and cancels order

3. it will take a month before this Lowes gets its next SW delivery (got a phone call from Lowes that which told me the SW truck comes with six pallets, there won't be a delivery from SW until 6 pallets of SW products are needed by this Lowes), I think delivery time for the "5 to 7" business days will be longer than that

4. delivered to store, put on shelf, and someone swipes/purchases it to sell on ebay for $25 a foot

What did go wrong? Number 2 is the lucky number. The next business day Lowes called and said Southwire can't find the 1 and only coil, and the CC charge was refunded. Am I SOL? No. I found a place in MO that sold it for around $700 total. Per the pic attached, you can see I won the game.


nunya
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12

Frost?


patcat88

join:2002-04-05
Jamaica, NY
kudos:1

Yes.



IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
reply to patcat88

Or they buy an expensive wire, put the tag on a similar appearing cheap wire, return it and sell the expensive wire at a scrap dealer.

Where I live, copper theft is an issue.


patcat88

join:2002-04-05
Jamaica, NY
kudos:1

said by IowaCowboy:

Or they buy an expensive wire, put the tag on a similar appearing cheap wire, return it and sell the expensive wire at a scrap dealer.

Where I live, copper theft is an issue.

That was what can go wrong number 1.


StillLearn
Premium
join:2002-03-21
Streamwood, IL
Reviews:
·AT&T Midwest
reply to nunya

said by nunya:

Working with solid wire sucks butt.

Can you tell us more? Does this apply to wires in conduit too?
Is this a common preference among electricians?

About the only time I use solid is for fixture whips.

I would have thought that a fixture whip implies that it is going to move over time. That would seem to be the time to have a strong preference for stranded. Maybe I don't understand the fixture whip term.


54067323

join:2012-09-25
Tuscaloosa, AL

said by StillLearn:

Can you tell us more? Does this apply to wires in conduit too? Is this a common preference among electricians?

Solid wire is in so many ways a pain in the butt, it just doesn’t flex well making the installation of outlets and switches into their boxes a puppy mother, it is also a PIA to pull through conduit, more so when approaching the 360 degree limit.

I would have thought that a fixture whip implies that it is going to move over time. That would seem to be the time to have a strong preference for stranded. Maybe I don't understand the fixture whip term.

I believe a fixture whip is designed to be flexible to allow for the placement of it within suspended ceilings, devices such as lighting and exit signs, it allows flexibility in installation, but the device connected will “usually” not be moved after it is installed.

patcat88

join:2002-04-05
Jamaica, NY
kudos:1

said by 54067323:

Solid wire is in so many ways a pain in the butt, it just doesn’t flex well making the installation of outlets and switches into their boxes a puppy mother, it is also a PIA to pull through conduit, more so when approaching the 360 degree limit.

So with solid, or any thhn, is it ok to coil it into a pigtail (wrong word)/spring on the end of a screw driver before attaching it to the device and putting it back in the box? Its a trait of HVAC techs, but if I see it on mains power, is it the sign of a handyman?

sk1939
Premium
join:2010-10-23
Mclean, VA
kudos:10
Reviews:
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said by patcat88:

Its a trait of HVAC techs, but if I see it on mains power, is it the sign of a handyman?

In my personal opinion, yes, for the simple reason that the excess should be trimmed off, and not doing so is a sign of laziness.


nunya
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
reply to patcat88

That's who I use 90% of the time. They are probably the most reasonably priced supplier in the area.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.