My First Time Working With Qwik-Grip
I’ve seen a lot of “innovations” in my 25 years as an electrician. Some made a lot of sense and saved a bunch of time or money, others not so much. So to be honest I was a little skeptical when I first heard about Square D’s new Qwik-Grip feature. But as soon as I saw a photo of how it worked, I instantly got it.
I recently had the chance to actually install a panel with Qwik-Grip, and it did just what the manufacturer said it would do—It saved me a bunch of time and hassles. I installed a “Homeline” panel, but this feature is also available on the “Square D QO” line as well. Here’s how it went:
The Old Way
Sure, installing clamp connectors in knockout holes isn’t mind-bending or overly arduous, but it does seem more tedious and time consuming once you try a better method. Here’s how I’ve run wires into every panel in the past—you know the drill:
- Remove the knockouts
- Unscrew the nut from the clamp connector
- Insert the clamp connector
- Fasten the clamp connector to the box with the nut
- Insert the wire/wires
- Secure the wire with the two tightening screws
Note: Hopefully you don’t have to install a reducing washer, a step that’s required when the larger knockout hole comes loose by accident, something that happens all too often.
The Qwik-Grip Way
While installing this panel, I had one of those, “Why didn’t someone think of this sooner?” moments. Running wires into a panel equipped with the Qwik-Grip system really was as simple as this:
1. Remove tabs
2. Insert wire (pre-bend them as you slide them in)
Note: A shield does need to be installed after all the wires are in place, but that’s only one step per 10 (or so) wires.
Short learning curve
Okay, I admit it. I’m normally not a “read the instructions” kind of guy. And I’m absolutely, in no way, shape, or form, saying not to read the instructions. But if, let say “Hypothetically” you didn’t read the instructions, there’s a pretty darn good chance that you would be able to figure out the Qwik-Grip Wire Management System without a ton of head scratching. I do look at pictures though, and if you’re a visual learner like me there’s a very simple diagram on a sticker that you should stick to the back of the panel to let you know which wire fits in which slot–ea easy peasy.
It’s just a guess, but I think I saved about 20 percent on the total time it would have taken me to install a panel with regular knockouts. But that doesn’t include any time I might have spent running back and forth to the van for forgotten parts, or even worse, a dreaded parts run back to the supply house or home center. Needing fewer parts is another great thing about this system. No knockout clamps, clamp nuts, or reducing washers needed.
This being my first time working with the Square D Qwik-Grip system, I would say it went pretty darn well. In fact, I don’t know how it couldn’t gone any smoother. There really isn’t much to it. Square D Load Centers with Qwik-Grip are available at Lowes.
Meet the expert
Jason Bouchard has been a journeyman commercial electrician for more than 25 years. He’s worked on and managed jobs ranging from large commercial buildings, million dollar homes, and traffic lights, to waste incinerator plants. He even wired (AND LIT!) the huge torch featured in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.