Two Electrical Questions (replacement box and acceptable wiring)

I went to replace a 3-way switch and found two things I’d like opinions on.

  1. The switch is a pilot light type, where the actual switch lights up to let you know the load (garage lights) are on. Style here:
    http://www.zoro.com/leviton-pilot-lite-wall-swtch-3-way-120v-15a-red-1203-plr/i/G2442352/?gclid=CM68m6Ggw8gCFcISHwoduekOgg&gclsrc=aw.ds

This type has two small gauge stranded wire leads off the back, which go to the hot and neutral associated with the load. Load on, switch lighted. The previous installation had the white lead pigtailed with the neutral, but the black lead was on the switch’s common terminal along with the wire leading to the load. Due to the small gauge of the lead, it seemed quite secure, but this can’t be legal, can it? I assume that this should be connected via a pigtail, but because the box is pretty crowded I can see the appeal of avoiding more wire and a wire nut.

  1. #1 may not matter as I found the box broken, and will replace it. However, this box contains the three most used switches in the house, and I am not sure I am thrilled about one of those old work boxes with the tabs that grab the sheetrock. I am looking for suggestions for a replacement box that will be secure but not require removal of additional sheetrock (if possible). I’m wondering if someone can suggest an old work three gang that maybe screws to the stud from inside the box? If that makes sense? The upside is that this gives me the opportunity to go to a deeper box and avoid the crowding, since it is a 2x6 wall.
    Thanks for the thoughts!

Not sure about #1, but for #2, a metal three-gang box should work fine. It’s big enough that you should be able to screw it right into the stud through the side (assuming your stud is right there.) And the metal boxes are a lot stiffer than the plastic garbage they put in houses now.

For #1:

If I’m reading this correctly, the basic problem is that they have two wires attached to one screw (the small stranded wire from the switch and the wire from the load)?

Multiple wires terminated on a single screw is acceptable in some circumstances, but the device has to be labeled as allowing it by the manufacturer. Assuming that the switch doesn’t specifically allow it on the label on the back of the switch, the no, it’s not permitted.

  1. #F103 3gang box made by Arlington Industries

Once you use these you will never use anything else.

You have read correctly, and no indication of allowance is present. Given the conservatism of electrical rules, I am surprised it would ever be permitted.

If there is a teeter plate under the screw head, then it is designed to take a wire on each side of the screw, and the plate tips, so a single wire, or wires of different gauges can be accommodated.

If it is a plain (should be binding head) screw, then only one solid wire should be under it, and it should be formed to wrap at least 270 degrees around the screw shank, clockwise as viewed from head end of screw.

The teeter plates also work well with stranded wire, which isn’t great under a binding head screw. (not sure if it is allowable) If I have to connect a stranded wire to a screw terminal, I’ll either crimp on a spade terminal or furrel, or use a wire nut to pigtail on a short length of solid.

Most of my experience is with machinery, rather than buildings, so stranded wire is something I deal with a lot.