110 Outlet Wiring Shenanigans (1 Viewer)

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If anyone that is good with A/C wiring could lend some advice that would be great. I had an outlet in our cabin that was worn out and the wrong color so I thought I would go ahead and change it to a new white one. Surprise, it has three white wires and three black wires coming into the box. All the black wires are tied together with only one going to the upper receptacle. Two of the three whites are tied to one pole and one of the whites is hooked into the circuit. Pretty janky it seems and also explains why the lower plug never worked. I have replaced all of the other outlets and this is the only one that has been not standard. What can I do to improve this, or even just make it safe?

DA22D13A-CB6F-4870-8B51-38840CBB3399.jpeg


4CBDED13-B516-4EBA-BC38-0964962D288F.jpeg
 

rkymtnflyfisher

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I see it now. The tab is there.

Take all the white wires, strip them about 3/4"and twist them together with another piece of white about 6-8" long. Place a wire nut on the group of bare twisted wires, use the extra length of wire to attach to the receptacle, silver screw gets the white wire, black wire goes on the gold.
 
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Sounds good! Is there a way to get power to both receptacles, or is this method the best way to avoid issues? Thanks!
 
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Looks like the tab linking the receptacles is there on both sides so a white to either silver screw and a black to either brass screw should work. And it sounds like you're buying new so they'll be linked on the new receptacle. The tab can be broken off to separate top from bottom if for example you wanted to use a wall switch to switch one for a table lamp or something.
 

rkymtnflyfisher

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Sounds good! Is there a way to get power to both receptacles, or is this method the best way to avoid issues? Thanks!
You only need to put power to one screw on a new receptacle.

Black wire it hot(should be)=gold screw.
White wire is neutral (grounded conductor technically)=silver screw.


There is a small tab between the screws that can be snapped off for other applications.
 

rkymtnflyfisher

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Of course the green screw gets the bare copper wire, but looking at the taped splice on the black wires you're not going the have that option.

You may want to consider installing GFCI receptacles in some locations.
 

e9999

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if you were to cut the tabs to separate the outlets -not that there is much point to do that unless you have separate circuits and breakers etc- you'd want to make sure that the wire ends don't touch each other, unlike what seems to be the case -or close- in the upper pic.

You can also avoid having to deal with making a loop in the wire end by using the "hole" in the back if there is one for the connection. Also faster and easier generally. Not that the little loop is that big a deal admittedly, but screwing it in and all takes more time.
 

PAToyota

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Take all the white wires, strip them about 3/4"and twist them together with another piece of white about 6-8" long. Place a wire nut on the group of bare twisted wires, use the extra length of wire to attach to the receptacle, silver screw gets the white wire, black wire goes on the gold.

As mentioned, the screws on each side should have a tab between the top and bottom screw. You can break that tab off for situations like having a switched table lamp - the switch controls one outlet and the other outlet has constant power. With the tabs seemingly intact, the lower outlet should work and that it does not indicates other issues so replacing the entire assembly is the proper course of action.

As FlyFisher states, the proper course of action is to create a pigtail from the wires coming out of the wall so that only a single wire connects to the outlets.

Pigtail.jpg


It's much cleaner than having all the separate wires attached to the outlet.
 

rkymtnflyfisher

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As mentioned, the screws on each side should have a tab between the top and bottom screw. You can break that tab off for situations like having a switched table lamp - the switch controls one outlet and the other outlet has constant power. With the tabs seemingly intact, the lower outlet should work and that it does not indicates other issues so replacing the entire assembly is the proper course of action.

As FlyFisher states, the proper course of action is to create a pigtail from the wires coming out of the wall so that only a single wire connects to the outlets.

View attachment 2564882

It's much cleaner than having all the separate wires attached to the outlet.
Quality.

Thanks for the diagrams, it hard to describe to people what's in my head!
 
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Thanks for all of the info and clarification, you guys are the best. I picked up some supplies from the hardware store and will get this tackled tomorrow. I do have the bare copper ground wire that connected the receptacle to the metal box, I will be sure to reinstall that. I also had no idea about the tabs on the receptacle, learn something everyday!
 

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