"Backstabbed" wiring: bad rap?

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On 8/19/2009 10:41 PM The Daring Dufas spake thus:

(or the real URL, http://www.idealindustries.com/prodDetail.do?prodId=in-sure )
Interesting. One thing, though: it looks as if there's no way to pull the wire out once it's in. Is that the case? If so, then these may be great connectors to use when one is sure that one's work will never need to be redone.
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

If you twist and pull at the same time you can pull the wire out but it will not come loose on its own. It does not seem to affect reuseability.
TDD
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Some/most of them have a "slot" that will accept a very small flat blade screwdriver. Push in the screwdrive and they release the wire.
Apparently the industry has solved the safety and reliability with the "backstabing" outlets. Also there are connectors that use the same "technology." They make them in a variety of "sizes" for wires sizes and the number of conductors to be joined. They are "UL" approved so I guess they are 'gud enuf.' I used the connectors in my attic and so far the house hasn't burned down. But even the manufacturer says that they have more resistance than your typical twisting wirenut connection. I guess, however, it's within the range of acceptability.
BTW: "They" have finally made an "approved" splice for romex so that you don't have to use a junction box when you can't "stretch" a cable when you move a ceiling outlet or whatever. I pick up one on speculation but haven't used it.
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John Gilmer wrote:

BZZZIT, wrong item, you're describing the outlets, I was describing the Ideal brand connectors. I have some other connectors that have a little lever you flip up to insert/release each wire.
http://www.wago.us/2631.htm
TDD
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On Sun, 23 Aug 2009 20:39:09 -0400, "John Gilmer"

from now. It was developed for the "mobile home" market - and that's where it belongs (10 year lifespan, perhaps?)
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Those are interesting. Never used them for 12/14 wire. Have seen on light duty apps.
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Obviously you have never paid $300 for an electrician to find a bad one or have the power in you livingroom go out when you have guest coming over because of one. As far as I am concerned these things were BROKE the day they were made. After my experience and expense with them I made the decision to replace all the outlets and switches in my home. When I started performing the replacements many of the wires pulled out of the back of the switches and outlets when I was pulling them out of the box. Most of the wires only required a firm tug to pull them from the device and only a few actually required me to press the release.
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wrote:

Obviously you have never paid $300 for an electrician to find a bad one or have the power in you livingroom go out when you have guest coming over because of one. As far as I am concerned these things were BROKE the day they were made. After my experience and expense with them I made the decision to replace all the outlets and switches in my home. When I started performing the replacements many of the wires pulled out of the back of the switches and outlets when I was pulling them out of the box. Most of the wires only required a firm tug to pull them from the device and only a few actually required me to press the release.
Out of curiosity, do you know who the manufacturer was?
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Back stabbers just an inherently poorer design. But as wth aluminum wiring; not every installation will give trouble etc.
Again as with Al wiring; not every incorrect replacement (by say a homeowner who doesn't know any better) using a 'Copper Only' light switch will give trouble or overheat. Have seen them 'discovered' often with the exclamation "Hey this switch/outlet isn't Al compatible. Wonder how long that's been there?". Although it never actually caught fire in that particular usage; same with back stabbers. There must be very small wire contact areas in most back stabbers?
Another typical situation being if/when someone was 'finishing their own basement area'. And maybe hitched up extra copper wiring and receptacles etc. bought from a local hardware outlet. On the basis of my uncle showed me how to do it!
And; "Hey Madge. Into XYZ store, pick me up a half dozen duplex outlets will ya! Them ivory ones; OK?".
I think have seen back-stab outlets that also had screws on the side and 99% certain, doing work mainly for self, would have used the screws. With relatively low wattage loads on duplex outlets in many living areas ) typically a few lamps maybe a domestic TV or 'stereo' there presumably would be less chance of problems with back stabbers anyway?
Anywhere there can be 'heavy' wattage loads, and/or frequent unplugging etc. such as kitchen outlets, around work benches always best to use high quality duplex and other outlets.
Recently replaced two well used outlets under work bench that were first installed in the late 1970s. One of them was cracked; don't know how, but glad we found it! Also when not in use 'all' tool power is turned off in work shop by one main individually fused 115/230 volt switch. Also found, to my surprise a single very old style duplex outlet that must have added for a small tube radio (about 30 watts) on a small high shelf also off the main workshop feed. Not a backstabber but so old as to have a weird pattern cover plate. Looks like the whole thing, metal box and all, might have come out of an old farmhouse or barn!
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wrote:

Back stabbers just an inherently poorer design. But as wth aluminum wiring; not every installation will give trouble etc.
Again as with Al wiring; not every incorrect replacement (by say a homeowner who doesn't know any better) using a 'Copper Only' light switch will give trouble or overheat. Have seen them 'discovered' often with the exclamation "Hey this switch/outlet isn't Al compatible. Wonder how long that's been there?". Although it never actually caught fire in that particular usage; same with back stabbers. There must be very small wire contact areas in most back stabbers?
Another typical situation being if/when someone was 'finishing their own basement area'. And maybe hitched up extra copper wiring and receptacles etc. bought from a local hardware outlet. On the basis of my uncle showed me how to do it!
And; "Hey Madge. Into XYZ store, pick me up a half dozen duplex outlets will ya! Them ivory ones; OK?".
I think have seen back-stab outlets that also had screws on the side and 99% certain, doing work mainly for self, would have used the screws. With relatively low wattage loads on duplex outlets in many living areas ) typically a few lamps maybe a domestic TV or 'stereo' there presumably would be less chance of problems with back stabbers anyway?
Anywhere there can be 'heavy' wattage loads, and/or frequent unplugging etc. such as kitchen outlets, around work benches always best to use high quality duplex and other outlets.
Recently replaced two well used outlets under work bench that were first installed in the late 1970s. One of them was cracked; don't know how, but glad we found it! Also when not in use 'all' tool power is turned off in work shop by one main individually fused 115/230 volt switch. Also found, to my surprise a single very old style duplex outlet that must have added for a small tube radio (about 30 watts) on a small high shelf also off the main workshop feed. Not a backstabber but so old as to have a weird pattern cover plate. Looks like the whole thing, metal box and all, might have come out of an old farmhouse or barn!
OK, but do you have any particular manufacturer that has given you these problems?
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<stuff snipped>
<<When I started performing the replacements many of the wires pulled out of the back of the switches and outlets when I was pulling them out of the box. Most of the wires only required a firm tug to pull them from the device and only a few actually required me to press the release.>>
Easy to believe. If they were made offshore, there's no way to tell whether someone dumped the metallurgical equivalent of melamine into the metal they used to make the springs that clip the wire in. Metal can change properties over time with corrosion and stresses of various kinds. A loss of springiness is easy to imagine. As I recall the bum switch I had was the same. The backstabbed wires came out without pressing in the release. That CAN'T be good!
-- Bobby G.
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One advantage of a backstabbed connection is that if the end of the conductor is carefully trimmed, none of the conductor is actually exposed inside the box. That can reduce the chance of a short, especially in a metal box or where a bare grounding conductor is present. This would be a particular advantage if screw terminals were not present at all (uncommon these days).
Screw terminals can be dangerous too if they are over tightened or under tightened, or if the conductor is poorly trimmed.

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just wrap a turn of electrical tape around the recep in a tight box
nate
Andrew M. Saucci, Jr. wrote:

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In my experience, electrical tape loses its stickiness long before any other component in an electrical installation would otherwise fail or need to be replaced. I don't have lots of faith in electrical tape for any long-term role of importance and try to avoid using it for anything other than holding a cable onto a snake.

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The 50 cent Jap Wrap doesn't last, the 3 dollar per roll 3M tape lasts a very long time.
Of course the foreman acts like he is giving you a kidney when he gives you a roll.
On Wed, 19 Aug 2009 22:42:06 -0400, "Andrew M. Saucci, Jr."

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Agreed, but that doesn't make them preferable. They're used to save money, mostly by electricianls.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Backtabs are not a ticket to charing more money for fixing what ain't broke.

All irrelevent: Those are safety standards and the only thing they test for is that they meet their specs, won't create a shock hazard or a fire hazard. They could care less if they stopped working and sometign opened 3 hours after installation. As long as there's no safety hazard, they will be passed.

It's a pretty stupid person that posts something only to see the outcomes of a few who will bit on the troll bait.
Twayne`
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On 8/16/2009 10:25 AM Twayne spake thus:

Would you have felt differently if I had put a smiley face after that statement?
Hint: I don't do smiley faces.
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