electrical question

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The biggest problems, actually, are with 14-gauge wire in backstab connections. And the Code *doesn't* allow that any more, precisely because of problems such as you are seeing. (The installation in your home probably did meet Code at the time it was done.) 12-gauge wire is still permitted to be backstabbed (but screws are much, much better).
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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I dont' usually jump in, but don't you have those numbers backwards? The backstabbable outlets i've seen won't allow a 12 in the hole.
steve


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On Wed, 22 Aug 2007 21:46:57 -0500, "Steve Barker"

The older ones would allow either. I haven't seen any newer ones that would allow #12.

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Mark Lloyd
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Just checked one -- and yeah, you're right, I do. Mea culpa.
I never use those stupid things anyway...
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Indeed, they were backstabbed, and after getting

Good wiring techniques call for series connected devices to be pigtailed to the primary wires. Shame on all you experts for not mentioning this. The reason is obvious: when a replacement or repair is necessary it can be done in mere minutes with greater reliability it is claimed. Through wiring (using both screws on the side of a receptacle, for example), is the mark of an amateur. HTH
Joe
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The times i mentioned pigtailing, several people would say what a waste of time... etc. etc. I quit trying. I'll just do it right and let everyone else double screw them.
steve
(Doug Miller)

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On Wed, 22 Aug 2007 22:32:28 -0500, "Steve Barker"

Time for google! Or my Stanley Wiring book , though I've lent that to my neighbor for now.
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wrote:

This is what I was taught and what always intuitively seemed right, never let the device be the load run. A healthy plier twist and wire nut will carry the load run and the device should simply tap that. I think the problem is that Romex is so much thicker than regular wiring with conduit that it quickly takes up all the room in the box, so use of a deeper box would be needed to do pigtails. With regular wire in conduit center stripping a 1 inch area then looping around the screw with no cutting of the load run is easier, common, and very dependable as it has no effect downstream even if a screw comes loose. You cant center strip Romex because of the way the outer jacket must enter/exit the box and be anchored, so it's cut, cut, cut in every box.
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RickH wrote:

While "pigtailing" seems like a good idea, does anyone know if and when the electrical code requires it? A reference to an actual code section might be useful.
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When I saw a neighbor connect a receptacle last year, he used all 8 connections on that receptacle (4 screws and 4 backstab holes).
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On Thu, 23 Aug 2007 10:03:00 -0500, Mark Lloyd

willing to learn. How did he connect 8? With 4 wires? Also, I take it from this and an earlier post that referenced romex wiring, that romex is what I'm dealing with, and pigtailed is the same as what Rick referred to as "working with plain wire in conduit"?
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Chicago and it's suburbs are about the only place where conduit is still required for residential. Romex is a term like Xerox, a brand name that became a generic name for something. Romex wire having its own outer jacket so it can be used without roughing in a house with steel conduit first. Pigtailing is a technique of twisting a smaller wire onto the load run using a wire nut, that small pig tail then goes to the device (outlet) leaving the load run with a more dependable wire nutted connection no longer dependent upon the device connection failing. Similar to a "T" where the load run is the top of the T and the pigtail is the vertical part. Bottom line is that with pigtailing every device in the run does not become a "carrier" for the entire load run.
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On Thu, 23 Aug 2007 10:15:52 -0700, RickH

sense. Oh well; play with what I was dealt...
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[snip]
[snip]
Originally, this box just held a switch for the attic light. Since this box is located almost directly above the panel, there were 2 pieces of Romex present.
Then, a previous owner has an outside receptacle added. This was wired to this switch box.
Finally, the new neighbor added some wiring in the room below (a garage converted to a room), and ran this to that box. He changed the box to a 2-gang one and put in a receptacle there, and used it to join all those wires (instead of going out and looking for a couple of big wire nuts).
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on 8/22/2007 12:54 AM albee said the following:

If you notice how the outlet is connected to the box, you can understand how plugging and unplugging a plug into the outlet can flex the outlet in and out, which then can loosen, or break, a back stabbed wire.

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Bill
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wrote:

Thanks. Yeah, I understand the initial one; what had me stumped was the fact that the other outlet hadn't been used in years. And also, that it had been working, apparently, prior to me dealing with this other one, and yet upon dealing with the other one, apparently a connection came loose in this one such that my testing it re-established the connection. It was behind a dresser, so the only thing I could think of was the power "surge" and drop from turning the breaker on-and-off had affected it. Wasn't sure if that was possible or not, so hence my stumped response. Thanks again everyone for the help!

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No, more likely something was mechanically weak internally in the other outlet and the simple act of plugging in a tester broke it. That means it's time to replace it.

Yup, replace 'em all. Just do it. You'll sleep better. at a minimum, test every outlet in the house and replace all that have problems, but I'd just do all of them while you're in the groove.
nate
(total hypocrite, since I still have to do about half of the ones in my house.)
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to understand it, if there was something mechanically weak or wrong prior to testing it, why was it not causing a problem the day before when the other was acting up? This new, previously "unused" outlet was upline from the one I was working on, but not causing a problem until after I had worked on the downline one. Anyway, not important, but just trying to see if there's something else to learn from this situation.

a whole house, even at only a couple dollars per outlet/switch, will be over a hundred dollars. I'm guessing close to 50 combined? At that volume, we'll have to see how "high quality" I want to go! Or would simply re-wiring all of them be enough. It's not like we're continually plugging and unplugging things into these outlets. Anyway, thanks again.
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albee wrote:

See if you have a real electrical supply house that will sell you receps and switches in quantity. The one around here is Dominion, but I think they only have locations in Virginia. If you go with the cheapies, even a "contractor pack" of 10 at the Home Despot will only run you $10-15.
nate
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albee wrote:

I would guess that the plastic that holds the metal bits in place got brittle from age and possibly heat and the simple act of plugging in a little tester or sticking your Fluke's probe in there caused it to crack and no longer hold the metal bits firmly in place. But that is just a guess. I have however removed plenty of receps that have the thin bit below the ground hole busted out so it seems like a reasonable guess.
nate
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