fastening an outlet in a broken outlet box


I'm swapping an electrical outlet for one of a different color. It turned out that the old metal box is missing one of the tabs that an outlet screws into. It's behind tile, so I really can't replace the box.
That end of the old outlet had been wire-tied in -- wire through two holes in the top of the outlet box, out around the outlet mounting tab, twist tight. The old wire came apart when I untwisted it to remove the outlet.
I've tried to replicate this with various types of wire. Most were too soft and broke as I twisted it down. The only one that didn't was 16 gauge baling wire, but that left a big fat twist of wire above the outlet that kept the cover from mounting nicely. I also tried zip ties, but had issues getting them tight while keeping the fat part off the front.
Any bright ideas? Keep looking for a stronger small gauge wire?
-troy
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

If you completely remove the outlet from the box you should have plenty of room to drill a hole into the side wall of the box onto which you could then fasten a tiny homemade angle bracket with a self tapping screw driven into that hole.
Drill a hole in the exposed end of the newly fastened bracket and use another self tapping screw to fasten the outlet's end onto it.
QED
Jeff
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Jeffry Wisnia
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wrote:

The tab with the 6/32" tapped threads is above the box opening on a typical 2x3 steel box
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RBM wrote:

This may well be a situation where "You are right from your side and I am right from mine."
When I read your reponse I thought that my age related CRS* had kicked in and caused me to write something totally useless.
So, out came the kitchen drawer screwdriver and I popped off two single outlet cover plates and one single switch plate. (On boxes installed when we had our home built23 years ago.)
Those boxes all that their tabs pointing inward.
Then I looked in my hell box of electrical junk and found three different style metal boxes all with the tabs pointing inward, and none pointing outward.
Checking a few web pages with lots of different electrical boxes pictured on them didn't pull up any with the tabs "outside" the boxes, but maybe some of the metal "old work" boxes had 'em there.
Peace,
Jeff
* CRS: Can't remember shite.
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Jeffry Wisnia
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wrote:

Typical steel new construction (bang on) 2x3 switch box has the tab outside the box. Reducing covers and surface mounted boxes have the tabs on the inside, as do steel concrete tight boxes. See link for typical switch box: https://www.hardwareworld.com/25in-Dp-Sw-Box-12in-Ko-WEa-pGJXLRX.aspx
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wrote:

I assumed that it was a gem box also Roy. I guess it could be a square box, but I would think that you could drill a hole in the back and tap it and then use a long screw to fasten the receptacle.
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wrote:

My thoughts exactly, also the likelyhood of a gem box tab breaking off is way greater than breaking the tab off a 1900 to single gang reducing cover

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RBM wrote:

How is the box you linked to attached secured on typical new construction?
I'm not disagreeing that the tabs are bent out on that kind of box, but as you sort of refered to it as a "bang on" box, just what does that description mean?
I've got a feeling all the wall mounted boxes in our home are similar to this design:
https://www.hardwareworld.com/1-78dp-Handy-Bx-WTs-Brkt-pKZR3W9.aspx
with the mounting strip nailed onto the side of a wall stud.
From what I can see looking at my home's boxes, they all have the tabs bent in and look like they have rounded corners, save for the few "old work" boxes I've added myself.
Jeff
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wrote:

The particular box I linked to is not a bang on type. It is a standard cut in type. The two side walls of the box are removable to expand the box. The same box can be purchased with about a dozen various types and sizes of bang-on brackets, a few of which are the most standard steel boxes used. What you linked to is a rather unusual box. It's a handy box, which is for surface mounting, except that one has a bang-on bracket welded to it.
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wrote:

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RBM wrote:

I think we've about "saucered and blowed" this thread by now...<G>
Peace,
Jeff
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Jeffry Wisnia
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On Sun, 12 Oct 2008 18:01:41 -0400, Jeff Wisnia
[snip]

Then there's also Can't Remember S____
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Have you looked into "old work" outlet boxes ?? They are made for just this situation, unless the tile (+ wallboard backing ?) is to thick for the clamping ears.
Google "old work" + outlet box to see examples
one is at www.acehardwareoutlet.com/ProductDetails.aspx?SKU163524
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wrote:

You generally install the cut in box into the sheetrock, not on the tile, and that doesn't help him to remove the existing box and cables through the 2x3" opening
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Tough situation. If the ears on the receptacle extend on to the wall enough it might be possible to install an anchor and screw through one of them directly into the wall. Another thought is a 6/32 toggle bolt might be able to catch something to pull the receptacle in.
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My thoughts exactly. Use a small toggle bolt, it should catch onto the box and the tile wall.
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wire used on aircraft you should be able to tie the outlet back in. Lay the wire over the outlet tab and make the twist parallel to the wall. I have done it with soft iron wire. You may need to carefully push the wires back with a wood dowel to prevent them from trying to push the outlet out. Once you have it in place a little epoxy or other heavy adhesive could help hold it. It should be possible to epoxy a small bracket inside the box to replace the broken off tab.
Don Young
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On Oct 11, 5:32pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Try a good size clump of JB Weld.
Rough up the surfaces of the box with a coarse file or a Dremel tool to give the JB Weld some bite. Maybe even drill a hole or two up through the top of the box to really lock it in. Get the receptacle in position, mold the JB Weld into a smooth shape and duct tape the receptacle in place over night.
If you ever have to replace the receptacle, you could always Dremel it out and JB Weld a new one back in again.
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Thanks all.
I went with the toggle bolt idea and it worked well. It caught the nail running across the top of the box.
For the record it was a 40-year old, single-gang metal box with the tabs on the outside.
-troy
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