House Electric - Wire Problem

The other day I noticed our porch light was out. Assumed it was the bulb, but that wasn't it, so I removed the fixture, thinking it was a loose wire nut. There is a black wire and a white wire in the box. Turns out, the black wire is severed near the back of the box, with just a piece of insulation holding it to the wire that would connect to the fixture wire.
Is there any way to splice the wire when there is just a quarter to half-inch to work with inside the box? Otherwise, it looks like I'll need an electrician to go into the wall. Any advice is appreciated.
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Ron in CA wrote:

Have you tried grabbing the stub with a pair of needle-nose pliers and tugging it? A professional installation usually leaves ample slack in the wire for just such contingencies.
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On 1/14/2011 11:42 AM Ron in CA spake thus:

Someone--electrician, or someone like him--needs to pull the wire farther into the box, *if* that is possible. Contrary to what "HeyBub" told you, the people who wire such boxes often leave little or no slack in the wires, even they're spozed to leave about 6" free.
If the light is on a switch, it *should* be safe to work on with the switch off, though a smart person would probably want to check it with a volts sniffer to make sure it's not live. With the power off, see if you can 1) take the box off the wall and feed more wire into the box from behind it (probably difficult), or 2) try to pull more wire into the box from inside the box, though this may lead to problems if you end up stripping insulation off the wires; then you'll have no choice but to call an elecrician.
--
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On 1/14/2011 12:16 PM me said:

Ahem; I should correct myself here, before the hordes of a.h.r. descend upon me and beat me about the head and ears. There's supposed to be about 6" of wires free *inside the box*. There's no requirement for any such slack behind the box. And the cable could/should be stapled to something inside the wall. So it sounds like you might have a hell of a repair situation there.
Still worthwhile to try to see if an inch or two of cable can be coaxed into the box. Remember, safety first: make sure the line is "de-energized" as they say before touching anything.
--
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

Ear, eye, and nose protection is also appropriate.
Make sure you're not standing on the top step of the ladder.
Do not eat the wire.
Have an assistant standing by to hold your beer.
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On 1/15/2011 8:55 AM, HeyBub wrote:

and don't scrape any paint off whilst doing it lest ye die of lead poisoning.
--
Steve Barker
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I agree with you that often, perhaps usually, there isn't enough slack left in wiring to allow enough wire to be pulled into the box. I disagree with the part where you say there is supposed to be extra slack beyond the box. AFAIK, all that code requires and electricians normally do is to route it so that it's not stressed, pinced, on a sharp angle, etc. Combine that with the reqt that cable be fastened 8 to 12 inches from where it enters a box and you typically aren't going to be able to pull enough into a box to fix a situation where it's severed close to the entry point.

Woud be real difficult to take the box off if it's the typica fixture box that's mounted inside the porch wall or ceiling.....
or 2) try to pull more wire into the box

That would seem to be the possible solution, if he gets real lucky. But in any case, he doesn't have anything to lose by trying. From the description, it sounds like they may have partially cut the wire when cutting back the outer jacket.
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wrote:

I'm going to assume this is a box mouted into the wall on the house, with a metal box. That box is held into the wall with a few wood screws at the edge flange of the box. Shut the power off to that circuit. Disconnect the fixture wires (the one that's still connected) and remove the fixture. Remove those wood screws and pull out the box. With any luck, there will be enough slack in the wire to get more into the box. Normally the cable is clamped tp the box, so loosen the clamp to get more wire into the box. One inch inside the box should be enough to wirenut on a scrap of new wire. If this dont work, all you can do is replace the cable, and that might mean busting holes in the wall. If there's a switch near the fixture on the inside, you may be lucky and find that that cable is only 3 or 4 feet long. Changing a piece of cable itself is simple, the problem is doing it inside of walls without having to make holes in the wall.
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wrote:

Sounds like a job for a crimp on butt connector. I prefer sta-con insulated types but bare should be fine with tape or sleeve.
--
Mr.E

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Ron in CA wrote:

If you are lucky some slack may be found somewhere along the run or in the basement. If you are not lucky, a new line may have to be run. You need somebody who knows house wiring,not necessarily an electrician.
--
LSMFT

Simple job, assist the assistant of the physicist.
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It is entirely possible that there is slack on the cable, inside the ceiling, however it generally won't be between the required staple and the box. There is NO requirement to have slack and there is a requirement to have a staple, so the only way to get to the slack is to remove the box and the staple. Both are usually doable with caution, and depending upon the type of box that you have.

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rnal-september.org...

+1...
RBM is right on this one... To do this as a homeowner without needing MUCH larger holes in the walls than you will find is the rationale behind hiring an electrician to deal with this repair... Plus the fact that your wire will still be too short to meet code even if you do find an inch or two of slack in the wall because you will have to cut some of that remaining half inch away to remove the corroded portion at the point where it broke to make a new safe connection...
Think long term here, pay the couple hundred service call for an electrician to do this job once and never have to worry about it again...
~~ Evan
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*Ideal makes a butt splice connector that is spring loaded. You just push it on to the wire and stick another piece in the other end. No crimping or taping is needed. Try an electrical supply company.
http://www.idealindustries.com/prodDetail.do?prodId=spliceline&div=0&l1=push-in
If that doesn't work there are a few other things to try, but it depends on the type of wiring. For BX the electrical box would have to be removed so that some of the armor could be stripped back. For Romex in a metal box with a clamp, you could try loosening the clamp and pull a little slack in. If it is a plastic box, you could try just pulling a little slack into the box. Sometimes by removing the box you can access the nearest staple and remove it to give you a few more inches. There is no guarantee that there will be sufficient slack to pull in.
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or install a box nearby closer to the source of the wire, then feed a short section of wire to the light.
blank cover over the new junction box and your all set...
this is probably easier than replacing the line all the way back to the switch
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wrote:

I wonder how that happened! I gather the light used to work.

Yes there is. It takes less wire than a wirenut and less than a crimp on, because it just slides on and has a metal clip inside. Unfortunately I forget the name, but they had an assortement of 12 in 3 sizes (red for 2 wires, green for 3 wires, and yellow for 4 wires iirc) for only 3 dollars iirc at Home Depot. Hanging on a hook, in a little bubble pack card, with a couple other non-assorted next to it.
I actually bought, gave to a friend, then talked him out of using it after I thought about it some more, even though it's rated to be okay, since he was fixing a circuit with 8 flood-lights, over 1000 watts, but you'll come nowhere near that in a porch light fixture.
Ah, it might have been made by Ideal, like the one John suggests, but in the ones I saw at home depot, all the holes pointed the same direction, fwiw. There are a couple other slightly different designs also. Actually John's has the advantage of the holes pointing in opposite directions, but it might be harder to find, espeically only a few of them.

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Ron in CA wrote the following:

Pull the box and see if you can free up some slack.
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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"Ron in CA" wrote in message
The other day I noticed our porch light was out. Assumed it was the bulb, but that wasn't it, so I removed the fixture, thinking it was a loose wire nut. There is a black wire and a white wire in the box. Turns out, the black wire is severed near the back of the box, with just a piece of insulation holding it to the wire that would connect to the fixture wire.
Is there any way to splice the wire when there is just a quarter to half-inch to work with inside the box? Otherwise, it looks like I'll need an electrician to go into the wall. Any advice is appreciated. __________________________________________
Wow. Much thanks to all who replied. I ended up removing the box and stripping away some of the metal cable to get a little more copper. It's now working. Thanks again.
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About 40 years ago they used to make a little device for fixing such things. It was a coil of wire that you could slide over the end of the wire if you can strip off some of the insulation the you stick another wire into the other end of the coil. The coil was tinned and saturated with flux so just heat it up with your soldering iron and apply a little more solder. insulate with some heat shrink tubing.I think they went out of business because they were too easy to make for yourself. Just coil some bare tinned electronic hookup wire using the broken piece as a mandel, apply a liberal amount of flux and slide it over the end of the wire in the box. LAst I heard it was stiil legal to solder electrical splices. Stripping the little stub of a wire is going to be the most difficult part. I have an L shaper piece of steel "shiping strap" with a V notch in the end. I clamp this on my soldering iron with a small hose clamp and heat it up. place the wire in the notch and the heat will melt the insulation stripping it easily.
Jimmie
Jimmie
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