Wires Too Short in Outlet Box, How to Extend Length ?

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Wires Too Short in Outlet Box, How to Extend Length ?
I have some 110 volt boxes which hold the Outlets and some are for Light switches. The problem is when I go to replace the old outlet or light switch the wires are so short that reconnecting a new outlet or wire is impossible. The wires literally will not even allow me to get to the screw without great effort.
So when I go to install the new outlet/light switch some of the wires either broke.
This section of the house is about 50 years old and it appears these are the oldest boxes.
Is there a good/safe way to EXTEND those 110 volt wires? I tried using 12 gauge wires and using a wire nut to extend a piece but this made it impossible to push all those wires back into the box.
So does anyone have a method to extend those wires?
Thanks,
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backclamp outlets will effectively give you an extra inch or two.
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Toller wrote:

It doesn't have to meet code; it has already been installed and supposedly inspected. He doesn't have to bring it up to code just to replace the outlets. The back-clamp devices are a great solution.
note to BOB: we're not talking about cheap "back-stab" outlets. The back-clamp outlets are commercial grade or better, and you stab the wires (up to #10 conductors) in the back and then tighten the screws on the side to clamp the connections.
Best regards, Bob
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BOB wrote:

How about using butt splice crimp connectors to join on additional short lengths of wire?
They're available almost anywhere electrical stuff is sold and the crimping tool only costs a few bucks.
http://www.action-electronics.com/terminal.htm
HTH,
Jeff
--
Jeffry Wisnia

(W1BSV + Brass Rat \'57 EE)
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Back when I worked as an electrician I came across this in buildings built around WWII. Must have been due to copper shortage. Most annoying! I would try insulated crimp butt splices. They would be a bit smaller than wirenuts. The trick will be finding a crimper you can fit into the box. Might have to grind off part of the tool. Another possibility is search for other wire nuts. I've seen some that were huge compared to others, even though they were all for use on a similar quantity of #12 wires.
Steve Noll | The Used Equipment Dealer Directory: | http://www.big-list.com
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I've run into this too, and asked other electricians about what they would do, and I'll explain what I do.
The majority of electricians answered:
1. They charge their customers for a new wire run, if they have it. Imagine that.
2. If a customer doesn't have the money, then wire nutting on desired length of wire to the short wire is done. This short length of wire (< 2 times required length) does not count for box fill if you already have a properly sized box. But check with your situation, and all codes.
3. This is what I DO, I butt splice on longer free conductors, with insulated butt terminals. I find them very clean, secure (if done correctly), and take up minimal room in the box, verses a wirenut. Plus the price is what most customers can afford. ;)
Now remember, I only recommended that qualified electricians work on your equipment, it's not worth the chance of fires, or electricutions. :D
hth,
tom @ www.NoCostAds.com
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I've got a crimp tool that's damned near perfect, but the ones I see available now are all wrong - they have flat jaws, which don't really shape crimps correctly. Have you found a source for a proper tool?
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Doug Kanter wrote:

Go to this page:
http://www.aiyamicro.com//legacy-products/network_equipment_crimping-tools.htm
http://tinyurl.com/jlh6p
And scroll down to the HT336A crimping tool with exchangeable crimping dies.
Then scroll further to HT-336HDIE, HT-336RDIE or HT336WDIE, depending on the design of the crimp connector you'll be using.
I've used one of these at someone else's plant, but the only crimping tool I own is one of the kind you described with almost flat jaws. If I'm really concerned about the reliability of an inline connection I usually make a twisted splice, solder it and put a double layer of shrink tubing over it. :)
Jeff
--
Jeffry Wisnia

(W1BSV + Brass Rat \'57 EE)
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Doug Kanter wrote:

Proper crimp tools are available from AMP, Greenlee, etc. the problem is you'll spend $150 on the thing.
Pete C.
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Yeah, well, if you don't, you could burn your house down, or your boat or car, wherever you've got crimp connections.
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After many years working on our old house which has plaster/lath walls, I've learned to just do the plaster/lath work needed to replace some boxes. You might want to consider this. Once you get the old box out of the wall, and consider whether or not the wire that is there is worth saving, it will be possible to make a safe splice to extend the wire AND replace the box with a larger one, OR run a new piece of romex. This also lets you think carefully about any other changes you might want to make there. If the romex/wiring that is there has crumbly insulation, replacement of some of it is the wisest thing to do This is what it takes to deal well with these kinds of problems. OR, hire someone to do it for you!! --Phil
BOB wrote:

--
Phil Munro Dept of Electrical & Computer Engin
mailto: snipped-for-privacy@cc.ysu.edu Youngstown State University
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BOB wrote:

Wire nuts was good first thought, but you should not use 12 gauge wire. Use14 gauge multistrand (flexible) wire between the old wire and the outlet and use the smallest wire nuts that fit.
If you really can't get the wire back in the box (can't see how that would be likely) then you need a bigger box. A box extension, which means the outlet extends from the wall, or removal of the box and installation of a larger box, which could get messy.
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Try using backfeed type outlets. These are the type where you push the wires in the back and then tighten the screws on the side like what a GFCI has. (Not to be confused with the cheaper 'backstab' outlets were the wire are held only by a spring clip).
If that does not work then you may need to replace boxes. I just pry the old box off the stud and let it fall into the wall cavity. Then replace the old box with deep boxes. Even a new standard size box will have more room than those old boxes. With new boxes, you should have enough room to 'pigtail' new wire onto the old. Don't be tempted to splice behind or outside of the box.
Other options would be to move the box up or down a few inches and repair the wall. Put in a double box, or a single new box at a different location, maybe in the same wall cavity a few inches away, then splice into the old box and put a blank cover plate on the old box.
Kevin
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Unless the original wire is 12 gauge, no point in using 12 gauge. If it's 14, 14 will do.

Maybe you're not pushing hard enough.

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install new empty box nearby and wire boxes together, install blank cover on box with wires too short.
yeah old work boxes are often jammed, new box is easiest best and cheap fix.
this has occuered here, original wiring very short:(
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WOW! That was a quick and good response.
Never seen this on usenet before in more than 8 years of use.
thanks folks.
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Solder and heat shrink tubing (and a twist of electrical tape for good luck) . Good as a original and no extra bulk (just a bit less flexible).
backstab outlets are a good option but pose their own reliability problems.
AL wire? better not solder
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BOB wrote:

Unclamp the wire and try to pull, there may be a extra slack loop behind the box(our code requires it) or you'll have to crimp extra piece of wire.
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I have to toss in that I'm extremely sceptical about using crimp connectors on solid wire- you have to crimp hard enough to deform the wire, and I don't think your run-of-the-mill, looks-like-a-pair-of-pliers crimper is going to exert enough force.
Dave
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Vice grip pliers will do.
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