How to divide Low-voltage & 120V in same box

Reply

  #1  
Old 12-16-02, 01:23 PM
karen_z's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: NC
Posts: 117
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
How to divide Low-voltage & 120V in same box

Among the blatant code violations that I am trying to repair... I want to put a divider between the speaker wire/volume control & 120V light switches that I have in the same box. This also goes for some double-gangs that have phone/cable & 120V outlets.

Funny thing...I noticed that all of the new blue, plastic boxes at Home Depot now have these nice little grooves where one could easily slide in a plastic divider plate. But, my old boxes don't have these. I didn't see any dividers in site, though. I have seen some at the smarthome.com site, but those are just for their boxes, I think.

Any suggestions as to how I could do this? I noticed that there are these blue, plastic double-gang box covers that I might be able to dremel into shape...but, how the heck could I secure them? Silicone? Construction adhesive? Ack!

Also, what exactly has to be divided? I mean, does this divider have to go all the way to the back of the box, with all wires on their correct sides? Thanks for any input!
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 12-16-02, 04:00 PM
B
Member
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Connecticut USA
Posts: 144
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Find out who makes the box(es) and go to a local electrical supply house that deals with that manufacturer. They will be the best ones to help you out. Hopefully someone makes universal type dividers, not sure as I've never had to deal with this situation.

"does this divider have to go all the way to the back of the box, with all wires on their correct sides?"
Yes, you are effectively making them two separate boxes.

Good luck!
 
  #3  
Old 12-16-02, 05:16 PM
C
Member
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Taylors, SC
Posts: 9,483
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
It appears to me that you are looking at the reinforcement ridge and the tab where the wire passes through the box. Subdividing the box would make it rather small for the wires.
 
  #4  
Old 12-20-02, 08:22 AM
karen_z's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: NC
Posts: 117
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I still can't figure it out...

Ok, I'm not having any luck finding a divider for the box that will work. Neither Depot nor Lowes has a dedicated divider, but even if I got one, I don't know how to make it fit and secure it properly, since there is no slot for it in my boxes. I'm fairly certain that the ridges on the new boxes are for dividers; they are new (not on any old boxes that I have seen), small (not structural) and centered between the gang cavities. At least new boxes will make it easier to combine line and low voltage.

So, I have this 1/8" plastic plate that I can cut to size and probably make fit nicely as a divider...BUT...how the heck can I secure it to the walls of the box? Would silicone or some sort of construction adhesive be ok to use inside an electrical box? I could run a bead along the all edges of the divider and that would probably hold fairly well. I don't think I want to notch a groove top and bottom, because the blue box walls are fairly thin (~1/8"), right?

Any ideas???
 
  #5  
Old 12-20-02, 01:41 PM
W
winkleal
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
If the box that you have is not supposed to have a divider, you will be violating its UL listing by adding one.

A solution to your problem may be to use an old work box that is made to have a divider installed to replace the old box. I will try to think of another solution, but that is all that I can think of now.

Tony
 
  #6  
Old 12-21-02, 10:12 AM
G
Member
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Calgary Canada
Posts: 697
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Most standard outlet boxes don't have dividers made for them in most applications a special box is required (I know because I got caught big time for this one once). You can get boxes that are made for this type of application They are a little different in size in order to allow the extra wires and divider. If you can't find one locally you can try Spyder Manufacuting in British Columbia they make a series of boxes for this type of appication that are UL listed for use in the U.S. Good luck
 
  #7  
Old 12-23-02, 08:33 AM
karen_z's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: NC
Posts: 117
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Big Brain Power Needed

So, there's really no way to do this without replacing the boxes? C'mon guys, there's got to be a way. This would be a BIG Bummer.

I have about a 8 double & triple gang boxes that need dividers. This would be a huge pain. Any work-saving suggestions?

Getting new boxes would not a problem...if Lowes or Depot can't get dividers for their boxes (that now seem to accept them), there's always SmartHome.com, that definitely has them.

I sure wish these boxes were so easily available 7 years ago when I started this project. Maybe I should just leave them be and let the new owners decide if low/line voltage in the same box is a problem. Thoughts?
 
  #8  
Old 12-23-02, 11:40 AM
G
Member
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Calgary Canada
Posts: 697
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
If you can make a divider to fit the boxes you have and talk to the inspector about them he might give you permission to use them. Ask him what he'd want to see in the devider and how he'd want them installed. because it is residential he might be willing to cut you some slack. if he gives you special permission then you are allowed to do it and you can safely install what you want.
 
  #9  
Old 12-23-02, 07:10 PM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 15,115
Received 69 Votes on 59 Posts
I believe the boxes are made by Carlon.

Along with the problem of mixing 2 classes of wiring, the box capacity may not be large enough to support both wiring types. Adding a divider will not solve this problem.

Is there enough slack to remove the low voltage wires and install them in a old-work box mounted adjacent to the 120V wiring?
 
  #10  
Old 12-24-02, 09:17 AM
karen_z's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: NC
Posts: 117
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the info. I'm thinking that it may just be easier, less trouble, code, etc. to just replace my boxes with those designed for line & low voltage.

Ok, now I have some box-replacement questions.

If I have to rip out the old double and triple gangs, what is the best way to do this and replace them? I mean, the boxes that I am looking at are all for new construction with those "wing" thingys on them for nailing. In the past, I have just clipped these off and run drywall screws from the inside of the box into the adjacent stud. Is this ok, or am I just exchanging one code violation for another? If this is not ok, how can I secure a double or triple gang to a stud? I don't think those "hold anywhere" clips will work well for large boxes, eh?

Thanks!
 
  #11  
Old 12-24-02, 09:30 AM
M
Member
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 510
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
On the Smarthome website, they also list an "add-on" low voltage ring that clips to one side of a regular plastic box, allowing the line voltage and low voltage to share a faceplate. In you situation it may be easier to add these to the existing boxes rather than rip the old boxes out.

Or you could combine one of these low-voltage rings to a rework plastic box and use the combination to replace your existing boxes. Cutting ears off a new work box and screwing through the sides seems to be a pretty clear violation of the manufacturer's installation instructions and would therefore void the UL approval.

A third option is to look further (maybe the Carlon catalog) for a rework version of the divided box that is sold at Smarthome.
 
Reply
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: