Backside of wall outlet


Old 05-03-04, 02:08 PM
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Backside of wall outlet

Hi there,
I've been asking and looking, but not found what I think is a straight forward question.
I would like to wire a wall mounted light from the backside of an outlet (or inside), so as the wire does not come out of the wall, only to plug into the outlet. The 'on\off' switch is midway along the line and has been made accessible.
I have installed dimmer switches in other areas, and there was a white, black and ground.
Is it as simple as connect the three and I'm done or is there something being overlooked?
I would rather be 100% on this, instead of 90%.
The apartment, which is in a heritage house, has just been completely renovated so all wiring is new.
Also, I would like to control a different outlet with a switch that is already in place, is there a link to a tutorial on this?
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Old 05-03-04, 02:11 PM
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If this is an apartment then you most likely cannot legally make these changes, they would have to be made by an electrician.

I am unsure what you mean by "I would like to wire a wall mounted light from the backside of an outlet (or inside), so as the wire does not come out of the wall, only to plug into the outlet." However, it does not sound legal or safe. Please elaborate.
Old 05-03-04, 02:19 PM
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Sorry if I was not clear.

A lamp must be plugged in to the outlet. The lamp I am using is wall mounted and will not change location. I have put the wire inside the wall and allowed it to drop, near the floor. I see two options for power. I can bring the wire back out, from inside the wall, and plug it in....or connect the wire to the wall outlet from the inside.
The latter is preferred so as to not have the mess.
Also, this is two chandelier bulbs, dimly lit.

The 'handyman' that is sent for such repairs is a butcher. Twice he has been over (carpentry & plumbing), both times leaving the situation worse.
Old 05-03-04, 03:09 PM
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I don't think that it's a good idea to bury lamp cord ( zip cord ) behind a wall, and I would never hard wire it into an outlet box. I'm thinking major liability.
Old 05-03-04, 03:30 PM
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Perhaps there is more to it than I am aware of. The whole reason I am here asking these questions is that I am not an electrician. Once past "white to white, black to black....oh, turn the breaker off first", I will admit ignorance.
The flip side of this, it seems a little common sense can go a long way. Using materials that are in good condition, and making secure connections I see no problems arising. If this was many lights, or a more powerful unit then the math really comes into play.
Maybe plugging it in from the front, as ugly as I find it, is the way to go.
Old 05-03-04, 03:38 PM
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What you are suggesting is dangerous, unsafe, and against code.

Do not do it.
Old 05-03-04, 03:51 PM
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That's the type of answer I've been looking for, thanks.

So far, everybody I ask, it's all been shrugging shoulders and "idunno".
Old 05-03-04, 03:54 PM
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Common sense fails when there are hidden hazards. This type of cord is prone to overheating when enclosed. Not only is the wire gauge smaller than in-wall wiring, but the insulation type is different and less tolerant of heat. It is meant to be used only in free air. This wouldn't necessarily be obvious to you unless you were a plastics expert. That's the nice thing about the electrical codes. We get to just follow them without needing to be a chemical engineer, an electrical engineer and a physicist.
Old 05-03-04, 04:47 PM
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Just typed out a longer more detailed response, and when I went back for a grammar correction, all was lost. Sorry if this has spelling mistakes, but I'll hit 'post' when done.

Recently I purchased a chandelier for a very good price. It had that green, weathered look (Petina?), that I personally do not like so hours of sanding made it much nicer. Anyways, for almost nothing, the matching wall lamp was included. The wall lamp is a brass plate that sits on the wall with two arms protruding out. These arms, are hollow and the wires for the bulbs power run inside. One white and one black for each arm. Two white are connected together, and the same for the black. Where the connection is made, they are joined to average lamp wire that ends in a wall plug. Midway along the line is a wheel style 'on\off' switch.

The exact way I have hidden the lamp wire is using a Dremel to dig a ditch in the wall (not going all the way through, but enough for the wire to sit inside the ditch). Then, with some wall filler and paint, covering my tracks.

The point where it nears the outlet is still unfinished, but until then I am pleased with everything.

Any other suggestions?
Old 05-03-04, 05:44 PM
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See John's post. You have created a possible hazard. Aside from everything John noted now it could hit by a nail as it is too close to the surface.
Old 05-03-04, 11:16 PM
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I am no electrician, and hate electricity,although it seems to like me ,but couldn't the lamp be rewired? Take off the plug in wire(zip wire?),and run regular inwall wire from the plug to an on/off switch/knob to the inside of the lamp?
Old 05-04-04, 09:40 AM
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What you want to do is mount a wall lamp on a wall, and power it properly. There are correct ways to do this.

The electric code provides for fairly conservative and safe ways of supplying electricity to load devices. The knowledge contained in the electric code includes both common sense and uncommon sense developed through years of examining how systems have failed. It is clearly possible to assemble a system that violates the electric code, but which functions and is more dangerous than a code compliant system. In many cases the danger is neither immediate nor certain, but instead something that increases the probability of something bad going wrong.

Only certain types of cable or wire may be used in walls. Lamp cord is not one of those types. Lamp cord is designed to be extremely flexible at the cost of durability, and is permitted to be used only where exposed so that damage can be easily detected. Lamp cord is also requires free air in order to not overheat. It is even worse when you bury a cable in plaster: of the types of cable allowed for 'building wire', only a subset are permitted to be buried in plaster. This has to do with heat dissipation, chemical compatibility, and mechanical stress.

What you should do is install a new outlet box (metal or plastic box for holding a device or fixture) in the wall at the desired location, and then run a cable in the wall to the receptacle box. You may also need to install an additional outlet box for a switch. You should get a book on basic home wiring; these will have pictures and descriptions that will go into great detail about how to do this. As racraft noted, it may not be legal for you to do this work if you are renting.


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