Back-Stabbed Receptacles

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  #1  
Old 03-24-05, 09:59 PM
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Back-Stabbed Receptacles

Hi guys, 2 questions:

1. In order to not use the backwiring method on receptacles, is it acceptable to use the same screw for multiple wires, and if so, what's the limit on the number of wires per screw? (dealing with 12AWG here).

2. Also, is it ever necessary to remove the clip from the neutral side of a split-wired receptacle? I've found a couple of receptacles that, though the silver colored side of the receptacle is in tact (the clip has not been removed), there's no continuity between the two silver colored screws. There's no continuity between the two brass screws either, but that's because the tab has been removed (since it's designed to be half-switched). I'm baffled by the silver colored scews.

Thanks
 
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Old 03-24-05, 11:17 PM
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1) First, there are two types of back connections, backwired and backstabbed. Backwired is where you stick the wire into a hole in the back and tighten a screw that pinches the wire into a metal plate; these are great connections usually found on "commercial grade", "spec grade" and GFCI receptacles. Backwired receptacles usually can hold 2 wires per screw.

The others, backstabbed, are where you stick the wire in and a spring-like clip holds the wire; these are horrible connections and should never be used.

On a standard receptacle with a looped wire around the screw, only one wire per screw is allowed. Use a wirenut and pigtail if you need more connections.

2) It would be necessary to remove the neutral side tab on a receptacle if the two outlets were on completely different circuits. This is a fairly rare occurance. Regarding your specific receptacle, perhaps it's been damaged over the years. Either that or your tester isn't working; your tester may need a new battery to get a good continuity test.
 
  #3  
Old 03-25-05, 12:09 AM
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Originally Posted by ibpooks
1) First, there are two types of back connections, backwired and backstabbed. Backwired is where you stick the wire into a hole in the back and tighten a screw that pinches the wire into a metal plate; these are great connections usually found on "commercial grade", "spec grade" and GFCI receptacles. Backwired receptacles usually can hold 2 wires per screw.

The others, backstabbed, are where you stick the wire in and a spring-like clip holds the wire; these are horrible connections and should never be used.

On a standard receptacle with a looped wire around the screw, only one wire per screw is allowed. Use a wirenut and pigtail if you need more connections.

2) It would be necessary to remove the neutral side tab on a receptacle if the two outlets were on completely different circuits. This is a fairly rare occurance. Regarding your specific receptacle, perhaps it's been damaged over the years. Either that or your tester isn't working; your tester may need a new battery to get a good continuity test.
Thanks for the reply, ib. The outlets in question are of the "backstabbed" type, as you explained the difference: the bad ones!

Seems my best course would be to invest a bit more and get the "backwired"
type, as pig-tailing would seem to be a bit much wire in the box. Already, all four back holes are in use, as are both of the hots and both neutrals, plus cables that I assume travel to other circuits. In other words, it's crowded in there!

The old receptacles still have me stumped as to why they're not showing continuity on the neutral side. It seems too much of a coincidence that BOTH receptacles would have failed in the same way, and my multimeter is in good repair, as I have a new battery and I compared the old recepatcles with some new .39 ones (which test correctly).

Anyway, thanks for your response and I think I'll just upgrade to higher quality outlets.
 
  #4  
Old 03-25-05, 09:44 AM
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If you are testing continuity on the screw heads, they might only make reliable contact when they are tight.
 
  #5  
Old 03-25-05, 11:22 PM
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Bit of advice....when terminating your wires to the backwired type receptacle I would keep this to max of 4 wires. It becomes very difficult to push the receptacle back into the box with more than 4 wires plus the ground. Too many wires to bend. I much prefer to combine all the whites in a wire nut. All the blacks in a wire nut and then the grounds and pig tail only one of each to the outlet using the backwire or screw terminal. They also are making a new connector like these...... http://www.goodmart.com/products/228694.htm. I think they would be good for the DYIer when handling several wires. They come in several configurations and you can get them at Home Depot.
 
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