Adding an Outlet


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Old 12-29-07, 11:33 AM
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Adding an Outlet

I have 120v outlet and box that I want to make a double outlet and box.
The wiring is as follows:
Top brass terminal - Black
Top silver terminal - White
Lower brass terminal - Red

How do I wire another outlet to the existing outlet?

I hope this makes sense.

Thanks for any help.
 
  #2  
Old 12-29-07, 12:42 PM
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Does the switch on the wall control the upper or lower (my guess) of the two outlets?
 
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Old 12-29-07, 01:17 PM
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Adding an Outlet

The box is always hot. It isn't connected to a switch.
 
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Old 12-29-07, 04:40 PM
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Is the tab broken between the top and bottom halves of the receptacle on the hot (brass)?

Is this receptacle powered by more than one circuit breaker?

What does the switch in the room control?

Have YOU ever replaced this receptacle?
 
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Old 12-29-07, 07:48 PM
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Adding an Outlet

There are black white and red wires coming into the box, and attached to:
Top brass terminal - Black
Top silver terminal - White
Lower brass terminal - Red
There is a ground(green) screwed into the back of the box and attached to the ground on the outlet.
The tab is NOT broken on the brass (or the silver).
This outlet is in the garage.
There is a switch on the wall but it does NOT control this outlet.
This outlet is ALWAYS hot.
This outlet is connected to a 20 amp breaker. I'm not sure if it is powered by another breaker.
I have NEVER changed this outlet.
 
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Old 12-29-07, 09:16 PM
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If the tab isn't broken off, the wiring makes little sense. The usual explanation is that an unknowledgeable person replaced this receptacle sometime in the past, and had no idea there was even a tab on the side of the receptacle. This is especially likely if you have a wall switch around somewhere that doesn't seem to do anything.

Are you in Canada by any chance? For accurate advice, please add your city to the Location field of your profile.

But all this information isn't even necessary. We can ignore it all. If it currently works just fine, then all you have to do is jumper the old receptacle to the new one. To be safe (just in case you're wrong about the tab), we'll just jumper the black and not the red. Here's how:

1. Replace the single-gang box with a double-gang box. You'll have to temporarily remove the wires from the old receptacle to do this, but very, very carefully reattach them exactly as they were before.

2. Take the black wire off the top brass screw on the old receptacle. Use a wire nut to connect this black wire to two 4" pieces of black wires. Connect the other end of these two black wires to the upper brass screw, one on each receptacle. Do not attach anything to the lower brass screw on the new receptacle, and do not break off any tabs. Do not remove the red wire from the lower brass screw on the old receptacle.

3. Connect a short (but not too short) white wire from the lower silver terminal on the old receptacle to the lower silver terminal on the new receptacle.

4. Take the grounding wire off the green screw on the old receptacle. Use a wire nut to connect it to two short grounding wires, in turn connecting these two to the green grounding screws on both receptacles.

5. Carefully repack the box.

6. Since this is in a garage, make sure the both receptacles are GFCI protected. If you are currently code compliant, this should already be the case by a GFCI breaker or upstream GFCI receptacle. Use a simple $8 outlet tester to verify the GFCI protection. The verification will trip the GFCI, so then go reset it. The outlet tester will also verify that you have the correct polarity.
 
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Old 12-30-07, 09:52 AM
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Adding an Outlet

Thanks for the reply.

I agree with you. It doesn't make sense. I'm not in Canada. I'm in the U.S..
There is only one switch in the garage, and it operates another outlet. It never operated this outlet.

I will try what you have suggested and post back.
 
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Old 12-30-07, 10:24 AM
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Adding an Outlet

I just tried a test. Turned off the elec. and broke off the tab between the black and red wires on the side where they connected to the outlet. Turned on the elec., tried the switch and the bottom would not work.
So I guess the tab should not be broken?
 
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Old 12-30-07, 10:25 AM
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There are other possibilities that make sense as well.

You could examine the wiring at the panel. Perhaps this was at one point a multi-wire circuit (or the owner wanted the possibility of such).
 
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Old 12-30-07, 12:06 PM
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Adding an Outlet

I have tried John Nelson's instructions and everything works. I did a polarity test with my tester and it indicates everything is wired correctly.

So, I guess I am done.

Thanks to all of you who responded.
 
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Old 12-30-07, 12:09 PM
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Adding an Outlet

As a side note, the previous owner was an idiot. I have had to correct Many bad wiring scenarios. I'm surprised he didn't get hurt or killed at some point.
 
 

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