Electrical Wiring in a Single Box

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Old 12-05-10, 10:13 AM
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Electrical Wiring in a Single Box

I pulled some standard 120VAC dual edison outlets that had been painted over & discovered that an extra set of wires had been added in to the terminals. The original wiring was daisy chained with a primary wire coming in & the secondary wire on the second set of terminals to continue the circuit. The grounds were grounded to the box & twisted together. The extra set of wires I am referring to were doubled on to one set of the terminals. They feed another box with an outlet on the other side of the same wall (obviously an add-on). I believe I read some where on another post that this was considered an unacceptable practice. The boxes are also metal, & both in & out wires were clamped in place coming in to the back.
My plan is to remove these metal boxes & replace with a double-wide plastic "add-on" box (the kind where you cut a hole & the screw-tight tabs hold it in place) to house a replacement outlet & leave some ROOM on the other side to properly wire nut all three lines together. One problem is that the original boxes were side nailed with pretty big nails into a stud & I don't see an easy way to cut them out without making a bigger hole. I'll have to widen it eventually to put the double box in but does anyone know of a way to cut these nails inside the box? I have misplaced my stud finder so at this point I am not positive which side the stud is on, so I don't want to go cutting on the wall until I'm sure.
Any feedback, thoughts, comments are appreciated. If i go buy another studfinder my old one is garanteed to show up!
 
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Old 12-05-10, 10:29 AM
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You raise an interesting point. I believe that in general you are correct that the wires should be pigtailed but I'm curious if wires can be connected this way on a backwired (not backstabbed) receptacle. One wire on each screw and one wire in each backwire connection.

Measure the size of your box. Once you know the size (cu in) you can find box fill calculators on line. With just 6 wires it may be large enough as is. If you have to remove it the nails can be cut with a sawzall (power off!). You can pole a finishing nail on either side of the box to find the stud but you should be able to see it with the cover off.
 
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Old 12-05-10, 10:31 AM
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I pulled some standard 120VAC dual edison outlets
That is how I would describe a lamp holder but I know you mean a duplex receptacle.

If the cables to the box or non metallic such as NM-b (Romex) you can go back with plastic boxes however if it is metallic cable such as BX you must use metal boxes.

You are correct the wires should have been pigtailed together. That is a short length of wire joined to them and run to the receptacle.

Either a Sawzall or a hack saw blade can be used to remove the original box without enlarging the opening. Simply cut between the 2X4 and the box. Never owned a Rotozip but it would probably work too.

P.S. Please use paragraphs.
 
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Old 12-05-10, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Wayne Mitchell View Post
You raise an interesting point. I believe that in general you are correct that the wires should be pigtailed but I'm curious if wires can be connected this way on a backwired (not backstabbed) receptacle. One wire on each screw and one wire in each backwire connection.
I read it as two wires under one screw but rereading you may be right. A back wired usually has two notches on each connector so you can put two wires under each connector so up to 8 wires is approved. It has been my understanding the screws on a back wired are only for tightening not for wires but I am probably wrong. I have also seen Leviton backstab only (no screws) receptacles with 8 holes.
 
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Old 12-05-10, 02:48 PM
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I took it to mean that there were two wires under one screw and one under the other screw.

To the OP, tap on the wall and listen for the difference in sound. The side with the stud will sound less hollow than the non-stud side. You can also sneak a wire outside the box and feel for the stud.
 
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Old 12-06-10, 11:43 AM
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Since you're removing the box anyway, shut off all the power to the box and run a saw blade between the drywall and the outside of the box - like you're sawing off the nail - you'll get a stop at the nails on the stud side. Also, you could drill through the sides of the box from the inside with a small drill bit - you'll know whether you hit air or wood once you pass through the box.

These would be only if all other methods of finding the stud fail
 
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