Outlet: 3 wires 2 plugins.

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  #1  
Old 10-15-12, 06:31 AM
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Outlet: 3 wires 2 plugins.

Hi there. About a year ago my mother had a contractor from Hungary (Mr. Do-It-All). Half way through the renovations she ran out of money and I'm trying to help her finish up.

Now, I'm just wondering for safety reasons how to complete an outlet. All that's in there is 1 black 1 white and the grounding wire. The rest of the outlets are set up with 2 black and whites along with the single grounding wire. My mother claims this is the end of the circuit and that's the reason for it.

My question is; to which screws would I attach the black and white wires? And will both of the plugs in the outlet be functional? It is not controlled by a switch and there is no red wire. Thank you.

Ps: Sorry if this topic has been covered, I spent about 30 minutes searching multiple sites and guides on this but none seemed to have any information about this type of setup.
 
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Old 10-15-12, 06:36 AM
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Welcome to the forums

Your mother is correct - connect the wires to the receptacle as they have been on the others in the house, in the US it is black to brass screw and white to silver screw.
 
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Old 10-15-12, 06:38 AM
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Thanks for the warm welcome!

You make it sound so simple, but there being 2 silver and 2 brass screws (as if there should be 2 black and 2 white wires) is what I'm wondering about. To which 2 screws am I supposed to attach the wires to? Is there a difference? Do I wrap them around both?
 
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Old 10-15-12, 06:52 AM
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Doesn't matter which one - one wire per screw, wrapped clockwise so tightening the screw tightens the wire.

That said, you've asked some pretty basic questions here and it might be a good idea for you to read a book or two about wiring first - it can be pretty straight forward but mistakes can cause deadly fires.
 
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Old 10-15-12, 06:52 AM
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And also 1 more thing, the tabs between the screws, how am I to know if I should take those out? I didn't quite understand that from what I read. All i found was "if the old one was like that, then take them out", which isn't much help here.
 
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Old 10-15-12, 06:55 AM
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I've worked with my father since early childhood doing construction so I do have some background with safety and having common sense when it comes to construction and soforth. The reason I'm here is exactly that; I'd rather not make a mistake and make sure I'm 100% sure of what I'm doing before hand.
 
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Old 10-15-12, 07:15 AM
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There are four screws because it is common in the US to daisy chain (parallel) receptacles. Receptacle A feeds receptacle B, feeds receptacle C, etc but of course at the last receptacle there is only the one cable since it does not feed another cable.

The tabs are there to carry power from one screw to the next. They would be removed only if you had feeds from to different sources going in. A common residential example is one plug-in on a switch and one plug-in not on a switch.

Note there are quick connectors on the back of many receptacles but here we recomend do not use them. They are less reliable then the screws because the consist only of a light spring that can fatigue over time.

There are special receptacles called GFCI that are wired differently. No tabs on those and they are wired with pressure terminals tightened by the screws. On those it is very important to get the wires on the correct terminals.
 
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Old 10-15-12, 07:18 AM
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As Ray said, leave the tabs - most common reason to break the tab is if you're going to make half the receptacle switched, which requires different wires to feed each half (and you don't have that situation).
 
  #9  
Old 10-15-12, 07:43 AM
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Well thank you for the help. It was very much appreciated. After I completed it, I was sad to find out that it doesn't work anyways because there are 3 other outlets that just have wires sitting there so the circuit doesn't make it to the outlet I just installed. Good guy, contractor. Thanks again.
 
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Old 10-15-12, 08:07 AM
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Sorry about the outcome but it sounds fixable. We will be glad to help you.
 
  #11  
Old 10-15-12, 08:07 AM
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Yep, electricity is funny that way

At least you know what to do with the other three now, right?
 
  #12  
Old 10-15-12, 08:26 AM
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Not sure about your skill level re electrical wiring so don't be insulted if what I say is obvious to you.

Do you know if the contractor ran a new circuit or tapped off an existing outlet? The reason I ask is because you installed a recepticle and it did not work so you must have gone to the panel and turned on a breaker to test it. Are you positive which breaker the circuit is on or if the guy even got as far as installing a breaker (on a new circuit)? He shouldn't have with unterminated recepticles. What I'm getting at is, be careful turning on breakers with bare wires sticking out of the wall, best case is you will see sparks and trip the breaker. If he tapped off an existing outlet somewhere, you will be working on a live box so be careful and test everything before you touch it and use a test lamp not one of those non contact voltage detectors.
 
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Old 10-15-12, 07:10 PM
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Sounds like you just have a little more work to do. Now that you have a better understanding it should be easier.
 
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