Replace basement light bulb socket with outlet

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  #1  
Old 01-05-15, 06:12 AM
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Replace basement light bulb socket with outlet

Hi,

I'm sure this has been asked before but I was not able to find an answer.

I would like to replace the light bulb sockets located on the ceiling of my basement with outlets so that I can hang shop lights to brighten up the space. These have cords to plug into outlets.

I have changed many outlets over the years (easy to copy existing wiring), but have never converted a fixture to an outlet. I opened up the first box and see the black and white wires from the fixture attached to the rest of the wiring with wiring nuts where several wires are connected (from the breaker box and then to other locations).

Can I just cut the white and black wires from the fixture, strip them, and attach to the outlet? Or do I need need to do something more involved?

Note that per Home Depot instructions, I did attach a short ground wire from the green screw to the outlet box screw. If there is any issue with this, please let me know.

Thanks!
 
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Old 01-05-15, 06:43 AM
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Yes, Leave all wiring as it was. The lights, which are switched, require a hot and neutral to work.
Same with the receptacles. So just duplicate what was there and the receptacles will be switched just as the lights were.
I don't understand the ground question. How are you attaching the receptacle boxes to the old ceiling boxes, usually the entire box is swapped out for a new configuration.
 
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Old 01-05-15, 07:06 AM
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Can I just cut the white and black wires from the fixture, strip them, and attach to the outlet?
You can't use the old wires that were a part of the fixture. You can replace them with a new pigtail of the proper color and size. #14 if the breaker is 15 amps or #12 if it is a 20 amp breaker. If you have scrap NM-b (AKA Romex) you can strip the wires from that otherwise use THHN/THWN.
per Home Depot instructions, I did attach a short ground wire from the green screw to the outlet box screw. If there is any issue with this, please let me know.
If the box isn't metal or isn't grounded then that is an issue. What is the wiring method to and between the lights?
  • NM-b (Romex) with a ground wire?
  • NM (old style Romex) no ground wire?
  • Metal Conduit?
  • Armored cable?
 
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Old 01-05-15, 07:57 AM
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I think I understand now what OP is trying to do, thanks Ray.

Yeah, "saving" the pigtails that went into the lights is a no-no. The wire is probably stranded or undersized.
 
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Old 01-05-15, 08:10 AM
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I was thinking the OP had porcelain fixtures and had pigtails to the screws due to multiple wires.
 
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Old 01-05-15, 08:22 AM
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That's what I thought initially. OP can you post a picture of the pigtails you refer to?
 
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Old 01-05-15, 08:55 AM
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My take was if he had keyless fixtures he wouldn't have to cut the wires but specifically said cut the wires. Please pictures. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/li...rt-images.html
 
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Old 01-05-15, 09:46 AM
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Thanks for all the replies!

I will take a picture when I get home from work.

The boxes are metal. Metal conduit carries wiring inside of it from box to box.

The light bulb fixtures are those individual small circular fixtures which just house the socket for the bulb.
 
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Old 01-05-15, 11:32 AM
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If that is the case you shouldn't need to cut the wires, just release them from the screws. The wires should be okay for reuse in that case.
 
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Old 01-05-15, 12:44 PM
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I will post a picture just in case I'm explaining it wrong, to be safe. Thanks
 
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Old 01-05-15, 12:48 PM
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The boxes may be overfilled when the device is added. The plate would also need two screws to hold the receptacle. A single center screw does not meet code.

A keyless with a receptacle may be the easiest if gfi protection can be added.
 
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Old 01-05-15, 04:26 PM
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Here is a picture of the wiring inside the box..... note the black and white wires to the fixture are hardwired to the fixture (no screws). Is it ok to cut/strip these and attach to the screws on a new outlet (contained in a metal cover which will be screwed with 2 screws to the box above)?

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Here is a picture of the fixture - I had no idea this was called a "keyless" fixture.

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If these are too bright, I can try to get better pictures.

Thanks a lot!
 
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Old 01-05-15, 05:25 PM
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The simplest thing to do is remove the pigtails form the wire nuts to allow the keyless and plaster ring to be removed.

Add new pigtails to the receptacle and screw the receptacle to a plate like this.RACO Cover,4x4,Duplex Receptacle - Electrical Box Covers - 5AA31|902C - Grainger Industrial Supply.

Add a gfi to the first receptacle in the circuit.
 
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Old 01-05-15, 05:38 PM
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Thanks! I have a cover just like that but for the Decor style of outlet.

Regarding GFI -- is this required if all outlets will be on the ceiling? I already bought regular outlets, but if this is required, I will go back and exchange one (for the first in the circuit).

Also, based on your reply, I'm assuming it is not acceptable to just re-use the existing wires from the fixture -- correct?

Thanks!
 
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Old 01-05-15, 06:03 PM
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Latest code requires the GFCI needs to be an assessable height. If power comes in at the switch you can put a GFCI there.
I'm assuming it is not acceptable to just re-use the existing wires from the fixture -- correct?
Yes. Use THHN/THWN wire.
 
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Old 01-05-15, 06:49 PM
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If the wires from the fixtures are the proper gauge they could be reused. I thought you said they were part of the fixtures.

Receptacles in an unfinished basement should be gfi protected.
 
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Old 01-05-15, 07:58 PM
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O/P wrote:
note the black and white wires to the fixture are hardwired to the fixture (no screws).
.
 
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