Trying to replace and upgrade an outlet - more wires

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Old 12-28-17, 08:14 AM
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Trying to replace and upgrade an outlet - more wires

Hello everyone!

See pictures here: https://imgur.com/a/ZrioR
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I'm trying to replace an older outlet with a new outlet, which has USB built right in, but I ran into a snag of extra wires that I wasn't expecting.

Is it a matter of just combining the whites together and same for the backs and running single wires from each bundle and then wire up to the new outlet?

Thanks in advance!
 

Last edited by PJmax; 12-28-17 at 10:59 AM. Reason: added pics from link
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Old 12-28-17, 09:22 AM
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Yes put blacks and whites together, add a pigtail to both and use screws on sides, Do not use back stabs as they are the usual place of future failures. Add ground from green screw to medal box.
 
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Old 12-28-17, 09:29 AM
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Thanks for the help.

There is no ground screw in the box. Do I just find wire and connect it somewhere in the box then on the screw of the outlet?

Thanks again!
 
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Old 12-28-17, 10:54 AM
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With that type of device.... the screw terminals are set up for two wires. The wires just get pushed in and the screw tightens a plate on them. A little too much insulation stripped off in the picture but the screw connection is the same.
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In your top picture there is a threaded hole at the bottom of the box. That would get a green ground screw and a short piece of wire could be attache there. The home improvement stores sell short green tails already attached to the green screw.

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Old 12-28-17, 11:36 AM
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Yes, one should be your line in (line) and the other should be other outlets downstream (load).
 
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Old 12-28-17, 11:50 AM
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Yep - got the part of the wires connection - thanks.

For the ground wire, would ground wire from Romex indoor copper cable work? I have spare.

Would I just attach to the box in the back on the screw that is holding the clamp down, which holds the wires coming into the box?
 
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Old 12-28-17, 01:24 PM
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Actually ran into a different issue.

The box is barely wide enough to fit the new USB outlet. The screws are touching the side of the box, which is metal. I have to go back to the drawing board.

As for grounding, upon testing the outlet, before removing it, it is showing as correct Circuit, including grounding.
 
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Old 12-28-17, 04:04 PM
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For the ground wire, would ground wire from Romex indoor copper cable work?
Yes. If your outlet has a self grounding clip (a brass or spring like clip) on one of the mounting holes, you don't need to add ground wire. It will ground through the mounting bolt. That will help with box space issue a bit.

The screws are touching the side of the box, which is metal. I have to go back to the drawing board.
Is it actually pushing against the junction box or just lightly touching?
If it just lightly touching, just wrap it with electrical tape.

If all else fails, you will have to change the junction box. Or, it may be easier to mount a remodel junction box next to existing junction box, then run a wire from existing junction box to new junction box. Cover existing junction box with a blank wall plate.
 
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Old 12-28-17, 06:48 PM
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Oh yea - it's touching. Actually took some force to get it in there. Felt very dangerous, so I backed off of the idea all together. I have to figure out what to do now. Both your ideas are viable.

For grounding, I don't think I need to do anything. Is it possible the box is grounded, thereby making the outlet grounded and everything is safe?

I tested both the old and new outlets, with and without the ground I made and it tested good. A little confused on the grounding part.
 
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Old 12-28-17, 07:54 PM
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Oh yea - it's touching. Actually took some force to get it in there.
Usually with that type of outlet, bolt should not stick out beyond outlet casing (black plastic) even after putting wires under the screw. May be you need to get a different brand outlet?
I have installed USB power outlet in that type of junction box before without problem. I don't remember brand I used.


For grounding, I don't think I need to do anything. Is it possible the box is grounded, thereby making the outlet grounded and everything is safe?
Yes the box is grounded. However, the way outlets are designed does not ensure good grounding without a bonding wire or self ground clip. Mounting brackets have holes larger than the bolt and the bolts are usually not tightened all the way. Therefore, the outlet may be floating and not have ground connected all the time.

Self grounding outlets have a clip as pictured below that ensures positive contact with bolt. In this case, no ground bonding wire is necessary.


 
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Old 12-29-17, 07:46 PM
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Thanks for the help. Yea, the new USB outletís screws are very very close to the box to begin with.

The screws do protrude when the wires are under the screw plates and are whatís causing the closeness to the box.

There is a GFCI outlet that has a similar shape, but where the screws are, itís a notch deeper into the outlet. The form factor of those are whatís needed on the USB outlets, so that the screws arenít an issue.

Back to to the drawing board.

Thanks for for the help!
 
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