Installing new out, old outlet has 3 hot/neutral wires


Old 08-15-19, 06:18 AM
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Installing new out, old outlet has 3 hot/neutral wires

Previous outlet had 3 hot and 3 neutral wires connected to it via "backstabs" and the new outlet has only 2 hot and 2 neutral screws.

Hot wire 1 reads ~120
Hot wire 2 reads 0
Hot wire 3 reads ~50
Corresponding neutral wire to hot wire 3 reads ~50 as well, other 2 neutrals read zero.

Hot/neutral wire combo 3 is connecting to another outlet(call it outlet B) that is adjacent to this outlet. Outlet B is connected to a light switch and that switch is connected to a lightbulb fixture.

I straightened all of the hot/netural wires and connected hot 1 & 2 to the same bottom hot screw on the new outlet and did the same with the corresponding neutral wires 1 & 2 on the bottom neutral screw. I then connected hot wire 3 to the top hot screw and connected neutral wire 3 to the top neutral wire. Ground is connected as well.

1. Is the connecting of two wires to the same screw in this method acceptable or should i be using a pigtail and only using 1 wire attached to the terminal screw?
2. From what i have gathered the reading of ~50 on the hot/neutral 3 wires is not expected, is this correct and any ideas on a possible cause?
3. Everything is working fine with the new outlet aside from the light switch that is attached to outlet B. Outlet B works but the light switch is no longer functioning, any ideas?

Any help is much appreciated.

Last edited by Horylev1145; 08-15-19 at 08:19 AM.
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Old 08-15-19, 06:39 AM
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1) You should only connect one wire per screw. Use wirenuts and pigtails to splice the bundles together and run the pigtails to the receptacle.

2) It's an artifact called phantom voltage that shows up using digital meters on isolated sections of wire. If any load is placed across the wire the voltage will go away.

3) The switched outlet probably had a broken hot tab to separate the top and bottom receptacles of the duplex. With an intact tab, both sides of the receptacle are powered all the time and the switch position doesn't matter.
Horylev1145 voted this post useful.
Old 08-15-19, 07:24 AM
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Sounds like a potential easy fix, i will look at the old outlet tonight and go from there. Thanks!
Old 08-16-19, 06:45 AM
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Old outlet did not have a broken tab so after some digging it ended up being a loose hot wire going into the one of the "backstabs" of outlet B (i see now why many people recommend against going the backstab route). Anyways everything is wired properly now with the pigtails and working as expected. Thanks again!

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