changing wall outlet

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  #1  
Old 07-03-01, 07:47 PM
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I am trying to replace a wall outlet because plugs fall out easily. It is a standard grounded receptacle with 15 Amps and 125 V. However the new outlet's holes for pushing in the wire, are smaller and I can't get the wire to go in. Can I wrap the wire around the screw? Or try to make the holes in the new outlet larger. I am brand new at this and need simple detailed information. Thanks
 
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  #2  
Old 07-03-01, 08:14 PM
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Actually wrapping the wire is better than back stabbing just make sure you wrap it in the clockwise direction so when you tighten the screw it closes the loop
 
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Old 07-03-01, 08:23 PM
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Backstab or Screw mount

Since the subject was brought up, and I've heard both pro and con -- why do you professionals say that connecting a wire via the screw terminals is better than using the 'backstab' method? I choose to use the backstab method with outlets to avoid a loose connection should the screw terminal back out. I've never seen a screw terminal connection with any kind of locking device that would ensure a tight connection 'forever' whereas you can't easily disconnect a connection that uses the insertion mode.

Stephen
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Old 07-03-01, 09:21 PM
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Ive found a few cases where the back stabbing was faulty knocking out everything tied in after it.Ive pulled out a few receptacles that where backstabbed too and the wires fell right out.My opinion is terminals are better.
 
  #5  
Old 07-03-01, 09:48 PM
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Stephen,

Everybody bad-mouths backstabbing for good reason. They are responsible for lots of failures. The backstab makes a very poor connection, with only a very small area of contact. The screw connection, even a poorly done or loose one, makes much more contact than the backstab.

Dmanriq seems to have trouble with the backstab, probably because he has 12-gauge wire. Backstabs make such poor connections that the NEC outlawed 12-gauge backstab fixtures years ago. Now, it's not even legal to manufacture a receptacle to accept a 12-gauge backstab.
 
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Old 07-05-01, 08:22 AM
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When replacing devices I prefer using stranded leads.You'll have the minimum number of wires on the device and the flexibility of the leads makes setting and replacing the device easier.You can color code 3-ways-2 reds and a black,and in older boxes the wires inside are often short and frayed. With the leads wire-nutted to the branch-circuit conductors you don't open the circuit when replacing a device.For a do-it-your-self person it's best to use crimp lugs and tape around the device to insulate the terminals.
 
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Old 07-05-01, 08:37 PM
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Interesting. I've wondered about the 'contact area' issue in backstabing to an outlet or switch. I think I'll take an outlet apart and see how its done. I wouldn't be too pleased to have the connection come out but thus far, the ones I've tried to release from a backstab connection really don't want to come out.

John, as far a not making outlets with the backstab feature for 12 ga wire. Is that for 15Amp outlets only? I just put in a dedicated 20 amp circuit and used 20 amp rated outlets that were provisioned for backstabbing -- the manufacturer was Levitron which out here is considered to be good stuff.

Good idea on using stranded wire when replacing an outlet especially where the connection to the branch ckt is short. I'm not sure about the crimp on connectors though. In my line of work crimp on connectors tend to oxidize over time creating a high resistance at the connection.

Anyway, points all well taken -- I think I'll reconsider my preference of using the backstab terminal over the screw terminal. Since no one mentioned it I take it that my concern of the screws backing out over time isn't an issue.

Thanks All,

Stephen
 
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Old 07-05-01, 08:59 PM
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Stephen, those 20-amp outlets you just installed -- did you backstab that 12-gauge wire, or did you backwire them? There are many receptacles that accept 12-gauge backwire. For both backstab and backwire, you start by sticking the wire in a hole in the back of the receptacle. But for backwire, you then must tighten a screw to secure it.
 
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Old 07-06-01, 09:48 AM
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Just wanted to thank everyone for all their help and suggestions. I have now successfully changed my wall outlets.
One other question I do have relates to an instruction included with the outlet (Leviton is the manufacturer). It states for 2 circuit conversion to break off the fin on the outlet. How do you know if you have or need 2 circuit conversion?
Thanks again
 
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Old 07-06-01, 10:16 AM
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A 2 circuit conversion means that each outlet (top and bottom) of a duplex receptacle gets its power from a different source.
An example might be where the bottom outlet is hot all the time and the top is powered thru a switch. In that case you break out the "fin" to isolate one outlet from the other.
 
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Old 07-06-01, 05:15 PM
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Thanks for the information AbNORMal.
 
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Old 07-06-01, 08:20 PM
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John -- boy do I feel stupid! My dyslexia mixed up back wire and backstab. Yes, the outlets that I used required the tightening of the terminal screws after inserting the 12 ga into the holes in the back of the outlet.

Thanks for the reality check!

Stephen
 
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