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Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 115
H
Haligan Offline OP
Member
You know how Spec grade have the screw terminals that "float" loosely until wired. I have a lot of fun getting 12 gauge wire around those screws as the bob and weave like Sugar Ray Leonard. I wondered why are they made that way. All I could come up with is that if someone neglected to tighten the unused pair of terminals, it would be less likely for them to come in contact with the sides of a metal box.

That's my guess. I'd enjoy struggling with those things a little more if I understood the reasoning.

Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 840
C
Member
These are probably "back wired" receptacles that you are talking about. Look at them more closely. Do they have small holes next to the screws in the back? You insert the conductor(s) into the hole(s) in the back, and tighten the screw(s), which in turn tightens a pressure plate on the conductor. Side wrapping is not required.


Peter
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 1,716
R
Member
Like CTwireman says, you are probably missing the holes, or in some cases the side compression plates intended to be used on these receptacles.

Roger

Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 115
H
Haligan Offline OP
Member
I meant that the screws themselves hang loose. On a low-cost average receptacle, if you unscrew the screw it sticks out from the side. On spec grade devices, including most 20amp- when the screws are loosened, they dangle around. If you tilt the device upwards so you can see what you're doing, the screw head drops down.

Yes, they have the ability to be back wired. 99% of the time, I use the screw terminals.

Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 2,722
Broom Pusher and
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On those types of Devices, with the "Sandwiched Terminations":
With Solid # 12 Conductors, I will normally loop the Conductor around the Screw instead of using the "Back-Wire" option.
With Stranded # 12 Conductors, I will use the "Back-Wire" option.

I know these Terminations are listed for Solid and Stranded usage, it's just my personal preferences to go do the Voodoo that I do - shown above.
(humor attempt using wordage from old Movie)

I also tighten up the unused Screws on any device - to eliminate (read: Try To Reduce) possible Ground Faults, and the showers of sparks associated with said Ground Faults.
Also tape around Devices - again only a personal preference, not anything mandatory.

Scott35


Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 115
H
Haligan Offline OP
Member
When you use the screws do you turn the device upside down? Otherwise (on a spec grade device) the screw will drop down into the hole and there's no way to get the wire loop around it. Tilting it over is the only way I have figured to get the screw to lift up.

Joined: May 2002
Posts: 1,716
R
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Haligan, what manufacturer and model number are you using? As stated before, these receptacles have back wiring provisions.

If you post the manufacturer and model, I'll try to post a picture of this wiring method.

Roger

Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 66
C
Member
and the back wiring on these receptacles is perfectly safe to use unlike the "back stab" receptacles in which you just stick the wire in and it is supposed to stay there. the difference is that the spec grade receptacles have a screw that tightens a clamp on the wire, whereas the back stap receptacles just have a spring that is supposed to hold the wire in. the back wire receptacles with a tighening screw are very convenient to use, and also safe.

Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 391
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Haligan

I hear what you're saying. The first time I wired a Leviton Pro-Grade receptacle, I was incredibly frustrated by the dancing screws. I've found the only ones with the toggling screws seem to be receptacles that can be backwired, as other folks have mentioned. While I do like to wrap the conductor around a screw (I have more faith in the connection), trying to wire some receptacles that way is an exercise in frustration. The back-wire seems to hold on nicely, and I've had a lot of experienced folks tell me that I'm not sacrificing anything by doing it that way, so that's how it gets done.

No stab-lock though: "A good electrician doesn't back-stab his customers." [Linked Image]

-John

Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 115
H
Haligan Offline OP
Member
I apologize for seemingly not paying attention to the back-wire posts. It was drilled into my head by Obi Wan Kenobi Master Electrician not to do this. No doubt he was referring to the back-stab cheapos.

I am relieved to know that there is a way around the dancing screw phenomenon. I will back wire with confidence, and of course tighten all 5 terminals.

Incidentally, last night I was working a job and came across a stab lock type that I had to replace. The TEENY little release slots don't give one a lot of choices for what to stick in there to release.
I'd like to know a better alternative than my skillcraft ballpoint pen.

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