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DIY Electrical question...help

Old 10-25-2009, 01:48 PM
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Default DIY Electrical question...help

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Last edited by littletunny; 10-27-2009 at 06:44 AM.
Old 10-25-2009, 02:09 PM
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What you are looking at is a "break" in the wiring the electrician put in for you. You might think of each pair of wires being only one wire, cut and spliced back together so you have enough lead length so you could add a receptacle. As is, the wires are probably servicing a receptacle on down the line. So, the blacks both go the the power side of the receptacle (there are two screws on each side). The whites go to the neutral side and the bare grounds go to the ground lug. The neutral side is marked and usually has silver screws, whereas the power side has brass colored screws. Teeing off another receptacle is going to be tough, because adding a feed out of that box that would require six wires to be joined or attached to the new receptacle. That could get tough, so unless you really need to add a receptacle to that box, I'd simply add a run of 14 gauge wire and splice it together with what is there. Cover the box with a flat cover and add your new quad receptacle elsewhere. Those blue boxes are sold for new construction, so they nail in. The ones for old construction, which is what you need, can be installed by cutting a neat hole for them in the drywall.

Last edited by kerno; 10-25-2009 at 02:16 PM. Reason: added info
Old 10-25-2009, 02:23 PM
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So do I just need to hook my new wire to the sets already twisted together?
Old 10-25-2009, 02:32 PM
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If that circuit is on a 20 amp breaker, you need #12. 15 amp breaker, #14.
Old 10-25-2009, 02:41 PM
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I'd just go ahead and put a 15 or 20 amp duplex receptacle there, and then plug in a multiple-outlet surge strip for your tools.
Remember, this is probably on a 15 or 20 amp circuit, and the more tools you plug in and use, the more load you will put on the circuit. You could very well overload the breaker and make it trip.
Billinstuart is right...14 gauge for a 15 amp circuit, 12 for a 20. Check the trip rating on the breakers in your load center.
Old 10-25-2009, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Wolakrab View Post
I'd just go ahead and put a 15 or 20 amp duplex receptacle there, and then plug in a multiple-outlet surge strip for your tools.
Remember, this is probably on a 15 or 20 amp circuit, and the more tools you plug in and use, the more load you will put on the circuit. You could very well overload the breaker and make it trip.
Billinstuart is right...14 gauge for a 15 amp circuit, 12 for a 20. Check the trip rating on the breakers in your load center.

Yes it is a 20 amp circuit. How long of power cables are there on a surge protector? The picture is of the ceiling. I would rather hard wire something from the ceiling to the wall.

Are you thinking stapling an extension cord on the ceiling?
Old 10-25-2009, 03:04 PM
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I didn't realize it was on the ceiling. Most surge strips only have cords that are 3-6' long. Take a look at this:
http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1...atalogId=10053
You can hard-wire this to the outlet, and not worry about what to do with an extension cord.
Old 10-25-2009, 04:00 PM
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Wire Mold could be your friend if you don't mind a surface mount application.
Old 10-25-2009, 04:05 PM
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I'd go about it in a more agricultural way since I'm no expert. First find the outlet closest to where you want your new outlets to be; plug a light into it and turn light ON. Then find the circuit breaker that controls that outlet...once found, leave it OFF.
Next, cut the sheetrock around the outlet and up to where you want the new outlets. So long as you don't cut more than a 4' wide section, sheetrock work is easy; especially around work benches.
After exposing the wall studs, run wire to where you place the new boxes and then replace sheetrock, install outlets, paint and you're done.
The ceiling outlet doesn't offer you any help, IMO. Leave it be so long as you have a wall outlet handy.
Old 10-25-2009, 04:27 PM
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Default Consider a GFCI outlet

If this outlet is in your garage, it's likely one a line with a GFCI somewhere.

That's a "Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter." Those are the plugs in bathrooms that break when sensing a surge. (Little pushbutton breakers)

The garage can be considered a "wet" area and most outlets in a garage are on a line that is GFCI protected.

Highly recommend a GFCI protected outlet if this outlet is to be used for anything other than a garage door outlet. If it's not on a protected line and you are planning on using the power from it for a wet/dry shopvac or any electric device that might be hosed or out in the rain you should use a GFCI outlet.
Old 10-25-2009, 06:19 PM
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..

Last edited by littletunny; 10-27-2009 at 06:45 AM.
Old 10-25-2009, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by littletunny View Post

Am I missing anything?
Yeah, let us know how you make that red line in the picture? I'm always impressed when I see what you guys do with normal photos to add notes and lines and arrows.
Old 10-25-2009, 07:30 PM
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That's probably #12 wire but it's simple to be sure. First shut off the power to that circuit. Second, put a test lamp or meter on it to be sure.

Then take a pair of electrician/wiring pliers and match the wire gauge to a gauge hole on the tool. This tool comes in very handy for wiring jobs so if you don't have one it is a good investment.

Another way is to snip off a piece of the ground wire and do a side-by-side visual check when you are buying the supplies.

Good luck!
Old 10-25-2009, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by littletunny View Post

Am I missing anything?

Yes, conduit. I doubt if it's ok to run the unprotected wire externally. I would run that wire just like you have shown but inside metal conduit.
Old 10-25-2009, 07:42 PM
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As a cost saver you only need 1 GFI outlet. They have a connection to feed up to something like 4 more outlets in the string.
You can use the gray pvc electrical conduit instead of steel and still meet code.
Old 10-25-2009, 07:46 PM
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Is that a garage ceiling? If you have access above it, I would be up there and run the wire in the attic over to the new wall receptacle. Punch out a knockout in the existing box and put a blank cover over it. I would use 12/2 w grnd romex. I would then run some 1/2" conduit and just stub it into the ceiling area. Buy an offset,they will know what you asking for. That would be my chase coming down to a double gang surface mount box with double receptacles....
Old 10-25-2009, 08:05 PM
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You must run it in conduit or you will be in violation of the electrical code. My suggestion is to mount a round surface mount box over the duplex outlet box in your ceiling. Come off the side of the round box with 3/4" PVC conduit, using long sweep ells to make the turns. Terminate in a surface mount quad outlet box at your workbench. Put a string through the conduit as you assemble it to pull the wire through. Home Depot can fix you up with everything you need. PVC conduit is easy to work with.

You should hook connect the blacks, whites, and bare safety wire by color, UNLESS you happen to have an unused switch on the wall in that garage. If that is the case, then one of the wires in that box goes to the switch. Be absolutely sure you have the breaker off when you start work. Buy an inexpensive neon voltage tester. Put on leather gloves and unscrew the caps from the wires. Check between each black and corresponding white wire with the tester to make sure the light is off, indicating the power is indeed off. Any uncertainty, hire an electrician. This will not be an expensive job.
Old 10-25-2009, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by baypro21 View Post
Yes, conduit.
As above. Wire clips to hold bare romex cable to the wall would be be a terrifically bad idea.

For a garage run, easiest is to use PVC conduit with the screw in fittings. The home depot guys should be able to help you with this. It's cheap, easy to work with, and will add a big safety and neatness factor. Your difficulty will only be at the existing hole where you'll need to come up with the right way for the PVC conduit to meet the existing box - you should be able to get a blank faceplate with a hole to accept the conduit adapter, or maybe an add-on box that piggybacks onto the front? Something like that.

When wiring, you never want to be able to see the wire, anywhere. And anywhere you have wire nuts or some other kind of splice you have to have the work enclosed in a BOX and the BOX has to have a externally accessable faceplate. In other words no hiding splices in the wall etc. Once you learn the different types of boxes then you'll find out about all the PITA connectors, inserts, etc that you need to attach the conduit or cable to the box, etc.

While you're at HD, pick up one of their $10 or $15 books on home wiring, they are a good read when starting out.

What's up with the exposed studs on the wall to the right? Much cleaner to simply drop the power down into that wall and put an outlet there, if you intend to drywall that eventually.
Old 10-25-2009, 10:23 PM
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That open ceiling box probably feeds through to the ceiling light, if you wire a plug into it you will have a SWITCHED plug and that is no joy.

If the breaker kills the light and the power at the box you will know.
Old 10-26-2009, 12:34 AM
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Holy cow, the thoughts are all over the place on this one.

The FIRST thing you need to do is determine what's on that circuit BEFORE you can even think of adding to it!!! You just can't continue to add outlets to a circuit because you would like to! "Code" determines how many outlets can be on a given circuit.
* kill the power to that circuit and then methodically test EVERY outlet in the house, garage and outside the house to determine how many outlets/ lights are on that circuit and where and what that circuit feeds. How many outlets feeding what is allowed by code in your area?
* do you even know if you have a proper circuit with a continuing ground? Because if you don't have a proper ground at the junction point you want to tap into then your double gang box you want to add on the far wall won't have any ground to it!!!

The SECOND thing you need to determine if that is indeed a 20 amp circuit. You might have a 20 amp breaker/ fuse in the panel but that doesnít mean itís a 20 amp circuit. Unless the wire used in the States is different then what Iím accustomed to the a 20 amp Romex wire (12/2) has the same size ground wire as a (14/2) romex wire, so stripping off a piece of ground wire isnít going to help you one bit.
* is the wire in that junction box 12/2 wire or is it 14/2 wire?
* are the outlets (if any) on that circuit 20 amp outlets or are they 15 amp outlets....thereís a difference between the two. Is there ANY 20 amp outlets or 12/2 wire on that circuit?
* is that a dedicated ground fault circuit or is there any GFIís on that circuit? .....you donít need a 20 amp circuit for ground fault, unless your code says otherwise.

Thirdly, unless your code in your area says otherwise you donít need to run conduit from point A to point B on an exposed mount, you should be able to run BX cable. BX cable is an aluminum jacketed wire that is approved for exposed mounting. If you go with BX cable make sure you buy some of those little red insulator inserts and install them PROPERLY!

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