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Old 12-04-2005, 04:51 PM   #1
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Backwire terminals and 12ga wire


Hi Folks - I'd like to run 12ga wire and 20A circuits for a new extension in my house and all I could find in bulk packs at Home Depot are the 15A outlets that will only take 14 or 16ga in the backwire holes.

I'd like to save time doing the outlets and would prefer to use the backwire. Can I get these outlets at a reasonable price in bulk packs? I really only need about 15 or so and individual 20A outlet prices are *quite* expensive at around $5/ea.

Thoughts?

MikeinBurien

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Old 12-04-2005, 05:23 PM   #2
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Backwire terminals and 12ga wire


The big stores (I know Lowes does) carry standard 15 and 20 amp spec grade receptacles in 10 packs. They are about $13 for the pack. I don't know what you are looking at for $5 each.

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Answers based on the 2008 & 2011 NEC.
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Old 12-04-2005, 05:31 PM   #3
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Backwire terminals and 12ga wire


Take the extra time to put the wires on the screws. You'll sleep better (or you would if you knew how often backstabs failed). It may save 2 or 3 minutes each, but as you said, you only have 15 or so. Spend another hour and get it done right.
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Old 12-04-2005, 06:47 PM   #4
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Backwire terminals and 12ga wire


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Originally Posted by jproffer
Take the extra time to put the wires on the screws. You'll sleep better (or you would if you knew how often backstabs failed). It may save 2 or 3 minutes each, but as you said, you only have 15 or so. Spend another hour and get it done right.
Agreed.Using the push tabs or "speed wiring" 90% of the time causes problems down the line.The wire heats up along with the tabs when you put a load on it.This creates the tabs inside to expand and contract with heating and cooling.At some point this leads to loss of tension and poor electrical continuity.Eventually carbon will build up from arcing and the rest of the circut will cease to work.Also the 15 amp plugs will work fine unless you plan to run over 15 amps through one outlet.Also make sure you are not buying the aluminium wire (AL/CU) outlets.That might be why they are so high

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Old 12-04-2005, 09:26 PM   #5
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Backwire terminals and 12ga wire


Good advice from all. I did a bit more check and found the 20A outlets for about $3 each at Home Depot, but no pro-pack.

But they sell Leviton "Pro" grade outlets with a backwire solution that is not a simple push in type. You insert the wire into a backwire hole, but you have to screw in the terminal screws to clamp the wire in place which appears to provide lots of surface area for conduction. This seems like a great compromise choice between wiring around the terminal and using a simple pushin in type. They look like really nice outlets.

Unfortunately they didn't have them in 20A outlet size. I'll do a bit more looking around.
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Old 12-04-2005, 10:31 PM   #6
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Backwire terminals and 12ga wire


I have a question...and I'm being genuine here, not smart, even though sometimes I come off as a smart a$$, believe me when I say it's on purpose:D

ANYWAY ...Why are you so stuck on the 20A rec.'s? 15A are fine for most residential applications, and you can put 15A rec's on a 20A breaker as long as you put more than one on each circuit.
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Old 12-04-2005, 10:45 PM   #7
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I'll tell you how i do it on my own stuff even though nobody asked and I'm not even sure if it would be complying today but it is the way a master electrician showed me about 30 years ago. I tie all the 12's together and then pigtail to the device with a piece of 14 and stab it in the back. If the switch or plug goes bad it does not affect the rest of the circuit. And if you feel like changing the device because it is dirty it is an easy swap-out. And you can use 15a devices. And JB told me that the pigtails don't count against box fill. Of course it is not the fastest way to do it. HS
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Old 12-05-2005, 01:55 AM   #8
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Backwire terminals and 12ga wire


Well, that's a good question! I made the leap that if you have a 20A breaker and 12ga wire, then you needed 20A outlets instead of 15A outlets.

If you're saying that I can use 15A outlets on a 20A breaker with 12ga wire, I'm good to go! Especially if I get to use the nicer Leviton Pro grade or spec backwire outlets.
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Old 12-05-2005, 02:04 AM   #9
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I'm saying that provided you put at least 2 rec's on each circuit, then you can do that. I still wouldn't use backstabs, and I'm not even sure I would use screw tightening backstabs. Screws will contact as much or more surface than the backstabs will and won't take much more time, and since they're wrapped, they'll hold better.

I think also (MD could say for sure), that if you put a 15A rec. in a line circuit (one rec. feeds the next, which feeds the next, etc, etc, etc) you can't put a 20A rec. downstream from it, but again, you really have no reason to.

Also, kitchen rec.'s can only feed other kitchen rec's. You can't jump rooms if the kitchen is one of them. Bathroom too (I think). GFCI is required within 6 ft. of a place where "the possibility exists for the rec. to get wet". Which basically means that on countertops you need 'em, under the counter (garbage disposal, dishwasher) you don't. If you put one GFCI in the circuit, anything fed from the load side of that GFCI is also protected. (This does NOT mean pigtailed connections...conductors directly out of the load side to the next rec., then you can pigtail if you wish)

EDIT: The 20A downstream from a 15A made me think a little. I guess if you pigtailed everything you could do it but direct wired I would think if you pull the full 16A on the 20, you'd overload the 15's upstream from it. Hopefully MD or Pete will be around later to answer

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Old 12-05-2005, 07:30 AM   #10
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HS I did say that pigtails do not count in the box fill. However, you can not tap #14 onto a # 12 pigtail and keep it on a 20 amp breaker. JP. The only requirment that says anything about 6 feet and gfci is in a laundry room. All kitcheb counter top outlets must be gfci protected. Most home owners will never need a true 20 amp outlet. The backwire outlet with the saddle clamp is a great device. I prefer to pigtail and wrap the screws anyway.
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Old 12-05-2005, 10:21 AM   #11
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HS I did say that pigtails do not count in the box fill. However, you can not tap #14 onto a # 12 pigtail and keep it on a 20 amp breaker. JP. The only requirment that says anything about 6 feet and gfci is in a laundry room. All kitcheb counter top outlets must be gfci protected. Most home owners will never need a true 20 amp outlet. The backwire outlet with the saddle clamp is a great device. I prefer to pigtail and wrap the screws anyway.
Thanks for correcting me on that. On my lighting job we regularly downsize from 12 to 18 inside and feeding a single fixture so I thought feeding a single receptical inside a box might be ok. I'll stop doing that. > So what do you think of those new stab in connectors instead of wire nuts. We call them "wago's" but I'm not sure of the correct name for them. We use them by the barrel full so they must meet code. Seems our masters don't have any problems with them and the only trouble I've seen is when the guys push the insulation into the connection and it loses contact. Just was curious of what you might think of them. So far I havn't used them on any around the home projects. HS.
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Old 12-05-2005, 03:18 PM   #12
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The only place I have used them in on my can lights that come with them. So far so good. What do you mean you took it down to 18. Was that a fixture whip?
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Old 12-05-2005, 06:53 PM   #13
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The only place I have used them in on my can lights that come with them. So far so good. What do you mean you took it down to 18. Was that a fixture whip?
No but on a Motorola fluorescent ballast you can only stab in the hot and neutral with an 18 guage. Of course the other brands already have the hot and neutral connected and those are 18's also. Thanks for the reply.HS. I'm curious if these wagos will be a hit with the rest of the world. Our ballast changers love them but for the guys used to twisting wires together it would take some getting used to. HS.
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Old 12-05-2005, 08:46 PM   #14
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Back on topic; I plugged in my CMS into a garage outlet at a customers home and fritzed the recep. When I took it apart to replace, the neutral wire fell out of the line side backstab hole (2 problems). I'm still suprised that the NEC allows backstabbing, I'd never do it.
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Old 12-05-2005, 11:50 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Teetorbilt
Back on topic; I plugged in my CMS into a garage outlet at a customers home and fritzed the recep. When I took it apart to replace, the neutral wire fell out of the line side backstab hole (2 problems). I'm still suprised that the NEC allows backstabbing, I'd never do it.
Since the world might be going to stab in connectors i thought it might be on topic. sorry. HS.

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