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Old 04-26-2009, 06:30 PM   #1
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Stab in connectors on receptacles


An earlier thread of mine was about ideal push in connectors, and opinions on them by the members. During the course of the discussion, the 'back stab' receptacle was mentioned as an example of something that, while UL approved, was not a very reliable connection.

This got me thinking.... so, what is the difference between the push-in ideals and the back stabs on recetacles/switches?

So, I did what anyone with a Dremel and a cut-off wheel would do, I cut them up.

To refresh your memory, I will post one photo of the Ideal, but the photos of the back stabs are quite interesting in comparison. This is a totally different design. The ideals are two pieces of interlocking metal encased in plastic, while the back stabs are a 'finger' of copper that presses against a piece of copper, and which is all encased in plastic. Both photos have 12 gauge wire in the connector for demonstration purposes only. The ideals are rated for 12 qauge, but the back stabs only for 14 gauge. I used 12 in the receptacle because I didn't have any 14 gauge wire, and I just wanted to demonstrate the method of the connection.

What do you think? Is this difference in design enough to make you trust one over the other, or does it matter?
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Old 04-26-2009, 08:01 PM   #2
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Stab in connectors on receptacles


I will always use nuts and backwiring (no, not stabbing) or screws, I'm just old school like that. Those wagos look promising.

Backstabs usually burn up when they are used to feed stuff downstream.

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Old 04-26-2009, 08:28 PM   #3
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Stab in connectors on receptacles


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Originally Posted by rgsgww View Post
I will always use nuts and backwiring (no, not stabbing) or screws, I'm just old school like that. Those wagos look promising.

Backstabs usually burn up when they are used to feed stuff downstream.
I have never back stabbed a receptacle or switch either, but I don't ever use 14 gauge wire. Nothing wrong with it, I suppose, but I was just told when I was younger to always use 12, so I have. Love the Ideal's though. Make J-Box connections a breeze.
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Old 04-26-2009, 08:32 PM   #4
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Stab in connectors on receptacles


Although a different layout they look like they use the same principle. A copper spring that presses against the wire. Springs loose tension and deform if heated and over time. The stab connections generally work when new as long as wires are not inserted and removed a couple of times. They generally fail over time of if overheated.
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Old 04-26-2009, 08:35 PM   #5
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Stab in connectors on receptacles


Which picture is which?
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Old 04-26-2009, 08:54 PM   #6
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Stab in connectors on receptacles


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Which picture is which?
The first picture is the Ideal, after the plastic was cut off. The second and third picture were of a 46 cent receptacle I bought at home depot today to sacrifice to the cause.

Here is the Ideal (side and back view) before I cut the plastic off. It looks to me like the stab in connector is all copper with a copper 'finger' that presses into a copper backing plate, while the Ideals are a wider copper strip that presses against a steel backing plate.
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Old 05-02-2009, 11:21 AM   #7
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Stab in connectors on receptacles


Lets be perfectly clear on back stabbing devices. It is a compliant and commonly used method of connection. While most of us do not back stab, think about the guy that is hooking up hundreds of devices. You think hes going to wrap every screw? No way. Everything gets back stabbed and then someone comes along later to repair the connections that do not hold up.
Back stabbing is a convenient method when you have many devices to install.
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Old 05-02-2009, 03:12 PM   #8
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Stab in connectors on receptacles


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Originally Posted by J. V. View Post
Lets be perfectly clear on back stabbing devices. It is a compliant and commonly used method of connection. While most of us do not back stab, think about the guy that is hooking up hundreds of devices. You think hes going to wrap every screw? No way. Everything gets back stabbed and then someone comes along later to repair the connections that do not hold up.
Back stabbing is a convenient method when you have many devices to install.
Correct. It is both compliant and common practice on 15 amp circuits to backstab receptacles and switches. If I was building houses, with 100+ connections, I would backstab too.
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Old 05-03-2009, 03:06 AM   #9
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Stab in connectors on receptacles


I did see quite few place used the backstabbed connections the most common way if you have very large numbers of connections you need to be done and that common to see it.

The reason why for backstabbed with some company they only will pay X amout of money for each device and if find a way to save time they will go that route.

Myself I am not strong fan with backstabber espcally with pretty well loaded circuits one way or other it will fail { it don't matter if North American or European verison }

Keep in your mind there are few spot that backstabbers can benifits but IMO for myself not much places.

Other guys may have diffrent options on this matter.

Merci,Marc
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Old 06-10-2009, 05:35 PM   #10
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Stab in connectors on receptacles


I have been an electrical contractor for 30+ years. For some reason my fellow electricians do not accept change. When I first started, I would hear stories from the old electricians who first saw a wirenut and didn't trust 'em, and wouldn't use those new-fangled things. They would much rather soldier and tape, or crimp and tape the connections. After that, there were electricians around who would only use the 3-M scotch-lok wirenut, because they were the first and only popular wirenut. They wouldn't be caught dead using an Ideal or any other wirenut, although they were an improvement over the Scoth-lok wirenut. The Scoth-lok was a pain to use, and God help you, if you ever had to remove a Scotch-Lok. But they weren't going to change.

I notice this stuborness in electricians when it comes to new and better tools or materials. They don't like 'em. They are going to stick with the old way of doing things.

I have been using exclusively the Ideal In-Sure push-ins on my #12 and smaller solid wire since they first came out, quite a few years ago. They cannot be compared to the stab-in switch or receptacle. Thay are a completely different design. When disconnecting, they will not pull out. They are designed to twist out. They are designed to carry the feed-thru load. I have not had a single call-back, or a single problem with one. Of course you have to know what you're doing. You have to know what you're doing when you install a wirenut as well. I constantly run into problems with wirenuts and loose connections that someone did not install properly.

Ideal push-ins take up less room in a box, they are much quicker, simpler, and safer, especially when working on hot circuits.

I know, I sound like a salesman for Ideal.
No, I don't work for Ideal.
Remember Ideal sells a lot more wirenuts.
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Old 06-10-2009, 05:50 PM   #11
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Stab in connectors on receptacles


BigPlanz - Glad this thread re-surfaced.. Good stuff, tearing apart those devices.

First time I played with a backstab receptacle I was a little kid (don't ask about my childhood code violations). Even back then I thought the backstabbed connections felt flimsy, without knowing a damn thing about them. Seeing your cutaway doesn't re-assure me. Though I do understand that the probably millions of backstabbed connections that are currently working fine can't be wrong.

Of course, when I was a kid I'd wrap the wire counter-clockwise around the screw; my logic being that as you tried to pull the wire out, it would tighten the screw more. (I still believe this to be true, though I always wrap it clockwise now because that's the way you're supposed to). So my opinion probably shouldn't count for much..

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