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Old 08-22-2011, 01:33 PM   #1
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Wire for outlet? 12-2 or 12-3


I am removing a wall and have to re-route some wiring. My plan is to install a junction box and re-route the wire as necessary. The question I have is what type of wire do i need for an outlet. The existing wire is stamped 12/3? (from what I can tell; hard to read). I thought that 12-2 was what I would need for an outlet. Is this correct? Does it make a difference if the outlet is in a series of other outlets?

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Old 08-22-2011, 01:40 PM   #2
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Wire for outlet? 12-2 or 12-3


XX-2 would have one hot conductor. XX-3 could have 2 hot conductors, a black and a red.

Typical usage for xx-3 is 3 way switching or when 2 circuits are run to the same location in one cable and can be split off at a junction box.

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Old 08-22-2011, 02:27 PM   #3
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Wire for outlet? 12-2 or 12-3


Thanks Jim! That's what i thought..just don't know why the cable would be stamped 12/3?? There are only three wires (not sure of color..not at home).
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Old 08-22-2011, 03:08 PM   #4
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Wire for outlet? 12-2 or 12-3


another question...maybe i am not understanding this..would you use 12/3 if you are running a number of outlets in line?
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Old 08-22-2011, 03:45 PM   #5
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Wire for outlet? 12-2 or 12-3


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Originally Posted by Bahuffma View Post
Thanks Jim! That's what i thought..just don't know why the cable would be stamped 12/3?? There are only three wires (not sure of color..not at home).

It should be 12/3 w/ground. Black,red,white and a bare one.
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Old 08-22-2011, 03:46 PM   #6
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Wire for outlet? 12-2 or 12-3


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another question...maybe i am not understanding this..would you use 12/3 if you are running a number of outlets in line?
I do not have a clue what you are saying.
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Old 08-22-2011, 04:53 PM   #7
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Wire for outlet? 12-2 or 12-3


You typically wire receptacles in a A to B to C to D pattern. You only need xx-2 cable unless you need another hot that is switched along with the constant hot.
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Old 08-22-2011, 05:02 PM   #8
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Wire for outlet? 12-2 or 12-3


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another question...maybe i am not understanding this..would you use 12/3 if you are running a number of outlets in line?
you wouldn't unless:

1) the receptacle is semi controlled ( top or bottom portion controlled by a switch)

2) you have two circuits in the same area ( Black on one breaker, red on another breaker and sharing a neutral) That way you only have to run one 3 wire cable instead of two 2 wire cables.

Edit: im not sure if you're actually talking about receptacles or lighting outlets..alot of ppl call recpetacles, "outlets"


Last edited by MitNotrof; 08-22-2011 at 05:05 PM.
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