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I was trying to install a ceiling fan in my apartment and came across these connectors when removing the light. What is this and how do I take it off?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

It's a push-in wire connector, like these from Ideal.

enter image description here

The wire should come out without too much difficulty; grip the connector firmly in one hand, then pull the wire with the other.

The instructions for the Ideal connectors that I linked to say:

7. In order to remove a wire, pull and twist the wire back and forth.

Since you're installing a new light fixture, this is also relevant:

6. Connector is reusable on solid wires of the same wire gauge or larger. If reusing connector, cut and re-strip conductor.

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I tried pulling, didn't work. Do you have to pull really hard? – riotburn Dec 28 '12 at 20:43
    
It takes some force, as they wouldn't be much use if they came off too easily. See this question and this blog post for more information. – Niall C. Dec 28 '12 at 20:48
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@AbdiasSoftware, except that will leave the connector unusable. (It's pretty hard to remove the wire when you have a relatively large area to tug on. If you remove that large area, it becomes pretty much impossible to remove the wire bits that remain in the connector.) – Martha Dec 29 '12 at 0:20
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I hate spring connectors. Cut it off and use a good ol' reliable wire nut instead. Way more surface area making the actual connection has to be a good thing. – bcworkz Dec 29 '12 at 0:43
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I cut off the wire from the light and then was able to twist and pull off the wire from the ceiling. Thanks again! – riotburn Dec 29 '12 at 21:34

You can assume that 50% of the time you may have to replace the connector-- cost $0.24, except that they are available in a pack of 10 or more.

I found a more reliable method to remove and re-use: If you can carefully remove the outer case with a micro screw driver, without damaging the case and loosing a small metal strip, then you are good.

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You will always have to replace the connector. Stabs are not rated for reuse. To remove the wire, you are damaging the barbs which grab the wire and make continuity. One can obtain similar devices made for reuse, however they have little release levers on them, and so, removing the wire is not a struggle. – Harper Mar 25 at 17:39

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