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I would like to reposition some pot lights - before drywalling the ceiling. They have been wired using push-in wire connectors. How do you release the wires from a push-in wire connector ??

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Possible duplicate: What type of connector is this and how do I remove it? –  BMitch Jun 10 '13 at 12:23
If you're referring to the push in connector on the back of a switch/receptacle then this is another possible duplicate: What kind of electrical outlet is this, and how do I replace it? –  BMitch Jun 10 '13 at 14:16

5 Answers 5

If you're talking about an outlet - or a similar concept fixture - the best tool I've found is a flat head jeweler/precision screw driver.

The wire is being held in by this:

enter image description here

You can see you'll need to push that "tab" away from the wire, from the back of the outlet you should see a small rectangle hole next to each circular hole that the wires are in:

enter image description here

MAKE SURE POWER/BREAKER IS OFF YOU WILL BE TOUCHING A "LIVE" WIRE Insert a small jeweler screwdriver in the rectangular hole/slot, use the box as your pivot point and the screwdriver as your level (bring back end of screwdriver towards wire to force "tab" away) and gently pull the wire out.

* If the outlet is old/weak or the wire wasn't inserted in deep you can sometimes get away with just twisting the wire back and forth while pulling.

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See also: diy.stackexchange.com/q/20155/2196 –  BMitch Jun 10 '13 at 14:17
Since the OP mentions "pot lights", I don't think that's the type of "push-in" connector they're talking about. Many lighting fixtures (especially recessed fixtures), come with this type of push-in connector –  Tester101 Jun 10 '13 at 14:18
My pot lights are like this, I just didn't feel like using a ladder and taking pictures. –  Jason Jun 10 '13 at 14:52

I am guessing you are talking about something like what Halo has seen in the image below.

enter image description here

To get these out you are supposed to just twist like hell and pull out. I have had to pull a couple out in my basement and it takes a minute. Also wear gloves because there are a lot of sharp edges around.

If you are going to rewire you may need to install a new connector. Sometimes when pull these out you ruin the strapping. Make sure if you reuse that it grips firmly.

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If he needs to install a new connector after pulling the wires out... why not just cut the wire close to the connector and install them into a new one? Much easier and less painful :) –  ppumkin Jun 12 '13 at 9:04
He doesn't need to, he might. I have pulled A LOT out. Maybe 1 out of 6-7 is ruined after pulled. –  DMoore Jun 12 '13 at 15:11

An additional technique is to remove the insulation and then pull a few of the wire strands out. Then the rest of the strands come out easily.

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A better answer is: don't.

The push in connections are not as reliable as screw connections. Instead cut the wire keeping as much length as possible, strip, and put it around the screw.

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Agreed, when possible stick with the screws. But you still have to know how to undo the spring connections for those cases where whoever installed the previous unit didn't follow that advice. –  keshlam Jun 19 '14 at 20:46

I have a surefire method to release the wire. Just use a drill in the little hole that geniuses can use to free the wire. Drilling with a drill bit a little larger than the hole with break off a bit of Bakelite and you are most of the way home. This method ruins the old fixture but they only cost just over a dollar. You were probably going to replace it anyway.

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