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In my dorm room closet, there is a junction box with a blank plate (no outlet). Inside there are three wirenuts (hot, neutral, ground).

I know it is generally unsafe to do any work on a live circuit, so I will see if I can set the circuit breaker. If I cannot, is there a safe(ish) way to perform this operation?

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Do other nearby dorm rooms have a recep in the same spot, or also a blank plate? – Jay Bazuzi Jun 12 '11 at 17:05
So your plan is to do this on the down-low? That sounds like a very bad plan. – JohnFx Jun 12 '11 at 23:57
How many wires are coming into each wirenut? – Brad Gilbert Jun 25 '11 at 3:37
Um... dorm? So you don't own the place? Contact your building manager. But like others have already said, generally you don't have power in a closet. – Mike Wills Jun 30 '11 at 3:23
(Anyone else see "power in closet" and think "pot farm?") – keshlam Sep 27 '14 at 1:09
up vote 27 down vote accepted

Theoretically you could wire an outlet with live power by not grounding yourself, keeping the wires separate, using gloves, etc.

But the chances are so great that you could either electrocute yourself or start a fire that it's inappropriate for anyone here to suggest it, and foolhardy for anyone to attempt it.

Always turn the power off first, test your wiring to ensure it is powered off, and even then treat it as if it could be live. And finally, take Shirlock's advice, don't wire an outlet in a closet.

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I wire up live outlets, and switches, all of the time without getting electrocuted. Then again, I didn't have to ask if it's safe, or how to do it safely. I will say that it is a lot slower to work on live wiring, and requires a great deal of patience. Definitely do not attempt it if you don't have fully insulated screwdrivers, and pliers. – Brad Gilbert Jun 25 '11 at 3:45
Yeah, I'm the same way. I wire almost everything I do live. It also helps if being shocked doesn't really bother you. I barely notice getting hit with 110, although I do avoid it just because. – Nathan Wheeler Aug 2 '11 at 14:47

There is a reason they put a blank over that box. They do not normally put outlets in a closet, as cords plugged into them tend to get buried in junk if close to the floor or a shelf, creating a potential overheating and fire hazard. Under no circumstances should you attempt to wire an outlet to these wires hot. It is never a good idea, even if you knew what you were doing. SO DON'T!!!!

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[ Caution: community members have reported that this advice is potentially dangerious ]

put a light socket with a outlet in that box . then if you decide to plug something up, plug it in then run the plug's cord along a safe passageway, then secure it there with glue or something else that wont damage the cord but will keep it in one place . its safe ways to have power in the closet . but when dealing with live circuits, use rubber insulated gloves, insulated tools, insulated fiber glass ladder, etc. I heard its good to even use a thick rubber matt to keep you off ground.

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This is poor advice on so many levels, on top of possibly being illegal. Aside from the fact that this post is from three years ago and the situation is probably not an issue any more. – Speedy Petey Sep 25 '14 at 23:38

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