I'm replacing a receptacle with a new USB receptacle. I found 2 white and 2 black wires connected to the old receptacle using separate screw terminals. My new receptacle only has 1 hot and 1 neutral and 1 ground terminals.

Hot side tab is not broken, neutral side has broken tab.

How do I connect 2 hot and 2 neutrals to single screw terminals?

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  • Duplex receptacle with 2 USB ports on side. The room has no wall switch, does this indicate the circuit likely continues into the finished basement? I didn't break the bond. – Bevo Nov 20 '16 at 0:03
  • I will wire nut together the lines and use a pigtail to the box, as shown in this video: youtu.be/QOX-UQwlsa4. Thanks for the tips Jim! – Bevo Nov 20 '16 at 0:29
  • Those screw terminals are most likely not designed to have a wire wrapped directly around them. If you look in the back, there should be 2 holes in each side near the screw terminals. You would insert the wires there, and then use the screws to tighten them down. – Jason Hutchinson Nov 21 '16 at 17:58

You must determine the properties of the two hot (black) wires. On your receptacle the bond between the two hot screws is broken. Unless you did that in removing the screws that means that probably one of the black wires is from a switch and the other black is hot all the time. Is the bond on the white side also broken? If that is the case, then you want to cap off the black to the switch and its paired white and use the other black and white to power the USB outlet.

Do not directly connect either black wire to a white or to ground. 'Cap-off' means to put a wire nut over the end so it cannot contact another wire or a ground. I assume your new device is a duplex receptacle with USB in the center right?

If one of the black wires is hot and the other is known to feed other receptacles or switches on the same circuit, you may join the two black wires and connect via a pigtail to the new receptacle (and of course do the same with the two white wires). But the missing bond on the black side means you should verify that one pair of wires (black and white) feeds. Make sure the second black is not hot.

  • If you determine that only one black is hot, then mark that wire and its paired white neutral. Before you connect the two blacks determine that the second set of wires is correctly wired because if the bond on the hot side was missing, then the hot black was not feeding power. You must make sure that if you feed power that there is no fault or misconection further on. I would first test to see that there black and white pair to be fed are open. Then look in the basement to see what it could feed-receptacles and lights. Why was the bond on the black broken? Was the white side bond broken too? – Jim Stewart Nov 20 '16 at 1:18
  • Bevo, so how did it work out? Did you connect it and it worked out just fine? In the area which this feeds are some lights or receptacles working now? – Jim Stewart Nov 21 '16 at 13:18

The USB outlet has inputs for the tips of the two white and two black wires to be inserted and tightened with a single screw per pair. If you loosen the gold and silver screws and let them open up a bit - you’ll see where to slide the tips if the wires in.


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