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I am trying to replace some outlets in my garage and I ran into some confusing wiring.

There are 2 double gang boxes on the wall. Both are hooked up to the same breaker in the breaker box.

The first quad box closest to this breaker looks like this:

enter image description here

It has 2 lines coming in (maybe 1 coming in and one going out to the other quad box). On the left there was originally a regular 15amp receptacle. On the right was originally a GFCI outlet but in the picture I have already started switching it over to a regular outlet. I've kept the wiring the same as it was when the GFCI was connected however I don't know if this is right/safe.

So my question is, will this quad box work without a GFCI outlet and wired like you see below?

Here is the other box down the wall.

enter image description here

This box is straight forward and I will just replace the outlets and keep the wiring the same.

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    Why are you replacing the GFCI with a regular receptacle? Is there another GFCI somewhere else that protects the garage receptacles, or was this GFCI the sole protection for them? – ThreePhaseEel Aug 14 '17 at 22:12
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Perhaps you have some misconceptions of how things are wired.

In a normal receptacle (not GFCI, not tabs broken off), both screws on the same side are all connected with both sockets. The screws are simply a convenient way to splice two wires.

This can be confusing, since in any other configuration, the screws are different and positions have meaning.

It's very common to use the two screws on each side as follows:

  • one to the power supply (you really need that)
  • one to the next outlet (whatever that may be).

So anyway, you're seeing two boxes. You see where there are short jumpers between the two receptacles in each box. Ignoring those... Your first box has incoming and outgoing, and your second box has incoming only. As you surmised, only. In one box you see incoming only, in the other you're seeing both incoming and outgoing. That does indeed go to the other box.

This wiring is completely normal. I don't know what you want to do. You can eliminate the outbound run from box 1, but then you'd have to run a new line to box 2. It is allowable to "tee" circuits, you don't need to run them in a string.

Or if you find the setup confusing, you can pigtail each of the receptacles, then join inbound, outbound and pigtails from each receptacle. I often do that in hard-to-work locations to minimize the amount of splicing I have to do in odd positions.

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If you removed the GFCI you need to replace it with another or protect the entire circuit with a GFCI breaker.

If you are in the USA your area probably uses the National Electrical Code. The NEC requires garage receptacles to be protected by GFCI.

Good luck and stay safe!

  • So if this wasn't a garage I'd be ok? – TheNameHobbs Aug 14 '17 at 22:05
  • Yes, only garage, or...what? – DonBoitnott Aug 14 '17 at 23:02
  • It depends on where it is located in the home. Most finished living spaces are not required to be GFCI. Outdoors, garage, bathrooms, kitchens, within 6 feet of a sink and unfinished spaces are required to be protected by GFCI. – ArchonOSX Aug 15 '17 at 16:15
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The first image doesn't show which wires go to which terminals, but the idea is the same for normal outlets in series as it was for the "load" terminals of the GFCI. Take a look at this image:

outlets wired in series

If yours are looking like that, you should be fine.

  • Actually, "series" is a misnomer in this case. They are wired in parallel. Some people call them daisy-chained but not series. – ArchonOSX Aug 14 '17 at 21:14
  • I've always referred to them as daisy-chained. In that picture, the white white is connected from the top left terminal on the right outlet to the top left terminal on the left outlet. The top right terminal on the right outlet is connected to the bottom right terminal on the left outlet. The other wires are coming from the wall – TheNameHobbs Aug 14 '17 at 22:08
  • I see your point. I guess I think "series" because one leads to the other, but I reality it is a continuous hot and neutral, so it really is parallel. – DonBoitnott Aug 14 '17 at 23:02

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