I bought new outlet for my living room that has a couple USB ports in it. The standard outlet I'm removing had 3 wires connected red, white, black). But the new one only has 2 connections. How should I wire it? Use white and black, then cap the red?enter image description here

  • Depends ... Was one of the old outlets switched? – brhans Jul 18 '18 at 21:26
  • or on two breakers? – jsotola Jul 18 '18 at 21:27
  • Not on 2 breakers – Rob H. Jul 18 '18 at 21:34
  • Yes, outlet is switched – Rob H. Jul 18 '18 at 21:44
  • What's in the photo is insufficient for permanently capping a wire -- wirenuts on a single wire love to fall off (partly because they're too large for 1 wire). Tape the heck out of it. Wirenuts on 2+ wires should never fall off, though, if they do, you didn't tighten them enough or they're rubbish. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jul 19 '18 at 2:51

Look at the side of the original outlet the connecting tab is probably broken on the hot side. If you don't mind not having a switched outlet I would cap the red and you should be fine. Normaly the red is the switched connection but not always. If using the black the outlet is still controlled cap the black and connect the red to the outlet and you would be good to go.

  • Yes, you're right. It's broken – Rob H. Jul 18 '18 at 22:26
  • Perfect. That's exactly what I was hoping would be the answer. Thanks a lot! – Rob H. Jul 18 '18 at 22:30
  • Do they even make these USB outlets for switched configurations? All the ones I see are strictly unswitched. – Rob H. Jul 18 '18 at 22:45
  • You are taking the switch out so it won't be a problem. The reason they don't have the jumper is because the electronics take up the room so they can't be split like the original. – Ed Beal Jul 18 '18 at 22:56
  • @RobH. If someone made a splittable USB outlet, there'd be a 50/50 chance of installing it so the USB ports are switched. You may have noticed they are Rather Large already; there simply isn't room for all that. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jul 19 '18 at 2:54

With the power off, grope around in that hole. See if there are significant voids to the left and right of the hole. It looks an awful lot to me like you have a 1-gang mud ring centered on what is probably a 4x4" square metal box.

enter image description here  (

With a bit of careful drywall surgery, you could dig out that 1-gang mud ring and replace it with a 2-gang mud ring (be careful to select one of the correct/same depth). Now you would have space for two things abreast:

  • A regular receptacle that is Decora (rectangular opening on the cover)
  • The USB+receptacle

You could then hook the red and white wire to the plain receptacle, both its sockets are now switched (or you could split it, with a bit more work and a pigtail). On the USB receptacle, connect black to hot, and a white #12 pigtail that goes over and picks up neutral off the regular receptacle. #12 because you didn't say if it's a 15A or 20A circuit.

Add an oversize cover plate (this is easier found in 2x Decora) to cover up any drywall mistakes. Done.

  • Wow, thanks for the in-depth suggestion! It's probably a bit more headache than it's worth. If I could've just switched out the fixture, that woulda been fine. But I don't need USB "so bad" to go thru all that. Just thought it'd be cool. Thanks for the process though. I will file that in case I change my mind in the future! – Rob H. Jul 20 '18 at 12:16

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