I am adding some additional outlets and outside lights to my garage. The existing outlets are on 12 gauge wiring, so presumably a 20 amp circuit (I did not check this - did not have my reading glasses with me when I was at the breaker box 8-). The lighting fixtures are LED type, so very low power needs compared to incandescent lighting. I was considering running 12 gauge to the new outlets, and 14 gauge from the new outlets to the outside lights (the lights are the terminal equipment in all cases), but I believe I would need 15 amp protection for that portion of the circuit. After a large number of not-very-useful searches, I finally came across this stackexchange question, which nixed my idea of using a 15 amp GFCI. I could not find so straightforward an answer for AFCI outlets, but I assume the same is true.

So, my question is, is there an outlet-mounted device (preferably with actual outlets) that can provide 15 amp overcurrent protection to the next device in the branch?

As an aside, is there, by any chance, a provision in the U.S NEC for connecting a low demand device at the end of a circuit this way without addition overcurrent protection? (I expect not...)

* Edit *

Some additional searching has lead me to panel mount thermal circuit breakers, such as these devices:

Carling Switch Circuit Breakers

Schurter TS-709-15 Circuit Breaker

leading me to wonder if I could put one of these in an electrical box where the 12 gauge and 14 gauge meet, and be to code.

  • My understanding is a breaker that includes GFCI and/or AFCI, by definition includes overcurrent protection (because that is what a breaker does), a GFCI or AFCI device (e.g., with outlets) downstream from the panel does NOT provide overcurrent protection. And, except for a wire-change situation as you described, most people would never need such a thing. That being said, I have (came with the house, at least 40 years old) a basement workshop set of breakers designed as "ordinary looking" switches in a regular 1-gang box. No idea if such things are made any more. – manassehkatz-Moving 2 Codidact Sep 4 '18 at 16:59
  • The Carling and Schurter items you linked appear to be designed to be built as part of equipment, not to be inserted as a part of the normal building electrical system. While they would technically work to get the job done, I have a feeling they won't pass inspection. Plus the work involved would be significant - they don't have normal screw terminals like a regular switch. A quick look at homedepot.com ~ $25 extra for 250' 12/2 vs. 14/2 - 10 cents a foot! Unless you are dealing with really long distances, just get the 12/2 and be done with it. – manassehkatz-Moving 2 Codidact Sep 5 '18 at 0:40

Your assumption is correct. The over current device is there to protect the entire wiring system from a fault and this does not change even if you install allow voltage device at the end of the circuit.

You can only install a over current device in an approved designed enclosure and this is regulated by NEMA in order to meet NEC requirements.

I will mention there are methods of installing over current protection so you can reduce the size of the wiring to a device, but I don't want to release that information to any DIY since there is a better than average chance it would be installed incorrectly or abused. I believe something like that needs to be done by a licensed professional with the correct parts that can not be purchased from a standard big box or local hardware store.

So weighing price between installing a #12 or an over current protection. I would think the #12 would win out.

Stay safe.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.