I have 2 close by outlets that I tried to replace with a new usb outlet. The old outlets have white Black a red wires but the usb outlets have only two terminals. I replaced the first one, and put the red and the Black together in one terminals (hot) and the white on the other side. The first outlet works fine. I did the same with the second outlet but this one doesn’t work at all. Seems like it gets no juice. Any suggestions? enter image description hereenter image description hereenter image description here

  • Can you post a picture of the sides (left & right, so we can see if there are metal tabs connecting the screws) of the old outlets and also a picture of the wiring inside each receptacle's box? Commented Feb 20, 2019 at 21:34
  • Also what is your location?
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Feb 20, 2019 at 21:42
  • Did it trip the breaker? We're the tabs broken off on the original outlets?
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Feb 20, 2019 at 22:04
  • You can't put 2 wires on one terminal unless the terminal is rated for that-- oh wait, it is. Nevermind. Commented Feb 20, 2019 at 23:41
  • I posted the photos of both sides of the old outlet and a side photo of the new usb outlet. The wiring in the box , I will have to do it tomorrow at daylight because it’s installed with the existing outlet. Not sure about the tabs. It didn’t trip the breaker
    – Giora
    Commented Feb 20, 2019 at 23:41

1 Answer 1


Here's what's gonna getcha with these types of sockets

enter image description here


On a normal receptacle, that "Tab" decides whether those two screws are

  • merely a convenient splicing block to allow two wires to be spliced together with both sockets in one big happy splice, or
  • provide separation of the two sockets so they can be separately controlled. This is typically done a) because one socket is controlled by a light switch, or b) because it is a multi-wire branch circuit with each socket on a separate leg of power, so two high-power appliances can be plugged in here.

USB receptacles (least, the ones I am aware of) do not support this separation of sockets. Nor do GFCI or any other specialty kind of receptacle, by the way.

If the tab is broken off, and you aren't wise to that and just connect the two wires together on the USB socket, then either a) the light switch will stop working, or b) there will be a loud BANG! and a breaker trip.

In either case, you have to decide which single wire you want both sockets to be powered from, and it either a) decides whether the all the sockets (USB too) are switched by the light switch or not, or b) either hot will suffice.

However, either way, the other now-orphaned wire must be capped and insulated.

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