I was swapping out a receptacle for a USB receptacle and I was using the "stabs" in the back of the receptacle to connect the wiring (not under the screw). In the process of straightening the neutral wire so it would fit into the "stab" I used the wire straightener, and lightly pulled the neutral wire. In this process, about 3 inches into the box the neutral wire broke off (I didn't even touch that part of the wire!).

Needless to say the neutral wire is now to far into the box for me to be able to connect to the receptacle. What options do I have to connect this USB receptacle, or at this point I'd settle for any receptacle, since the neutral wire is so short?

I've tried to get the wire straightener and pull the neutral wire, but no excess wiring is coming. I see the wall above the receptacle starting to bulge which is making me nervous and making me think there's nothing to give.

sorry for my poor terminology, I can do light electrical no issue, but when something off the normal happens I always ask for assistance, and if too big I'll call in the experts.

  • Can you upload a picture of the inside of the box showing the wires? – manassehkatz-Moving 2 Codidact Apr 12 '20 at 3:04
  • I’ll work on getting an image uploaded. It’s also one of those older metal boxes where I’m going to have to remove the metal bar/rod at the back to be able to push my usb outlet all the way to the back. FML! – HotTomales Apr 12 '20 at 3:15
  • Is this aluminum wire? Copper usually doesn’t break that easy and if aluminum it will take special connectors or wire nuts for aluminum. Red and yellow are not aluminum approved. The cables are stapled within 12” of the box closer if a box without clamps. – Ed Beal Apr 12 '20 at 3:33
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    Yes, USB receps are bulky. But don't damage a metal box e.g. don't remove cable clamps that are in use - illegal and dangerous. Use a box extension. My favorite is a Legrand Wiremold Surface Conduit Starter Box, which makes it stick out 1" proud of the wall. You can get others that are not as thick. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Apr 12 '20 at 4:25
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    Also if space is at a premium, it helps a lot to use the screws. Backstabs are normally unreliable, and it's much worse for them when they're sharply bent over immediately at the back. They can even arc to the metal box! – Harper - Reinstate Monica Apr 12 '20 at 4:27

You can join another piece of wire to the short end of the neutral using an approved joiner and use this pigtail to connect to neutral terminal of the receptacle. be sure to use the correct type and colour.

  • Does the wire cap color mean anything? Meaning does it matter if I use a red or yellow? I have both. Also to get the extra wire for the pigtail, should I just cut out the neutral wire from some extra electrical wire I have? It’s same gauge wire. – HotTomales Apr 12 '20 at 3:24
  • it should match the colour that is mandated for use as neutral where you are. if you paint or tape the entire length so that it is all the correct colour I guess that would be acceptable. – Jasen Apr 12 '20 at 3:32
  • It's important that the pigtail be the same gauge (or thicker, if that's all you have) as the existing wire. So your spare wire will be good. – Aloysius Defenestrate Apr 12 '20 at 3:36
  • Check the packaging for the wire nuts. It'll specify what can be joined to what in what quantity with what color nut. – Aloysius Defenestrate Apr 12 '20 at 3:37
  • How do I check what the current wire is? What I was going to replace it with is Romex simpull 14/2 – HotTomales Apr 12 '20 at 3:39

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