Razor Only Socket


I'm trying to convert this 1973 "Razor Only" socket to GFCI. I have the full conversion kit and I'm wondering the best way to approach wiring it. I've seen videos where electricians do it differently, either:

  • first disconnecting the switch from the socket and then throwing a pigtail between the whites and blacks to the GFCI line terminals...
  • OR first disconnecting the switch and then separating out line and load based on the voltages in the energized circuit.

Is one of those approaches superior to the other? I.e. Is there a meaningful difference between the wiring options ("GFCI Pigtail" vs "GFCI Proposed") in this diagram: Circuit Drawings

PS For wiring:

  • Top Right Red - Light Switch Hot In
  • Top Right Black - Always On (?) Hot In
  • Bottom Right Black - Hot Out... to unknown (?)
  • Top Left Black - Hot Out to vanity light.
  • What are you trying to accomplish by using the "Load" terminals? Do you know what those onward wires do/where they go? – Harper - Reinstate Monica Feb 26 at 20:50
  • I haven't taken the circuit apart yet to check, but there's really only three other items in the bathroom: 2 lights and a fan. – Jeffrey Van Alstine Feb 26 at 20:59
  • None of those things require GFCI protection, unless they are inside a tub or shower compartment. Do you want to protect them? – Harper - Reinstate Monica Feb 26 at 21:01
  • Funny I haven’t seen a razor only in a box and usually in older homes 1950 era light fixtures. Where in the world are you? – Ed Beal Feb 26 at 21:05
  • 1
    @ThreePhaseEel - No. The diagram is correct. Apparently it was really common to have the razor socket only energized when the light switch is on for safety reasons (they could get really hot). – Jeffrey Van Alstine Feb 27 at 17:12

I'd go with your "Pigtailed" plan

Since everything in this box should be on the same circuit based on the existing diagram having the switched-hot and always-hot sharing the same neutral in the outgoing /3 cable and on the fact that there's only one neutral bundle in the box, we can safely assume that neutral bundle can be pigtailed into to get neutral for our GFCI. To go with that, we pigtail off the always-hot as in your appropriately labeled "pigtailed GFCI" plan, as we don't know what else that always-hot feeds, and putting lighting on a bathroom GFCI has the downside that a GFCI trip will plunge you into the dark, which is bad news if you're holding a curling iron, for instance.

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