We have a "charging station" that has four USB ports on front and four regular outlets, two on each side, that was plugged into a bathroom outlet.

Front view of outlet

Now I am trying to remove it, but it seems to be stuck. There is enough for a gap at the back to see that it appears to be flexing both the back of the charging unit and part of the outlet, so I am afraid that if I pull harder something is going to break.

Top view of outlet

I have been trying to wiggle it up and down and from side to side in order to coax it out, but it is not working. It appears that the is a plastic "pin" (it's white anyway) that is going into one of the grounding holes and that is what is stuck.

It says GE on the front I have tried to look up what model it is hoping to find a manual or something that would give me a clue, but I have found nothing. How can I unplug this device without breaking either the device or part of the wall outlet?

Here is a third picture: it is not a GFCI output (there is no "reset" button on it) and the device is plugged into only the bottom outlet with a plastic pin plugged into the ground of the top, presumably to help stabilize it. side view

  • 5
    Turn off the breaker and keep wiggling. Maybe something that'll give a bit of leverage between the receptacle and the unit will help. Know that if you break off the plastic pin, it's no big deal -- that's just there to try to force the user to cover both halves of the receptacle. Commented Apr 2, 2023 at 20:41
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    @AloysiusDefenestrate I shut off the power and then used a large flat head screwdriver across the top of the plastic pin, then wiggled the button as if to pull it out (as pushing the screwdriver in on top force the bottom back into the outlet and it came off!
    – Michael
    Commented Apr 2, 2023 at 20:58
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    @crip659 A melted plastic pin would obviously indicate a serious fault with something, but if one that far from anything conductive was melted, I'd expect signs of melting and probably even burning nearby
    – Chris H
    Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 11:10
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    +1 for asking first before brutalizing the thing!
    – arne
    Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 11:47
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    Side note: Were you charging your phone in the bathroom? Or just using it for the extra outlets? I get the benefit of having some extra AC outlets (for razor, hair dryer, etc.), but the USB ports seem like an unusual choice for that location. Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 13:26

1 Answer 1


Per the suggestion by @AloysiusDefenestrate in the comments, I shut off the power. Then I pushed a large flat-head screwdriver horizontally across in the gap above the plastic pin. In order for there to be enough room for the square screwdriver shaft to fit in the gap I had to push the bottom half down. Once it was in place I started wiggling the bottom to try to pull it back out and suddenly there was a pop and it came free!

Afterwards, I looked at the plastic pin. It did not appear to be burned or melted, but part of the plastic had been scraped off like it had caught on something in the outlet:

back of pin

front of pin

  • 2
    It is quite possible this product has not been tested in one of the listed labs(UL/CSA) for electrical products. Can you see any UL or like marks on it?
    – crip659
    Commented Apr 2, 2023 at 21:07
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    The scraping on the plastic pin would be an indication that the ground port of the outlet has an edged metal contact, which would certainly scrape an ordinary ground pin, but not dig in as has happened to you with the plastic.
    – fred_dot_u
    Commented Apr 2, 2023 at 21:25
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    @crip659 The upper photo shows an approval label out of focus to the upper right. If indeed GE brand as the OP reported, that makes sense.
    – Armand
    Commented Apr 2, 2023 at 22:44
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    @AloysiusDefenestrate You have to wait 48 hours before accepting your own answer. See: diy.stackexchange.com/help/self-answer
    – Doryx
    Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 5:08
  • 1
    Its probablty okay, but may be worth checking that socket, that its earth clamp hasn't been damaged/widened. A neon-based socket tester would be ideal, just shove it in and wiggle while watching the lights.
    – Criggie
    Commented Apr 4, 2023 at 7:37

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