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    socket cabling question

    I have just removed a double wall socket as it was old and colour didn't match anything. only had a simple white socket to replace it with but had a problem. I have 3x cables coming in to the back box. no idea what they are all for.. anyway I can't fit all 3 feeds in to the new socket as the holes are too small. will pigtails connectors fit behind the faceplate ? or can I do something else to downsize each set of three wires?

    18 Comments

    Hi I'm afraid you'll have the find away to get the three in, is the core on each cable a solid copper core or is it a stranded wire type?

    Have you got a picture ? I'm struggling to understand why the wires are too thick . Colours have changed since 2004 from red and black to blue and Brown but you can Google that . Also there should be a screw to loosen off and tighten again where you fit the wires . Have you done this before ?

    I am not an electrician.
    Old wiring cab be a pig. It seems to lose its flexibility over time and is very hard to manipulate.

    I bet your old socket has a set of wires coming from somewhere else, a set of wires going on somewhere else which would be a typical ring-main. The third set is more likely to be a spur to some other socket elsewhere. Determining which is which could be helpful. An electrician would confirm or deny these thoughts of mine.

    I am also of the opinion that modern sockets are far inferior quality than the old ones and whilst it may be born out of frustration I am convinced the holes where the wires go are narrower and not as deep as they used to be. Probably the result of some well meaning people to deter people from running their own spurs off ring mains.

    I think you may be able to introduce another junction box, one that takes a feed from the ring main socket up stream, feeds into your socket and also has a feed out to the other socket on the ring main down stream. The same junction box may also provide a feed to your spur. In this way, you will only have one set of wires going into your new socket. I do stress though I am not an electrician and I am sure someone on here will confirm that only a competent person is supposed to do this sort of thing.

    Wago connectors?



    Edited by: "scottswaha" 21st Nov 2016

    If you don't understand why you have 3 wires - should you be messing about with electrics in the first place?

    I'm not a qualified sparky but have been trained in certain cabling/eletrics and I know the reason why you have 3 sets of wires but I'm more concerned with preventing death and accidents

    So on this occasion "I'm out"

    Go on vote me down it's OK it won't kill me

    philphil61

    If you don't understand why you have 3 wires - should you be messing … If you don't understand why you have 3 wires - should you be messing about with electrics in the first place?I'm not a qualified sparky but have been trained in certain cabling/eletrics and I know the reason why you have 3 sets of wires but I'm more concerned with preventing death and accidents So on this occasion "I'm out"Go on vote me down it's OK it won't kill me


    I'm with you on this . I've changed plenty of sockets and am worried lack of response may mean op has electrocuted himself .

    I would suggest you buy a crabtree socket as they have larger terminals for the wiring.
    screwfix.com/p/c…040
    And then get a competent person to install it.

    Do the job properly and get a new skt. Preferably MK.

    tardytortoise

    I am not an electrician.Old wiring cab be a pig. It seems to lose its … I am not an electrician.Old wiring cab be a pig. It seems to lose its flexibility over time and is very hard to manipulate.I bet your old socket has a set of wires coming from somewhere else, a set of wires going on somewhere else which would be a typical ring-main. The third set is more likely to be a spur to some other socket elsewhere. Determining which is which could be helpful. An electrician would confirm or deny these thoughts of mine.I am also of the opinion that modern sockets are far inferior quality than the old ones and whilst it may be born out of frustration I am convinced the holes where the wires go are narrower and not as deep as they used to be. Probably the result of some well meaning people to deter people from running their own spurs off ring mains.I think you may be able to introduce another junction box, one that takes a feed from the ring main socket up stream, feeds into your socket and also has a feed out to the other socket on the ring main down stream. The same junction box may also provide a feed to your spur. In this way, you will only have one set of wires going into your new socket. I do stress though I am not an electrician and I am sure someone on here will confirm that only a competent person is supposed to do this sort of thing.


    FFS. oO

    philphil61

    If you don't understand why you have 3 wires - should you be messing … If you don't understand why you have 3 wires - should you be messing about with electrics in the first place?I'm not a qualified sparky but have been trained in certain cabling/eletrics and I know the reason why you have 3 sets of wires but I'm more concerned with preventing death and accidents So on this occasion "I'm out"Go on vote me down it's OK it won't kill me



    ​OP understands why there are 3 sets of wires but not where that other set runs too. I had a similar problem when I replaced a single socket in my bedroom and a 3rd set of wires had been added for a FCU socket connected to a security light by the builders. Tricky to get all 3 into the new socket and damned annoying.

    Is this in the kitchen by any chance? It sounds like someone may have replaced a cooker point for a plug socket.

    kester76

    ​OP understands why there are 3 sets of wires but not where that other s … ​OP understands why there are 3 sets of wires but not where that other set runs too. I had a similar problem when I replaced a single socket in my bedroom and a 3rd set of wires had been added for a FCU socket connected to a security light by the builders. Tricky to get all 3 into the new socket and damned annoying.


    " I have 3x cables coming in to the back box. no idea what they are all for."

    philphil61

    If you don't understand why you have 3 wires - should you be messing … If you don't understand why you have 3 wires - should you be messing about with electrics in the first place?I'm not a qualified sparky but have been trained in certain cabling/eletrics and I know the reason why you have 3 sets of wires but I'm more concerned with preventing death and accidents So on this occasion "I'm out"Go on vote me down it's OK it won't kill me

    I have 3x cables coming in to the back box. no idea what they are all for.

    OP understands why there are 3 sets of wires but not where that other set … OP understands why there are 3 sets of wires but not where that other set runs too.


    Quote from OP

    And you say

    All you've done there is to try to give support to your unsafe irresponsible comment
    You have a duty of care and need to respond to questions in a safe manner and with the info provided the only safe response is for the OP to get a qualified sparky to fix the problem.

    chocci

    " I have 3x cables coming in to the back box. no idea what they are all … " I have 3x cables coming in to the back box. no idea what they are all for."


    I know
    You couldn't make it up

    philphil61

    If you don't understand why you have 3 wires - should you be messing … If you don't understand why you have 3 wires - should you be messing about with electrics in the first place?I'm not a qualified sparky but have been trained in certain cabling/eletrics and I know the reason why you have 3 sets of wires but I'm more concerned with preventing death and accidents So on this occasion "I'm out"Go on vote me down it's OK it won't kill me

    I have 3x cables coming in to the back box. no idea what they are all … I have 3x cables coming in to the back box. no idea what they are all for.

    OP understands why there are 3 sets of wires but not where that other … OP understands why there are 3 sets of wires but not where that other set runs too.


    Let me get this right in my head, his problem is that the replacement socket he is swapping has smaller holes than the original socket and this is dangerous because he needs to know where these cables are going ?

    All he needs to do is buy a socket with larger holes, screw it back together and test the circuit to make sure he hasn't done anything daft. I doubt this is the 1st time he has swapped a socket.

    Sorry I think I misunderstood you by you have 3 cables. So in total you have 9 wires. Most likely you have a ring main with a spur. If you are unsure of all this is would recommend you get a good basic DIY book.
    Edited by: "hubcms" 22nd Nov 2016

    t3rm3y

    I have just removed a double wall socket as it was old and colour … I have just removed a double wall socket as it was old and colour didn't match anything. only had a simple white socket to replace it with but had a problem. I have 3x cables coming in to the back box. no idea what they are all for.. anyway I can't fit all 3 feeds in to the new socket as the holes are too small. will pigtails connectors fit behind the faceplate ? or can I do something else to downsize each set of three wires?



    I, along with others, are assuming you have 3 sets of cables equalling 9 wires to connect into the terminals?

    If so, this is more than likely part of your ring main, which accounts for 2 sets of cables, and the 3rd cable will be a 'spur' supplying a nearby socket added to the circuit later.

    Could be 3 red, 3 black and 3 bare (should be covered with green & yellow sleeving) cables?

    OR, could also have brown and blue cables also, depending on when it was installed, IF this is the case, brown=red, blue=black, and bare (g&y) cables stay together.

    As others have said, 3 cables into a socket terminal is often tricky, I find Crabtree, available from screwfix, have terminals sufficient, just, for 3 cables.

    You MUST ensure they are fully tight, very easy to think there tight only for one to be loose and cause arcing later whilst in use, potentially causing a fire.

    A sparky would literally take a couple of minutes, and shouldn't charge more then £30, small price for piece of mind.

    Original Poster

    andynicol

    I, along with others, are assuming you have 3 sets of cables equalling 9 … I, along with others, are assuming you have 3 sets of cables equalling 9 wires to connect into the terminals?If so, this is more than likely part of your ring main, which accounts for 2 sets of cables, and the 3rd cable will be a 'spur' supplying a nearby socket added to the circuit later.Could be 3 red, 3 black and 3 bare (should be covered with green & yellow sleeving) cables?OR, could also have brown and blue cables also, depending on when it was installed, IF this is the case, brown=red, blue=black, and bare (g&y) cables stay together.As others have said, 3 cables into a socket terminal is often tricky, I find Crabtree, available from screwfix, have terminals sufficient, just, for 3 cables.You MUST ensure they are fully tight, very easy to think there tight only for one to be loose and cause arcing later whilst in use, potentially causing a fire.A sparky would literally take a couple of minutes, and shouldn't charge more then £30, small price for piece of mind.


    yes, i have 3 red, black and bare copper with yellow/green sleeve. Ill try a crabtree socket to see if that resolves the issue. It is stiff, thick copper. im sure it is a little smaller and easier to manage on modern sockets.
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