120 Volt Outlet Wiring Diagram

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This article was co-authored by Ricardo Mitchell. Ricardo Mitchell is the CEO of CN Coterie, a fully licensed and insured Lead EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) Certified construction company located in Manhattan, New York.
Summary: Fully Explained Photos and Wiring Diagrams for Wiring Electrical Outlets with Code Requirements for most new or remodel projects covering 120 volt outlets for specific and general purpose circuits and 240 volt outlets of dedicated circuits used for large appliances and equipment.
CN Coterie specializes in full home renovation, electrical, plumbing, carpentry, cabinetry, furniture restoration, OATH/ECB (Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings/Environmental Control Board) violations removal, and DOB (Department of Buildings) violations removal.

How to Wire 120V Outlets to the Camper Van Breaker Box


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Ricardo has over 10 years of electrical and construction experience and his partners have over 30 years of relevant experience. There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 513,857 times. Hiring an electrician is usually the best way to go where 120 volt circuits are concerned, but if you are up to it, you might save money by doing some basic electrical work yourself. This article covers the steps for installing a simple 15A (15ampere) circuit with one receptacle. Turn off the power feeding the panel you are going to be working in.

How to Wire a 120V Outlet

It may help to take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with all of the tips in the related wikiHow article on "How to Master Do It Yourself Electrical Safety".


How Many 120V Outlets can be on the Same Circuit?

Shut off all the individual circuit breakers in the panel and then shut off the main switch that supplies power to the panel. This is preferable as it is much safer to operate many smaller current devices, one at a time; than to operate a single, large current device just once.

When all the smaller circuit breakers are off, the amount of current flowing through the larger 50, 100 (or more) amp circuit breaker should be zero.[1]XResearch source.

XResearch source. This wikiHow is about wiring a simple electrical circuit. It doesn't cover the following information, which may vary depending on the type of installation you are doing, and the type of existing wiring you may be connecting to.Choosing and installing electrical boxes.Selecting and installing conduit.Upgrading an existing electrical panel box to accommodate a new circuit.

Choosing and installing electrical boxes. Selecting and installing conduit. Upgrading an existing electrical panel box to accommodate a new circuit. Look at the following requirements that must be considered before proceeding with this project.


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Things You'll Need


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These are beyond the scope of this article, so these items should be addressed before starting.You will need to get and install the receptacle (junction) box.

For flush installation in a drywall wall, you may choose a cut in or repair type, for other installations, a surface mounted cast aluminum or PVC weather resistant (damp location) box may be applicable.You will need to determine the path for the wires between the receptacle box and the electrical panel box.You will need to install conduit if you use single insulated wires.Install the actual wires if you use a non-metallic cable (Romex).

You will need to get and install the receptacle (junction) box. For flush installation in a drywall wall, you may choose a cut in or repair type, for other installations, a surface mounted cast aluminum or PVC weather resistant (damp location) box may be applicable.

How to Wire Multiple 120V Outlets on the Same Circuit

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NEC Rules

You will need to determine the path for the wires between the receptacle box and the electrical panel box.You will need to install conduit if you use single insulated wires.Install the actual wires if you use a non-metallic cable (Romex).

You will need to install conduit if you use single insulated wires. Install the actual wires if you use a non-metallic cable (Romex). Measure the distance from the electrical panel box to the location your new outlet will be installed, following the path you have selected, and trying to determine the actual distance the wire must run. Allow a little extra for corners, especially if you are installing in conduit, since these have ride radius curves for turning sharp angles.

Dave's Guide to Home Electrical Wiring:

Also, allow at least 24 inches for hooking the wires to the breaker or fuse block and neutral and ground terminals in the panel box, and 6 or 8 inches for terminating in the receptacle box.[2]XResearch source. XResearch source. Feed the wires through the conduit from the receptacle box.Put a couple of pieces of electrical tape over the end of your wires, so the copper is not exposed.

XResearch source. If you have installed conduit and the run is very short, you may be able to just push the wire from the outlet box back through to the electric panel. For long runs, you may need to push a "fish tape" through the conduit so you can hook onto the wire and pull it through.

Electrical Wiring Video #2

If you don't have conduit, you will have to "fish" the cable or remove wallboard and possibly drill 5/8 inch or larger holes through the wall studs to feed the wire through. Either way, you have to get the wire run between the electric panel and the outlet box in a way that it is not exposed and the insulating "jacket" is not damaged.

Cut the wire to length so that 20cm (8") sticks out of the outlet box, and about 80cm (30") sticks out at the electrical panel.[4]XResearch source. XResearch source. Cut about 15cm (6") of the (usually yellow or gray) outer jacket away from the wire, being careful to not damage the inner black or white jackets. This usually leaves one bare copper or green wire (the ground wire), one black wire (the hot wire) and one white wire (the neutral wire).[5]XResearch source.


What is the Difference Between a 110V and 120V AC Circuits?


    XResearch source. Strip about 1.5 cm (5/8") of the insulation away from the end of both the black and white wires.


      If you have wire strippers, simply clamp the insulated wire in the slot that matches the size of your wire, turn the strippers half a turn to score the insulation, and pull the wire through.[6]XExpert SourceRicardo MitchellElectrician & Construction Professional, CN CoterieExpert Interview.


        This will remove the insulation without damaging the copper conductor inside it.[7]XResearch sourceIf you can't strip the jacket, use the "14 gauge" jaws.


          Using the 12 gauge jaws of the tool significantly decreases the chance of nicking the wire. When using the 14 gauge jaws, hold the tool at a right angle to the wire, otherwise you will damage the wire.


            Also strip the end of the ground wire if it is insulated. If you cut too deep, don't worry..


              Cut the end off and try again. You have 3 or 4 tries before the wires will start to get too short to work with.


            See more at the Electrical Questions Category Listing.

            How Many 120V Circuits Can Be Installed In a DIY Camper Van

            It is very important to NOT nick the wire.9Use the needle nose pliers to form a small hook at the exposed copper ends of all the wires to attach to the terminals on your receptacle if you are not going to feed additions devices through this outlet.

            • Otherwise, cut 8" pieces of black, white and bare / green wires from the unused portion of the roll to be used as "pigtails".[8]XResearch source10Carefully strip both ends of the pigtails as outlined above. Gather all of the "hot" wires (black or red usually) and the 8" black pigtail. Twist them together and spin a properly sized wire nut securely over the top. No exposed copper should be seen extending from the insulating cover of the wire nut.[9]XResearch source11Fold the group towards the back of the box, with the pigtail sticking out to the front of the box. Use the needle nose pliers to form a small hook the exposed copper end of pigtail. This lone black wire represents the bundle of blacks, and will be easier to work with than a whole bundle of wires.[10]XResearch source12Repeat this procedure for the remaining wires.

            If you have a metal box, you'll need to cut an extra bare / green wire pigtail to ground the box.13Look at the outlet.

            • On the side of the outlet, you will see screws. The screws will be darker on one side than the other, usually, brass for the dark side, and silver for the lighter side. On the back of the outlet, you will see 2 or 4 sets of small round holes near the screws. These are the "quick connect" points.[11]XResearch sourceNOTE: You can use either the wiring screws or the quick connects. However, the screws are the preferred method as they provide a better contact between the wires and the outlet.


Steps


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