Outlet wiring question


Hi everyone,

I hope you are all doing well.  I have installed a couple of upgraded outlets recently with very positive results.  I recently moved my rig to another part of our apartment, and I planned to install the upgraded outlet in the new location.  However, when I took the outlet out of the wall, I discovered that it had six wires going to it rather than the customary four.  It appears that the additional wires are for a light switch that is in a storage closet on the opposite side of the wall.  There are four wires attached as normal to the four screws on the sides of the outlet.  Then, there are two wires that go into holes in the back of the outlet.  

I know nothing about electrical wiring, so I thought I'd see if anyone had some guidance.  Does this set up preclude the use of an audiophile outlet?  Are there any that would allow this type of extra circuit to be wired in?  I appreciate any suggestions that you have.  

Thank you,
Scott
smrex13
I tried, but I couldn't find anything that specifically addressed the question I'm asking.  

You can "pigtail" the wires together with a wire nut and a short length of wire to the screws on ONE side of the outlet.Google 'pigtailing an electric outlet to a lighting circuit.'There are plenty of illustrations online.If you are still unsure about how it works leave it alone.Be safe!
Since it's an apartment I would get an electrician and you might want to ask the owner/manager. Sounds like they took a short cut to get electricity to the closet they should have pig tailed it. Since you admit to being a novice if you mess something up which could create a safety hazard you know who will be left holding the bag not to mention the  cost. 
If you know nothing about electrical wiring, how do you know what you did with the other outlets is safe and/or correct?
The simplest safest course of action is to simply swap outlets. Connect the new just like the old. 

The extra wires are nothing more than another line they decided to run off this outlet instead of on its own run. That's all. It will not be a problem for your "audiophile" outlet, which is nothing more than a better sounding (we hope!) version of any other outlet.
miller we were assuming(yeah I know) that the new outlet was not equipped with the holes in back.
Correct - at least the one outlet I tried did not have an obvious way to attach the third set of wires.  I can't tell by looking at the audiophile outlets on websites whether they would be able to accommodate the third set of wires.  If it can, then I can certainly wire it in the same way as the old one.  

@noromance Well, I guess I know slightly more than nothing, as I can replace a basic outlet.  

@djones51 - point taken.  I'm not going to try anything that I'm not sure about.  

Thanks for all the advice so far!
The outlet that you have is called a back wire type. If the new outlet is not this type all you have to do is wrap two wires on each screw. This video will explain it. If you can’t fit two wires on one screw then you will have to pigtail them. Shut the power off when you do this!!
https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=backwired+oulet&view=detail&mid=E4D79B2FCD7327E84C96E4D79B2FCD7327E84C96&FORM=VIRE
Call an electrician. A back stabbed outlet is a fire waiting to happen. If the tab between the receptacles is not broken, those wires can be pig tailed and you can have your audio outlet.
I recently have been doing upgrading of electrical in my house.  We found several surprises.   

It sounds like wiring is running through the box for the switch.  Just need to make sure it is not against a sharp edge of a punched out hole.  If you are not sure, call an electrician. $85/hr here.
sm, do you have a meter? First of all outlets in series will have 6 wires coming from two Romex cables two ground (bare) two hots and two negatives. If there are three circuits there will be 9 wires total. The grounds may be twisted together with a wire nut and a short leg to the outlet. It would be better to use an outlet without a secondary circuit.
You could disconnect the secondary circuit and just wire nut the ends in which case the closet light will not work. It can always be reconnected.
I assume before you went into the outlet you turned the circuit breaker off. If the is confusion which wires go where you can test continuity with a meter and trace things out. Ideally your line level equipment should be on one circuit and each amp its own circuit. With the amount of current and voltage involved you could make the outlet out of swiss cheese and it would work fine. Buy music not mythology. 
@yogiboy Thanks, that's what I was thinking.

@mijostyn Yes, I always turn the breaker off :).  Thanks for the insight.  There are actually 7 wires total - three white, three black, and the ground wire.  

I may just use another outlet in the room and then get a longer cable to the power strip/conditioner.  That would probably be the easiest route.


just move. its all too much to deal with as it stands now.

what is happening is the contractor used the outlet with three different runs of romex as a connection box.

this is not wrong or against code, usually. its just the cheapest fastest way to do the job.

i suppose you want to be able to use that light which is drawing power from your outlet du jour as well, right?

and your new whiz bang outlet doesn’t have all three sets of inpuyts or taps as the orig model, right?

first off…. flip the circuit breaker to the OFFF POSITION. then post a guard, dog, bird, or spouse at the panel with instructions not to turn it back on for any reason!.

do not use cats. they are just lugage with legs and indifferent to owner’s needs with immense regularity.

if.. your new plug has two sets of screws on each side of it, then all you bneed is to move one pr of existing wires from one pr of screws onto the other pair.

chances are the ones stuck right into the rear of the orig outlet are the ones you want to move onto one set of existing screws.

the pr of wires stuck right into the back of the orig outlet must be cut off. usually pulling them out is not the best path, but you can give it a shot as that outlet is gonna be thrown away anyhow. pick up another outlet at the depot or Lowe’s for when you do move out later on.

then again maybe not… you pick!

FYI:
if four screws are present on your new outlet
there is a link sitting right there which connects the lower half of the outlet to the upper half. this can be removed but ONLY if you wish to use each receptacle individually.

I’d leave that link in tact myself.

it gains you nothing to sevre that connection as other plugs or lighting are in the circuit already. just FYI.

as said above, if room in the box permits twist the hots together, and the neutrals together and pig tail from them to the new outlet using a bit of wire you’ll have to pick up somewhere. . easy peasy.
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if you can’t manage due to space twist all three pr of existing wires into two connections, a hot and a neutral, just do what you can and afix one existing cable to one pr of inputs on the new mo’ spensive outlet and the pigtailed set onto the other set of taps or screws. .

for pig tailing, you’ve likely got # 14 AWG solid so a couple Yellow wire nuts will handle all four, and Orange nuts if only 3 wires are jointed together.
pay attention to the positive or hot being on the proper tap/screw. its often brass colored or just different than the neutral screw.

grab a voltmeter or small appliance or lamp and plug it into the now replaced outlet and go to the panel and engage the breaker!

this is why one wants a human and not a cat on security detail.

presuming all is well, then plug in your other mo’ ’spensive stuff and dig yoruself.

you might also want to keep the light off in whatever room which is drawing power from your outlet during listening sessions. just a thought.

hopefully no animals were aggrvated or harmed during this electrical renovation.

have fun. it 

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That sounds like a smart idea. Try and figure out what else is on that circuit so you can leave whatever other outlets or lights off or unused.