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Careful. These Outlet Wiring Instructions are Wrong.

October 19, 2008

Today I went to the hardware store (LOWES) and bought a 10-pack of decorative electric outlets.  I picked the “Pass & Seymour” brand.  I pretty much know what I’m doing with electrical, but I always like to read instructions.  That’s when I got stymied.  I sat there for 10 minutes comprehending what it said.  I put down the tools and hit the net.  30 minutes later and I could only come to 1 conclusion – the instructions shipped with it were wrong!

Normally, I’d suspect bad instructions to be from China, but these electrical outlets are stamped “Made in U.S.A.”.  

Take a look … do you see anything wrong with the illustration?  

First off, you can see that the plug appears “upside down”.  Actually, this is normal – and it makes sense.  Sometimes a power cord has sufficient weight to “ply” it away from the wall socket, exposing a small portion of the prongs.  I suppose it’s better to have the ground exposed, than the two contact points that carry the electric current. 

The real culprit here is not the orientation of the outlet, but rather the positioning of the prongs in relation to the ground pin.  Normally, the larger Neutral slot should be on the lower right, and the smaller HOT slot should be on the lower left (in the upside-down mounting).



Now take a look at the actual outlets themselves, and you will see how it should be. 

Ordinarily, bad instructions results in having to take things apart.  In this case, it could result in a DIY’er burning down the house.  I think Pass & Seymour better consider a recall… 


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