New Shop building! #6: They cheaped out on wiring connectors!

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Blog entry by JoeinGa posted 07-21-2014 10:39 PM 2627 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: ARRR! ARRRGH! MORE POWER! (apologies to Tim the toolman Taylor) Part 6 of New Shop building! series Part 7: My take on clamp storage »

Got the electrical all hooked up and turned on. Everything seemed to be working fine till last Saturday. Plugged in my mitersaw and when I hit the switch, the circuit went dead. Checked the circuit breaker box, fully expecting to find one had tripped. Nope. All switches were “On”. Started to try a different outlet to be sure the saw was OK and I realized that several other things were off, but not the whole shop.

So I crawled under the shop where the electrical wires connecting the 2 halves of the double-wide together are located and started jiggling on the connectors. Heard the fan in the window above my head come back on so I knew I was on the right track. Sure enough, as I gently pulled on the connector, the fan would stop and then start again. So I went in and shut off the main so I could take a better look.

Things that make you go HMmmmm! They have this thing wired with 10/3 but they use SCOTCH LOCK type connectors! Geeze I haven’t used these stupid things in years, ever since I almost burned up the electrical system in a Buick I had years ago.

Here’s a pic of the connector with the halves connected:

And here’s a pic of how the metal connectors crimp thru the casing to make contact (just like those automotive “Scotch Locks” ) Notice the black wire at the top is burned where the connector is SUPPOSED to make contact with the copper wire!

And here is the CHINTZY slip-type connection that was supposed to carry the power from one half of the building to the other half!

Makes me wonder if ALL “double-wides” are wired this way…. these cheap-ass connectors are no where near heavy duty enough to carry this kind of load. No WONDER there’s so many electrical fires in mobile homes!

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

14 comments so far

View patron's profile


13606 posts in 3363 days

#1 posted 07-21-2014 11:03 PM

glad you caught it joe

after all you been thru with this
good time to get it all working safely

i make shop ‘service stations’ in the floor
110 and 220 vac and air
every 8’
so i don’t have stuff over the floor
or hanging from the ceiling
i can have separate circuits in the quad boxes
in case to many tools are on one line
cut the power boxes in the end box walls
(not the floor joists)
so they don’t load with sawdust
the tops can be cut to fit
whatever comes up thru them
the ones not used just have a full drop in top
ready for some other tool or set-up

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View patron's profile


13606 posts in 3363 days

#2 posted 07-22-2014 12:36 AM

here is a link to a duplex 220v 20amp receptacle
will except plug for 15 amp’s and 20 amp’s

if you use just one in a single box
they can be wired separate top and bottom
by taking the tab off between them
i use two in a quad box
and just wire each on a separate line

i will have 12 ‘service stations’ around the shop
each row can go on to one over from it
like 3 across the floor on 1 circuit
and the alternate ones on another
not all single wired
(saves on breakers)

if a tool trips a breaker
just move plug to the other receptacle
in the same ‘service station’

works for the 110v ones too

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View doubleDD's profile


7432 posts in 2065 days

#3 posted 07-22-2014 12:39 AM

Sort of a wake up call. Glad you picked it apart. I hope you get the wiring back in shape for your needs. Kind of reminds me when I redid my shop. There were a few things that just weren’t right.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View Carl W Richardson's profile

Carl W Richardson

79 posts in 2517 days

#4 posted 07-22-2014 01:33 AM

In a previous life, I had a friend who lived in a ‘double wide’ and those connectors you sent pictures of are ‘heavy duty’ compared to typical 110 outlet boxes in a standard double wide.. As bad as the wiring was, the plumbing was worse!! Nothing is standard and you had to buy plumbing and electrical supplies from a trailer supply store…. Very frustrating to deal with…

You need to ‘hunt down’ all of those crap connectors and replace them to ensure you don’t lay awake at night wondering if your nice new shop might catch on fire from a short…

Lookin good so far…..

-- Carl W Richardson, Tennessee Woodworker

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29381 posts in 2360 days

#5 posted 07-22-2014 02:14 AM

It’s sad how cheap they make some of these things. Glad you found it.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View robscastle's profile


5072 posts in 2226 days

#6 posted 07-22-2014 07:01 AM


From the looks of it somebody has used what is called soft wiring connectors used mainly in portable office partitions.

Not the sort of connector suitable for drawing the currents required for start up in rush conditions.

As Carl W indicates there is a possible risk of fire using them. and as well as being plagued with constant O/C occuring.

I could slip over and do a rewire but you are a bit far away !!

-- Regards Rob

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3356 days

#7 posted 07-22-2014 09:32 AM

Scary. Glad you caught it.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2826 days

#8 posted 07-22-2014 12:18 PM

Crap like that shouldn’t even be on the market. Glad you caught it.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View NoThanks's profile


798 posts in 1551 days

#9 posted 07-22-2014 01:46 PM

I’ve never used that type connector,
that being said, it’s probably not a bad connector, it’s just not made to come apart and be re-used.
When they split the building apart whoever did it probably just yanked them apart.

Glad you found it and that’s all it was.

-- Because I'm gone, that's why!

View JoeinGa's profile


7736 posts in 2029 days

#10 posted 07-22-2014 07:25 PM

Thanks for the comments. I do realize my building was made to be used as a school portable classroom, so the “original intent” was that things like saws and planers wouldn’t be used in it. But it is a shame that the industry even ALLOWS things like this to be done. The Romex wiring is plenty heavy enough to carry the loads, but these little snap-connectors are a joke. I did a good search underneath and there was only the 5 connectors where the 2 halves of the building are connected. I cut them all out and spliced all the wires together correctly twisting the ends and using wire nuts, and electrical tape on each connection for added insurance. Luckily, all 5 circuits are in the same place under the building so I was able to do it all at once pretty easily.

David I like your idea of the boxes spaced around the shop, and I really like how you split each outlet to put them on separate circuits. I can see how it would help when it’s so easy to overload a circuit in a workshop.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View HerbC's profile


1763 posts in 2881 days

#11 posted 07-24-2014 12:32 AM


I sure HOPE you made those connections inside an appropriate connection box, using appropriate cable connectors where the cables enter the box(es) and installed a cover on the box. The box(es) and covers are intended to isolate the wiring connections from the structure and limit the spread of fire. The connectors are to minimize chafing of the insulation where the cables enter the box(es)...

Good Luck!

Be Careful!


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View NormG's profile


6134 posts in 3026 days

#12 posted 07-24-2014 02:46 AM

Wow, glad to see you found this early and was a relatively easy update to the electric system

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3583 days

#13 posted 07-24-2014 04:28 AM

Hard to believe those connectors meet code.

Second what Herb said.

-- Joe

View jumbojack's profile


1677 posts in 2646 days

#14 posted 07-24-2014 02:47 PM

We tried using a few of these in a church building. Inspector tagged them as Unacceptable. Luckily there were not too many. One of the guys doing the electrical had them left over from a job out of state. Apparently they are not allowed in commercial buildings in California.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

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