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JAAulde
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Williamsport, MD
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1 edit

[Solved] Can't fully plug in to Tamper Resistant Outlet

Hi all,

I just installed an outlet under the sink for my garbage disposal. I am using a Leviton Tamper Resistant Single Outlet which I purchased at Home Depot ( http://www.homedepot.com/Electrical-Outlets-Plugs/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xgtZbm4n/R-202066674/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053 )

I have found that I cannot fully plug any cords into this outlet. My disposal plug kit and two shop vacs all go in until about 1/8th of an inch is left. So the plug is hanging with a bit of a gap. Further, it took me some jiggling around twice to get power as I was trying to figure it out.

Is there a trick to these things? I didn't purposely buy tamper resistant, it's just what they had for single outlet. But I really don't feel like spending any more time under the sink trying to take this one out and replacing it with something different.

Thanks for any help you can offer,
Jim

Solved: »Re: Can't plug all the way in to Leviton Tamper Resistant Outlet
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gregz

join:2009-10-01

1 edit

Re: Can't plug all the way in to Leviton Tamper Resistant Outlet

Get a non-tamper for under the sink. BTW, it should be a GCFI protected outlet under there.


robbin
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Leander, TX
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said by gregz:

BTW, it should be a GCFI protected outlet under there.
I do not believe that code requires a GFCI for a disposal on a KITCHEN sink. I'm sure one of the electrical gurus will confirm or deny shortly!

TheMG
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reply to JAAulde

I hate tamper resistant outlets with a passion.

Why didn't you just get a regular instead of tamper-resistant?


gregz

join:2009-10-01
reply to robbin

said by robbin:

said by gregz:

BTW, it should be a GCFI protected outlet under there.
I do not believe that code requires a GFCI for a disposal on a KITCHEN sink. I'm sure one of the electrical gurus will confirm or deny shortly!
Depends on the Local jurisdiction. Our's does require a GCFI under the sink if the disposal plugs in, same for portable dishwasher units.


nunya
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reply to JAAulde

Click for full size
downloadTamperResistant.pdf 33,265 bytes
TR receptacles will soon be the
While the NEC doesn't require a GFCI receptacle for under the kitchen sink, it certainly wouldn't hurt anything. Many municipalities do require GFCI protection for disposals. I typically do install a GFCI in new construction.

As for the OP, it sounds like you got a bad TR receptacle.
For those not familiar with TR receptacles: »www.leviton.com/OA_HTML/ibeCCtpS···te=10021

I've been using them for playrooms, nurseries, daycares, churches, etc... for a few years. 2008 made them mandatory in residential.
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JAAulde
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reply to TheMG

said by TheMG:

Why didn't you just get a regular instead of tamper-resistant?
said by JAAulde:

I didn't purposely buy tamper resistant, it's just what they had for single outlet.

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JAAulde
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reply to JAAulde

Local code does not require I use a GFCI for the disposal and given the trouble I've had with motors on the load side of a GFCI, I opted to not use it for this. It's all by itself on a 15A circuit with a single receptacle on the end, so since it's not required I am glad to not use GFCI.
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Parneli

join:2004-12-28
Naperville, IL
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reply to JAAulde

said by JAAulde:

Is there a trick to these things? I didn't purposely buy tamper resistant, it's just what they had for single outlet. But I really don't feel like spending any more time under the sink trying to take this one out and replacing it with something different.
Every single outlet in my house (beside the basement and garage) is tamper resistant- including the GFCI ones. When they're new they're hard to plug stuff in. With a bit of use they loosen up.

I don't have any that the plugs won't go all the way into....outside of more force, or making sure the plug blades maybe aren't bent or something.... I dunno.


whizkid3
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Queens, NY
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2 edits
reply to JAAulde

said by JAAulde:

Local code does not require I use a GFCI for the disposal and given the trouble I've had with motors on the load side of a GFCI, I opted to not use it for this. It's all by itself on a 15A circuit with a single receptacle on the end, so since it's not required I am glad to not use GFCI.
That's true, the NEC does not require GFCI protection for under-counter receptacles. Over-counter, island, etc. must be GFCI protected. Bear in mind of course, that any receptacle under the counter, must be for a fixed-in place appliance, and must be a single receptacle if for one appliance. In other words, plugging in the fixed-in-place appliance, tends to make the receptacle inaccessible to a degree.

On the other hand, if one has motors tripping a GFCI receptacle; its not the receptacle. Its a problem with the motor; usually a ground fault in the windings. Garbage disposals are famous for this, because people seem to run them much more than their duty cycle when they have a problem chewing up some crap they've dumped down the sink. The end result is insulation burnt off the windings, leading to ground faults.

It always strikes me as crazy, that one would knowingly continue to use a motor that is tripping a GFCI, by removing the GFCI protection. Its there to protect you from ground faults such as these. Hey, its your kitchen. Just keep your hands out of the water and far away from the metal sink, when you are running the disposal motor. That way, you will have some form of protection from electric shock.

On the other hand, I should say that I don't use GFCI for garbage disposals and dishwashers unless required by local code (which has to be pretty rare).


JAAulde
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2 edits

I know what you're saying, and I know you're damn good at what you do. But I know 3 electricians personally and all have told me to keep motors off the load side of a GFCI.

I even ignored them once and put my brand new bathroom exhaust fan on the load side of a brand new GFCI and one out of every three times I shut that fan off, the GFCI would trip. I finally gave up and moved it to the line side like the 3 electricians told me to in the first place.

When I was planning this outlet for the disposal, I even re-engaged on the subject with one of those electricians. I said, "So this needs to be GFCI right, given its proximity to the sink?" He said he never puts disposals on GFCI because shutoff always trips it.

Given my previous experience, their consistent advice, and lack of code requirement, I didn't use GFCI.
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whizkid3
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4 edits

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said by JAAulde:

one out of every three times I shut that fan off, the GFCI would trip. He said he never puts disposals on GFCI because shutoff always trips it.
Understanding electrical theory and exactly how GFCI's work; stories like these - happening with good motors, are basically old wives tales. Fallacies. In fact, if there is no ground fault; for this to happen simply violates the laws of physics. In specific, Kirchoff's current law. The current into a node equals the current out of a node. Take that to mean that the current into a motor (without a ground fault) equals the current out of the motor. And both of those equal currents are passing through a sensing coil - one each in the opposite direction - causing the sensor to register zero leakage and not trip.

Kirchoff's current rule applies whether the motor is being turned on; turned off; or continuously running. The current into and out of a (good) motor, balances out to zero. This is true when the magnetic field in a motor is charging (turning it on) and collapsing (turning it off). In fact, the magnetic field of a motor does this 60 times a second, anyway. Thinking that there is some difference between the two wires, when a device - including a motor - is being shut off, shows a simple lack of understanding of the most basic fundamentals of electric circuits. (Think 'complete circuit'.) Shutting off a motor, will no more cause a GFCI to trip, then keeping the circuit off in the first place. (FYI - I am not dissing you, JAAulde - I am talking about these electricians.)

I realize, that most likely, I am not going to change your mind. No disrespect intended to all those brilliant electricians out there (including nunya); but your average electrician does not know squat about emag 101, Kirchoff's laws, Maxwells equations; nor the physics behind electricity (aside from the water hose parallel which they were taught). The great majority do not know how current moves through a circuit, nor what causes it to move. They just know, it does. They are good at installing wiring fast; and really good at gossiping while standing at the counter waiting for parts in the supply house. But diagnosing a condition that can't be seen with the naked eye, is not their strong suit. And there's nothing wrong with that. Its simply not their job to do so. Their goal is to get it working as fast and profitable as possible.

Bathroom exaust fans; garbage disposals; tripping GFCI's? Its either because they have a ground fault; or were built in China - cheap and defective out of the box. Because a lot of products on the market today are simply crap; I do agree with these guys. Don't put your disposal or bathroom fan on a GFCI. Its not because there is something wrong with GFCIs, or that they don't work well with motors. They simply do a much better job than people think, at protecting one from ground faults.


nunya
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reply to JAAulde

Your 3 electricians are wrong. If a motor trips a GFCI, it is most likely a problem with the motor. I've heard the BS line about motors tripping GFCI that probably goes back to their inception.
A few code cycles ago, it became mandatory for ALL 15 / 20 A 120V receptacles in a commercial kitchen to be GFCI protected due to the often poor conditions found with restaurant equipment and cords.
Guess what? When the GFCI trips, it's always something wrong with the equipment. Usually a bad cord.
The only issues with putting GFCI's in commercial kitchens has been: Owners are now forced to maintain their equipment and employees aren't getting shocked as much.
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whizkid3
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1 edit
reply to JAAulde

Anyway, we are diverging off topic here. You don't need a GFCI.

Have you solved the issue with the tamper resistant receptacle?

I would say to stick a screw driver into it, and try to pry the tamper mechanism over; but its not a GFCI and you will likely fry yourself. lol

Maybe the one you have is broken? (Personally, in my own home, I would not use one. Its going to have a plug in it 24/7. And if I did have little kids, the under-sink cabinet doors would be protected from opening first.)



shdesigns
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reply to nunya

Have seen motors trip GFCI's repeatedly. Just happened to have a HiPot tester and no problem with motor. Found GFCI were crap, poorly made with sloppy routing of wires through current sens coil.

You guys are funny, first you say most GFCI's are crap and now say they never false trip.

They do seem better now. Had real problems with even name brand ones years ago.
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TheMG
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It's not violating the laws of physics it's just that the inductive spike that occurs when shutting off a motor messes with the sensitive electronics in the GFCI, especially GFCIs that are inexpensive or not very well designed.

Bathroom fan motors of the C-frame shaded pole type tend to have a very large inductance in the coil compared to other motor types, and thus are more susceptible to this than other types.



Anonymous_
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reply to JAAulde

said by JAAulde:

I have found that I cannot fully plug any cords into this outlet.
find some one with muscles to plug it in for you


whizkid3
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1 edit
reply to TheMG

said by TheMG:

It's not violating the laws of physics it's just that the inductive spike that occurs when shutting off a motor messes with the sensitive electronics in the GFCI, especially GFCIs that are inexpensive or not very well designed.

Bathroom fan motors of the C-frame shaded pole type tend to have a very large inductance in the coil compared to other motor types, and thus are more susceptible to this than other types.
You are going to have to explain that a lot further.

If you mean a spike in the current, from the motor's inductance as the switch is cut off; then you are wrong. That 'spike' is equal in current throughout the circuit. Equal on both wires passing through the GFCI coil at all times. The result is that the net current through the coil is zero. (Anything else would violate the laws of physics). The GFCI sensor sees zero current. Shutting off motors. Inductive 'spikes'. Zero.

Rather than just describing something you've heard; provide a solid technical explanation or post some valid links to one. 'Messes with the sensitive electronics' is not an explanation.


z909

@cox.net

said by whizkid3:

said by TheMG:

It's not violating the laws of physics it's just that the inductive spike that occurs when shutting off a motor messes with the sensitive electronics in the GFCI, especially GFCIs that are inexpensive or not very well designed.

Bathroom fan motors of the C-frame shaded pole type tend to have a very large inductance in the coil compared to other motor types, and thus are more susceptible to this than other types.
You are going to have to explain that a lot further.

If you mean a spike in the current, from the motor's inductance as the switch is cut off; then you are wrong. That 'spike' is equal in current throughout the circuit. Equal on both wires passing through the GFCI coil at all times. The result is that the net current through the coil is zero. (Anything else would violate the laws of physics). The GFCI sensor sees zero current. Shutting off motors. Inductive 'spikes'. Zero.

Rather than just describing something you've heard; provide a solid technical explanation or post some valid links to one. 'Messes with the sensitive electronics' is not an explanation.
Suppose the inductive spike in voltage rises enough to cause a breakdown in the motor wire insulation such that it momentarily flashes over to gnd and that gets sensed by the GFCI as an imbalanced current? Once the spike is gone, the insulation may easily withstand the normal line voltage without breakdown, after resetting the GFCI of course. I would think that motor winding wire ought to be rated to handle the peak voltage likely to be seen as the load is switched off. I wonder how many flashovers the wire insulation will withstand before it starts breaking down at normal operating voltage?

N.N.


Hall
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reply to Parneli

said by Parneli:

When they're new they're hard to plug stuff in. With a bit of use they loosen up.
I installed these in my kid's bedrooms and some are harder than others to plug stuff into. Being plastic, you don't really want to push too hard for fear of breaking them. I wasn't sure if they were "cheap", defective, or like you suggest, just not broken in yet.


cowboyro
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reply to JAAulde

As a side note, a properly-built GFCI will not care about the type of load. However this is real life and things are not ideal. A slight mismatch in the current transformer will result in sensing a current imbalance when there isn't one. The inrush current of the motors is significant and a slight imbalance can cause the GFCI to trip. I have seen it with my shop vac and a particular older GFCI outlet.


TheMG
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3 edits
reply to whizkid3

said by whizkid3:

Rather than just describing something you've heard; provide a solid technical explanation or post some valid links to one. 'Messes with the sensitive electronics' is not an explanation.
Inductive spike causes a high voltage arc. Arcing releases an intense burst of broad spectrum RFI.

Obviously the sensing circuits inside the GFI are very sensitive. If the design of the GFI does not provide adequate filtering against RFI, nuisance trips such as this can occur.

Modern GFI have gotten significantly better, but early ones were quite susceptible to RFI.

While I haven't experienced bathroom fan motors tripping GFIs first hand, I can certainly see how it is possible. I have experienced other RFI related GFI trips though, involving a 15W VHF radio transmitter located near a GFI. Keying the radio would instantly trip the GFI. Moving the radio physically further away from the GFI eliminated the nuisance trips.

Sensitive electronics in general don't normally appreciate things like spikes, RFI, and EMI. GFIs are very sensitive devices.

That's one of the possibilities.

The other possibility is that the spike takes a different path (through ground) to discharge the inductor. When you open the switch, the inductor has a tendency to want to keep current flowing in the now broken circuit, and develops voltage until the magnetic field stored in the inductor has collapsed. This voltage can reach thousands of volts. If the gap between the switch contacts open too fast and is too wide for the spark to jump to dissipate all of the charge, the electricity WILL find a different path.

nerdful1

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You have the who;e idea of tamper resistant wrong.

Like More Tears shampoo, this will allow the child to be trained in the real world to respect electricity before he gets old enough to crawl around under a sink and do stupid things as an adult.

The idea of the plug not seating is to allow a child to easily stick a coin or paper clip across the prongs, causing a scary spark, teaching him a lesson early on.



JAAulde
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said by nerdful1:

You have the who;e idea of tamper resistant wrong.

Like More Tears shampoo, this will allow the child to be trained in the real world to respect electricity before he gets old enough to crawl around under a sink and do stupid things as an adult.

The idea of the plug not seating is to allow a child to easily stick a coin or paper clip across the prongs, causing a scary spark, teaching him a lesson early on.
Brilliant! As I have 4 children, I will leave this as is and encourage them to play under the sink. "Father of the Year" award, here I come!
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UHF
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reply to whizkid3

said by whizkid3:

If you mean a spike in the current, from the motor's inductance as the switch is cut off; then you are wrong. That 'spike' is equal in current throughout the circuit. Equal on both wires passing through the GFCI coil at all times. The result is that the net current through the coil is zero. (Anything else would violate the laws of physics).
If you had switched off the hot lead at the switch, then NO, the spike will NOT be on both wires.

My ceiling fans occasionally trip my QO GFCI breakers. I agree they shouldn't do that, but they do. And only at the most inconvenient of times.

raster44

join:2003-09-07
Niagara Falls, NY
reply to Anonymous_

Probably a faulty made outlet. Next time you go to Home Depot and get another socket and try it in the store to see if plugs sit fully flush in the outlet.



panth1
The Coyote

join:2000-12-11
Boca Raton, FL
reply to JAAulde

What's with all these pussy tamper resistant outlets. Go get a real electrical outlet.

Part of growing up was sticking that knife or paper clip into an outlet and really learning what electricity was. Then having your parent yell at you and tell you not to be a dumbass.



whizkid3
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Queens, NY
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3 edits
reply to z909

said by z909 :

Suppose the inductive spike in voltage rises enough to cause a breakdown in the motor wire insulation such that it momentarily flashes over to gnd and that gets sensed by the GFCI as an imbalanced current? Once the spike is gone, the insulation may easily withstand the normal line voltage without breakdown, after resetting the GFCI of course. I would think that motor winding wire ought to be rated to handle the peak voltage likely to be seen as the load is switched off. I wonder how many flashovers the wire insulation will withstand before it starts breaking down at normal operating voltage? N.N.
Excellent. That was what I was waiting to here. Some kind of plausible technical possibility. Kudos. Not that I agree 100%, but it sounds technically possible. Personally, I don't think that a small motor's inductance (in parallel with parasitic resistance) is going to be great enough to cause the dv/dt to exceed the winding insulation resistance to ground; otherwise, every one of these small motors would be damaged very quickly. On the other hand, I did say that the world is full of crappy equipment, especially cheaply made exhaust fans. So, its certainly a possibility.

said by TheMG:

Inductive spike causes a high voltage arc. Arcing releases an intense burst of broad spectrum RFI. Obviously the sensing circuits inside the GFI are very sensitive. If the design of the GFI does not provide adequate filtering against RFI, nuisance trips such as this can occur. Modern GFI have gotten significantly better, but early ones were quite susceptible to RFI.

While I haven't experienced bathroom fan motors tripping GFIs first hand, I can certainly see how it is possible. I have experienced other RFI related GFI trips though, involving a 15W VHF radio transmitter located near a GFI. Keying the radio would instantly trip the GFI. Moving the radio physically further away from the GFI eliminated the nuisance trips.

Sensitive electronics in general don't normally appreciate things like spikes, RFI, and EMI. GFIs are very sensitive devices. That's one of the possibilities.
Another great explanation. True, the arc in turning off the switch releases a broad spectrum of RFI. Of course, whether or not its going to affect the GFCI is another matter. If it is placed close to the switch, I can see this happening. The RFI released, is attenuated according to a 'square rule'. If they are placed far enough apart, then it shouldn't be an issue. And its not much of an issue with most modern made GFCI receptacles; as their shielding has been dramatically improved. Older ones have gotten this reputation (as nunya says) and unfortunately it has stuck. Hence, the 'old wives tales' I was referring to. I do take umbrage with your description of 'sensitive electronics', without any details. The 'electronics' in a GFCI are not really that 'sensitive'. They are designed to be inexpensive, however. So maybe its more a matter of 'cheap electronics'?

"involving a 15kW VHF radio transmitter located near a GFI". Yeah, well.... must be an older GFCI. May well light up your lightbulbs with the switch turned off, as well.

said by TheMG:

The other possibility is that the spike takes a different path (through ground) to discharge the inductor. When you open the switch, the inductor has a tendency to want to keep current flowing in the now broken circuit, and develops voltage until the magnetic field stored in the inductor has collapsed. This voltage can reach thousands of volts. If the gap between the switch contacts open too fast and is too wide for the spark to jump to dissipate all of the charge, the electricity WILL find a different path.
This sounds more feasible. I don't think the voltage, however, is going to be thousands of volts. That would damage the insulation throughout the wiring system, other equipment, and perhaps even the circuit breakers. Yeah, its going to find another path. That is a fact. There are parasitic resistances that are going to limit the voltage; and help the current simply discharge 'around the motor', as opposed to all or maybe even much of it going to ground. And it would have to have a complete path through the neutral, through the GFCI coil, for it to trip the GFCI.

said by cowboyro:

As a side note, a properly-built GFCI will not care about the type of load. However this is real life and things are not ideal. A slight mismatch in the current transformer will result in sensing a current imbalance when there isn't one. The inrush current of the motors is significant and a slight imbalance can cause the GFCI to trip. I have seen it with my shop vac and a particular older GFCI outlet.
This is probably the best explanation, in my opinion. Again, Kudos. In fact, I think CBR has hit the nail on the head. I think this is the most feasible, explanation there is. And its also great, because it is simple and easy to picture. For example, if the GFCI sensor (not coil) is perhaps 0.1% imbalanced, on a 5 amp motor load that can draw up to 25-35 amps on inrush; then that imbalance can add up to 35 mA. Surprise! Enough to trip the GFCI. And it can easily happen sporadically, because the amount of inrush current depends on where the AC cycle is in its curve when the switch is thrown. Also, applies to turning it off. Again, modern GFCI's are built a lot better than the early ones, though; but this is not a hard scenario to imagine at all.

said by UHF:

If you had switched off the hot lead at the switch, then NO, the spike will NOT be on both wires.
This is the type of misconception I was talking about. And a lot of people think this is true. Unfortunately - and not to knock you, UHF - its from a lack of understanding about how current flows in a circuit. The current is either everywhere in the circuit or nowhere. It has nothing to do with switching the hot lead vs. both leads. When the circuit is cut, the current in the circuit stops flowing everywhere at the exact same point in time. If it didn't it would violate the laws of physics. Refer to: »en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirchhoff%···uit_laws

Hey, like I said; don't put a motor load on a GFCI if you don't have to (or if you are not worried that much about safety). The best advice I can offer not to buy cheap ceiling fans, exhaust fans, etc. These can easily prove electrically dangerous when they are not on GFCI's; and when they are, cause you to be hatin' life.


JAAulde
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reply to panth1

said by panth1:

What's with all these pussy tamper resistant outlets. Go get a real electrical outlet.
For heaven's sake:
said by JAAulde:

I didn't purposely buy tamper resistant, it's just what they had for single outlet.

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whizkid3
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Queens, NY
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Still not working, JAAulde?