Electrical Wiring in the Home/Electrical Outlet in Garage


Outlet photo
Outlet photo  
I have a detached garage with a fuse box that has two wires from the house going to it.  The 15 amp circuit in the box then serves two ceiling lights and then what appear to be two single power outlets, all served by two wires.  The flexible metal conduit is exposed so I can see where they are all going, however, have not opened up the back boxes of the outlets. I would love to know, however, what kind of outlets these are and if I can change them out.  The attached picture shows the two outlets, the top one i have an adapter in it that goes from a two prong outlet to three prong/grounded plug.  The outlet viewed in the bottom shows the four prongs, oriented vertically, and there are two round items that are just the screws holding the outlet in place, if it's not clear).  I have used that adapter to get power from the outlet twice in the last five years (once for a hedgetrimmer and once for a refrigerator for 10 mins) and it works.  Can you tell me what this outlet is and if there is a way to make it usable?  Thank you.

Hi Jennifer,

There was a time in the development of home electrical systems before there were agreed upon standards. Many different utilities popped up and they product oddly shaped plugs. The good thing is the nation moved to a system that is universal across every state. What a pain it would be if that did not happen. All you need to do is have the outlet changed out to a modern outlet. You should consider having the garage rewired too. It looks like it is time.

If you do update that outlet could you save it and mail it to me? I'm trying to put together a collection of historical devices before they disappeared in to history. The one you have is really cool looking. My guess is that it is a plug meant to work with 3 different type of electrical systems. Sort of like a combo Beta/VHS VCR or 8 track with  cassette.

a) Parallel-- the plugs we use today.
b) Tandem-- Two prongs that laid flat.
C) Diangle round-- I have not seen That before.

Gen 3 electric
1257 s 26th street
Philadelphia Pa 19146  
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Electrical Wiring in the Home

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Bill Lutz


Any questions about being an electrician or doing electrical work. I can help advise people on their wiring needs, what kind of outlets and switcher to use, explain what an electrical service is and how their breakers work. I can also help them with their lighting needs. . I CAN HELP YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT YOUR LOOKING AT.


My Father apprenticed to his Father-and I apprenticed to mine, repeating an invaluable tradition of child labor and a great place to learn a trade. Beginning at the age of 13, I worked with my dad every weekend and summer vacation in homes throughout Philadelphia repairing and rewiring all levels of residential electrical systems. Studying electrical engineering and earning a degree in architecture has given me a solid advantage in solving the myriad of residential electrical problems. Generation 3 Electrical, Inc. takes pride in every job - building confidence by how we do things - by being prompt, thorough and leaving every job site finished and clean.

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