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Stripped Screw Thread in 13A Wall Socket

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by rswan, 8 May 2004.

  1. rswan

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    Hi,

    The previous owner of my house decided to force the screws holding the 13A wall sockets into the plaster box.

    End result is the thread in the plaster box is damaged and I can't get a new screw to go in.

    Does anyone know if it is possible to buy the tap to re cut the thread or do I need to change the box, does anyone even know the name of the thread?

    Thanks!

    Rachel
     
  2. breezer

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    if the thread has been stipped you can not tap it to the origonal size, change the box :cry:
     
  3. AdamW

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    On the positive side, a new box is only about £1 and is easy to fit. Just remember to switch off the power at the consumer unit before removing the socket and the box.

    You will need to make sure you buy the same type of box. If it is made of plastic it is a "drywall box" or a "plasterboard box". If it is a metal one then that is a pattress box. They come in different depths so measure it or better yet, take it down to your nearest DIY shop and make sure you get the same one.

    Plastic drywall boxes are trickier to remove. You need to push the screw-hole tabs back into the wall as far as you can, then try to lever them back in towards the middle of the box. Alternatively you can drill some holes in it and use a sharp Stanley knife to cut it in two. If you just try and yank it out you will damage the plasterboard wall!

    Good luck! :D
     
  4. securespark

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    Breezer

    Sorry to disagree, but I come across this all the time. Most situations I cannot fit a new box, due to decoration etc, so try this.

    First of all, the size rethreader you are looking for is M3.5.

    RS sell them.

    Try rethreading the lug and fitting a brand new screw. In 99.9% of cases, this is sufficient to allow a very good grip by the new screw.

    If this fails, rethread with a 4mm tap, and get a countersunk M4 screw from hardware shop or similar - make sure it is BZP & CSK or it will sit proud of socket surface, making correct seating of plug in socket impossible.

    BZP= Bright Zinc Plated

    CSK= Countersunk

    Note of warning-

    Be very gentle when using the rethreader - any sideways movement on the tool when rethreading could snap the tool.......
     
  5. securespark

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    Adam

    Sorry to correct you, mate, but pattresses are the urea moulded surface boxes.

    Drylining boxes are the easiest of all to get out. Once the side lugs are retracted back into the box, they just fall out. Almost!

    There are two types as far as I'm aware. The Tenby Fastfix have spring-loaded side lugs. Just push them towards the rear of the box and then pull them in a touch. The others are as you described - push the lug to the rear and then you should be able to pull them back in - a screwdriver comes in handy here.

    Yes, boxes are cheap, but you miss the point, I think.

    If the box is plastered in, you won't get it out without a fight, and if the area is nicely decorated, then that could cause serious and costly problems. It is well worth trying to rethread first.
     
  6. AdamW

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    No need to apologise, I was wrong. But being corrected on my electrics knowledge by a proper spark is hardly insulting! I had wondered about my pattress box statement, what is the name for the galvanised boxes that you recess into the wall? I had meant to look it up but got distracted.

    I have never tried to get a box out other than when I was building a stud partition wall, very easy to get out before the plaster and decoration!

    A note for the tap: when using a tap it is usually best to turn about half a turn clockwise, then back a bit. Then clockwise again, then back a bit and so on. This allows the tap to clear the swarf out of it each time. This will avoid breaking your tap. Once you do break a tap, you never break one again! It is a real pain.

    There may be another solution: With a drywall box, if you bought an identical box then perhaps you could swap the damaged lug?
     
  7. funkydiver

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    Or you could "repair" the job...

    Fill the "hole" with Araldite and redrill using 3.5 mm bit... slightly countersink the hole, and I mean slightly... the new screw will rethread itself...

    Some might call this "gash", and to some extent I would agree... I suppose it depends on the work involved inserting a new box... if it means redecorating, making good plaster, etc. then it suffices until such time as a "proper" job is needed...

    I am in no way saying that this is the right way to do it, just that it's an option...
     
  8. securespark

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    Good advice on tapping!

    The name is plainly, flush steel box!!

    You could indeed just replace the lug on a drywall box, but you may have to remove it anyway.
     
  9. securespark

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    FD Yes you could, but earth continuity would not be assured between screw and lug. How much of a problem that would be is debatable....
     
  10. funkydiver

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    secure... I see your point... well presented sir..

    I suppose it would depend upon the earthing arrangements on the back of the switch plate...
     
  11. Maddad1

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    I came across this problem today having just tiled a wall. It was the 'fixed' hole that was stripped. I took the 'height adjustment hole' from an identical box and found it fitted tightly behind the stripped hole, so I drilled the stripped hole bigger and then pressed the other threaded hole in behind it and screwed the socket front back on. Simple solution and earth connectivity is maintained. Of course, had it been the height adjustment hole that was stripped it would have been easier to sort by just replacing it.

    Steve
     

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