Before discussing the tips on using wire terminals the right way, we have to know more about the electric wire terminal first.
When we say electrical wire terminals, it is a tool used for terminating wires.
This is widely used in the automotive industry, home appliances, computers, and many other things. That is why electrical wire terminals and connectors are essential to us.
There are many electrical terminal connectors in the market. Still, we have to be very cautious when buying one because we might buy the wrong one due to the wide variety of electrical wire terminals and connectors out there.
Let’s learn more about wires. And as we go on, we will determine the tools recommended for using wire terminals or connectors, their uses and so on.
And, once we learn everything about wires, you will know how to use electrical wire terminals the right way.
Wires come in two forms: the solid core and stranded core wire. Let’s look at their definition and uses below.
Solid Core is made up of a single piece metal wire known as a strand. It is used when little or no movement is required.
Stranded Core is made of pieces of solid wire all together in one group. Stranded wire is more flexible; thus, it can be used to move around frequently.
You may twist the wire and thin out the tips when trying to connect stranded wires to screw terminals, breadboards, and the like.
What are the Electric Terminals Connectors?
Now, let’s check the examples of electric wire terminals and connectors:
- Blade Terminals – crimp blade terminals are a single-wire type of electrical connection we use this for stranded wires.
- Screw Terminals- a screw terminal uses a screw to tighten the electrical terminal or connector, may it be a fork or ring terminal or connector where the wire is being held.
Screw terminals are widely used in building wirings for power lines and phone lines. Screw terminals have one or multiple.
- Twist-on Wire Connector- if we ever need to fasten two or more low or extra-low voltage electrical conductors, then the twist-on wire connector does that job.
It has many names like wire nuts, thimble connectors, cone connector, or wire connectors.
- Crimp-on Connectors- Close-end wire connector, pin terminal, Cord end terminal, and twin cord end terminal are crimp-on connectors.
- Close-end wire connector is a type of connector that is used with two or more wires for lasting connections between the wires.
- Pin terminalis a quick and easy solution for us to contact the wire with the use of set screws or clamps.
- Cord end terminal, we use this to terminate the end of a cable, before the fitting of screw-type terminal blocks or connectors. For a more durable and lasting connection, the crimp on the cord end terminal will protect the exposed wire strands from the screw.
- Twin cord end terminalis the same as the cord end terminal, but this one is larger than the cord end terminal because this is designed for two stranded cables for termination.
- Quick splice connector is the easiest way to splice, split or tap electric wires and connections. The other name for this is T-tap splice connector.
So those are some examples of electrical wire terminals. Let’s check some factors that are important and necessary when it comes to dealing with wires.
Below, you will learn the necessary skills required for proper wiring.
How do you measure a wire’s gauge?
WIRE THICKNESS Gauge is defined as the diameter of the wire. It is used to identify the amount of current a wire can handle. Wire Gauge can be electrical and mechanical.
TWO SYSTEMS FOR MEASURING WIRE GAUGE:
- American Wire Gauge ( AWG )
- Standard Wire Gauge ( SWG )
What does a proper stripped wire look like?
Durable and safe electrical connections begin with clean and accurate wire stripping.
Caution: If the wire got nicked, the connection might break, or an electrical shortage may occur.
These wires have been cleanly and adequately stripped.
What tools do you use when stripping the wires?
- Manual Wire Stripper
a simple wire stripper that looks much like a scissor. They vary in different sizes.
It allows users to match the notch size to the wire size, which is very necessary and important for not creating damage to the wires. Some features are:
- Include a locking mechanism
- Have ergonomic handle
- Ability to cut screws
A knife can also be used as a wire stripper but, it may also damage the wire by nicking the metal or only by cutting into it. This can also be dangerous!
Self – Adjusting Wire Stripper
Place the wire in the middle of the teeth and squeezing the handle makes the self – adjusting wire stripper somehow automatic. It entirely strips the wire every time.
Self – adjusting wire stripper is an advantage for removing sheaths from cables.
Wire Wrap Tool
By wrapping a wire around a pin using a wire wrap tool, a built-in stripper blade may be ready to strip the thin wire. Place the wire between the blades, then pull.
Here are some cool tricks when using wire wrap tool:
- Match the size of the wire to the correct notch into the stripper. If the notch is too large, the wire will not get stripped; if it’s too small, there’s a risk of damaging the wire.
- A nick in solid core wire reduces the strength and flexibility of the wire.
- If, by accident, the wire got a nick in it, the best action plan is to cut off the damaged part and try again.
What’s the Proper Way to Splice a Wire?
Here are the basic steps on how to splice a wire:
- Prepare the wire by stripping the wire ends using a wire stripper. You can twist the ends to group the strands together and tinning the tips.
- Slide the heat shrink through one of the wires. Make sure to slide the heat shrink away from the area you are splicing.
- Face the wire terminals towards each other and touch the exposed ends together.
- Hold the wires together by using tape to hold the wires in place.
Hint: Besides taping a wire against a soldering mat, try to use a 3rd hand or 3D printing clamps to hold wires in place.
- Add solder to the wires. Try not to leave the soldering iron to prevent it from melting.
- Make sure that the underside of the wire is also soldered.
Here are some more TIPS:
- Splicing a wire? Try twisting the wires together. You can also try hooking and twisting the wires together.
- For advanced users, you can also tap into the wire instead of cutting straight the wire.
- Trouble splicing wires or connecting wires to a pin? Try using PCB as support when soldering similar to the built-in wire extension cable.
Now that we have some knowledge about electrical terminal connectors, next question is- how are we going to crimp them?
Strike it with a hammer? Crimp it with pliers? No! We are going to use the proper tool for crimping electric wire terminals, which is the electrical terminal and connectors crimp tools.
What is crimping by the way?
Crimping means to join two (2) pieces of metal together by deforming one or both of them to hold the other. The deformity is called the crimp.
Electric wire terminal and connector crimp tools have many designs and types. We are going to discuss some types and uses.
There are many types of electric wire terminal and connector crimp tools. Here are some:
- Hand crimp electric wire terminal tool – this type of device is the most common tool that is being used for crimping electric wire terminal and connector.
Handheld electric wire terminal and connector tools are very suitable for small wires.
- Plier Type– These types of electric wire terminal and connector crimp tool is easy to use and is more cost-friendly because it is cheaper than the others.
These types are not suitable in large quantities and not a very quality-wise tool for crimping your wire terminal or connector.
- Ratchet type–This type of electric wire terminal and connector crimp tool is more preferred than the plier type crimp tool because it is easy to use because of the ratchet style of the tool.
Some of these types of tools have hydraulic fluid powered crimping mechanism and can withstand a crimping force of 6 tons up to 15 tons.
This tool is used for a much thicker wire size 22 AWG (American wire gauge) up to 24 AWG, and it is less stressful to the user other than the manual handheld crimping tools because of the hydraulic power.
The new-age design of the hydraulic crimp tool today is easier to use because of its lightweight design, very durable, precise crimping, and much better output when it comes to quantity and quality.
- Power hydraulic electric wire terminal tool– this type of tool is used when you need a full cycle mechanism. This tool is mostly used In industrial application most of these tools is battery operated. We use this type of tool for the utility power cable and can range up to 750 MCM (thousand circular Mils).
- Hammer electric wire terminal tool– this type of tool uses a hammer to complete the process of crimping.
This budget-friendly tool is very simple to use with its spring-loaded ram, which locks up for the loading of the connector or terminal and uses a hammer to apply the crimping force.
This is designed for 8, 6, 4, 2, 1 AWG as well as 1/0, 2/0, 3/0 and 4/0.
Here are some IMPORTANT REMINDERSS when using crimping tools:
- Pliers are not crimpers! Even hammers, needle, nose pliers, or flat rocks. A good crimper, when used in the right way, will make a cold weld between the wire and the barrel of the connector. Using the wrong tool will not help you achieve a good crimp!
- A poor crimp leaves air pockets between the wire and connector. It allows moisture to collect, and moisture causes corrosion, corrosion causes resistance, resistance causes heat – all this leading to breakage.
- If the connection can be pulled apart, it is most likely that the crimp was done incorrectly. It is better to have the crimp fail now, instead of after it had been installed in its application.
What are the common mistakes when crimping quick disconnects and crimp pins?
- Wrong size connector for the wire
- Be a little careful not to strip too much insulation off
- Although not harmful, the wire should not be protruding too far past the barrel. If it happens, trimming the wire is advised.
Now, in this world of increasing technological surroundings, I do believe that people will not only understand the technologies they use every day but also be able to build, alter, and fix them as well. Soldering is one of the skills that will empower you to do that.
What is the solder?
Solder refers to the alloy ( a substance composed of two or more metals ) that usually come as a long, thin wire in spools or tubes. In verb form, as per the dictionary, it means to join together two (2) pieces of metal in a solder joint.
Leaded vs. Lead – Free Solder
Solder was composed of mostly lead and a few other trace metals known as leaded solder. As known to everyone, lead is harmful to humans and can lead to lead poisoning if exposed to large amounts.
But, it is also a very useful metal, and it was chosen to be the go-to metal for soldering due to its low melting point and ability to create great solder joints.
Lead-free solder is the same as its leaded counterpart except that it contains no lead. It is made of mostly tin and other trace metals like silver and copper.
Choosing the right solder
In most cases, it is best to use lead-free solder to ensure the safety of the products. But, many people still choose to use the leaded solder because of its superb ability to act as a joining agent.
Yet, of course, others prefer safety over functionality and opt for the lead-free.
Other factors to consider when choosing a solder:
- Other solder compositions
- Gauges or widths
- Other forms
What is a Soldering Iron?
There are many tools you can use in soldering, but nothing is more critical than the soldering iron. You need two things: iron and some solder to finish the task at hand.
Parts of Soldering Iron:
Soldering Tips – part of the iron that heats up and allows the solder to flow around the two (2) components being joined. One common misunderstanding is that the tip transfers solder. Tip transfers the heat, raising the temperature of the metal to the melting point of the solder, and the solder melts accordingly.
Wand – part of the iron that holds the tip. It is also the part that is handled by the user. It is usually made of a variety of insulating materials like rubber to prevent the heat of the tip from transferring outside the wand, but they also house wires and metal contacts that move heat from the base or outlet to the tip.
Base– the base of the iron is the control box that allows temperature adjustments. The base is comprised of a large transformer that safely allows you to vary the heat of your tip.
What are other Soldering Accessories?
You might be familiar with the following:
- Solder Wick – eraser to soldering pencils.
- Tip Tinner –a chemical paste use to clean the tip of the soldering iron.
- Solder Vacuum – used for removing solder left behind in through-holes when desoldering components.
- Water Soluble Flux Pen – flux is a chemical agent that aids in the flow of lead-free solder. Suggested to use for removing and cleaning any remaining water-soluble flux residue on the board.
- Insulated Silicone Soldering Mat – used to protect and keep your desktop clean.
- Solder-Mate Solder Dispenser – used to prevent your spool from rolling away and dispense your solder.
Things to consider to make every solder connection a good one:
- Be cautious when handling hot irons
- While you solder, make sure you use third-hand devices to hold boards
- Set your iron to a good medium heat
- Turn down the heat when you see smoke from the solder
- Tin your tip with solder before connection to help prepare the joint
- Use the side of the tip, not the very tip of the iron
- Pull the solder away, then the iron next.
- Heat the pad and the part you want to solder at the same time
- A good solder joint looks like a volcano, not a ball or a clump
HOW TO MAKE SAFE WIRE CONNECTIONS?
It is relatively easy to make safe and robust electrical connections by using the right size of wire and the proper wire terminals and connectors.
With careful attention to detail, you can rest easy knowing your wiring job is safe.
Things to consider in making safe wire connections:
- Pick the right connector or terminal for the job
- Pick the right tools for the job
- Double-check the electrical connections and the terminals
- Prepare the wires for the best connection
Pick the right connector for the wire
Each nut connector is made to join a certain and specific minimum and maximum volume of wires. The larger the wire gauge, the fewer it can hold.
Before tightening the electrical caps, you should line up the wire ends.
- Ensure that all wire ends are lined up before twisting on the wire nut connector, or it will not cap all wires evenly, and there is a possibility that wires will slip out.
Buy a wire stripping tool or an electrical crimp tool with a wire stripper.
- When using a wire stripping tool, it makes the job clean and fast without nicking and weakening the wires.
Loop the wire to make a secure screw connection
- Only one wire can be used in one screw
Do not under-strip or over-strip wire for wire terminals or connectors.
- Wires should always be the right size for the wire terminal or connector
- Cut off nicked, bent, or twisted ends.
- nicked or twisted wires are weaker and won’t line up easily in the connector
By all counts and with proven results, it is no wonder and doubt that this all helped and will help people to correctly and accurately use wire terminals and connectors.