Wire Terminals & Splices
What are electrical terminals and splices?
Terminals and splices are types of connector that are mounted onto a wire. Together they can connect to a component to allow the electrical current to be used. Examples of wire terminals and splices include:
- Ring Terminals
- Space Connectors
- Splice Connectors
- Butt Splice
- Bootlace Ferrules
- Fork Terminals
- Screw Terminals
What is the difference between a terminal and a splice?
Splices are used to typically join two conductor ends together without a mechanical connection. Wire splices feature a metal insert which cuts into the plastic insulation of the wires and crimps them. Wire splicing using a s splice connector means you do not need to solder the joint.
Terminals are used to "terminate" a conductor mechanically by crimping or soldering to a component. Crimp terminals, like splices, provide a quick and easy connection, without the need for soldering.
Selecting a terminal
They are available in various shapes, materials and mounting types. There are also specific colour codes to them that designate the size. When choosing a terminal, here are some points to consider:
- Receptacle size
- Wire/cable size (AWG/mm²)
- Termination method
- Terminal orientation
- Insulation type
- Operating temperature
- Terminal material
What is terminal insulation?
Terminals can be insulated with various materials, such as Nylon or vinyl. The type of insulation depends on the purpose of the application. Heat shrink insulation is popular in terminals because it provides protection from moisture and corrosion. Nylon is also a popular insulation choice as it is easy to use and requires a simple crimping process.
Non-insulated terminals are also available and are a cost-effective option. However, they do not offer the same level of protection and would need to suit the chosen application.
What are crimp connectors?
A crimp is an electrical connection which is formed by reshaping the wire. It is sometimes referred to as a cold welding. Crimping is used to terminate a wire and to attach a connector, such as a ring terminal. Crimping is achieved using a crimp tool. There are various levels of crimping and a well-performed crimp can provide a seal around the wire which prevents moisture getting in. This enables the connection to last longer and avoid corrosion.