Most electrical wires are coated with an insulating material to protect them from damage. When you need to connect a wire to another or make a connection, you need to strip away the outer layer without nicking or cutting the wires underneath. The best way to strip electrical wire is by using a special tool called a wire stripper. These tools look like pliers with slots set in the jaws. They vary in size to fit different wire types and gauges. When you are ready to strip the wire, insert the wire into one of the corresponding slots and close the handles with little pressure. Stripping tools are especially effective on plastic sheathed cables because they combine sheath removal and stripping in a single tool.
To start, you need a pair of high-quality wire cutters. They come in various sizes, depending on the type of wire you’re working with. Use the tool to bite into the insulation at the end sheathing of your wire, about a half-inch from the end that you want to cut. With your hand on the handle, squeeze the tool until you feel it cut slightly into the insulation. This is done to remove just enough insulation from your wire for you to join it to a splice, terminal or other piece of equipment that connects two wires together. You can also use heat shrink sleeving to insulate your joints.
When you do an electrical project, like putting in a new light fixture or changing an outlet to a USB-charger receptacle, the safety of the electrical circuit depends on every splice you make. If you don’t know how to splice wire properly, you could damage your equipment or cause an electrical fire. To splice two wires together, strip one inch of insulation from both ends. Next, twist the wires together and secure them with a threaded wire cap/nut. Splicing three or more wires is a bit trickier, but not impossible. The best way to ensure all your wires will participate in the twist is to use a pigtail splice.
When connecting wires in a circuit where they carry mains voltage, it is essential to use an in-line screw terminal connection box with cable clamps at each end. This must be used to clamp the outer insulation, not just the inner wires, and must be securely held in place by a screw and washer. Crimping is another method of joining wires together and is a reliable way of making a good connection, although it does require the correct crimp connectors and crimping tool. These are not expensive and make a good join, creating microscopic welds between the wire and the connector. The wires should be of the same gauge and number of individual conductors. Also take extra care in making sure the insulation color matches up.
Categorised in: Wiring
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