A wire connector is a fastener used to make a strong, low-impedance connection between two or more Electrical Wires in an electrical box. Not only are they made from flame-retardant materials, wire connectors also prevent wires from contacting one another or contacting exposed metal surfaces, both of which could cause a dangerous failure or short circuit. Wire connectors come in a wide array of shapes, sizes, and types. Their exterior cover is most commonly made from insulating plastic, though the connective pieces are tapered, coiled, metal springs or interior grooves that thread directly onto the wires, holding them securely in place. When the connector links the wires, it does so by twisting onto the end of the wires, drawing them into the metal spring and tightening them together within the spring. The Electrical Power is maintained by the wire-to-wire contact with the metal spring.
There are five common types of wire connectors: twist-on, winged twist-on, crimp-on, underground & waterproof, and push-in wire connectors. This blog will explain each of them, what makes them unique, and their applications.
The first type of connectors, twist-on, are installed by hand. They feature external grooves, assisting in the installation process. Wing-like extensions can also be molded into high quality wire connectors to further ease installment. Extensions like this make it possible to install the connector with a common Nut Driver or other specialized tools. Twist-on wire connectors are often used as an alternative to terminal blocks or soldering because they are quicker to install and allow easy removal in the future. This type of wire connector is used in wiring systems for light switches, receptacles, HVAC systems, can lights, signage, and more.
The next type of connector is a variation of the twist-on connector called the winged twist-on connector. Similar to the standard twist-on, the winged twist-on connector does not require pre-twisted wires, although it is recommended. The winged variation of twist-on connectors facilitate a faster attachment process and allow for better grip, making them very desirable in large projects that require multiple connections. These connectors can also be easily removed for repair or replacement.
A third type, crimp-on wire connections are made from steel or copper, and must be applied with a crimping tool to attach correctly. These connectors are not reusable, as they are designed to create permanent, pressurized connections. They provide a very secure connection and, once installed, can be covered by a plastic Cap Insulator. The next type of connector is the underground and waterproof wire connectors. These are full of silicone sealant and are used to protect wires from moisture and corrosion. They are easy to apply but not usually reusable due to the environments in which they are used. Underground and waterproof connectors are used in sprinkler systems, outdoor lighting, and other similar applications.
The final type of Wire Connector is referred to as push-in. These are unique in that the wires they protect are not twisted during installation. This reduces the motion fatigue and general wear and tear of the wires. Instead of twisting, the wires push into the connector. This type of connector features a clear shell, enabling the user to have visual confirmation that the connection has been made. This type of connector allows for simple removal and can be reused in most cases.
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