Can you use electrical tape to splice wires together?

Splice wires and prolong speaker connections with electrical crimps

By Stanley Goodner Stanley Goodner Author Excelsior Faculty Stanley Goodner is a former Lifewire author who writes about audio tools, music administration, laptop {hardware}, and different shopper applied sciences. lifewire’s editorial pointers Up to date on July 28, 2021

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Utilizing twist connectors (wire nuts)

Wire nuts, additionally known as wire twist connectors, are sometimes used for wiring set up in properties & buildings. They’re an alternative choice though I don’t suggest them as they’re a bit much less dependable than crimp connectors or solder.

Wire nuts work through the use of a threaded steel insert to screw down onto the wire, holding it collectively because it goes.

They’re fairly quick, however sadly, every so often, I’ve seen them come free from wire so I don’t advise utilizing them. As an alternative, I’d extremely suggest crimp connectors.


Which speaker wire is optimistic? Which is damaging?

The commonest sorts of optimistic wire markings are proven right here as examples. 99% of the time, determining which wire is optimistic is very easy as soon as you understand what to search for.

The excellent news is that when you understand what to search for, 99% of the time it’s very straightforward to inform which speaker wire is optimistic and which is damaging.

How do I examine if a speaker wire is optimistic or damaging?

Right here’s an inventory of the most typical methods to inform which is the optimistic wire:

  1. A printed line or sequence of dashes/strains is on the optimistic wire
  2. One wire’s insulation is pink or a special coloration than the damaging wire (most frequently pink is used)
  3. One wire has a copper coloration and one has a silver end
  4. The optimistic wire might have small optimistic (“+”) symbols and/or wire gauge data printed on it
  5. An imprint or molded stripe is made within the optimistic wire’s insulation

Of the 5 varieties, imprints can often be slightly bit tougher to note so generally that you must look very carefully beneath good lighting. Additionally, optimistic wires that use a “+” print is usually a little exhausting to learn generally, too.

Which is optimistic: copper or silver?

These are much less frequent, however of speaker & energy wires which have a copper and a silver coloration, you’ll be able to choose one of many two to be optimistic. Nonetheless, as a rule the copper wire is handled because the optimistic.

The “silver” wire isn’t actually silver – it’s copper wire that’s been calmly coated (“tinned”) normally.

As soon as you understand which is the optimistic wire then the opposite is the damaging wire.

Music makes use of alternating present (AC) indicators and doesn’t circulate in just one path. We use one wire because the optimistic one when connecting audio system to be constant when connecting them in order to wire all of them the identical means for the very best outcomes.

Use an permitted connector to safe your electrical splice

Twist-on Electrical Connectors – "wire nuts" & MAAR Connectors

Splices in an constructing’s electrical circuit should be related utilizing an permitted wiring connector, reminiscent of a twist-on connector ("Wire Nut" is a trademarked identify for a model of twist-on connectors.)

Twist-on connectors come in numerous color-coded sizes, and you have to select the correct twist-on connector, relying on the thickness (gauge) of the wire and the variety of wires you are combining in your splice.

The connector is positioned over the tip of your twisted splice, pressed onto the wires, and turned clockwise till it’s tight. Watch out when pushing {an electrical} splice again into the junction field – do not loosen the connector you’ve got put in or your connection will likely be poor and probably unsafe.

Utilizing the fallacious kind {of electrical} splice connector, or one for which research have proven poor efficiency, can result in a melted or failed electrical connection, probably risking shock or fireplace.

Our picture at above left reveals an knowledgeable utilizing a Scotchlok 3M electrical connector to cap a splice which was additionally coated with an antioxidant. We talk about this connector (now out of date for aluminum wire restore) in additional element


Apply Warmth to Shrink Connectors


After attaching the crimp connectors to the optimistic and damaging wire ends, gently apply a warmth supply to shrink the connectors. A scorching air gun or a blow dryer set to excessive warmth is greatest (held just a few inches away), however you should utilize a lighter in case you’re extraordinarily cautious and maintain the lighter at the least an inch away.

Maintain the wires together with your offhand (just a few inches beneath the crimp connections) as you apply the warmth. Slowly rotate the so that you just get round all sides. The crimp casings will shrink comfortable in opposition to the speaker wire, making a protecting and waterproof seal. Some electrical crimp connectors are designed with a little bit of solder on the within, which melts from the warmth and fuses the wires for a stronger connection.

Proceed stripping speaker wires and attaching/shrinking crimp connectors till all lengths have been spliced and prolonged.

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Remaining Ideas

Understanding the right way to splice wires can prevent money and time on quite a few electrical and lighting tasks round the home. If, nonetheless, you’re apprehensive about working with electricity or lack fundamental electrical information, don’t hesitate to rent a licensed electrician on your mission.


Whereas hiring an electrician can simply set you again at the least $50 per hour, it’s a small value to pay to guard your loved ones and your property from the extreme penalties of poorly carried out electrical work.


What Does it Imply To Splice a Wire?

In case you are splicing wires collectively, you mix two separate lengths of wire in order that they will carry a present for you. There are various methods you’ll be able to splice wires collectively. In some circumstances, it’s possible you’ll merely use just a few wire caps. In different circumstances, it’s possible you’ll attempt to solder them collectively. You would possibly use a wire cap or nut if you’re working with smaller wires; nonetheless, it’s possible you’ll resolve to make use of a butt splice if you’re working with bigger wires. What are the professionals and cons of every technique? There are a number of steps to comply with.

Methodology 1: The Strip and Splice

The primary possibility is to strip the wires after which splice them. Wires include insulation round them. Earlier than you splice them collectively, it’s possible you’ll resolve to strip the insulation. To finish this technique, the steps that you must comply with embody:

  • First, unplug the gadget that incorporates the wires you’ll be splicing. If the wire is connected to the wall and can’t be unplugged, all the time flip off the circuit. That means, you don’t get shocked.
  • Then, that you must take away roughly one inch of insulation from every wire you can be splicing. For this, you’ll need a wire stripper that’s roughly one to 2 sizes smaller than your wire. Clamp the wire within the gap and pull the stripper in direction of the opposite finish of the wire. This could take away the insulation.
  • After this, that you must slide a small piece of shrink tube onto one of many wires. Roughly three inches of shrink tubing needs to be sufficient. A shrink tube is constructed from plastic. That normally shrinks after it’s heated. Then, slide the tubing on the wire earlier than you splice them collectively.

This is likely one of the best methods you’ll be able to splice wires collectively.

A number of the important advantages of this technique embody:

  • This is likely one of the least costly strategies out there
  • It doesn’t take very lengthy to splice wires collectively
  • The shrink tubing needs to be sturdy sufficient to face up the routine put on and tear

However, this technique does require some bodily dexterity. In case you are not proficient with wire strippers, you might have points. As well as, this technique might be not going to work effectively if you’re working with bigger wires.

Methodology 2: Strive Utilizing a Wire Cap

Various small wires joined with a wire nut connect
Numerous small wires joined with a wire nut connector

Another choice is to strive utilizing a wire cap. A wire cap is one thing that may pinch two wires collectively for you. To be able to use a wire cap, the steps that you must comply with embody:

  • First, that you must pull out the wire strippers once more. Strip again the insulation in case you have not achieved so already. You must have roughly one inch of uncovered wire on every wire.
  • Subsequent, maintain two ends of the wire collectively in order that they’re touching each other. Don’t coil the wires collectively. In any other case, they don’t seem to be going to slot in the wire cap. It’s the job of the wire caps to twist the wires collectively. You would not have to twist them collectively your self.
  • Subsequent, twist the wire cap clockwise on prime of the uncovered wires. To do that, set the wire cap on prime of the uncovered wires and begin twisting. Rotate the cap clockwise for roughly 5 seconds. The wires ought to coil themselves within the cap. After this, tug on the wires to verify they keep in place. If the wires come free, that you must twist a wire faucet some extra.
  • If you happen to discover that the cap remains to be free, it’s possible you’ll be utilizing a wire cap that’s too massive. Or, you’ll be able to strip again some extra insulation, so there’s extra wire to coil within the cap.
  • As soon as you’re achieved, take some electrical tape and layer it across the uncovered wires. You must wrap some black electrical tape across the backside of the wire caps to cowl it fully. You must overlap every layer of tapes of the wires aren’t uncovered. When you find yourself achieved, use a pair of scissors to chop {the electrical} tape.

That is one other easy technique for splicing wires collectively.

A number of advantages of this technique embody:

  • You should use this technique with bigger wires
  • That is additionally a comparatively cheap technique
  • It doesn’t take that lengthy to make use of a wire cap to mix your wires

The draw back is that wire caps aren’t all the time that safe. If {the electrical} tape comes free over time, it might result in uncovered wires that create a security hazard. Check out the wire cap infrequently and ensure the wires are nonetheless spliced appropriately.

Methodology 3: Use a Butt Splice

Another choice that will work effectively for thicker wires is to make use of one thing known as a butt splice. You will discover a butt splice at most of your {hardware} shops. If you know the way massive your wires are, there could also be somebody on the retailer who might help you discover the fitting butt splice. To be able to full this wire splicing technique, just a few steps it’s best to comply with embody:

  • First, that you must strip the insulation from the wires utilizing wire strippers. You must take away roughly one inch of insulation from each wire you’ll be working with.
  • After this, take one of many uncovered wires and insert it into the butt splice. You must push the uncovered finish till it’s in the course of the butt splice.
  • Subsequent, take a wire crimper. Press it roughly one-quarter of the best way into the butt splice from the tip into what you simply mentioned the wire. You must match the crimper gap the precise dimension of the butt splice. Press the crimper handles all the best way down. You might be utilizing this to carry the wire in place. There’s a likelihood that your wire strippers might have a wire crimper as effectively.
  • After this, that you must do the identical factor to the opposite aspect. Place the second wire within the butt splice. Be certain it touches the opposite wire that’s already within the butt splice. Then, use the wire crimper to safe the wire in place once more. There’s a good likelihood your butt splice is clear, permitting you to see the wires contact each other.
  • After the wires are safe, slide some shrink tubing over the complete butt splice. If you happen to discover a shrink tube falls off after you slide it in place, use the wire crimper to crimp that in place as effectively. Another choice is to make use of electrical tape as an alternative.
  • Lastly, it’s best to take a warmth gun and level it towards the shrink tubing. Rotate the spliced wire in your arms. The shrink tube ought to successfully insulate the wires after you warmth them appropriately.

This is likely one of the hottest strategies for splicing wires collectively in case you have thicker wires:

A number of of the most important advantages of utilizing this technique embody:

  • That is the perfect technique in case you have thicker wires you are attempting to splice collectively.
  • This is likely one of the most secure choices, as you’ll add a number of layers of safety between the uncovered wires and the exterior setting.
  • This can be a sturdy wire splicing technique that ought to maintain the wires spliced collectively for a very long time.

Despite the fact that this technique does work effectively for thicker wires, it does take a bit longer to perform. As well as, this technique requires extra instruments, making this barely dearer.

The right way to make a Pigtail Splice in Electrical Wire Utilizing a Twist-on Connector

Our our enlargement above and our web page prime picture reveals a pigtail splice on the decrease left of the drawing.

Strip off at about 1 an inch of insulation from the tip of every wire.

When you find yourself becoming a member of electrical wires used to hold present in a house you will be utilizing a solderless twist-on connector reminiscent of we present at left. On this case the size of wire from which that you must strip insulation depends upon the variety of wires being joined collectively and the dimensions of the twist-on connector you are going to use.

In good apply you do not wish to strip off an excessive amount of insulation – when the splice has been accomplished and the twist-on connector has been put in, you shouldn’t see any naked wire uncovered extending beneath the underside fringe of the mechanical connector.

In case you are stripping wires that aren’t a part of the constructing’s electrical system, reminiscent of speaker wires, you is probably not utilizing a mechanical connector, simply tape, and the size of wire that that you must strip depends upon the variety of wires being joined and your capacity to twist them securely collectively.

[Click to enlarge any image]

Do not injury the wire throughout stripping of insulation: Watch out that you do not nick the steel wire when reducing the insulation in preparation to strip it off.

If you happen to do nick the wire, as proven in my picture (above left) and in Carson Dunlop Associates’ sketch above, the danger is that the nicked finish will later break off, destroying your connection, and maybe additionally changing into unsafe.

OK to be sincere, the nicked copper wire proven within the picture above had taken a beating throughout our stripping and insertion of the wire right into a push-in kind back-wired electrical receptacle mentioned individually


and in a companion articled


Twist {the electrical} wires collectively tightly beginning at or close to the primary little bit of uncovered wire. All the time twist the wires in a clockwise path. That means if you screw on a twist-on connector (which is also tightened by turning it clockwise) you will not be un-twisting your wires. We describe simply how we twist wires collectively for a twisted splice just under on this article.

Trim off sharp factors protruding from the tip of the twist. Solder the twisted wires on the level the place the twist started.

Safe the finished electrical wire splice with an permitted twist-on connector as we talk about beneath.

Our picture above reveals some pigtail splices within a steel junction field – on this case, as a result of the wires are aluminum, the connectors proven aren’t the correct ones, and these splices are a fireplace hazard.

Splicing three or extra wires collectively

The pigtail kind of splice is greatest when becoming a member of three or extra wires. The factor to protect in opposition to when greater than two wires are concerned within the twist is the tendency for a number of of the wires to stay pretty straight whereas the others are wrapped round it.

When this occurs the straight conductors can be pulled freed from the splice pretty readily.

The way in which to stop that is to make sure the twist is began with all of the wires bent at roughly a proper angle. (Do not bend current-conducting electrical wires at a sharp angle nonetheless.) Then if the bent wires are interlocked and held with pliers, the twist will proceed as began.

  1. Beginning a three-wire pigtail splice. To interlock all three wires bend every one at a proper angle if you make the primary twist. A straight wire will pull out beneath comparatively little stress.
  2. Testing a three-wire pigtail splice. Test that your entire wires participated within the twist by pulling every individually. Make this examine earlier than making use of your mechanical connector reminiscent of a twist-on or MAAR.
  3. End the three-wire pigtail splice by securing it with a mechanical connector as we talk about beneath.

Full Information to House Electrical Wiring

Excellent for Owners, College students, Handyman, Helpful Girls, and Electricians Contains: Wiring GFCI Shops Wiring House Electrical Circuits 120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits Wiring Gentle Switches Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electrical Vary Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Twine and Dryer Outlet The right way to Troubleshoot and Restore Electrical Wiring Wiring Strategies for Upgrading Electrical Wiring NEC Codes for House Electrical Wiring ….and rather more.


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