In this instructable i will teach you how to make a perfect inline wire splice, every time
What is an inline splice?
Well, if you work with any type of electrical wiring, and need to join 2 pieces of wire you have 2 choices, pigtail or inline
Pigtail splices are when you hold the 2 pieces of wire, one end going up, the other going down, and twist their stripped ends together.
The issue with pigtails are...
1) They are ugly
2) They redirect the wire 180 degrees, so going from point A to B requires a sharp bend
3) After making that sharp bend you have this chunk of pigtailed wire flopping about, usually with a nice wad of gooey black tape, and sometimes a zip tie to act as a strain control
4) Since the connection is 180 degrees (or going the totally opposite direction) without some form of strain control, all it takes is a stout yank to sheer the connection (even with solder), altho honestly this is an extreme con
The pro's of pigtail's are
1) they are "easy"
Inline splices is where you take two pieces of wire, and join them in a nearly seamless extension of wire
Inline the issues with inline splices are ...
1) the are "hard" (and I claim shenanigans!)
The pro's of inline splices are
1) They are almost invisible, and look professional
2) They do not redirect the wires natural flow, going from point A to point B is just as simple as if you had the chance to place a wire from point A to point B
3) Since there is no bends in the wire, there is no chunks to manage, which is especially handy in tight situations or where you do not have a lot of wire to waste (ie: repairing wires in a vehicle)
4) they are really strong, even without solder bonding them (keeping in mind that they are not permanent, stress and vibration will eventually disconnect them without solder)
Step 1: Supplies
Something to splice
1 thumb and 1 finger per hand
Hemostats or needle nose pliers and maybe some gloves (see below)
Wire stripping utensil
Insulating material (heat shrink tubing recommended)
let me go off on a green note for a moment, my wire was scavenged from an old computer power supply, if you see anyone throwing away an old pc, snag it, its LOADED with wire thats good for jumper wires on your veroboard , or ribbon cable witch is also good for jumping, but since its tiny it works well with smd devices ect ...
your standard "still working but junk" power supply will net you a fiist full of wire, some voltage regulators, a heat sink, at least 1 good fan, a couple big caps, some other random electronic components, a handful of molex connectors for fans, or a nice +- 5v, +-12v and 3.3 volt bench power supply that can handle 10+ amps!
scrap the motherboard and you end up with MORE voltage regulators, connectors and swag, and if the case is at least ATX, well there you have a perfect platform for your pimping case mods, all for the cost of stopping the diptards at work from tossing that Pentium II thats been in the closet for over a decade, which equates to "hey let me have that!", as its headed to the dumpster
OK, about the hemostats and or needle nose pliers. you can do this technique with any gage wire, solid or stranded, but a brief word of warning!
even small gage solid core wire has a habit of screwing your hands up, ive had 24 gage stuff go deep into my thumb with little effort, and one time it went in to my thumb, to the side of my bone and thumbnail, and poke out the other end quite a bit (felt like a paper cut, until i pulled it out)
same with thick stranded wire, get some thick stranded wire and those strands become stray needles
if your working with these types of wire, pigtailed or inline, i recommend the use of metallic objects when you get to a point where twisting the wire
You should be able to start, and nearly finish the twist with your hands, but once it gets tough for your fingers, go for the tools, rather than a gash / piercing, and some nasty words spoken out loud around your loved ones
In this instructable I was using 20 gage stranded wire, which is quite soft, and wont poke my tough old work fingers at all
Step 2: Stripping Your Wire
One of the major keys to making a perfect inline splice is stripping your wire to about the same length on both ends
In a perfect world it would be exactly the same length
In my world its regulated down to the Centimeter marking i drew out with a sharpie on my work surface, based on a hot pink ruler i got tired of looking for
I aimed to strip 2cm off the insulation, as long as its pretty even you should be just fine, you could even eyeball it (and most of the time i do)
my stripping utensil of choice tonight was a hobby knife / xacto / scalpel, I like these when dealing with stranded wire in a workbench situation, but you can accidentally cut it clean off when using thin wire, and with thin solid core wire you really risk the chance of nicking the wire, once that happens it will break clean off, so use whatever suits you best for whatever application (same applies for "automatic strippers")
Step 3: Starting the Splice
Now that your wires are stripped to basically the same length. you need to cross them in a X form, where the center of the x is about midpoint of the 2 stripped sections of wire
Step 4: Start of the Splice
Whichever wire is on top (closest to you) bend away (or back) and then down, the wire will make a upside down L shape around the back wire
Step 5: Start of the Splice Part Two
Now take the other wire, bend it towards you (or forward) and then down, twisting it around the first wire, making a M shape
Step 6: Continue Twisting
There are two directions to twist, you do not want to twist the entire wire, just the splice.
I recommend using your thumb and forefinger of each hand, 1 will go clockwise (or towards you) the other will go counter clockwise (or away from you), pinching hard, twisting only the spliced section, slowly moving towards the insulation with both hands
if your using solid core wire, or thick gage wire once you get near the ends I strongly recommend you wear gloves or use hemostats / needle nose pliers to finish up the twist
if you got close enough to the same length of stripped wire, and made your X close enough to the center of the 2 wires you should end up with both ends of the wire running out just at, or before the start of the insulation
And a super strong splice ready for service
Step 7: Wrapping Up
Solder the splice, but be warned once its soldered properly its quite a struggle to get it back apart, its actually easier to cut the splice out and start over, so make sure you have your heat shrink and whatever other accessories (ie parts to a fuse holder) in place before
Once you have done this a few times, it will become just as fast, as a simple pigtail
Your electronics enabled buddies will nod to you, and your other friends will be amazed at the clean nearly invisible splice, and how fast you managed to do it
Thanks for your time, and please if you have any questions or comments post them
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