How to Join a Wire Without Soldering

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Solder is commonly used in electronics work to attach wires and other electrical components by melting a small amount of conductive material to secure the connection. What do you do if you're doing residential wiring — where solder is never used — or you don't have access to solder or soldering equipment, though? After all, you can't exactly use super glue instead of solder to join a wire. Any joins you make need to preserve the conductivity of the wire and hold up to heat and oxidation. Fortunately, there are ways to join wires without the need for solder that are safe and just as effective.

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Splicing Wires Without Solder

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The most common technique in residential wiring is to use a splice that winds the wires together.. Be sure to strip enough insulation from the wire to allow for several twists between the two pieces of wire. The best way to splice wires is to wrap them together tightly, using multiple twists to ensure maximum contact between the two wire sections.

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There are multiple techniques for twisting wires that result in a tight wrap, including some that overlap the wires before twisting to give a larger overall spliced area. When you twist wires together, though, you need a way of insulating the splice, and tape usually isn't enough.

Use Wire Connectors

Wire caps and connectors, like so-called "suitcase connectors," are commonly-used splicing components. The caps work by twisting two wire ends together tightly, holding them close beneath the cap so that they cannot break their contact. Connectors work similarly, placing the wires together and then closing the connector over the joined ends. The connector or cap itself serves as a sort of insulation, covering the splice with plastic so long as the cap is in place. When using a wire cap or connector, only a small amount of wire insulation needs be removed before splicing.

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Provide Proper Insulation

Regardless of the method you use to join your wires, it's important that you insulate the wires properly afterward. This can be done with insulation wraps, as well as shrink-to-fit insulation sleeves that you fit over the join and then apply heat to shrink. Wire cap connectors provide their own insulation, though you need to make sure that there isn't any bare wire visible. Many people apply electrical tape over the caps just to make sure. No matter which method of insulation you use, always double check to ensure that no bare wire is visible before you call the job complete.

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