How to Use Electrical Jumper Wires. The term "jumper wire" simply refers to a conducting wire that establishes an electrical connection between two points in a circuit. You can use jumper wires to modify a circuit or to diagnose problems in a circuit. The following steps outline how you can safely use jumper wires in different electrical applications.

Step 1

Follow all electrical safety precautions. You must take more care when you're dealing with high-voltage circuits than when you're dealing with low-voltage circuits (such as certain battery-powered electronic devices).

Step 2

Determine the appropriate type of connector for the jumper wire. In some cases (especially if you have steady hands), you can simply use the bare wire ends to connect the two points of a circuit. If you need your hands for other tasks, however, then you need to decide if the task requires alligator clips, soldering or some other type of connection for the jumper wire.

Step 3

Use the jumper wire to bypass a portion of the circuit or to otherwise establish a connection between two points. This use can be helpful in determining if part of the circuit is faulty or if the connection in the circuit is broken.

Step 4

Connect the jumper wire (or two jumper wires) to an ammeter or voltmeter (or multimeter) to take a numerical measurement of a circuit property. This allows you to measure the properties of the circuit between or across two points.

Step 5

Select the appropriate type of jumper wire if you're making a permanent modification to a circuit. The gauge and type of insulation are critical considerations.

Step 6

Test circuit modifications with a temporary jumper wire connection before making a permanent connection (with solder, for instance). Check the performance of the circuit with the temporary connection to ensure that it works as you expect.