How To Identify Wire Connectors? Complete Guide

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Wire connectors have different shapes and sizes; however, they all have the same insulation material: plastic. The wires can be connected to the connectors in different ways, for example, the wires are fixed inside the connecter through grooves in the structure of the connectors, and the wires can be connected through a metal spring in the connector.

The wires are pulled by the metal spring through the connecter when the stripped wires are twisted. To twist the wires, the connecter should also be twisted; however, there are types of wire connectors that don’t require twisting the wires or twisting the connector.

How To Identify Wire Connectors?

To identify a write connector, you need to know the characteristics of each type to be able to tell which type you have; there are seven types of wire connectors, and each is used for a specific task. In addition, wire connectors are named after their usage, which means you can tell from their name, which is their purpose.

Twist-On Wire Connector

When installing twist-on connectors, you can use your hand to easily install them; you can find external grooves in their structure that will help you handle the connector well; in addition, you can find extensions shaped like wings in connectors high quality, which facilitate their attachment.

These special types of extensions allow the usage of tools like nut drivers or specialized tools to install the connectors; twist-on wire connectors have some cerian connectors that differ them from other wire connectors, for example:

  • Their capacity/size can be determined through color coding.
  • When soldering conductors to each other, you can use the twist-on wire connectors instead of soldering the connectors; in addition, they can be used instead of terminal blocks because the twist-on connectors have easier and faster installation, and they allow for easy removal in the future, unlike the soldered connections which can be removed later.
  • They can not be used in wires thicker than ten AWG because they are too stiff to be connected using this method; therefore, you can not use this method in connecting wires thicker than ten AWG because it’s not reliable. Instead, you can use crimp, clamps, and screw connectors for connecting wires thicker than ten-AWG.
  • They have a lot of uses and applications, for example, signage, recessed lighting, security systems, doorbells, garage doors, smoke/CO detectors, HVAC, thermostat controls, can lights, ceiling fans, receptacles, and light switches.

Winged Twist-On Wire Connector

The winged twist-on wire connector is a type of twist-on wire connector; it differs in having awing-like extensions on its structure, which facilitates its installation; in addition, you can use a specialized tool or wire nut to install them. It is more suitable for large projects where multiple connections are required; therefore, the winged twist-on wire connectors are used due to their fast and easy installation.

It has secure, fast, easy-to-use connections, and it can be removed later with no effort; in addition, when you remove them, you can keep them and then reuse them later in other projects.

Crimp-On Wire Connector

The crimp-on wire connector can not be installed using hands like the winged twist-on wire or twist-on wire connectors; you will need to use a crimping tool to connect it properly; in addition, they are not reusable once they are installed as they are designed for creating pressure-type, permanent connections.

The crimp-on wire connectors are used for very secured connections, and then the crimp-on wire connectors are insulated by plastic insulation after they are securely fitted.

Waterproof Wire Connector & Underground Wire Connector

The waterproof and underground connector protects from corrosion and moisture by filling the connector with a sealant like silicone. It has easy installation, but it is similar to the crimp-on wire connector. In addition, it is designed for permanent connections; therefore, it is not reusable after installation.

  • Underground wires are connected using underground wire connectors because they are durable and protect against corrosion and moisture.
  • Waterproof and underground wire connectors are used in many different applications like low-voltage outdoor lighting, outdoor pet containment systems, and sprinkler systems.

Push-In Wire Connector

Push-in wire connectors can be used instead of twisting wires together in electrical tasks; therefore, they are used in large projects that require a lot of wire twisting, so the push-in connectors eliminate the fatigue resulting from the repetitive motion and the twisting of wires. In addition, the design of the push-in connectors allows you to see that the wires are connected successfully.

You watch the wires get connected after entering the connecter through the transparent cover on the top of the connector; in addition, you can notice any loose wire later when there is any fault in the circuit, making it easier and faster to reconnect the wire. They can be reused later if they are removed, and also they have an easy removal.

You can remove the connector by twisting or pulling the conductor; the push-in wire connector doesn’t take up much space when installed in the electrical box because it is compact and small.

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How To Connect a Wire Connector?

Step One

Wire connectors have many types and sizes; you have to make sure you are using the right type and size before using the connector; the connector could have a maximum and a minimum volume or amount of wires; if you are connecting a volume less than the required by the connecter, the connection will be loose.

 Meanwhile, suppose you are using a volume larger than the required. In that case, the connectors will not fit properly on the wires. The wire connectors can be color-coded, but sometimes you need to check the manufacturer’s website or the packaging label to make sure you are using the right connector type.

Step Two

The next step is to prepare your wires by striping their ends using a wire stripper. To know what length of wire you should strip, you can check the instructions found on the connectors packaging. Then, you need to arrange the wires before installing them in the connector; the wires should be parallel.

After arranging them, you can now start installing the wires into the connector; for example, if you are using a push-in wire connector, you need to insert the wires and observe them through the transparent cover to make sure they have connected the connector successfully. 

Step Three

Some types of connectors need to be twisted after installing the wires; therefore, you have to twist the wires in a clockwise direction until the wires outside the connector start to twist as well; then, you can tug on the wires ensure that they are securely fitted. 

Step Four

If you are using stranded wires instead of solid wires, you will need to extend them by 1/8 inch; when installing a connector for solid and stranded wires, the stranded wire needs to be longer than the solid wire, so when they are connected to a connector that requires twisting the stranded wires don’t go loose around the solid ones. 

This will lead to a loose connection, which can be a problem later and cause overcurrent conditions in some circuits; the stranded wires tend to get loose when they have the same length as the solid wire, and there are multiple solid wires connecting them. 

Conclusion

To sum up, to identify a wire connecter, you will need to differentiate between the different types of wire connectors; you can differ between them by knowing the characteristics of each type and in which applications they are used. Wire connectors are named after their usage, which means you can tell from their name their purpose; there are seven types of wire connectors, and each is used for a specific task. 

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