Splicing is the process of combining 2 lengths of wires so that they can carry a current. Before splicing the wires, you need to prepare them by stripping and turning off the electricity. There are many ways to splice cables, from simply using cable caps to solder them. Once the wires are connected together, cover the exposed ends with electrical tape or heat shrink tubing and they are ready to go!
Method 1 of 4: Strip Cables Before Splicing
Step 1. Disconnect the electricity from the wires
Unplug the device the cables are connected to if you can. If the cord is in the wall or you can't unplug it, turn off the circuit leading to the area so you don't get a shock while working.
If you cannot disconnect the electricity, do not try to splice the wire or you could be electrocuted
Step 2. Strip 1 inch (3 cm) of the insulation from each wire
Choose a hole in the wire stripper that is 1 to 2 sizes smaller than the wire. Hold the wire in the hole and pull the stripper to the end to completely remove the insulation. Repeat the process for the other piece of wire.
- You can buy wire strippers at local hardware stores.
- If you are using uninsulated wire, you can skip this step.
Step 3. Slide a 3-inch (8-cm) piece of heat shrink tubing onto one of the cables
A heat shrink tube is made of plastic that shrinks when heated. Slip a piece of tubing onto the cable before splicing it so you can easily slip it into place when you're done.
- You do not need to use heat shrink tubing if you are splicing with a wire cap.
- You can purchase the heat shrink tubing from the electrical department at your local hardware store.
heat shrink tubing comes in different colors. Find a color that matches the wire insulation if you want it to look good when you're done.
Method 2 of 4: Using a Swivel Cord Cap
Step 1. Hold the ends of the wires so that they touch each other
Press down on the exposed ends of the wires so that they are just flush with each other. Do not twist or coil the cables, or they will not be secure in the cable cap.
Step 2. Twist a cable cap clockwise over exposed cables
Place a cable cap over the exposed cables and begin twisting it with your fingers. Turn it clockwise for approximately 5 seconds so that the wires wrap and wrap inside the cap. Lightly pull the wires to see if they stay in place. If not, tighten the cable cap more.
- You can buy the caps at a home improvement store or hardware store.
- Strip off more insulation if you need to keep twisting the wire.
You can easily remove the cable caps by turning them counterclockwise. Remove the covers if you need to change the cables or how they are connected.
Step 3. Place layers of electrical tape around the cable cap and exposed wires
Wrap black electrical tape around the bottom of the lid so that it is completely covered. Overlap each layer of tape in half so there is no chance of exposed wiring. Use scissors or a utility knife to cut the ribbon when you're done.
If you're working on multiple wiring projects, use different colors of electrical tape to mark which wires are connected
Method 3 of 4: Install Cable End Connectors
Step 1. Slide one of the exposed wires onto the end of the connector
Cable end connectors are small tubes with openings at each end that are used to insert cables. Take one of the wires and place it in the center of the connector. Push the exposed end in until it is in the middle of the connector.
You can buy the connectors at your local hardware store in the electrical department
Step 2. Use wire pliers one-quarter from the end of the splice
Match the hole in the pliers to the size of the wire end connector. Position the pliers 1/4 to ½ inch (0.6 or 1.3 cm) from the edge of the connector. Squeeze the pliers tight so that the wire stays in place.
- Don't use a very small hole or you could cut the wire.
- Many wire strippers have a built-in pliers so you don't have to get multiple tools.
Use a slightly larger plier hole at the end of the connector to secure it more firmly to the insulation.
Step 3. Place the second wire on the other side of the connector and crimp it
Repeat the process on the other side of the connector. When you insert the second cable, make sure it touches the first one inside the connector. Use the pliers to secure the second wire in place.
Some end connectors are clear in the center so you can see when the wires are touching each other
Step 4. Slide the heat shrink tubing over the end connector
Take the heat shrink tubing from one side of the wires and completely cover the connector. If the tubing is too loose or falls off the connector, crimp it into place.
If you forget to use heat shrink tubing before splicing the wires, you can wrap the entire splice and any exposed wires with electrical tape
Step 5. Heat the heat shrink tubing with a heat gun
Turn on the heat gun and point the nozzle at the tube. Twist the wire with your hands so that the heat shrink tubing contracts evenly around the splices to insulate the wires.
If you don't have access to a heat gun, you can use a small torch or lighter to heat the tube. Do not let the flame touch the cable or tube so it does not melt
Method 4 of 4: Make a Lineman's Splice
Step 1. Make a 90 degree angle with each of the exposed wires
Bend each of the wires with your fingers or with L-shaped pliers. Make sure each side of the angle is 1/2-inch long so that you have room to wrap the wires.
Step 2. Hook the wires so that the corners touch
Lay one wire over the other so that one L shape is facing down and the other is facing up. Make sure the corners of the wires touch each other before continuing.
Step 3. Wrap the end of the vertical wire around the wire perpendicular to it
Wrap the end of the wire that is pointing up around the straight piece of the other wire. Make sure the wrap is tight so the wires have a solid connection to each other. Try to wrap at least 3 wraps around the other wire if you can. Repeat the process on the other side.
Use pliers if you have trouble wrapping the wire with your fingers
Step 4. Solder the wraps to hold them in place
Heat the soldering iron and hold it close to the casings with your dominant hand. Hold a silver solder rod in your non-dominant hand next to the tip of the soldering iron. Melt the silver in the wraps so that it drips between the wires and covers the entire splice.
- Avoid touching the end of the soldering iron with your bare hands or you could burn yourself.
- Cover the work area with paper towels or scraps of wood to protect it from any accidental drips.
Step 5. Move the heat shrink tubing over the soldered wires
Slide the tubing over the entire joint so none of the wires are exposed to the outside. Press the tube into place if it moves easily.
Wrap duct tape around the wraps if you don't have a heat shrink tubing
Step 6. Heat the heat shrink tubing with a heat gun until tight
Turn on the heat gun and point it at the tube. Twist the wire in your hand to heat the tube evenly so it shrinks around the wraps. Continue heating the tube until it is tight against the wire insulation.
Use a lighter or torch to heat the tube if you don't have a heat gun
- Make sure all cables are disconnected from power before working on them.
- Do not touch the end of the soldering iron while it is hot.