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We have some holiday lights that had wiring snipped it seems and wondering what others have done to permanently splice 22 gauge wiring (fed from 3.5V plug).

Update: On one set I have soldered the two segments together via gas stove (yes this worked well and it is one unit unless I break out scissors. Which I guess I will have to do since you need to put on the crimper or whatever connector. Guess I can redo once one of these is already on one side since it has power unit on one end and street light on another.

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    The absolute best approach would be soldered & insulated with heat shrink tubing (or, failing that, electrical tape). You can buy an electric soldering iron quite cheaply, or you may be able to find an old soldering copper you can heat in the stove. The crimp connectors are not good on a cord that may be tugged, as they can pull loose. – Hot Licks Dec 16 '14 at 22:13
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3M Scotchlok's would work for this application. They too would require a trip to a store, but the nice part is you don't need to strip the wire as they are self-piercing. They can connect two or three wires, and are filled with a sealant to provide moisture resistance.

They are typically used for Telco wiring, but support wire gauge from 26-19AWG.

Skotchlok

  • Ohhh like that. Never have seen one but never have looked for this. – DMoore Dec 16 '14 at 21:39
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    These. They work, the sealant is good, and there's no kludging involved. They may only work correctly on solid wire, (since I've primarily used them for telephone wire, which is, it's never been an issue for my use.) – Ecnerwal Dec 16 '14 at 21:40
  • @Ecnerwal - The wires are solid. However a search of big box websites shows nothing... Will see if I can find these in the electrical aisle. – DMoore Dec 16 '14 at 22:01
  • If that fails, have the address of a real electrical supply in your back pocket - it's really surprising what you "simply can't buy" at despot/lowly some days (try finding schedule 80 PVC conduit, for instance) – Ecnerwal Dec 16 '14 at 22:10
  • Wondered what these were called... There are other flavors of self-piercing connectors, though I've more often seen those used on speaker cable/lamp cord than on smaller wires. – keshlam Dec 16 '14 at 22:18
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I think @bib's suggestion of a crimp connector is the best way to go. If it was a 120V line outside, you should use a heat shrink crimp connector, but for low voltage this is optional (but still a good idea to prevent corrosion).

enter image description here

The only other alternative I can think of that I'd consider is soldering the wires together, and sealing the connection in a piece of heat shrink tubing.

soldering heat shrink heat shrink splice


Anything short of a crimped or soldered connection is not going to be reliable.

Anything that involves electrical tape is... well, at best, a temporary quick-fix. Even the best taping job looks like crap compared to other types of splices.

not terrible-looking electrical tape splice wire nuts wrapped in electrical tape

  • I already have one soldered together via gas stove... The crimp connector and the shrink tubing will not work now. Since one end is connected to power and the other to the pretty miniature street light. – DMoore Dec 16 '14 at 22:03
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Consider crimp connectors

crimp connector

While these are best used with a crimping tool, they can be set using a conventional or needlenose plier.

Images and links are for illustration only, not an endorsement of goods or sources.
  • How do I even get it down to bare wire? – DMoore Dec 16 '14 at 18:14
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    Wirestripper. I often set mine to a gauge slightly larger than the actual, especially on finer wire. – bib Dec 16 '14 at 18:40
  • I must have some crappy strippers because it either cuts the wires or just leaves a mark in them. I feel this is a job for an elf. – DMoore Dec 16 '14 at 18:41
  • I find that the pricier strippers, such as a Klein is worth it. However elves use the Acme-Kris-Kringle Universal Thingamajig – bib Dec 16 '14 at 18:45
  • Most cheap strippers are crappy. You want them set so they just barely avoid cutting the copper; that may leave a bit of plastic intact but it should be little enough that you can pull the insulation off the wire with a moderately light yank. Practice makes better. If you really can't make strippers work for you, you may find you're better off with a knife, either cutting around the insulation as the strippers do or just whittling it away from the wire. (I once had to strip a rather insanely thin wire inside surprisingly thick insulation; steady hand and a scalpel were the best solution.) – keshlam Dec 16 '14 at 18:47
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As mentioned, crimp connectors are the way to go. If they will be used outdoors, I suggest either putting some dielectric grease inside the butt connectors or using some kind of sealing heatshrink tubing around the connector to help prevent corrosion.

  • If you go crimp, you'll definitely need to seal them good. I prefer to solder and heat shrink tube due to the number of corroded (to the point of failure) crimp connectors I've dealt with in cars (which are at least mostly shielded from the weather)... However, one must be aware that solder joints are even more susceptible to damage from bending motion than crimp connectors... – Brian Knoblauch Dec 16 '14 at 20:33
  • Soldering is good if one can arrange the wires properly. However, they are susceptible to mechanical fatigue. Surprisingly, a good crimped joint is often more reliable. – Peter Loron Dec 17 '14 at 3:59

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