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Split Kit. Image Credit: cableorganizer.com           Splice Kit with Cleaver. Image Credit: 3M

Splice kits are used to establish a connection between two cables. They can come in many configurations, depending on the type of wire or cable being joined.

What is Cable Splicing?

Splicing is used to create one cable from two different cables. There are five steps to splicing a cable.

1.      Check compatibility: The wires must be the same gauge, thickness, and type for safety reasons. If one cable is larger, it could overload the smaller cable.

2.      Cut the cable: Once the cable is unplugged from a power source, cut the cable with a sharp blade. Ensure that the edges of the cable are fresh and not frayed.

3.      Strip the wire coating: Stripping can be done using a wire stripper or a sharp knife. Wire strippers are designed to just remove the coating and not damage the wire.  

4.      Attach the cables together: Separate the wires in the cable by color and size and match them with the second cable. Twist the matching wires together.

5.      Cover: Cables can be covered with solder or electrical tape. Soldering requires additional skills and tools, while electrical tape is readily available and easy to use.  

Properly splice wires with heat shrink.

Sliced Wire. Image Credit: Woodworking forum

What do Splice Kits Include?

Splice kits can include many different tools to ensure a safe joint between cables. These tools include a wire cutter, needle nose pliers, wire strippers, and electrical tape.

  • Wire cutters, also called diagonal cutters, are intended for cutting wire instead of grabbing or turning anything. They have a similar design to regular pliers, but the tool has sharpened edges which cut through wire. The bigger and heavier the cutters, the heavier the gauge of wire they can cut. Wire cutters may also include wire strippers in the handle or beneath the blade.
  • Wire strippers are used to remove the protective insulation around a wire. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes to accommodate a large selection of wires. Strippers are generally made of steel and feature serrated teeth to ensure easy and effective stripping. The area from the hinge to the handle has notches, which allow for a selection of gauges to be done on the same tool. The variety of notches also allows for the plastic insulation to be removed without damaging the wire.
  • Connectors are available in a wide variety to allow for the spicing of different products.
    • Copper or aluminum conductors use plastic connectors, which cover and protect the connection made between two wires. These connectors are sometimes referred to as butt splices and can have heat shrink properties to prevent debris from getting on the connection. Soldering is another connection option for copper or aluminum conductors.
    • Insulation products such as caps, covers, resins, tubing and tape protect the wire connection and insulate the wiring from the surrounding environment. The connector used is based on the specific type of conductor used.
  • Sealant is used under and above the connector to further protect the wire connection. The key to effectively splicing cables together is ensuring that the connection is sealed against moisture and dirt, since some cables may be buried, and that there is no signal loss across the splice.
    • Sealants also include
      • Tape
      • Wye
      • Inline gel
      • Resin splices
  • Wraparound sleeves and adhesives are secured around the splice
    • Heating the wraparound sleeve melts the adhesive to the cable, sealing the splice from moisture and providing insulation and protection.
    • Cold shrink splices use a similar wraparound sleeve that has been pre-stretched and will retract around the cable to form a tight seal without the application of heat.
  • Caps are color-coded plastic pieces in different sizes to accommodate splices between wires of various thicknesses.

Wire Caps. Image Credit: Hometheatershack.com

Applications

Splice kits are used on many kinds of wire and cable for

  • Telecommunications and media applications,
    • TV cable or coaxial
    • Cable for connecting audio and video equipment
    • Ethernet cable or category 5 cable (Cat5 cable) cable for Internet, computer, and networking applications.
  • Insulation and environmental, such as underground, applications
  • Automotive

Resources

How to Splice Wire

What are Wire Strippers?

What are Wire Cutters?