Types of Splices

Types of Splices There are six commonly used types of splices. Each has advantages and disadvantages for use. Each will be discussed in the following section.

Western Union Types of Splices

The Western Union splice joins small, solid conductors. The Figure below shows the steps in making a Western Union splice.


1. Prepare the wires for splicing. Enough insulation is removed to make the splice. The conductor is cleaned.

2. Bring the wires to a crossed position and make a long twist or bend in each wire.

3. Wrap one end of the wire and then the other end four or five times around the straight portion of each wire.

4. Press the ends of the wires down as close as possible to the straigh.t portion of the wire. This prevents the sharp ends from puncturing the tape covering that is wrapped over the splice. The various types of tape and their uses are discussed later in this chapter

Staggering Types of Splices

Joining small multiconductor cables often presents a problem. Each conductor must be spliced and taped. If the splices are directly opposite each other, the overall size of the joint becomes large and bulky. A smoother and less bulky joint can be made by staggering the splices.

The figure below shows how a two-conductor cable is joined to a similar size cable by using a Western Union splice and by staggering the splices. Care should be taken to ensure that a short wire from one side of the cable is spliced to a long wire, from the other side of the cable. The sharp ends are then clamped firmly down on the conductor. The figure shows a Western Union splice, but other types of splices work just as well.


Rattail Joint Types of Splices

A splice that is used in a junction box and for connecting branch circuits is the rattail joint (the figure below).


Wiring that is installed in buildings is usually placed inside long lengths of steel or aluminum pipe called a conduit. Whenever branch or multiple circuits are needed, junction boxes are used to join the conduit.

To create a rattail joint, first strip the insulation off the ends of the conductors to be joined. You then twist the wires to form the rattail effect. This type of splice will not stand much stress.

Fixture Joint Types of Splices

The fixture joint is used to connect a small-diameter wire, such as in a lighting fixture, to a larger diameter wire used in a branch circuit. Like the rattail joint, the fixture joint will not stand much strain.

The next figure below shows the steps in making a fixture joint. The first step is to remove the insulation and clean the wires to be joined. After the wires are prepared, the fixture wire is wrapped a few times around the branch wire. The end of the branch wire is then bent over the completed turns. The remainder of the bare fixture wire is then wrapped over the bent branch wire. Soldering and taping completes the job.


Knotted Tap Joint Types of Splices

All the splices discussed up to this point are known as butted splices. Each was made by joining the free ends of the conductors together. Sometimes, however, it is necessary to join a branch conductor to a continuous wire called the main wire. Such a junction is called a tap joint.

The main wire, to which the branch wire is to be tapped, has about 1 inch of insulation removed. The branch wire is stripped of about 3 inches of insulation. The knotted tap is shown in the figure below.

Knotted tap joint.

The branch wire is laid behind the main wire. About three-fourths of the bare portion of the branch wire extends above the main wire. The branch wire is brought under the main wire, around itself, and then over the main wire to form a knot. The branch wire is then wrapped around the main conductor in short, tight turns; and the end is trimmed off.

The knotted tap is used where the splice is subject to strain or slippage. When there is no strain, the knot may be eliminated.

Wire Nut and Split Bolt Types of Splices

The wire nut (view A of the figure below) is a device commonly used to replace the rattail joint splice. The wire nut is housed in plastic insulating material. To use the wire nut, place the two stripped conductors into the wire nut and twist the nut. In so doing, this will form a splice like the rattail joint and insulate itself by drawing the wire insulation into the wire nut insulation.

Wire nut and split bolt splices.

The split bolt splice (view B of the figure above) is used extensively to join large conductors. In the illustration, it is shown replacing the knotted tap joint. The split bolt splice can also be used to replace the "butted" splices mentioned previously when using large conductors.

For a more in-depth reference of proper techniques utilize IPC/WHMA-A-620B.

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