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How to properly splice into a wire without cutting it
I'm mainly making this topic so I can host the pictures directly on RX8club, and then link to them in the FAQ sticky. So we don't lose the pictures years down the road.
Sometimes a situation arises where you need to tap into a factory wire but both ends are connected to something, you can't find the ends, or one end has a specialty harness on it you don't want to cut off. Maybe you need a +12V ignition source, maybe you're tapping into factory speaker wires, or maybe you're installing a keyless entry system and need to tap into the factory power door lock wires. Whatever your reason, the following will show you how it's done.
You simply want to strip back the insulation on the wire you need WITHOUT cutting any of the copper wires themselves. Then use a pointed tool to poke through the copper strands and make an eye.
Then simply thread your new wire through the eye.
Then close up the eye and wrap your new wire around it. Make sure to have the new wire run along side the factory wire. Ideally, you would now solder this to ensure a solid connection and prevent it from ever wiggling free. But I know 75% of readers are not going to do this.
Wrap the connection with some high quality electrical tape (even if you soldered obviously). Pull/stretch the tape tight while you're wrapping. You can throw a zip tie around the tape, just for insurance, if you'd like.
As for tools, I personally prefer this tool for stripping. It's small and quick to use. One size fits all. You just have to use a little skill and grace to not cut all the way through (comes with experience). Once you get good with it, you'll never want to use anything else.
However, these two tools are perfectly acceptable.
As for electrical tape, I highly recommend 3M 33+ electrical tape. It's extremely sticky and stretchable. It also seems to have these small "ridges" along the glue side that help it grip. By far the best I've used. Usually sold in a round plastic container.
If you're reading this and can no longer see any of the pictures, I have attached them below. You can only attach 5 pictures maximum, so I attached the most important ones. Really all you need. 4 pics of the process and one pic of my preferred wire strippers.
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Now that's a decent thread. Many would think this doesn't help any "Major" issue, but I personally know too many people who do this completely wrong. I feel like re-directing them to this thread, LOL.
Thanks for the thread. It really does point out a flaw many people fall into - Splicing wrong. Sure there are many ways of doing it, but in all honesty, this is the best way to get the job done right without soldering or even using spades/marretts.
Excellent write up. I've used this method forever, except that I've never thought about using a ziptie for the added reinforcement. Brilliant tip!
As for wire strippers, my preferred tool of destruction is this style:
And consider using Heat Shrink Tape instead of more typical electrical tape. For example.
I've used those "automatic" wire strippers several times. They're hit and miss for me. Very often, they grab the wire and just grind at the insulation rather than strip it back. Seems like you're always having to play with the adjustments to make it strip correctly. But I've had them work before too, so to each their own. They're a little cumbersome to use up under a dash or something though. Especially if you had to cut or crimp something with them. The small ones I pictured are really the only thing I'd use anymore. They easily strip ANY gauge wire (do 4g all the time) and the same quick movement can cut through any gauge wire (cut 4g all the time). One small tool for all my needs. Cheap and effective. Home electricians take note. They would work even better with solid core wire.
And I don't have much experience with the heat shrink tape. Non-adhesive huh. Provided it's easy to wrap around the wire, I'm sure it would work great.
Originally Posted by Wingznut
He mentioned soldering... And to use heat shrink tube, you'd need to cut the original wire (which defeats firebirdude's whole point.)