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Compass Marine How To | all galleries >> Welcome To >> Terminating Small Wires > Terminals & Tools
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Terminals & Tools

Terminals & Tools

Lately I have had numerous questions regarding terminating small gauge wires in the 22-26GA range for marine communications such as NEMA 0183 wires etc.. When specialized terminals are not available I will often use miniature ring terminals and a standard bus bar with #4, #6 or even #8 screws.

Terminating these small gauge wires often proves to be an obstacle for many boat owners. These are some of the attempts at terminating small wires I have seen over the years that have caused issues:

-Twist & solder

-Cramming additional wire into a larger terminal & then crimping

-Folding wire then inserting into the wrong sized terminal & crimping

-Use of wrong sized terminal and the wrong crimp tool

-Wire nuts

-Euro Strips with no "pressure plate"

-Scotch Locks

-Twisting wire around a screw

Unfortunately none of the above methods work robustly, repeatably and reliably on 22-26GA wire on boats. Some of them "can" work but they are rarely well enough executed to be a solidly reliable termination. These wires are very fragile and require attention to detail.

This photo shows the tools and small ring terminals I used for this article. To give the size of the small ring terminals some perspective I placed a blue 14-16GA crimped terminal above the 24GA wires & terminals. The blue terminal is terminated to 16GA wire...

The small 22GA - 26GA uninsulated ring terminals are a mix of product from Russell Industries Inc. and 3M Inc. I generally prefer the 3M when I can get them.

other sizes: small medium large original
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