Choosing the right heat shrink connector can mean the difference between contending with corroded wires and having an insulating connection that lasts. A poor connector can allow for moisture infiltration or lead to wires slipping out of their seals. They may also wear out over time or under heat, vibration or stress.
Understanding your specific needs is the first step to choosing the right heat shrink connector for your application. Here are some of the top factors you should consider when shopping for a heat shrink connector:
Size of connector
When choosing a heat shrink connector, the most important factor to consider is size. There are two measurements you need to take accurately: the largest point over which the connector will slide and the smallest diameter to which the connector must shrink. If the connector is too small, it won’t be able to fit around the wires you need to connect, and if it can’t shrink to the size of your wires, it may not provide a good connection.
It’s easiest to take these measurements if your wires all form a cylinder, but if your wire connector must slide over more of a triangular or quadrilateral shape, don’t worry. Connector Supplier suggests measuring the perimeter and dividing it by pi. This will convert the noncircular perimeter to an effective circular diameter.
Style of connector
Once you know the size of heat shrink wire connectors you need, you can begin comparing your sealing style options. There are several different designs, each with its own benefits:
1. Crimp connectors
Crimp connectors, such as the Proseal Connector, have excellent holding ability, limiting the risk of the wires slipping or sliding out of the tube. With insulation that lasts and a watertight connection, crimp connectors are ideal for preventing wire corrosion. They’re typically about 50 percent stronger than most PVC connectors.
2. Solder connectors
Solder connectors like the Solderseal Connector are not only durable but also conductive. These heat shrink electrical connectors allow for strong current flow, which makes them perfect for LEDs and similar applications. Solder connectors are generally about 75 percent stronger than PVC connectors.
3. Crimp and solder connectors
By combining crimp and solder connectors, as with the Multiseal Connector, seals can become even stronger. These have the benefits of current flow, which is ideal for electrical work, as well as the crimping ability that holds the connector in place. These are usually about 80 percent stronger than PVC connectors.
Additional features to look for
Once you’ve determined the right size and style of connection, keep an eye out for a few other indicators of a hi-quality seal. The ability to see the integrity of the seal is invaluable. Unfortunately, many seals are opaque or translucent and difficult to see through. Using a clear connector allows you to view your work and monitor how it’s holding up over time.
If you’re choosing a seal to make electrical connections, review whether you need to meet certain industry standards, such as those set by the American Society for Testing and Materials, the Aerospace Material Specification or the Underwriters Laboratories/Canadian Standards Association.
The right seal ensures your wires will stay safely covered and insulated for as long as you need them. Be sure to research your options before you invest in a wire connector.