Heat shrink wire wrap, also called heat shrink wire connectors, are traditionally used over joints in cables and wires to protect the joints from water and dust. This type of wire connector also provides a barrier between wires and corrosive materials. Heat shrink wire connectors are made of any one of several types of thermoplastics. Some have adhesive interiors that form a tight water seal once they are shrunk into place. Use of these connectors varies from pencil grips and chair feet, to highly technical applications in the aerospace and technology industries.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- Heat shrink wire connectors
- Heat gun
Select a connector that is the correct size for your project. The recovered (shrunk) size of the tubing needs to be smaller than your wire or cable and the large (preshrunk) size needs to be large enough to fit over your connections.
Using scissors, cut your connector to length. Keep in mind that your connector will shrink lengthwise as well as in diameter, so allow an additional 10 per cent for shrinkage. Your connector should also extend at least 1/4 inch beyond your splice, joint, or connection area.
Position your cable where you can heat the connector evenly on all sides. Check the manufacturer's recommendation for the correct temperature for your heat gun. If you cannot find a listing, then turn your heat gun to a medium setting and heat the connector evenly, holding the gun about 12 inches from the connector. You should be able to see when the connector is receiving the correct temperature by moving the gun closer until the reaction (shrinkage) takes place.
Allow the connector 15 minutes to cool completely before applying any physical stress to it. Overheated connectors will become brittle and charred. Properly heated connectors have a smooth, even appearance with no bubbles.
Tips and warnings
- If your connectors do not seem to want to slide over your cable or wires, spray them with a silicone lubricant spray to make your cable more slippery. This will not compromise your connector.
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