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 Post subject: Wire connectors
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2016 4:38 pm 
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Location: Skagit Co WA
OK - a bit, well more than a bit off the subject of woodworking but I'm trying to figure out how to make in line splices is small ga. (40ga.) wires. The problem is, I have this low voltage lighting control system in the house. We put in a new relay panel some years ago and the electrician left a rats nest of wires hanging out of the cabinet. Right now the various switch wires, those are the 14ga. ones, are connected with regular wire nuts. I've been working to get the wires unscrambled and sorted into some kind of organized manner. But I'm left with a bunch of the wire nuts that simply take up too much room in the cabinet as well as not being really that tidy looking. I thought about using crimped on wire splice connectors but I need a way to 'unsplice' the wires in the event I need or want to change the switch controls. So it would appear that some sort of in line connector with screw terminals to secure the wires would be the way to go but I've not found anything along those lines that's insulated. The wires, even though it's only 24v. can't touch one another, of course, or the relays would get short circuited, blah-blah-blah ...

Anyway, I thought I'd throw this out to the collected body of wisdom that frequents this space.

Thanks for any feedback.

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 Post subject: Re: Wire connectors
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2016 6:44 pm 
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Dennis S: How about putting some electrical shrink tubing on the wire, then twisting them end to end(like two snakes approaching head to head and kissing) then heat shrink the tube in place. To repair, just whittle off the tubing and do the repair. Bobs your uncle smooth and practically no terminal to hide. If the wires were laid right next to one another, you might not even need to twist them as long as the wires were in contact but a good twist would be better. A hair dryer, heatgun or even a lighter will supply the heat. If you run a bunch of wires through a larger piece of the tubing and shrink it you can organize the heck out of stuff. I got my tubing at the local hardware store but I'm sure that a RADIO SHACK kind of place should have it.
Sorry about the snake image.

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 Post subject: Re: Wire connectors
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2016 11:40 pm 
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Hey Dennis,

If you think that you're going to have to disconnect and reconnect, then I would us heat shrink sealed bullet connectors, either the crimp on or low temp solder type. Fastenal has a good selection online.

KRIMPA-SEALĀ® Sealed Crimp Bullet Connectors

If you don't expect to disconnect and reconnect, then I would use the low temp solder heat shrink butt connectors.


Good luck,
Tom

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 Post subject: Re: Wire connectors
PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 2:53 am 
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The heat shrink tubing would be a great solution alright. But in the time span it took between posting that message and afternoon coffee where I regained a rare moment of sanity, I devised a design for a terminal block that would allow connections for each individual three wire group with spade connectors. I'll have to snap a shot of it tomorrow to best explain what I came up with. But thanks for taking the time to read the post.

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 Post subject: Re: Wire connectors
PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 11:15 pm 
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DENNIS S: As an expensive fallback ($80.00) go to STEWART-MACDONALD Click pickups and electronics, click search for G HUB. I think this might be swatting a fly with a cast iron skillet but it looks like it has tons of the type of connectors you were looking at. JAT HTH

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 Post subject: Re: Wire connectors
PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2016 12:48 pm 
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Wow - that looks like something that would work, alright. However I've come up with a 'patch panel' device that I think will work pretty well, too. I'll snap some photos later to better illustrate the project. It's been quite literally sitting in the closet for a long time. I'm eager to get it sorted.

Thanks for the link, Newtooth. Lots of interesting stuff there!

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 Post subject: Re: Wire connectors
PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2016 2:14 pm 
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Here's a photo of what I'm dealing with:

Attachment:
panel 01.jpg
panel 01.jpg [ 268.35 KiB | Viewed 375 times ]


And how I intend to fix it:

Attachment:
terminal block 01.jpg
terminal block 01.jpg [ 283.34 KiB | Viewed 375 times ]


Attachment:
Terminal block detail.jpg
Terminal block detail.jpg [ 333.54 KiB | Viewed 375 times ]


It's not really as complex as it appears. There are three lighting circuits feeding the main panel. A number of lights in the house, mostly pathway lighting, are controlled by 24 volt latching relays. Each relay has three terminals that can be connected to any one or several switches located throughout the house. Where it gets complicated is when there are three, or even more low voltage (LV) switches controlling a single light.

With this terminal block I think I'll be able to connect as many as six switches to any one given light. So I'll be able to connect a downstairs light in the kitchen, for example, to an LV switch in the bedroom. Or the garage. It's the ultimate electronic game puzzle!

Anyway, thanks to everyone who chimed in. Several suggestions to be logged for future reference.

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