Electrics & Electronics: Electrical Principles: Wires & connectors procedures
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Topic IntroductionHelp

Stripping wire insulation

Summary
The objective of this procedure is to show you how to correctly strip an electrical wire and connect a solderless connector. Always use the correct tool for stripping the insulation from a wire, it is much safer and more effective.

Part 1. Preparation and safety

Objective

Wire stripping tool

Personal safety

Whenever you perform a task in the workshop you must use personal protective clothing and equipment that is appropriate for the task and which conforms to your local safety regulations and policies. Among other items, this may include:

If you are not certain what is appropriate or required, ask your supervisor.

Safety check

Points to note


Part 2: Step-by-step instruction

  1. Choose the correct stripping tool
    The purpose of a wire stripping tool is to allow you to remove the insulation from around the copper core of a cable without damaging the cable or yourself. Never use a knife or other type of sharp instrument to cut away insulation from a cable, as it is very easy for these to slip and you can injure yourself. Using side cutters or pliers can also be dangerous; and these are also less effective as they often cut away some of the strands of wire as well. This is known as ringing the wire, which effectively reduces the current carrying capacity of the wire.
  2. Select the correct gauge hole
    Using the correct tool is much safer and more effective. Wire strippers can remove the insulation from different gauges of cable, so select the hole in the stripper that is closest to the diameter of the core in the cable to be stripped.
  3. Cut the insulation
    Place the cable in the hole and close the jaws firmly around it to cut the insulation. If you have selected the right gauge, then this will cut through the insulation but not through the copper core. Only remove as much insulation as is necessary to do the job. Too little bare wire may not achieve a good connection, and too much may expose the wire to a potential short circuit with other circuits or to ground. Removing more than half an inch or 1.2 centimeters of insulation at a time can also stretch and damage the core.
  4. Remove the insulation
    Some strippers automatically cut and remove the insulation. Others just make the cut and hold the cable tightly, and you need to pull firmly on the wire to remove the insulation and strip out the copper core. To keep the strands together, give them a light twist.