Terminals and Connectors
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FIGURE 36-56
Terminals and connectors are installed to the ends of wires to provide low-resistance termination to wires.

Terminals are installed to the ends of wires to provide low-resistance termination to wires. They allow electricity to be conducted from the end of one wire to the end of another wire. In many cases, they allow the wires to be disconnected and reconnected. They come in many different types and sizes to suit various wire sizes and termination requirements Figure 36-56. For example, there are push-on spade terminals, eye ring terminals to accommodate screws, butt connectors, and male and female terminals that are designed to be separated and reconnected. Most terminals are the crimp type, which require the use of special tools to crimp the terminal to the end of the wire. They can be insulated or noninsulated. Some solder-type terminals, which require the use of a soldering iron and solder, are still in use and require the use of electric or gas soldering irons, flux, and solder to make the connection. When soldering wiring, always use a rosin or rosin-core solder; never use an acid-core solder, since acid can cause corrosion and high resistance over time.

Terminals can be installed as a single terminal on a wire or grouped together in a wiring harness with a connector housing, also called wiring harness connectors. Connector housings have male and female sides and are usually shaped so that they can be connected in only one way. They will often incorporate a locking mechanism so the plug cannot accidentally work loose. Many of these connectors are weatherproofed to keep moisture out. Special tools are usually needed to insert and remove the terminals from the connector housing.