For convenience, many electronic systems come with plug-and-play cables and consequently, are already terminated with connectors to eliminate the need for solder. Many people find these pre-terminated cables to be very beneficial for saving time and producing a clean, professional installation. However, these same cables create a dilemma when the job requires routing through engine firewalls, car roofs, trim panels and for buildings, exterior walls.
Pre-terminated cables generally have a small diameter, but the connectors on the end can sometimes double or even quadruple the size of hole required to route cabling through a roof, firewall, etc. So installers are then faced with the age old dilemma, “Do I make an excessively large hole to compensate for the connectors?” or, “Do I cut the cable and hope that I can put it back together?”
For me, there is no dilemma at all and the choice is simple… cut and splice the cable! After all it’s easy, the appearance will be superior and in the case of exterior installations, will have a greater weatherproof integrity due to the smaller diameter hole.
It’s true that many people are adverse to cutting and splicing cables because they’re worried that it will be too difficult to match the inner wires or it will be point of failure. With a little bit of education on how to do it right and some inexpensive tools, these concerns vanish. For a successful splice, just follow the basic steps below:
Tools and supplies
If you’re MacGyver, in a pinch you can make do with a pocket knife and duct tape, but for real world and permanent installations… a few more tools are highly recommended. Having the right tools are relatively inexpensive these days and become critically important for the installation of safety devices such as LED lightbars, dash lights, sirens, etc. Recommended tools and supplies are:
– Wire strippers
– Snips or scissors (some strippers have built-in snips)
– Heat shrink tubes
– Heat gun for heat shrink (a cigarette lighter or other heat sources are also acceptable)
– Soldering iron
– Helping Hands
– Rubber grommets (for automotive installations)