Here be the “lineman’s splice”

Here be the “Western Union splice,” aka the “Lineman’s splice,” which is the preferred method for twisting solid-core wire leads together for inline electrical connections.Developed during the heydey of the telegraph, the Lineman’s splice is designed for connections that will be under tension. It is commonly claimed that, properly made, a Lineman’s splice is stronger than the wires of which it is composed. In any case, it is a time-proven method, and, coolest of all, one of NASA’s Required Workmanship Standards. To wit, in a NASA-approved Lineman’s splice:

The conductors shall be pre-tinned.

There shall be at least 3 turns around each conductor and the wraps shall be tight with no gaps between adjacent turns.

The wraps shall not overlap and the ends of the wrap shall be trimmed flush prior to soldering to prevent protruding ends.

Conductors shall not overlap the insulation of the other wire.

Though the Lineman’s splice was originally used without solder, today soldering is common. And NASA insists on it:

Solder shall wet all elements of the connection.

The solder shall fillet between connection elements over the complete periphery

of the connection.

This material comes from page 84 of NASA-STD 8739.4 (a PDF), which is a great reference if you’re interested in best practices for interconnecting cables and wires.

soldering wires

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This entry was published on March 26, 2012 at 3:31 am and is filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “Here be the “lineman’s splice”

  1. Reblogged this on BIGBOLT101 and commented:

    I need this info today for working on the Karmann Ghia before an upcoming car show.

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