Ram Products Explains Electrical Terminals

Insulated and non-insulated closed barrel electrical terminals and splices have been around since the early ‘40’s.  They originated from the need for a solderless method to terminate wires in military equipment. From those modest beginnings, electrical terminals have grown into a major

interconnect product class. Applications of these products are very diverse. Many insulated terminals and splices are used in household appliances. Other OEM products containing terminals

and splices are airplanes, rail cars, industrial control systems, recreational vehicles, blenders,

irons, coffee pots, power supplies, industrial machines, communications equipment and many,

many other applications. Just about any application that must connect discrete wire in a point-to point configuration is a candidate for an electrical terminal or splice.


Why use an electrical terminal?

Insulated and non-insulated closed barrel electrical terminals are connectors that link a wire to an electrical component. The component may take on a number of guises: posts, tabs, lugs, pins, terminal blocks or other designs. The terminal attaches to the wire mechanically via a crimp to

make the electrical connection.


What styles of electrical terminal are available?

Terminals, depending on the style, are available with many different connecting interfaces.

Popular connecting interfaces include ring tongue, rectangular tongue, spade tongue, spring

spade, slotted ring tongues and several others. The connection interface (i.e. ring tongue, spade,

etc.) however, is not the only difference between terminals. Several styles prevail. Insulated electrical terminals are commonly called “RBYs”. RBY has evolved into a term that describes a wide range of insulated crimp style electrical terminals and splices. The R, B and Y stand for the basic colors, red, blue and yellow, of the insulation on insulated terminals and splices. The colors identify the wire range the terminal can accept: generally 22-18 for red, 16-14 for blue and 12-10 for yellow.


What features should I look for in an electrical terminal?

A basic insulated version will have features that provide insulation properties and sound electrical connection. One important feature would be a funneled wire entry to avoid wire stubbing. The inside of the wire barrel would be configured to provide good tensile strength while maintaining maximum contact with the wire. A designer would select this product in applications where a basic insulated terminal was required. These basic terminals usually accommodate wire sizes from 22 AWG up to 2/0 AWG. A real-world application of this product style could be found in a vacuum cleaner where the power cord is connected to the motor. The next level would have additional features. These terminals are designed for more rigorous applications. Again, these terminals retain the color-coded insulation and wire entry funnel. A metal sleeve is added to the design to provide additional rigidity and robustness for applications that experience mechanical shock or vibration. The sleeve lies between the metal terminal and plastic insulation. The wire range this product accepts is usually 26 AWG up to 10 AWG.


Ram offers many varieties of electrical terminals, your area manager can help you select the correct terminal for your next job!


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