There are many types of connections used in electrical wiring applications, so it is helpful to know when you'll need to use a pigtail connector. A pigtail connector is a closed end, crimp on wire connector that is used to join together two or more electrical conductors to a device and an electrical box. A pigtail connector is small enough to use where the space available for wiring is confined and there is not enough room to use other typical connectors. The minimum length of electrical wire is 6” and the standard length is 18”, so space can be limited inside an electrical box. Since many wiring applications have more than one wire inside an electrical box, the safest, and most secure way to connect multiple wires together is to use a pigtail connector. Nylon closed end pigtail connectors are often preferred to standard screw on wire connectors when connections are subject to vibration or any type of jarring movement inherent in lighting fixtures, machinery, transportation or other similar applications.
What Does a Pigtail Connector Do?
Pigtails are typically used to extend the length of wires that are too short and are commonly found in older electrical boxes. There are instances in existing wiring situations where two or more wires are connected to an outlet, which can be dangerous. A pigtail connection allows you to create a new connection of two or more electrical wires to become a new, one piece wire connecting a device to an electrical box. A pigtail is an extension of wire that combines all wires into one safe connection, allowing only the pigtail wire to be installed at the connection point. You can use a pigtail connector to combine several hot wires to become one hot wire, several neutral wires to become one neutral wire, and also to extend the green ground wire if grounding is needed.
To begin, you’ll need to strip the insulation off the wire ends that need to be connected, making sure the wire ends are all the same length. Next attach the pigtail to connect and crimp the wires together on the wire ends, making sure that there is no bare copper protruding out of the connector.
Use the other end of the wire to connect to the device. Connect only one wire to the device, and only to wires that have the same color, so that the hot wires, neutral wires and ground wires are properly connected only to each other. Do not pull or stretch existing short wires to make it fit, instead, use a pigtail to connect 2, 3 or 4 wires together and create a one piece wire to install to the existing circuit.
Be Prepared with all the Right Tools
Adding a nylon pigtail connector is fast and easy to do. The tools you will need to begin are: wire strippers, linesman pliers, extra pieces of scrap wire (the same gauge and color as the ones you are using), screw driver and insulated pigtail connectors.
Pigtail Connectors are Important for Safe Electrical Connections
Before you begin any electrical wiring project, always turn off the power to the circuit that you will be working on. You can double check that the circuit is off by using an electrical circuit tester. Do not attempt to connect multiple wires to one terminal, it is not a safe practice. The proper installation method is to connect the wires together first, and then add a pigtail to the connection. You’ll need to match the wire size to the amp circuits in your breaker. An electrical tester will help you to determine what you’ll need, for example, a 15 amp circuit requires that you use 14 gauge wire and a 14 gauge pigtail connector.
Electrical Crimp Connector Tool
Nylon pigtail connectors have a ‘crimp’ feature that allows a crimp connector tool to be used to ensure that a tight connection is made and won’t come apart. The nylon connectors are fully Insulated and designed to contain sparking that could start a fire.
Pigtail Connectors are available in a variety of sizes to fit most wire gauges used in a wide range of electrical applications in the home such as electrical sockets, lighting fixtures and appliances, in RV’s and trailers, and on electronic signs and arcade machines, to name a few. Many times pigtails are needed to install new specialty outlets used for electronic devices. When properly used pigtail connectors are a safe way to combine multiple wire connections to fit the new requirements of todays ever expanding dependence on electrical devices.
Electrical Basics is an online resource for finding a variety of electrical testers, stripping and crimping tools, and (4) sizes of nylon pigtail closed end wire connectors that handle wire combinations ranging from # 10 gauge to # 22 gauge wire. These nylon pigtail closed end wire connectors are especially suited for applications subject to vibration. The temperature rating for these connectors is 105 degrees C, have a maximum voltage rating of 300V, and are made using UL94V-2 self-extinguishing material.
If you have don’t have experience working with electricity and do not feel safe connecting electrical projects in your home, you should consider calling a professional. Before you begin, call the experts at Electrical Basics for more information about what tools and wire connectors you will need for your next electrical wiring project.