Comparing Wire Ferrules and Wire Terminals

Rather than simply housing one strand of metal, electrical wires often contain multiple threads that are all encased in an insulating, protective shell. Since this shell acts to stop the flow of electrons outside of the wire, the ends of electrical wires need to be kept uncovered so as to make contact with another device. To protect the fine strands that are left bare at the end of a wire, wire ferrules and terminals are usually added onto the wire ends to protect the strands from fraying without breaking up the flow of current. Wire ferrules are not as widely known as wire terminals, but nevertheless, they are a growing product that is being used more and more every day, and it is useful to know how they can best benefit a circuit.

Wire ferrules typically consist of a bare metal tube that is attached to an insulating sleeve. To install them, the wire ferrule is crimped onto the end of a stripped wire with the individual strands kept securely in the metal tube while the insulating portion overlaps with that of the wire. With this design, the wire strands are kept protected in a conductive metal tube for easier insertion. By contrast, wire terminals are used for similar applications but have a different design and fastening method.

Whereas ferrules have the stripped wire extending into a metal tube, the stripped wire in a terminal only extends to the end of the insulation where the current can be carried through a solid metal pin. This makes it so current can pass from the wire strands to the metal portion of the terminal so that the terminal serves as a medium between the wire and another device. This design can be helpful for making connections that require a specific shape or diameter at the connection that is different to that of the original wire. Conversely, wire ferrules create a direct connection between the stranded wire and another device, but with the added structure and protection of a metal casing. Therefore, wire ferrules are useful for making clean connections within a circuit.

As a result of their varying designs, wire ferrules and wire terminals are also attached differently. To fasten a ferrule, the metal tube is crimped onto the frayed end of the wire. Alternatively, to fasten a terminal, the insulated sleeve of the device is crimped onto the bare wires, surrounding them completely. Generally, whereas wire terminals lend greater overall protection and adaptability to the connection size, electrical wire cables are best for applications that require clean connections with direct contact between the wire and another component.

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