I came across the Scotchlok series connectors when preparing to replace the sensor within my fridge. Rather than the traditional cut-replace-solder-heatshrink, I used these. They’re particularly useful because:
- A soldering iron isn’t required; great where there isn’t much space to work or the location is remote.
- They seal the connection from moisture ingress with a gel.
- No additional insulation or sleeving is required.
To join two wires, you just insert both wires into the connector and clamp the coloured cap down using pliers. No need to strip wires, which saves even more time. It creates a connection by driving the wire into a ‘U’ contact, displacing the insulation. The gel is released at the same time which protects the connection from moisture.
I’ve not had any in-application for more than a few months, but so far, so good. 3M have apparently been producing these for over 50 years and they’re used widely in telecom applications.
The Scotchlok range seems to cover applications from larger gauge low-voltage applications down to smaller data cables, such as CAT5. There are also tap connectors that allow you to tap into another wire without breaking the connection.
The only downside is that they seem to be sold in large packs. I only wish that someone would sell a selection pack, with a few of each type and size.