Wire Terminating: A Complete Guide for Newcomers

All good things have to end, and that includes the copper wire. You can’t just leave a wire hanging without proper cable termination, which is terrible for the complete and accurate transfer of both analog and digital information signals. Find the best way to terminate the ends, whether it’s a Wire Harness or a Cable Assembly. To learn how wire completing works or how many benefits it has, keep on reading.

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1. What’s Wire Terminating?

Wire terminating is everything a user or operator does to the end of a wire. This practice creates a connection. With wire terminating, you can connect wires to devices in any way imaginable. Wire terminating is simple yet tricky to do whether you connect through a connector, a switch, or a terminal.

 High-voltage wires

High-voltage wires.

2. Wire Terminating and Joining Types

Wire terminating is very functional. It is also extremely varied. There are plenty of wire termination types. They all depend on their use (outdoor or indoor), current-voltage, and even type of cable connector.

Passive Termination

Passive wire terminating involves installing all kinds of passive devices. This includes resistors, transformers, capacitors, and even inductors. This will help the wire to handle electricity in a passive way. Besides, it allows future reconnections, as it is not a permanent termination.

Active Termination

On the other hand, there are also active terminations. If users need to keep a steady voltage, operators recommend a different approach. In cases like these, using voltage regulators as wire termination is the best choice. These will give you wonderful results and a highly steady current voltage to work with.

Red voltage regulator

Red voltage regulator.

Forced Perfect Termination

Forced perfect termination is another type of active termination. It is the way to go on single-ended buses, locking the signal between voltage regulators. Also, this translates into better performance over other active wire termination types.

Straight Through joints

There are also wire joints that help users create new connections. This type of joint connects two wires together, extending its length. Operators use covers made of polyurethane to keep joints shut.

Y and T type branch joint

If you want to connect three wires together, a Y and T joint will work nicely. This cover, shaped like a Y or T, keeps the current passage stable and protected. This is ideal to use both outdoor and indoor, as the cover is resistant to water.

Pot End Joints

These wire joints keep live-voltage cables protected when users abandon them. A simple cable cap that shrinks with heat solves the problem. Besides, it offers a safe way to handle live wires when you don’t need them anymore.

Yellow wire nuts

Yellow wire nuts.

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3. Wire Termination Methods

There are various methods to terminate electrical wires. These methods differ according to the tools operators use or how they perform said methods. 

Man wire soldering

Man wire soldering.


Users commonly prefer soldering wires as termination. When soldering, wires become more flexible, durable, and even resistant to corrosion.

Although soldering is fairly easy to do, it has a catch. Manufacturers recommend only skilled people to solder to avoid accidents of any kind.

Insulation Displacement Connections

If you look for a fast way to terminate wires, IDC is the way to go. You won’t have to deal with striping wires or using chemicals. It’s mostly inexpensive and easy to perform.


On the other hand, if you work with lots of wires, crimping offers better results. The terminations are not only mechanically strong but also clean and fast to perform. Operators commonly use wire strippers and the crimp tool to make the wire termination. However, bigger crimping tools are now available for crimping bigger wires, too.

 Cable crimping types

Cable crimping types.

Ultrasonic Welding

This practice is perfect for working with wires covered in plastic. It welds plastics and even some metals like copper, nickel, aluminum, and brass together. Ultrasonic welding creates a metallurgical bond that is strong, flexible and has low resistance.

4. Wire Terminating Applications

As expected, wire terminating has varied uses and electrical applications.


SCSI units are a type of active wire terminating. People often use SCSI units as devices to backup and store data. These units use active terminators with voltage regulators to fight current variation. 

SSD hard drive with SCSI unit

SSD hard drive with SCSI unit.

Controller Area Network

Also known as CAN, controller area networks commonly use 120-ohm resistors. CANs allow microcontrollers to communicate with each other without having a computer to host the functions. Manufacturers use controller area networks on elevators, agricultural equipment, and more.

Dummy load

Operators use dummy loads to work in television, radio, and audio-related places. These devices allow operators to try and test electrical loads without endangering the actual infrastructure. Dummy loads often use a resistor. They then immerse it in oil to absorb the heat.

Ethernet Cables 50 Ohm

If you work with computers and data storage units, it is best to use a 50-ohm terminator. It will prevent users from dealing with voltage fluctuation and network connectivity loss. On the other hand, a 50-ohm network cable jack offers safe and reliable connections.

Ethernet coaxial plug

Ethernet coaxial plug.

Antenna network 75 ohm

On the other hand, when it comes to antennas, a 75-ohm wire terminating resistor is the way to go. Also, people use antenna networks for internet connections. However, always look for the right cable for your needs, as this will help you avoid phasing problems due to different impedance levels.


Manufacturers and operators also use wire terminating on unibus terminator cards. These units work with 178-ohm resistors when on multi-drop signal lines. However, they use 383-ohm resistors when working on single-drop lines.


These kinds of buses use various resistors that connect on both ends of the wire. Doing this will assure you that you won’t experience distortion or intermittent communications failures. Remember that in devices like this, wires may connect to a terminator either from the inside or the outside.

 Network tester.

Network tester.

5. Wire Terminating Installation

Splicing requires cutting and jointing wires with care. It’s vital doing it properly to avoid problems. There are some steps you should follow to make it right.

First, prepare the surface. You can choose from End Cut, Wire Slit, Wire Strip, and Cutback according to your need. Clean it, get rid of dust or debris, and make sure it’s water- and oil-free. 

Second, join wire conductors with their connectors. Place splices if needed and join the wires together using the right conductor. For example, aluminum connectors only work with aluminum-bodied connectors. These conductors use an antioxidant paste to eliminate the aluminum oxide coating that insulates both the connector and conductor.

 The splicer is checking wires.

The splicer is checking wires.

Third, reinsulate the wire using tape. Operators and users commonly use black electrical tape to reinsulate the wire. However, linerless splicing and molded rubber splices are better than regular tape. These will prevent air bubbles from forming during the application. On the other hand, molded rubber ones offer flexibility and long-lasting results.

Fourth, it’s time to replace the cable shield. Insulation tapes and rubber splices work best for it. 

Fifth and final, replace the cable jacket with a combination of molded rubber.

Rubber and plastic parts.

Rubber and plastic parts.

6. Wire Terminating Safety

For performing wire terminating safely, it’s important to follow a few simple tips. These will ensure the proper functioning and secure handling of electric wires.

  • Use protection boots and gloves.

Boots and gloves will protect users and operators from accidental electrical discharges.

Safety boots and gloves.

Safety boots and gloves.

Avoid moisture at all costs.

Water and electricity together are a no-no. Make sure all wires are dry and isolated to avoid malfunctions.

Keep everything clean while working.

Get rid of dust, debris, oils, or any other substance that interferes with current conduction or wire insulation.

Always use the right tools for the right wire.

Use the right tools, the right size of splices, and the insulation recommended for every wire. This will avoid problems and delays in the installation process. It’s important to give them what they deserve.

Avoid gaps at the cable’s entrance.

External particles and foreign objects damaged wires. Sealing it properly solves the issue.

Splicer used to work with wires.

Splicer used to work with wires.

Use monitoring sensors regularly.

Online Partial Discharge monitors, also known as OPD monitoring sensors, check how healthy and safe-to-use are the cables and safety boots you’ll use.


Wire terminating ensures the healthy performance of electrical wires, which is especially useful for the automotive industry. However, to terminate power wires, there is a lot to do. If you need more help or guidance on electrical wire, contact us.

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