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Add a lug to a stripped wire, and learn an electrician's trick for getting uncooperative stranding into a lug

In a previous video I showed you how to strip large gauge fine strand wire with a rotary cable stripper. We gave the wire a clean, flat cut and stripped the end, and the stranding is in great shape--undamaged and compact. The insulation is stripped back just enough that the conductor will fill the lug completely and make a good solid mass without any voids. And this cable is ready for the lug.

Strand turnback reduces the electrical flow, so for the best conductivity, check to make sure all the strands make it into the lug. Terminals that have a slight flare or funnel entry at the bottom of the barrel make it easier to insert the wire. The funnel entry steers all the stranding right into the barrel.

So what if your wire has gotten a bit frayed or feathered out and you can't get it into the lug? Here is a great little trick electricians use.

Smooth the wire roughly back into shape. Take electrical tape, and starting a half inch or so down the wire, wrap a light layer up and around the copper, pulling it tight to compress the stranding. Then work your way back down the jacket.

Insert the taped end into the lug, and holding the lug in place with the wire fully inserted, peel the tape out from under the barrel, pulling it gently sideways to ensure the strands stay inside the barrel.

Notice we don't have any strand turnback. We got all the strands into the terminal, and now I can give this a good solid crimp.

Our cable makers use this trick when they are working with really large guage, like this 500 MCM wire. It reallly helps to keep the stranding under control.

One more thing before you crimp: be sure to turn the lug on the wire to the placement you want. When we make our custom cables we like to center the wire's legend on the side of the lug that will be most visible so that the wire information can be easily read. Be sure to determine how the ends should align with each other when the cable is in use.

Here is what a good crimp will look like on the inside. The copper stranding has been compressed into a solid mass and there aren't any air pockets that can cause corrosion, hot spots, or other problems later.

Did you know Polar Wire makes custom cables? We use our Arctic Ultraflex Blue ultraflexible arctic grade wire and high quality parts and processes to build flexible, durable cables that outlast and outperform the others.

Visit our website at polarwire.com and check out our huge online store.


    • Rajeswari R
      Rajeswari R


      about 9 days ago
    • arvind kumar
      arvind kumar

      Nice it

      about 1 month ago
    • Maximus L
      Maximus L


      about 2 months ago
    • ibles bosuok
      ibles bosuok

      I wanna substitute my car battery cable with 95sqmm welding cable. Unfortunately the cable shoe too big to fit on battery pole. My car is just 1.3l EP81 sleeper. OmG.
      Cheers from Indonesia

      about 2 months ago
    • Rickie Lowry
      Rickie Lowry

      Use a bread tie to hold the strands tight while you insert into the lug. It's easy and doesn't leave adhesive residue on the copper from the tape

      about 2 months ago
    • Polar Wire
      Polar Wire In reply to Rickie Lowry

      That's a good idea!

      about 2 months ago
    • therockkkkher

      Are the lugs brass ?

      about 2 months ago
    • Polar Wire
      Polar Wire In reply to therockkkkher

      No these lugs are Electrolytic Tough Pitch CDA-110 copper with a tin plating for corrosion resistance. CDA-110 Copper has the highest conductivity of any metal except silver--it has a minimum puritiy of 99.9% copper with approximately 4% oxygen. https://store.polarwire.com/battery-cable-fittings/plated-copper-eyelet-lugs/.

      about 2 months ago
    • Bet Mon
      Bet Mon

      Wat kind and wer do u purchase the crimper sir

      about 3 months ago
    • Polar Wire
      Polar Wire In reply to Bet Mon

      The crimper in this video is a bench mounted 6.2 ton dieless pnuematic compression crimper. It uses a hydraulic pump system to power the crimp head and makes a really top quality, solid four-sided crimp. Call us about the CT-BM-PW at 888-245-9473 if you'd like more info about it. We also carry hand held manual and hydraulic crimpers. Thanks for your interest!

      about 3 months ago
    • Redneck Repair guy
      Redneck Repair guy

      I use silver solder for my hv ev projects. Lots of amps!!

      robert the mad genius******

      about 4 months ago
    • Fox

      Instead of tape we just use single strands of copper to reign in those frayed ends, that way it keeps any adhesive off the copper

      about 4 months ago
    • David Nee
      David Nee

      I am in the market for a set of battery cables (17 ft for a boat). I went to your website. I couldn't find the custom length section.
      I also found your website does not work properly. Not to mention very user UN-friendly.
      I own and run 2 very successful websites. "Y'all" need to fire your maintenance guy!!
      I'm going some where else to purchase now..

      about 4 months ago
    • Polar Wire
      Polar Wire In reply to David Nee

      We acknowledge custom cable ordering on our store needs improvement, and we are working on it. Sorry you weren't able to order your custom length cables. If you are still in the market for cables, we'd love to make them for you. The easiest and fastest way to place your custom cable order is over the phone or by email. Thanks for letting us know!

      about 3 months ago
    • mohan ji
      mohan ji

      Dear sir all ur video is very good I want to know where I perches this wire stiper

      about 7 months ago
    • Polar Wire
      Polar Wire In reply to mohan ji

      It is available online at our store: http://store.polarwire.com/stripper-slitter-18-1-0-diameter-economy/

      about 6 months ago
    • Anonymous 84
      Anonymous 84

      I'm a commercial electrician and that's a great trick I'll be sure to pass it on👍

      about 8 months ago
    • David James
      David James

      Here is an interesting question for you. Suppose someone has a battery bank (like for a UPS or maybe solar) such that the arrangement of the batteries in 3x2 (3 deep and 2 wide) pattern/layout. Can a special cable be made with 2 end connectors plus a mid connector so that all 3 negatives of the 3 batteries can be connected in parallel? Of course another triple contact cable would be needed for the positive posts of those same batteries. Do you make such cables already or would they have to be custom made? Does such a crimp connector exist that will take wire from both sides? This setup can be thought of as an insulated bus bar to connect all the like terminals (positive or negative) of the batteries. It might help to keep things neater and not require stacking of cables (like 2 cables on the same battery terminal). Thanks.

      about 11 months ago
    • Polar Wire
      Polar Wire In reply to David James

      Hi David, thank you for the great question! We make custom cables to order in all kinds of oddball configurations--we manufacture them to your specs. Sounds like you would need straight terminals on the ends and a flag terminal in the middle. What type of terminals do your batteries require? If it is easiest, give us a call at 907-561-5955 and we can work out the configuration you need and give you a no-obligation quote on the cables. We are happy to custom configure cables, and we can get them done quickly, depending on the availability of the terminals you need.

      about 11 months ago
    • David James
      David James

      Couldn't you just use string or something similar that wont leave residue on the copper strands? Dental floss perhaps?

      about 11 months ago
    • trey slashcar
      trey slashcar

      boss move with the tape player!

      about 1 year ago
    • Joe Pah
      Joe Pah

      what kind of crimper is that?? Pneumatic? jeez

      about 1 year ago
    • Polar Wire
      Polar Wire In reply to Joe Pah

      It uses a combination of compressed air and hydraulics and a 6.2 ton dieless head. It makes a good, solid 4 sided crimp without voids. Here is a photo of a terminal we cut in half to show the quality of the crimp.


      about 1 year ago
    • ryden roam
      ryden roam

      i was wondering using your flez blue, could you use them for mobile audio power and ground wires??

      about 1 year ago
    • Polar Wire
      Polar Wire In reply to ryden roam

      Yes, you can use it as ground and mobile audio wire. Arctic Ultraflex Blue is a Class K wire, 100% copper with fine stranding so it creates better sound quality than lower class wire. The jacket is nice and flexible, which makes installation easy in tight spaces and it has excellent abrasion resistance so it would be a great choice. (Sorry for the slow reply!)

      about 1 year ago
    • overexposurevideo

      cool trick with the tape !

      about 2 years ago
    • jim davidson
      jim davidson

      But now you have adhesive on the copper. It's now contaminated. And the fact you touched the copper with your fingers. You just added oils and acids from your skin. What are we talking about here people? Corrosion.

      about 2 years ago
    • Rick James
      Rick James In reply to jim davidson

      Dude eat shit.

      about 1 year ago
    • GeneSun
      GeneSun In reply to jim davidson

      jim davidson
      A bit anal wouldn't you say jim. After all it's not wiring for a space ship .

      about 1 year ago
    • Jr Jr.
      Jr Jr. In reply to jim davidson

      jim davidson not that intrusive to the copper and it's better than losing some or cutting some to fit the end

      about 2 years ago
    • Alan Hughes
      Alan Hughes

      great tip with the tape thanks.

      about 2 years ago