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June 11, 2013

ScotchLock Butt Connectors


Oh, relax, not that kind — what's wrong with you, anyway?

Don't you know where you are?


Here's Oliver Start's Cool Tools review of a useful device.


I came across 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 colored 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 use for more than a few months but so far, so good. 3M has 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.


Pack of 100: $10.77.

June 11, 2013 at 08:01 AM | Permalink


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They're nasty.
I've been fixing faults caused by these since the seventies, oh, yes, the idea seems good, but they don't contact really well, and they're a bit too prone to corrosion.
These are gadgets for the lazy guy to do a half-assed job. They'll last a while, but you'll lose all the time you saved, searching for and fixing the fault in a year or two's time.
Wago blocks are better, but ratchet-crimped connectors with heat-shrink sleeves are the way to go for a proper job.

Posted by: soubriquet | Jun 12, 2013 5:14:17 PM

Uh-oh. The linky goes to the Guardian article about invisibility. That's OK, tho, I get the joy of googling "scotchlok butt connectors".

Ever see this?

Posted by: pdq | Jun 11, 2013 9:05:09 PM

First rate for buried connections (yard lights and the like) as well. You can reinforce the wires either by zip-tying the two cables then doing the electrical connection, or using an Underwriter's Knot on them first.

Posted by: Scott | Jun 11, 2013 8:54:13 PM

I've used these on cars and boats since I was a kid. Around the house I've used them to repair porch & garage lights, strings of Christmas lights, and wire up Halloween displays when the son was young.

I don't like using them for RF (if you still have a thing called an "antenna" or "dish" attached to your home) applications and I'm careful to leave a loop of wire on either side of the connector to give me a little insurance against pulling the wire out of the connector. While the connectors make a first-class electrical connection they do not provide the connection strength that a properly twisted and soldered joint does: they are most definitely not for use in wiring that will come under stress (as in things like trailer brake light connectors).

Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | Jun 11, 2013 10:58:23 AM

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