Butt Splice Connectors vs Ring Terminals: What’s the Difference?

Ring terminals by Monroe

Butt splice connectors and ring terminals are commonly used in aircraft electrical systems. They are small accessories that attach to wires. Butt splice connectors and ring terminals, however, are used for different purposes.

What Are Butt Splice Connectors?

Butt splice connectors are sleeve-like tubes with a conductive interior. They are used to connect two wires — a process known as splicing.

With butt splice connectors, you can safely connect two wires. They require a crimping tool to install. The crimping tool will deform the butt splice connectors while permanently joining the wires.

There are other ways to connect two wires, of course. Some people solder wires together. When compared to soldering, though, butt splice connectors offer a better solution. You can quickly install butt splice connectors by using a crimping tool, whereas soldering requires a soldering iron to produce heat. Butt splice connectors also create a stronger connection than soldering. Wires are less likely to become disconnected if they feature butt splice connectors.

What Are Ring Terminals?

Ring terminals are wire terminals that feature a ring-like conductor on the end. They are used to connect the end of a wire to a piece of equipment. After running a wire from a source — a battery, generator, grounding surface, etc. — you’ll need to connect it to the equipment. Ring terminals offer a quick and easy connection solution.

Ring terminals are ring-shaped wire terminals. They are used to terminate wires. Terminating a wire means connecting it to a piece of equipment. You can install a ring terminal on the end of a wire, after which you can connect that end to the equipment.

Differences Between Butt Splice Connectors and Ring Terminals

While they are both used in aircraft electrical systems, butt splice connectors and ring terminals aren’t the same. They are used in different applications. Butt splice connectors are used to connect two wires. Ring terminals, on the other hand, are used for termination purposes.

Butt splice connectors and ring terminals require different steps to install. Most of them, do in fact, require a crimping tool. You’ll need to strip the insulation off the wires, after which you can crimp butt splice connectors or ring terminals onto them. But ring terminals may require a screwdriver as well.

To connect a ring terminal to a piece of equipment, you’ll typically need to drive a screw through the ring-shaped opening. The screw will hold the ring terminal — as well as the wire to which it’s connected — on the equipment.

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