How to Use Split Bolts


A split bolt looks like a standard bolt with the exception that it is "split" down the middle. The split accommodates electrical wires, which the split bolt will hold in place when you tighten the hex nut fastened to the bottom of the bolt. Since split bolts are not insulated, you will need to insulate the final connection if you are using the split bolt to hold wires that are carrying electrical current. Electrical tape alone is not an efficient means of insulating split bolt connections.

Things You'll Need

  • Split bolt
  • Two pieces of copper wiring
  • Wire stripper
  • Wrench set
  • Socket set
  • 3/8-inch ratchet
  • Varnished cambric tape
  • Scissors
  • Rubber tape
  • Electrical tape
  • Turn the hex nut on the split bolt counterclockwise to open the split bolt.

  • With a wire stripper, remove the coating from the ends of the copper wiring that will be secured by the split bolt. You will need to expose at least 1/2 inch of copper wiring at the end of each piece of wire to enable them to make contact when installed into the split bolt.

  • Point the two exposed ends of the electrical wires at each other.

  • Hold the split bolt between the two ends of the wire; slide the exposed ends of the electrical wires into the split bolt. Make sure that both pieces of wire are between the head and the hex nut of the split bolt.

  • Turn the hex nut of the split bolt clockwise by hand until the copper wires are held within the split bolt.

  • Select a wrench from the wrench set that fits the head of the split bolt, then select a socket that fits the hex nut of the split bolt and attach it to the 3/8-inch ratchet.

  • Tighten the split bolt with the wrench and the socket attached to the 3/8-inch ratchet.

  • Make three wraps around the split bolt with the varnished cambric tape, cut the tape with the scissors, and press the end of the tape onto the split bolt connection.

  • Place four to five wraps of rubber tape over the varnished cambric tape, cut the rubber tape with the scissors, and secure the rubber tape by generously wrapping electrical tape over the rubber tape to complete the split bolt installation.

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