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HomeTips & GuidesSpade Electrical Connector – Everything You Need to Know

Spade Electrical Connector – Everything You Need to Know

In any of your machines, a spade electrical connection is vital for the transfer of current and information. 

Now, while you can just solder the terminals, it is sometimes not convenient, especially during repairs and replacements. 

For this reason, you will need fittings like electrical connectors for safety, convenience, and efficiency. 

While you can use many connectors, we discuss spade electrical connectors and how they work today

What Are Spade Connectors?

As the name suggests, spade connectors are wire terminals that terminate into a spade shape. 

Mostly, these connectors terminate a single wire in either a ring or a fork that resembles a spade. 

You then insert this spade end into a stud, bolt, or screw and then secure the connection with a nut.

 On the other end of the spade connector, you link the wire supplying the current. Finally, the spade connector also features an insulator to secure the connection point and prevent short circuits. 

Generally, you use spade connectors for convenient and easy connections, especially when you require frequent connections and disconnections. 

Such electrical connectors find their use in lights, switches, batteries, and other electrical devices.

How Does Spade Connector Work?

As we have said, you can use spade connectors to connect different electrical devices. To understand how it works, assume you seek to connect a light as an electrical device. 

First, you must connect a wire (terminate a wire) to one end of the spade connector. 

Once you crimp this wire to the connector properly, the current moves from the connected wire to the connector. 

You may now insulate the connection joint to prevent electrocution and short circuits. 

When done, you can connect the spade end of the connectors to a stud where you want the current to go. 

Finally, you must secure the connector to the stud using a nut to achieve a secure and snug connector. 

From there, the current moves from the wire to the spade end conductor and the bolt.

Connected spade connectors

Connected spade connectors

Types of Spade Connectors

Like any other electrical connector, spade connectors come in different types. Here, we will see some of the main types and their usage.

  • Standard spade connectors: As the name says, they are the most common spade connectors that you use for connecting low-power gadgets. In most cases, they appear blade-like with a flat end and a rectangular or circular mouth at the end.
  • Power spade connectors: They are also like the standard ones in design, but you use them to connect high-powered devices and grounding.
  • Quick disconnect terminals: Also called the quick connect spade connectors, you use them to create fast connections and disconnections easily and conveniently.
  • Polarized and non-polarised connectors: Here the polarized connector is the Y spade connector, while the non-polarised is the T connector. You use these spade connectors for linking devices or equipment with different polarities.
  • Wire lacing connectors: You use these to make wire lacing connections. For those who do not know, wire lacing is a method to interleave cables to make an extra insulation layer between them. Doing so helps prevent interferences and leakages caused by vibrations or mechanical stress.
  • Flag terminal: You utilize these spade connectors for connections where the devices have different signals or power levels. Such a connector not only prevents interference but also prevents melting due to power level differences.
  • Flexible Spade Connectors: When you do not want to stress using wire lacing, you can use these connectors for a quick connection. As you may expect, they function the same as wire lacing but offer a quick and convenient device link solution.
  • Piggyback spade: Expect to use a piggyback connection in situations where the devices you seek to connect aren’t a direct connection to each other. For example, a control unit and auxiliary connections such as monitors and printers.
  • Crimp spade connectors: Also known as T or 3 prongs, you use these where crimping is necessary to connect the two devices.
  • Insulated and non-insulated spade connector: As you may expect, an insulated spade connector features a nonconductor on the metallic part to prevent shortcircuits and electrocution. On the other hand, non-insulated has no insulator, mostly due to limited space or the insulator being unnecessary.
A U-shaped spade connector

A U-shaped spade connector

How Do I Measure a Spade Connector?

Since spade connectors come in varied sizes, it’s essential to know the size of your terminal before purchasing. 

To determine the size of your spade connector, you will need to measure the size of your terminal using a regular ruler or a micrometer. 

You may also utilize a machine known as the millimeter probe or an electronic scale. 

For the measurement of the pins of your connector, you will require a dial caliper

However, again, you need a micrometer or an electronic scale to measure the outer diameter of your connector.

 When you want the inner diameter, you must combine tools such as an indicator gauge and an electronic scale. 

Ensure both devices have mm markings and and decimal points for accurate reading. Finally, for the length of the connector, you will use a combination of electronic scale and indicator gauge.

Things to Note When Purchasing Spade Connectors

When the time to purchase spade connectors for your devices, I recommend you look at the following:

  • First, check if the manufacturer is reputable and the type of connector they manufacture. You may also browse online to see how their devices last or work with various machines.
  • Secondly, check the packaging, i.e., the packaging type, and the number of connectors present. While this ensures you have enough connectors, it also ensures your connectors are not destroyed due to poor packaging.
  • Check the markings, such as bar codes, to determine whether such connectors are useful or restricted in your locality. 
  • Finally, check the inscription on the terminal to know usage specifications, material construction, and wire gauge. Ensure the material is a good conductor, rust-proof, and can work well in your installation environment.

How Do You Connect Spade Terminal Connectors

Connecting the spade connector is a straight-forward process that you can do quickly. First, purchase the correct spade connectors depending on what you want to connect. 

Then, before any connection, ensure that your power source is off to avoid electro-shock or other accidents.

 When you achieve that, strip the insulation at the end of the wires where to install the spade connector. 

Now, remove the insulation sleeve on the spade connector to reveal the connection tube inside. Before you connect, ensure the spade insulator is on the wire you seek to connect. 

From there, insert the stripped end of the wire on its position on the connector and crimp until it’s tight. Now roll back the insulator and fix it properly until it’s snug.

 The only remaining part is connecting the spade to the bolt stud and securing it with a nut.

Spade connectors at work

Spade connectors at work


From the above discussion, you can choose the type of spade connector you desire and connect. Consider the above factors and use the connection method I have described for better results.

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