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I've got a switch like this one:

enter image description here

Now my (quite novice) question is: How do I best attach a wire to the connector without soldering, e.g. for quickly trying something out?

Right now I've folded the wire so that I got a hook at its end, put that hook into the hole, and wrapped everything with electrical tape.

Is there a better way?

(I can't use alligator clamps as the two connectors are too close to each other.)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Yep, that particular switch is designed to take quick disconnect terminals -- you can tell by the rectangular contacts and the bevel on the ends of the contacts. These terminals are available widely, since they're used in cars and appliances. Your local hardware store should have a selection. (Do note, though, that the crimp-on style terminals are unreliable if not properly crimped, especially with stranded wire -- it's better to solder to the terminal if you can find one designed to be soldered and you have the facilities to solder.) \$\endgroup\$ – Hot Licks Mar 6 '15 at 14:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ If it's for "quickly trying something out", I'd just strip the wire and twist the copper around the terminal on the switch. Buying a crimping tool is not quickly anything :) \$\endgroup\$ – Reversed Engineer Mar 6 '15 at 14:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ You can't use alligator clips? What's the spacing on your blades? I've been able to use alligator clips on every switch I've had. \$\endgroup\$ – Cole Johnson Mar 6 '15 at 17:57
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Quick disconnect terminals. They are good for permanent attachment too. The blades under the switch were intended for this type of terminal, so they should have a correct width and thickness.

enter image description here (page where the picture came from)

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    \$\begingroup\$ "Spade terminal" is the terminology I'm familiar with, if that helps to add anything. \$\endgroup\$ – Roger Rowland Mar 6 '15 at 10:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ I normally use the generic term "Crimp" \$\endgroup\$ – Joshpbarron Mar 6 '15 at 11:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Joshpbarron "Crimp" is too generic, I'd say. There are hundreds of types of crimp terminals. Most of them are not related to spade terminals (quick disconnects). \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Alexeev Mar 6 '15 at 16:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is there any easy trick for choosing the right size, aside from buying a set with lots of sizes first and matching it to your terminals? \$\endgroup\$ – R.. Mar 6 '15 at 16:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @R.. Measure the width of your terminal (thickness too, preferably). 0.187inch [4.75mm] wide and 0.250inch [6.35mm] wide are probably the most common sizes of spade terminals. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Alexeev Mar 6 '15 at 16:43
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Female 6.3mm (1/4" approx) Blade Terminals are what you require, plus a crimping tool. They're also known as Spade Terminals. Example

They come in different colours according to the thickness of wire you intend to connect, which in turn relates to the current which will be flowing through the wires and switch. Each colour is available in different blade sizes also, but you require the most common, 6.3mm size, judging by your photo.

One important consideration before twisting the wires around the blade terminals on the switch: are you connecting up a safe voltage/current?

If you're dealing with mains electricity, fit fully insulated terminals before attempting to power anything up. Any loose or frayed wires could make the whole switch body 'live'. Fully insulated terminals have rubber or rigid plastic sleeves which cover the metal blade part as well as the crimp section.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Even if it's not mains, it's often worth going for the insulated type - e.g. in automotive use you might only be dealing with 12V but fairly high current and a sudden failure may be undesirable. It's also worth tethering the wires (e.g. with cable ties) to limit what they can short against. \$\endgroup\$ – Chris H Mar 6 '15 at 20:01
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I would go and buy a cheap automotive crimping tool. They come in kits complete with push-on connectors for your switch terminals.

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Create a pair of wires, alligator clips on one end and the flat connectors match with the switch on the other. So connect the new wires to the switch via the flat connectors and use the alligator clamps on the other end to connect to the wires to be tested.

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