Barry's Coilguns

Terminal Barrier Strips

How do you connect wires on the Mark III coilgun? Can I see color photos of naked terminal barriers? Have you ever seen a terminal barrier strip? (Uh-oh, there goes my family-friendly web rating.) Did the author write this page for double-entendres or just because he has too much time on his hands?

Terminal Barrier Strips

Store package of 8-terminal barrier strips (33KB) A terminal strip is a convenient way to make temporary but secure connections between wires and components. A raised ridge between terminals prevents arc-over and helps keep those tiny frayed ends of stranded wires in their proper place. This picture illustrates a commonly available barrier strip. Many sizes are available, such as 2, 4, 5 and 8 or more terminals. Click on the photo for a close-up view. This package is from Active Electronics in Bellevue, Washington, near Seattle. Many more vendors are available (including Radio Shack) along with many more widths and electrical ratings.

Barrier strips are a little expensive, but offer secure connections that are easy to change. They look professional and make tight and reliable connections. Barrier strips can save you money in the long run, for they are easily re-used in your next project.

Soldering all connections will pay great dividends regardless of the power level. A soldered joint has lower resistance than barrier strips. The current pulse may easily reach several hundreds amps though only briefly, and you don't want to fry a wire. I found that if a connection is damaged it is very difficult to track down. Very expensive too, since a fried connection acts like a blown SCR.

So Why Write This Stupid Page?

I learned to shop around for little hardware parts. One gigantic hardware chain (whose name I won't mention but it begins with Eagle and ends with Hardware) sold me an 8-terminal strip for $20. That was crazy, but I didn't know it until later. Even Radio Shack's inflated prices are a fraction of that. Check my parts list for the prices I paid.

Although mundane, this page serves to remind myself what parts I used. Secondarily (and just marginally) it may be helpful to others who build a similar coilgun. Most likely, only the most inexperienced will find anything useful.

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