Sale ends todayGet 30% off any course (excluding packages)

Ends in --- --- ---

Toggle Switch Termination - The 'Best' Way

Practical Motorsport Wiring - Professional Level

Forum Posts



Tech Articles

Discussion and questions related to the course Practical Motorsport Wiring - Professional Level

= Resolved threads


Hi All,

What are the best ways of wiring a toggle switch for maximum 'professionalism' and to ensure reliability and durability in harsh conditions? Are switches with spade connections the best way to go, and to solder wires on and seal the connections or is there a better style of switch to use along with a better process? Unfortunately working with a lot of classic cars these switches are something I see all the time and have grown to hate the problems that come with spade terminals so I am just looking for some better ways of installing them.


Milspec switches with screw-on terminals. #6 Ring terminals with adhesive lined heat shrink over the crimp.

Thanks for your response David, have you got a part no. for an example switch or a model range from any certain manufacturer?

You're going to be, potentially, restricted by needing to use the OEM switches* supplied to ensure 'originality'.

If you find switches that meet the aesthetics in 'military' grade (usually IP 56 for dust and moisture ingress) the screw types are normally best if of good quality.

There doesn't seem to be a set standard for terminal terminology, but"spade" seems to apply to any flat connectors

The "ring" type normally has an enclosed hole through which a screw is used to clamp the two parts together - the advantages are that as long as it's tightened correctly it is very resistant to loosening and, even when it does, it is retained until the screw falls right out. There are variations with a slot which allow fitting/removal without removing the screw, which can make using them much easier to fit and remove - especially if a nut is used rather than a threaded half of the connectors - but potentially a little less secure.

What I think you're calling a "spade" (I was also brought up on that term) is sometimes also called a "blade", "quick disconnect", "slip", or other term. Commonly 1/4", or 6.35mm, wide there are larger versions for higher currents. They use a 'spring' action to hold them in place with the female deformed and usually dimpled to hold it against a small hole in the male. These are very common and can work well but may be susceptible to vibration causingmovement and connection noise, even loosening enough to fall off in extreme cases - I try and make it a habit to very slightly squeeze the rolled edges of the female to give a firmer grip on the male.

Overall, IMO, the biggest thing you can do for reliability is to use good quality terminals - they're a bit (sometimes a lot) more expensive but the cheap rubbish tends to be just thet - rubbish - and the cause of pretty much all problems.

As David said, crimping is THE way to go - soldering will usually cause problems from the solder running along the wires from capillary action and causing a stress point where the wire conductor can break. There is an exception to that that I sometimes use which is to use a crimp and a SMALL amount of solder at the end of the conductor where it meets the terminal body - this need an open end and should be done only where there may be an issue of some kind.

*usually short chromed toggle switches

I didn't want to list sources since I get my parts locally in the US, and I didn't know the best UK suppliers, but look at these to get an idea:

This is my go-to switch for race cars.



Here are ring terminals with adhesive lined shrink tubing:


We usually reply within 12hrs (often sooner)

Need Help?

Need help choosing a course?

Experiencing website difficulties?

Or need to contact us for any other reason?