An Introduction To Gilbert Slide Plugs & Why You Should Use Them For Christmas Lights
Easy enough for anyone to use, these Christmas Gilbert slide plugs were created with you in mind. Known by various names, these male slide plugs are sometimes referred to as vampire plugs due to their “vampire teeth” style prongs on the inside of the male slide plug. These “bites” connect to the wire to allow for the electrical current to flow. Oh, they are also called zip plugs or slip plugs, just in case you need another name reference. Regardless of the names, they work well with your outdoor commercial Christmas lights because they give a clean professional look to your light lines.
First Things First: Know Your Plug
In many cases, maybe most, there are two types of plugs. The male plug and the female plug. We use them every day and identify them in this way. The male plugs have prongs and the female plugs do not. They have receptacles. You plug the male plug into the female plug.
Our female Gilbert slide plugs are a special kind of plugs in that they are designed to let electrical wire pass through them so they can be placed anywhere on a wire, not just at one end like regular female plugs. This can be done by removing the notch of the opposite side of the female.
About Polarization & Slide Gilbert Plugs
Also, something you are familiar with but may not realize is that all of our slide plugs feature “polarization”. If you notice the end of the plugs, one prong is wider than the other. The reason for this is because this ensures they can plug together only one way to maintain the polarization of the electrical current. The wide prong indicates the neutral connection while the narrow plug indicates the hot connection. When you attach the Gilbert slide plugs to the wire, you must maintain this polarization to help reduce the risk of electric shock. This step is easy to do and very important
The image below shows a male Gibson slide plug used for Christmas stringers.
Identify Polarization In 2-Conductor Christmas Light Wire
Similarly, you can identify the polarization in the 2-conductor Christmas light wire by certain indicators. The 2 wires run side-by-side and look nearly identical but you can notice that one of the wires is smooth while the other is ribbed. The ribbed wire is for the neutral line, so which plug should it connect to? The wide plug, correct! That means the smooth line is for the hot wire, meaning it should be connected with which plug? The narrow one, that’s right!
Ensure that this is done by lining up the correct wires to the “teeth” of their respective polarities. Ribbed wire to the wide plug (neutral) and smooth wires to the narrow plug (hot).
The image below shows the female Gibson plug for Christmas lights.
SPT 1 or SPT2 Rating
The last thing to keep in mind when dealing with Christmas light plugs is their SPT rating. SPT stands for Stranded, Parallel, Thermoplastic which describes the wire. The most common is SPT1 and SPT2. The difference between them is that SPT2 wire has a thicket jacket around it.
When you’re ready to begin your project, simply make sure you’re using the same insulation type for all your plugs and wire.