DIY

Make Electrical Jumpers Using Clothespins

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PHOTO: WAYNE FUGATE
Learn how to make a simple pair of electrical jumpers using clothespins.

Folks who enjoy fiddling with “nuts ‘n’ volts” often need
to make temporary electrical connections — and there’s a
handy little item called a jumper that’s designed to handle
just that job. (Even people who only occasionally deal with
electricity will almost certainly be familiar with the
large jumpers used to start cars.)
I needed one such connector a few months back. However, a
quick search through my toolbox revealed that I was flat
out of the ready-made units and even lacked the alligator clips that would have
allowed me to put one together quickly. Well, the nearest electrical supply store was several
mountainous miles away — and while I couldn’t justify
wasting the trip (and the fuel) for such a small purchase,
neither could I allow myself to weasel out of the job at
hand for lack of a simple component.
So, with a mixture of resignation and anticipation, I set
out to cobble together a homemade jumper. I began by
drilling two 1/8-inch-diameter holes through one jaw of each
of a quartet of spring-type wooden clothespins. Then I
stripped an inch or so of insulation from the ends of two 4-foot lengths of soft, multistrand No. 12 copper wire.

To assemble the jumpers, I threaded a bare wire end through
each spring and pair of holes. The
end of the stripped wire was wrapped around the portion
going into the first hole, to secure the assembly. (I was
careful, though, to keep the bare wire from making contact
with the springs.)

I’ve found that my homemade jumpers work fine in all but
the tightest spots. And better still, the insulating
quality of the dry wood prevents shocks!