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-   -   Can anyone suggest a functional crimp tool? (

GregA Sun 13 January 2008 07:02

Can anyone suggest a functional crimp tool?
This weekend I was experimenting with the crimp tool that I received as a gift in a combination tool set... I don't think it will do... Any suggestions?

sailfl Sun 13 January 2008 07:05


Did you do a search? I know it doesn't work the best but Sean makes a recommendation.

Gerald D Sun 13 January 2008 07:06

Copied from the Xmas gift idea thread:

Ratchet crimper, similar to this one. (That one seems to be very low in price?) Used mostly for "8009K36 Crimp-on Pin Terminal Vinyl Insulated, 22-18 Wire Gauge", red, from McMaster Carr where the supply & motor wires enter the Geckos and also "7227K12 Crimp-on Butt Splice Vinyl Insulated, 22-18 Awg" to join the motor cables to the motor leads.

You can get a set like this, just to lay your hands on an assortment of terminals to start with. But the plier tool is mostly junk and the ratchet crimper replaces it.

cobra427mnsi Sun 13 January 2008 07:10

Hi Greg

Apparently, Harbor Freight has a fairly good ratcheting crimp tool on for $14.99. the part no is 93977-2VGA. I ordered one but it is still in transit so I can't say for sure about its quality. Someone else on this forum bought one and said it works pretty good.


GregA Sun 13 January 2008 07:26

Wow thanks, exactly what I was looking for. More photos of my work to follow. The camera phone doesn't make macro pictures...

I want to give back, and when I made my order at factorymation I purchased a set of these and they made putting the control box together go really fast.

Gerald D Sun 13 January 2008 07:33

Those combo drill/taps need some experience and a slowish drill - very easy to end up with a stripped hole if you go too fast. Practice in scrap first. Very nice to use.

Doug_Ford Sun 13 January 2008 08:47


I have those ratcheting crimper pliers from Harbor Freight and I can vouch for them. It is a high quality tool especially for the price. There is no looseness or slop.

BernardR Sun 13 January 2008 08:51

May I inject a note of caution into this discussion. The biggest problem I find in crimping is getting decent quality crimping terminals. Because in the most case they are covered in an insulating material it is difficult to see their construction and almost impossible to see the resulting connection.

Good quality crimp terminals are expensive, typical prices from Mouser are in the region of $0.16 per terminal, compare this with the kits from HF and similar outlets where each terminal works out at around $0.03. High quality terminal barrels are drawn from the solid whereas cheap one are often open and formed round, add to this the standard tool that passes for a crimper and you have a recipe for intermittent problems.

Being electronics and living on a sail boat for several years, the biggest majority of problems I was asked to help with resulted from diy wiring and HD (HomeDeport) crimp terminals.

If in any doubt solder!!

Gerald D Sun 13 January 2008 11:57

Where I have had problems with these terminals, is where the wire has too little copper and the terminal is expected to crimp too far to get a proper grip on the copper - in other words, the incorrect selection of terminal size (colour). Sounds a dumb way of putting it......

What happens is, I get a bit of wire out of my scrap box that may look to be a certain diameter/size. However, a lot of that diameter may be insulation and not copper, so the terminal crimps onto the insulation before the copper is gripped.

When in doubt, I double over the copper back onto itself and then insert the thicker copper into the terminal.

Maybe I havn't been exposed to really nasty terminals, but I could never blame the terminal when I used even a cheap ratcheting crimper. The pliers type crimpers are a disaster - they could make a mess of even the best of terminals.

Solder is not an option for me.

domino11 Mon 14 January 2008 08:31

Solder is fine for low current terminations but can be a disaster for high current terminations or whenever you have a fault condition. Then solder can melt and cause all kinds of problems. It is always the fault conditions that we tend to forget about. Mechanical connections like crimps or terminal stips are the safest way to go in my opinion as well.

BernardR Mon 14 January 2008 22:35

5 Attachment(s)

I'm not sure what type of high current work you are doing and with what type of equipment you work on. While I would agree that if you have the right type of equipment I would prefer to use crimped joints. I don't know how good the current HF ratchet crimpers are; I do know that an AMP Pro-Crimper II is around US$150 and a certified tool in the region of $550.

What do you do when you get to wire sizes over 10AWG? A hydraulic crimper capable of 10 AWG to 500 MCM costs about $1500, fine if your in the US or Europe where you can go hire one. But if you're bobbing around in a boat that generally isn't an option. Having been a 'live aboard' on a small ocean going yacht for several years in the Eastern Med I've been asked to help on more electrical problems than I care to think about. Todays ocean going small boats depend absolutely on their 12Volt systems, engine, navigation, communication, lights, even the gas cooker won't work without 12Volt. Yet, I've seen the battery cable lug 'crimped' in a vise, or 'welded' with a hammer. In all these cases the remedy has been to clean up the wire and solder it to a new lug. True, if you don't clamp the lug firmly to the battery post and there's a big enough discharge path the junction will get hot, maybe even to 183c/360F, the melting point of solder, but not because the solder joint failed

A couple of points to look at on crimps. One pull the insulation off and look at the cable ring, the seam should be brazed, cheap ones aren't and you can pry them apart with a screwdriver. Two check the insulation it needs to be firm enough to transmit the pressure of the dies to the terminal, I've come across some that are too soft so the crimp is never made.

Attached are some photos I've taken crimping a Yellow (12 - 10 AWG) terminal. The wire is 9AWG 0.11" diameter (2.97mm dia 6.6mm2), the crimp is made by JT&T as part of a 180 wiring terminal kit from Fry's. The crimping tool is an Amp Certi-Lok (current list price $195).
Photo1 shows the wire and crimp fully in the die.
Photo2 shows the terminal and wire after crimping.
Photo3 shows the top of the crimp with the insulation removed.
Photo3a shows the side view, it can also be seen that the seam is opening up.
Photo4 shows the wire having pulled completely free from the terminal with normal hand force, I wasn't even holding the terminal in pliers!!

Without question where you have professionals specifying the tools and suppliers crimps are the way to go. However I've seen up close and personal what happens when amateurs think all crimps are created equal and who needs a $200 crimper when they supply one along with 100 crimps, all for $9.99 (Harbor Freight).

One of the things I can say is that those people who I helped with their boats, never had problems with the soldered connections on the rest of their voyages and what problems they did have they managed to trace down to poor quality terminations that they managed to fix after they had bought the proper terminals and crimpers.

Gerald D Mon 14 January 2008 23:47

Bernard, I bought a pro crimper once for around $100 (made in Sweden) and it doesn't give me as good a crimp as the cheap "HarborFreight". It took me a while to figure that the Swedish crimper is directional, like yours, and that the wire must enter from the right hand side (the shape of the jaws dictate this). Since I am right-handed, it just felt wrong to me.
The "HarborFreight" version has jaws which appear to be non-directional. Both "flatten" the terminal with slight curved apex - like the back jaw in your pic. With an adjustable pressure setting, I can set the crimp pressure high enough to make a solid bite.

The reason that I bought the expensive one, was because I was getting damaged insulation after the crimp. The pro-one gave a similar result on that batch of terminals. It must have been a bad batch of plastic.

Speaking of insulation, that is the major plus factor for me with these cold crimp terminals. Insulating the soldered terminals was no fun (especially if you forgot to slip the shrink sleeve one before soldering).

I admire a good soldered joint, with all the resin cleaned off and with properly fitted insulation - it really shows "craftmanship". For the DIY guy, I think the crimped terminal is the better route.

domino11 Tue 15 January 2008 07:20

The high current I was referring to was due to a fault condition. Most times a joint relying only on solder for the electrical and mechanical connection can heat up and fail under fault conditions. (short circuit) Those large capacitors can store a large amount of energy than can be quite suprising. If you are talking about soldering a joint that also has a mechanical connection as well ( crimp for example) then the solder will help but could melt under fault conditions and cause other problems. In my day job, which is military marine electronics, we use crimp connections for power routing for wire sizes up to about 0 awg. For the sizes under 10 awg we use a hand crimper and for 10 or over we use a large two handed crimper that require a bit of elbow grease to crimp with. I agree that you need good quality terminals that do not have a split in the ring but rather are drawn from solid material.

I guess I just wanted to let people know that solder can reflow under fault conditions and drip on other stuff in your cabinet and cause more damage. :(

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