Best wire crimper

Christopher Tidy wrote:


Harbor Freight has some items where you do indeed get more than you pay for.
As for crimpers, AMP is kind of the mil-spec bulletproof gold standard with the price to match. Ideal is like 90% or the quality of an AMP for 50% of the price. HF for the correct items is frequently 75% of the quality for 20% of the price.
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You got a point, I'm a picky SOB. Plus horrible freight screwed me once. I've learned to never give anybody two chances. Screw me once, shame on you; screw me twice, shame on me.
Anyway lots of free time today, its snowing. I'm wasting the day surfing.
I see Mcmastercarr has nice unit for just under $50. Most likely an Amp. I'll get it with my next order. Mcmaster is on my #1A list. i just feel better doing business with those that have been good to me.
Karl
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wrote:

Do not change your opinion of Harbor Freight. They sell crap, but also sell good tools. So evaluate your needs as whether you need a tool that will last a long time under regular useage, or do you need a tool for occasional use.
Then also evaluate the tool that HF sells. Some are good and some are not. If you can not see the tool at a local store, ask here if it is any good.
With some stores you can assume the quality is good. But with Harbor Freight, I assume that the tool will be at least worth what I paid ( provided it is on sale ).
A racheting crimper for $10 from HF or one from W.W. Grainger for $68.
Dan
Ditto that. I needed a LONG tape measure. I got one on sale that has a fiberglass tape. It is 168 feet long, must mean something in metrics. It was $14, iirc. Similar models in good brands were up to $"How much you got?" I used it once on the property, and about twice a year in the past three years. Still looks fine, although it has a plastic reel and handle. Wouldn't have lasted that long with regular use.
I'm about 90/10 satisfied with HF. They have a great return policy. I really like my bandsaw, and it's still cutting. I put a piece of 3/8" x 4" flat bar in it the other day. Came back in a bit, and it wasn't running. I was cussin and fussin and I looked, and it had finished and turned itself off, just like it's supposed to, finishing in less time than I thought it would take.
Steve
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SteveB wrote:

I've chopped a whole lot of smaller square steel tubing with my little HF 4x6. Yesterday I chopped off a chunk of 1.5x3 solid AL bar with it. All with no issues. Of course the metal supplier I got the AL bar from had a horizontal bandsaw you could cut a car in half with (drool).
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wrote:

No, when you want to cut a car in half you go to the Alameda County (CA) Bomb Squad Range and mix up a few thousand pounds of Thermite. That'll do it right quick... ;-)
Mythbusters - Gotta love em.
--<< Bruce >>--
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"Pete C." wrote:

That would make it real hard to get your new metal home, wouldn't it?
--
You can't have a sense of humor, if you have no sense!

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On Thu, 26 Mar 2009 10:42:30 -0500, "Karl Townsend"

Well this will probably piss some people off...
If you can figure out yourself how hard to squeeze to get a good crimp, I would forego the ratchets.
But you should match the tool to the type of terminal in use. Plastic covered terminals are different than bare metal and flag style are even different yet. If you crimp/use all three of these types you really need three styles of crimpers (note some crimpers have spots for combinations of these on the same tool). The tool should have provisions for different size terminals too. One size does not fit all worth a toot.
Ratchet styles are usually bulky and can be hard to use in tight spots. Plus they usually won't allow you (easily, if at all) to stop in mid-crimp and reposition things.
If you want to blow some extra cash spend it on better quality terminals. There is a HUGE difference in terminal quality and how well they crimp/hold.
Klein, AMP, Ideal... are all pretty decent brands.
A tool similar to this served me well for most of my career:
http://www.mytoolstore.com/klein/1000.html
This type works okay for non-insulated:
http://www.mytoolstore.com/klein/1006.html
Try to avoid the styles that crimp on the handle side. Those are really awkward to use in cramped spaces. DAMHIKT!
If you were going to crimp coaxial connectors I might sing a different tune and recommend the ratchet style...
--
Leon Fisk
Grand Rapids MI/Zone 5b
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On Thu, 26 Mar 2009 14:32:28 -0400, Leon Fisk

I agree that it will but I agree to some of what you say.

Agreed.

With provisions I disagree here.

Definitely.

Yep but there a few other decent brands.

This is where we part.

This is the tool I've used for 20+ years now. I use it on insulated as well as unisulated. Yes I can here groaning and screaming in the background but hear me out please.
I do a LOT of automotive type wiring (I've wired or repaired the wiring on three trailers in the last two weeks). Trailers, tractors, and the like. One thing I find is that you often have to connect to different sized wire. Many of todays trucks have really light gauge wire running back but trailer wiring is usually in the 14-18 gauge range. Yes they make butt connectors to change wiring size but they're expensive and keeping a large enough selection for all the different combinations is nearly impossible (I have a hard enough time keeping enough of the standard ones). With these pliers is very possible to make a good long lasting connection to different sized wire with a standard connector. It's even possible to splice more than two wires this way (would somebody please help the man who fainted in the corner there). I have often in the past used a standard butt to connector to splice three wires together (a common need when wiring lights). Rarely did I have trouble with these. I try to keep some of the crimp version of the wire nuts on hand for that job any more but sometimes I run out.
In my experience trailer wiring is the most abused of any wiring. I know some might like to disagree with that but keep in mind the trailers I'm wiring aren't run on the highway everyday. They're out in the field with brush, grass, and rocks trying to drag the wires out from under the trailer. When you add the water, mud, and ice then you get a real nightmare for the wiring. My experience has shown that when crimped with anything else other than this style of pliers the wires will get pulled out. Yes I'm even talking about the fancy ratcheting crimpers everyone is reccommending. Actually I especially mean those. I've got a set and thought when I got them that I was really uptown. But in use I found them clumsy, slow, and worst of all I started having lots of problems with bad crimps. I've had crimps pull right out immediately after crimping with them. I never had that problem with the Kleins.
There I've said it. I've been wanting to say this since this thread started but I've been way to busy the last few weeks to do much posting.
Now would somebody please call the medics in to take care of the wounded left by my little outburst.

Agreed.

Whole different animal as well as the larger crimpers.
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On Fri, 27 Mar 2009 09:13:23 -0500, Wayne Cook
<snip>

I was always making do with the terminals I had on hand. A trick for what you're trying to do with a terminal that is a tad too big is to strip the wire extra long. Now fold it over two or three times so it fits snuggly in the oversize terminal barrel.
Something like this crappy ASCII art:
        Stripped Insulation    Wire =========------------
    Folded Over ========------     ------
If you are going to use your non-insulated crimper on insulated terminals you might as well just pull the insulator off before crimping. You'll get a better crimp then. I used to pull insulators off quite a bit, especially on butt-splices. They ended up being a lot less bulky after applying tape then. Seems like they always needed some tape where I was using them :)
I was mostly working on vehicles too. Don't ya just love those Scotch-Lok type connectors and where people try to use them underneath vehicles and such ;-)
--
Leon Fisk
Grand Rapids MI/Zone 5b
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Leon Fisk wrote:

I do that all the time. Twist the end so that all the strands stay together, then fold it once. Makes a nice snug fit.
Chris
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On Fri, 27 Mar 2009 15:42:39 -0400, Leon Fisk

Yep. Do that as well.

I understand the concerns. It's just that years of using these has proven that they work fine on insulated terminals. Yes there's some insulation lost where the tit sticks into it but rarely is that a problem. If it's that much of a concern then tape fixes it. I've found that using the 10ga slot on the blue insulated terminals will give a nearly perfect crimp on most applications.

They rarely last long in that enviroment. The ones that I absolutely hate though are the no strip splices where you just use standard pliers on. I quit using those about 1 year after first using them under the dash of my truck. That would of been when I was around 16-17 years old. Unfortunately they're the favorite of trailer manufacturers.
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On Sat, 28 Mar 2009 17:10:26 -0500, Wayne Cook

The ones I've seen crimped like this have really mutilated the plastic portion. The actual crimp was poor too. I know you better than that though and if you feel it is a good crimp I believe you. A lot of it depends on the tool being used. This is my favorite tool that I use for non-insulated crimps:
http://www.idealindustries.com/prodDetail.do?prodId0-425
Got it over 30 years ago. At the time I wanted the scissor type wire cutter on the back side. It worked pretty well for cutting heavy cable like 4 gauge and maybe a bit bigger. Had to be really careful though that you didn't stick something harder than copper in it.
A few years later the two crimp portions were more heavily utilized. It works really well up to 8 gauge and pretty good yet on 6 gauge terminals (all non-insulated). It is probably close to 10 inches long, good leverage.
They (Ideal) have a decent looking ratchet crimper too:
http://www.idealindustries.com/prodDetail.do?prodId -001
Only goes to 10 gauge insulated though. It doesn't look as bulky in the tip/working area portion like a lot of them I've seen. If I really thought I needed one I would look it over better.
This sucker would have been nice for a few odd jobs:
http://www.idealindustries.com/prodDetail.do?prodId -843
I would seriously consider that one if I was still in the biz.
I took a look at my good insulated crimper. Came from Sears around 30 years ago but has AMP clearly labeled on it too. It has a front die shape very similar to the Ideal ratchet version I linked to above, but I'm sure it is not quite as heavy. They were only meant to be used up to the 10 gauge/yellows.

Probably the same thing, I just learned to call it by a different name. They are made to be pushed on over the insulation of two parallel wires. They are almost guaranteed to create a service call for you in the not too distant future. Like these @#$% here:
http://www.terminalresolutions.com/servlet/the-122/Single-Bladed.-Self-dsh-stripping,-Auto/Detail
--
Leon Fisk
Grand Rapids MI/Zone 5b
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On Sun, 29 Mar 2009 17:02:57 -0400, Leon Fisk

Yes it does mess up the insulation some as I stated but I've rarely had problems with that on low voltage work. If used on high voltage I use tape even if not messed up.

Nice looking pliers. I have a heavy cable cutter from Channellock that does my heavy cable cutting.

I have a T&B ratchet crimper for those sizes though I rarely use it.

Looks a little bulky for some jobs.

I have a large T&B crimper for larger sizes which I use down to 8ga usually (in tight places I use the small ratchet described above but feel it doesn't do as good a job). Ok. I looked them up. My ratcheting one is the TBM25S shown on this page.
http://www.tecratools.com/pages/telecom/tnbcrimpers.html
I don't like it because it makes such a narrow crimp. The on I use the most is the TBM5S (actually mine doesn't have the sure stake feature so doesn't have the S designation).

I do have several of those type crimpers some better than others. However I only use them for cutting screws to length.

Ok. I was thinking wire nut when you said Scotch-lok. Those are definitely the ones to stay away from.
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On Mon, 30 Mar 2009 09:32:22 -0500, Wayne Cook

Snort! You have better tools than I ever had for crimping stuff and this isn't even your primary area of expertise :)
That TBM25S is an interesting tool. Never seen one like it before. Thanks for the link.
In all the years I worked in electric and radio I never once saw a ratchet crimper in use by anyone to crimp terminals. The only ratchet styles were for coax and telephone RJ styles. Only the phone guys had the latter. The Ideal 30-425 that I had was the biggest crimper I ever saw company wide. Every installer (I was actually a tech) SHOULD have had something better, that is for sure. The only big crimpers I ever saw in use was by the Power Company. When I was working the electrical gig we always used split-nuts and lugs for big wire/cables. Wire larger than around 4 gauge was cut to length with a hacksaw.
After looking up the prices on both the ones I linked to and yours I would either do without or make my own nowadays. Even with a bit different attitude now towards tools they still cost too much to justify at new prices...
--
Leon Fisk
Grand Rapids MI/Zone 5b
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On Mon, 30 Mar 2009 14:38:45 -0400, Leon Fisk

I've gotten very lucky at auctions and estate sales.

That one came with a bunch of different crimpers and misc. wiring stuff in a file card cabinet I bought at a estate sale. It's alright for the lighter duty terminals (large standard crimp terminals) but not good for the heavy duty terminals (like on battery cables). I also got the ratcheting crimper for insulated terminals that I don't like in the same lot.
The big one I use a lot doing cake feeder and electric hydraulic pump installations on feed trucks as well as my welding leads. I crimp a lot of 1/0, 4, and 6 gauge with it. I got it for $5 at a auction (along with the two 12" armstrong c-clamps for $5 each).

Around here they use a version of my large T&B crimpers for the overhead line (it has different dies than mine).
I do enough heavy gauge work that I finally broke down and got the large wire cutters like these for cutting the big stuff. They work great as long as you don't try to cut the ground on triplex (there's a hard wire in the middle).
(Amazon.com product link shortened)

I can't either which is why I say I was lucky at auctions.
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wrote:

I had a similar pair I got off the Matco truck. Except they had the screw cutters also. I used them for everything for over 20 years. Then my neighbor lost them. I don't loan tools any more unless I'm attached to them.
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Karl: We just had a gentleman write an article for our magazine (Experimental Helo May issue) on crimping. He covered three classes of crimping and showed three different ring-tongue connectors. If you are going to crimp wires used on aircraft, he recommended an AMP 59250 PIDG crimper which retails in Digi-key and Mouser etal for, get ready, hold on to your seat, protect your first born, but around $1,200. Yep there ain't no typo. I found a used one on e-bay for $80. It is a ratcheting design and will cover two different wire size ranges.(22-18 & 16-14) I looked at this closely and can't find any justification for a price greater than $200, but I ain't a good business man. As a retired Electronics Engineer, I found his article informative. He also advises strongly against soldering on the crimped connector to avoid the possibility of corrosion inside the crimped connector. I know from experience that if the solder wicks up the wire beyond the crimp it can cause wire breakage just upstream from the crimp.
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Likely like the crimpers I used in the military on aircraft.

I think the battle of soldered vs crimped connections was settled a long time ago. Crimps won. A *proper* crimp is gas tight and allows maximum flexibilty of the wire.
Wes
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If you are

Did he also have any info on maintenance and calibration. As I remember crimpers at work were " calibrated " every six months. Maybe annually. I believe the calibration consisted of crimping some terminals and then doing a pull test to verify the crimp was sufficient , but not so much as to weaken the wire.
Dan
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I maintain a machine that does that. The crimper is a full revolution mechanical press.
Wes
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