My review of Harbor Freight's 93977 Ratcheting Crimper

I normally use my Craftsman combined plier/cutter/stripper/bolt-cutter/ crimper to crimp the yellow lugs from the home centers for 10-12 gauge wire. Although a trusty tool, it doesn't crimp very well. Either I have to squeeze it with both hands (not always possible), or I have to listen to my joints crack when I squeeze one hand with all my might. And some of the lugs fall off later on no matter how careful I am. I wanted a Greenlee 45500 ratcheting crimper but didn't want to spend $70. I picked up Harbor Freight's version earlier today. Here is my opinion after about a dozen crimps:

The 93977 crimper is $15 at the store but on sale for $10 on their web page. As usual, my local store price matched without any hassle. The tool is made in Taiwan, with excellent fit and finish, and the design appears durable. The die has three color coded positions for the yellow, red and blue crimp terminals found at the home centers. The ratcheting mechanism is smooth and "sounds" well made. If you start squeezing the handle, you can't stop and open it up until you squeeze all the way and the ratcheting mechanism releases. This prevents a partial crimp. Also the ratcheting mechanism does a good job at "gearing down" the squeezing force, so I don't have to squeeze with all my might. I can easily and comfortably operate it with one hand. Once crimped, there are two round depressions all the way around the lug, unlike the one dimple my other tool produced. The ratcheting mechanism can be adjusted via a knob. The dies are removable, but Harbor Freight does not sell individual dies. Greenlee sells vast numbers of individual dies for their crimper (for lugs, coax connectors, fiber connectors, network connectors, and other exotic connectors requiring crimping). I wonder if they will fit.

Overall I think the tool works well and I'm very satisfied so far.

Reply to
Albert
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I have a similar ratcheting crimp, and I am very satisfied.

i
Reply to
Ignoramus24893

...

I'm curious if I'm the only one...

I've historically had maybe 1 in 20 or 1 in 50 crimps pull out later. Then a MISERABLE time finding what went wrong. So, I gave up. I solder all my crimp connectors to the wire.

Karl

Reply to
Karl Townsend

That is typically the case with the non-ratcheting crimpers, or a ratcheting one that is out of adjustment, or poor quality terminals used with any crimper, or the wrong size wire used with a terminal.

A properly adjusted ratchet crimper used on quality terminals within the specified wire gauge range is generally quite reliable. The problem as you can see is there are a lot of variables.

Reply to
Pete C.

Albert,

Thanks for taking the time to write the above review. This is exactly one of the purposes of this news group!!!!!

Ivan Vegvary

Reply to
Ivan Vegvary

THANK YOU!

(On the way to HF, out!)

Reply to
Don Foreman

I do this only on very safety critical things or where there is contamination, flexing etc, like trailer wiring. Supposedly, a good crimp does not need soldering. I never had any crimps pull out, but then, I never had a situation where crimp was taking any serious mechanical stress.

i
Reply to
Ignoramus21145

I would like to second this also. Thank you!

i
Reply to
Ignoramus21145

It depends on the terminal, wire, crimper, use and the operator. Way too many variables involved for just one answer as to "why it failed".

Some terminals are just crap and some are really, really nice. But you pay for the latter, unless you can find a good deal some how (yard sale, auction...).

Personally I despise the ratchet crimpers. Once you start squeezing, it is a pain to reposition the lug (some do have a convenient release, but many don't). Sometimes a full crimp is more than what should be used on a particular application. The person doing the crimping should be making this determination not the tool.

One trick that can help if the terminal is a bit too big is to strip your wire twice as long and fold it over in half. Shove that into the terminal and crimp. A full terminal almost always holds better.

Practice, practice, practice and figure out why when failures do happen.

Reply to
Leon Fisk

The HF crimper does have a ratchet release lever. I wouldn't exactly call it "convenient", but it's there.

Reply to
Don Foreman

This is exactly where a *good* crimp is the better termination. Solder wicks up inside stranded wire, making it nearly certain to eventually break due to fatigue if there is repeated flexing. A good crimp is gas-tight, so corrosion is not an issue. However, it is not easy to consistently make good crimps with a hardware-store-type single-action (not compound leverage) crimper.

For heavy wire like welding cable or battery leads, I use a hammer crimp tool. Not this exact model, but same idea:

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with BIG hammer, make good crimp. Drag welder around by leads, the crimps won't pull out!

Reply to
Don Foreman

One reason for inconsistent crimp terminal performance is the fact that some terminals are stamped from a flat sheet and then rolled to form the attachment loop. When the crimp tool is used incorrectly, the protuding (male) tooth can push the rolled end of the terminal apart and the crimp fails. Splices which have to be crimped on both ends are not rolled, but drawn and cannot be used incorrectly. Also, the aerospace crimp tools that I am familiar are built so that the terminal cannot be inserted in the tool incorrectly.

Jan Howell

Reply to
Jan Howell

Just to clarify, I would crimp and solder.

Yes.

There are manual crimpers sold for this, trhey are large, like bolt cutters. i

Reply to
Ignoramus21145

If you're soldering, that does a better job than any crimp. Just a heat shrink or electric tape over the solder.

The purpose of crimps is to splice without solder, right? Same deal with wire nuts. I often wrap some tape around wire nuts.

Reply to
Stormin Mormon

Yes, and bench- or pedesal-mounted ones that are even larger. The litle hammer crimp tool works fine for a few crimps per year, takes about no space, and cost me 20 bux brand new. (I already had a hammer)

Reply to
Don Foreman

It doesn't do as good a job with stranded wire as a good crimp. When stranded wire is soldered, some solder wicks up into the strands which effectively makes it a solid wire for a short distance, and therefore as vulnerable to flex fatigue and failure as solid wire would be.

Crimped connections are used in aerospace applications.

Reply to
Don Foreman

A good mil-spec crimp uses four-point indentors with a ratchet tool around a seamless barrel, and the wire size and barrel dimension are VERY well matched. It isn't practical to use those systems for jackleg repairs, so simple U-crimp fittings are what most hobbyists see.

Best U-crimp tools are from AMP, Klein, maybe Molex. There are lots of dollar-store chromed pliers that won't do it right, and lots of barrel/wiresize mismatches possible, but generally the tools and supplies at the 'high' end are good, and the dollar-store ones give them ALL a bad reputation.

Reply to
whit3rd

A LOT of terminals are Utter Crap. Its getting hard to f ind good ones that dont cost a second on the homestead.

Gunner

Reply to
Gunner

Yep. That is the standard response by people that have no idea what a crimping system is all about. I used lugs and tools by AMP and Burndy and several others in the business on electronic equipment for the millitary for many years.

This is what's wrong with questions and answers on the net. What is level of "expertise" of the responder and the understaning of the "asker" ? ...lew...

Reply to
Lew Hartswick

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