Goat Tool Day 15


(Ok, here we go again, I’m breaking Meh with image links.)

As was observed in the stripper thread, if you’ve stripped, you probably need to crimp. (Well, you might want to solder, but that’s a different tool.)

First of all, never use this.

If you don’t believe me, ask Zathras.

It can work in a pinch, if you’ve got great grip strength, or are lucky. But it’s this sort of tool that gives crimp connectors a bad name. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen Internet Experts ™ claiming that crimp connectors are garbage and unreliable. Or that crimp connectors must be soldered after crimping.

All untrue. A good crimp connection is mechanically strong, electrically sound, and gas tight (meaning the wires & connector have effectively become a single mass of metal that corrosive gases can’t infiltrate). Crimp connectors are used to assemble cars, computers, and aircraft because they are fast and reliable.

This is what you want, a ratcheting crimper.

They have compound leverage and exert far greater force than your puny hand can by itself. The ratcheting is important because once the crimp is started, it won’t release the connector until the full crimp cycle is completed. So it pretty much guarantees a good crimp. (There is, or should be, an emergency release, in case you try to crimp your finger or something.) It’s really quite satisfying to feel the terminal crush down around the wire as you squeeze the handles.

As with most good tools, the downside is they can be expensive. Industrial crimpers can be $80-200, or more. The good news is consumer level tools have become common, and some of the pro tools have come down in price. You can get a decent crimper from a known brand like Klein for $30-40, and up. One caution, I’m seeing a lot of no-name knockoffs for very low prices. It’s anyone’s guess whether the Cheapasonic tool shipped from China will actually work or not, or for how long. Maybe, maybe not. Do you feel lucky?