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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by EPAIII View Post
    Not the best by any means, but you can spend $200, $400, and more. I have used these Vaco crimpers for many years, for both professional and personal work and have never had a bad crimp. And the handles are nicely padded which is great if you are going to spend hours crimping.



    What I look for in an inexpensive crimper for the un-insulated wire terminals is the type of jaw that these have.



    In this closeup you can see the bottom jaw in the photo is where the split side of the connector goes. It fits closely and prevents that seam from opening. The top jaw pushes the metal of the connector into the wire exactly enough to create a gas tight joint so it will not pull out or corrode. There are more expensive tools and dies that make a different style of crimp, but these have worked for many thousands of connectors for me.

    Another thing that I look for in any crimping tool is a positive stop. A positive stop tells you that enough pressure has been applied but it also prevents you from applying too much. If the pressure is too little, the wire can just pull out. If the pressure is too much, then the wire will be crushed too far and it can and often does then break at the point where the crimp starts. The correct pressure is a must and this tool tells you that when the rear-most point of the jaws, near the soft plastic handles, comes together with a click.

    It has been a while since I purchased them, but I believe they were about $20 or $25 back then. Several, perhaps many companies make similar ones. I like to stick to the known, name brands, not the unknown imports.

    Vaco is a good brand. After 30 or more years of use, mine have a slightly loose rivet holding the halves together. This is probably more due to my using them to cut small screws to length than for their use in crimping. They still work well for both these purposes. The wire stripper section never was any good and has become almost totally useless with this wear. The tool of this type of construction with the best wire stripper I have is by AMP. Mine is about 40+ years old and will still strip solid wire - not so much with stranded. But then, I have multiple wire strippers which I usually use.

    Other good brands include: 3M, AMP, Amphenol, Belden, Cinch, Greenlee, ITT, Klein, Molex, Switchcraft, Weidmuller, and more. Stay away from obvious Chicom or unknown or house brand tools in local hardware stores or unknown, internet sellers. And I do not know if all of the above companies make this style of tool. Good places to purchase them would be McMaster, Grainger, DigiKey, Mouser, Newark, and other electronic suppliers.
    I have these same ones, definitely work just fine for insulated or uninsulated. have made hundreds, if not thousands of crimps and not one fail if you do it correctly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon Heaton View Post
    I don't want to divert this thread, but do any of you have a recommendation for a crimper that'll do flag terminals? These are on high-temp connectors that will regularly cycle between ambient and 450F and I need really secure, tight crimps. The factory crimps seem to have both a tuck and a squeeze which wraps the tang tightly before the final crimp. The flag type is required for space constraints and running numerous straight-line connections.
    I think you are describing a "B" style crimp; they are very good, but require an expensive crimper. Photo?

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    This style: 71rzenh2rul._sl1500_.jpg
    I looked up 'B' style crimpers and it doesn't look like they'd work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon Heaton View Post
    This style: 71rzenh2rul._sl1500_.jpg
    I looked up 'B' style crimpers and it doesn't look like they'd work.
    You are correct. That is not a Type B anything. Here are some. They grip the wire insulation very well.

    Non Insulated Crimp Terminals Supplied Nationwide


    It's a non-B 90 degree flag terminal. Here is a crimper. There are others. I have not used any of them, and so cannot comment on which is best. But it's a start.

    Flag Terminal Crimping Tools

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  6. #45
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    Remember "wire-wrap" connections from the 1960s and '70s? When properly made, wire-wrap connections were considered gas-tight . . . and that gas-tightness wasn't at all obvious to the casual observer.

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    Well, I thought I had been clear. I did deliberately say "BEFORE" crimping.

    I have absolutely no problem with applying anything you wish to keep battery acid or salt from the road to crimp connectors used in a vehicle. BUT apply it AFTER making the crimp, just as the battery spray is applied AFTER the battery terminals are attached.



    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Gwinn View Post


    That was the received wisdom in the 1970s, when I started greasing lead-acid battery posts after cleaning post and clamp with a steel wire brush - you could see that the mating surfaces were anything but flat, and so the metal-to-metal contact was largely air, with the electrical current flowing through asperities of one side forced into the other surface. Sulfuric Acid drool from the battery cells had no problem wicking up between post and clamp, corroding those asperities away, causing a bad connection, requiring another cleaning, and so on.

    Around then, General Electric introduced G635 silicone grease (now available from multiple sources) for coating of the insulators carrying high-voltage power lines exposed to the weather. It was waterproof and a very good dielectric, and water would not form a film on it, and it enveloped dust, greatly reducing outages due to flashovers. I found it to be very useful for coating the insides of automotive distributor caps, pretty much elimination inability to start in the morning from dew inside the cap or on the sparkplug porcelain insulators.

    Then it occurred to me that it might also work on battery terminals, as silicone grease is pretty much impervious to sulfuric acid. It worked quite well. I still had to clean post and clamp from time to time, but far less often. And there was no discernible effect on cranking.

    I was also having problems with road salt solution splashed up from the tires getting into stranded-wire terminal and splices. Soldering did work, but tended to stiffen the wire (solder wicking up the stranded wire), causing fatigue failures. Straight crimping resisted fatigue better, but salt solution wicked up the stranded wire, and corroded the wire.

    G635 to the rescue, again. After stripping the insulation, I would spread the strands out and smear them with G635, and then twist them back together, and crimp the terminal or splice to the greasy wire. This worked perfectly as well - there is clearly metal-to-metal atomic contact, all the oxide films et al having been disrupted by the crimping process, in which the copper flows plastically to the point that air is completely excluded, never mind grease.

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    The gas tight barrier is not around the crimp. It is within it. The pressure is enough to produce small, spot welds where the wires contact the barrel of the terminal.

    Joe Gwinn has a valid point but I say any sealing substance should only be applied after the crimp is made. I mean, would you attempt to weld two pieces of steel together while they had oil or grease or paint on them? Of course not. They are cleaned first and then welded. Same thing goes here. Clean, crimp, then seal it if needed.



    Quote Originally Posted by GregSY View Post
    I don't see how an insulated terminal of the type we are discussing will do a thing to provide a gas tight connection. If I can peek in the end of the insulation and still see the copper wire, that's no sort of gas barrier.Attachment 329804

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    Oh, here we go with "mine is professional grade, not CON-SUM-ER grade". And my dad can lick your dad! So, there!

    As far as I am concerned, and I have literally made tens of thousands, probably hundreds of thousands of crimp connections with many different types of connectors on many different types of wire and cable, any tool, regardless of it's cost in dollars, that produces a proper crimp is professional grade. And any tool that does not is not even good enough to be called consumer grade. They either work properly or they do not. And if they do not, they are not even consumer grade, they are scrap metal.

    So, give me a break!

    I have seen crimping tools that cost hundreds of dollars and that had the "professional" feature of a ratchet and what looked like expensive, machined dies but did not make a good crimp. They were garbage. On the other hand, a well made tool that only costs $15 or $20 can easily make a proper, gas tight crimp.

    One reason, probably the primary reason for those ratchet devices is so that a relatively untrained, assembly line worker can not use too little pressure. It is a way of reducing production costs.

    And whether solder flows through the barrel after crimping or not is totally irrelevant. We are not putting fittings on air or hydraulic hoses here, we are making sound, low resistance, long lasting electrical connections. Virtually any electrical crimped connector will leak fluid or gas from one end to the other. The gas tight condition only exists at local spots where the wires touch the barrel. And by existing at those locations, it prevents corrosion due to the oxygen in the air from creating a film of metal oxide between the two conductors. Such a metal oxide film would have higher resistance. That is the idea of a proper crimp that will last for years; at least in an indoor location. When exposed to the weather or to conditions under a vehicle's hood, other, ADDITIONAL measures should be taken.



    Quote Originally Posted by jim rozen View Post
    No consumer-grade crimp terminal or consumer-grade crimp tool can do that.

    A thomas/betts crimp tool with lug terminals won't, evidence being that when I flow solder into one end of the joint, it flows out the other end.
    It's gas tight after that treatment, however!

  10. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon Heaton View Post
    This style: 71rzenh2rul._sl1500_.jpg
    I looked up 'B' style crimpers and it doesn't look like they'd work.
    That is one of the many styles that I have used. With the proper tool, they work very well.

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    Precisely!

    Another great example of a well engineered connection system is the 66 punch down terminal block that is used in almost every wired telephone installation in the country, if not the world. They are dead cheap.

    Amazon.com : SIEMON 66 Punch Down 50 Pair Wiring Terminal Block for Telephone Phone 66M1-50 : Everything Else

    The terminals consist of a simple Vee slit in a somewhat springy metal post. The wire used is plain, solid copper which is insulated but not tinned so not much protection against corrosion there. They are installed everywhere from inside skyscrapers to short posts in someone's back yard with only a slip on cover to protect them against falling rain. Indoors they normally have no covers.

    The installation tool is dead simple and cheap. And their connections last for years and years after being punched together by fairly unskilled workers.

    They do produce a gas tight connection. Gas tight between the wire and the inside of that slit in the terminal. Again, not obvious to casual observation.

    How good are they? I have used them for both control systems and for professional, broadcast audio with zero problems. Many digital circuits also pass through these 66 blocks, but not where you would normally see them.



    Quote Originally Posted by John Garner View Post
    Remember "wire-wrap" connections from the 1960s and '70s? When properly made, wire-wrap connections were considered gas-tight . . . and that gas-tightness wasn't at all obvious to the casual observer.

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    [QUOTE=EPAIII;3815226]
    And whether solder flows through the barrel after crimping or not is totally irrelevant. ...

    A true gas-tight crimp will NOT wick solder through the cross section of the joint. There's not enough clearance for that.
    Converse is also true: if it does flow solder, it isn't gas-tight.

    Try it sometime, you'll see.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EPAIII View Post
    The gas tight barrier is not around the crimp. It is within it. The pressure is enough to produce small, spot welds where the wires contact the barrel of the terminal.
    This is a cold process, and I'm not sure that the swaged strands actually weld to one another. I've seen NASA reports on this, if I recall. Given the vibration levels involved in rocket launches, they were very interested in fatigue failure prevention.

    The swaging process does physically disrupt adhering surface films, allowing atomic-level contacts to form between individual objects. Gold-to-gold contact does this without great pressure, because gold forms no films in clean use. With pressure, gold can weld, but that is usually avoided.

    I've been using the flood then crimp approach for decades, without trouble.


    Joe Gwinn has a valid point but I say any sealing substance should only be applied after the crimp is made. I mean, would you attempt to weld two pieces of steel together while they had oil or grease or paint on them? Of course not. They are cleaned first and then welded. Same thing goes here. Clean, crimp, then seal it if needed.
    That's what I thought before the battery-post saga. But the car had no problem cranking (hundreds of amps) despite the silicone grease between post and clamp, so the grease isn't getting in the way. Nor do the asperities that are forced together when the clamp is tightened actually weld - the clamp comes right off the post when loosened.

    If you crimp first, it's too late to flood the wire with grease to prevent wicking. The crimp nugget is in the way.

    This can be tested. Take a single length of wire and cut it into a few pieces. Crimp pairs together using a barrel splice. Do one with grease and the other without. Test the voltage drop using a 4-wire voltmeter and max allowed steady-state current. This could be done in a whetstone bridge circuit as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Gwinn View Post
    ...
    This can be tested. Take a single length of wire and cut it into a few pieces. Crimp pairs together using a barrel splice. Do one with grease and the other without. Test the voltage drop using a 4-wire voltmeter and max allowed steady-state current. This could be done in a whetstone bridge circuit as well.
    If this is done, use silicone dielectric grease. I for one would be interested in the results.

    Measure resistance 'cold' before current is applied, and then 'hot' with 10 amps flowing, and then 'cold' again afterwards.

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    For some reason I am moved to comment that this thread has been very informative and far more interesting than I imagined when I first saw it appear. Perhaps that is because I was significantly more ignorant of the nuances of crimped connections than I realized! Good stuff.

    Denis

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    I'd say again- don't just focus on the crimp- if the cable is not protected rot will get to the strand under the insulation.

    I am biased but prefer the brazed ferrule crimps with the adhesive lined plastic- when hit with a heat gun after crimping they are totally sealed and provide cable support.
    Expensive but certain when needed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trboatworks View Post
    I'd say again- don't just focus on the crimp- if the cable is not protected rot will get to the strand under the insulation.

    I am biased but prefer the brazed ferrule crimps with the adhesive lined plastic- when hit with a heat gun after crimping they are totally sealed and provide cable support.
    Expensive but certain when needed.
    Second best is heat shrink over the crimp, going up a bit over the cable.

    My approach for mission critical stuff on my vehicles is: Crimp, flow solder into the crimp (again proving they're not gas tight) and then heat shrink over the nylon
    insulator and up the cable for a suitable length. The wire insulation tends to be teflon so it can take the heat of soldering, the nylon insulators hold up at temps as well.

    And no I don't have the wire fail where the solder wicks up the stranded conductors a bit. Never seen that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jim rozen View Post
    Second best is heat shrink over the crimp, going up a bit over the cable.

    My approach for mission critical stuff on my vehicles is: Crimp, flow solder into the crimp (again proving they're not gas tight) and then heat shrink over the nylon insulator and up the cable for a suitable length. The wire insulation tends to be teflon so it can take the heat of soldering, the nylon insulators hold up at temps as well.

    And no I don't have the wire fail where the solder wicks up the stranded conductors a bit. Never seen that.

    I've also done the crimp-and-solder approach as well, but only with un-insulated terminals. I crimp lightly (to not block the solder), then solder, clean the rosin off the soldered terminal, and then heat-shrink an insulating sleeve over ferrule and wire. Sometimes, I shrink two sleeves into place, one on top of the other with inner sleeve being shorter, for mechanical strength plus gradual transition.

    For boat use, I also have used Trboatwork's approach of using the heat-sealing adhesive kind of heat-shrink tubing. But boats don't vibrate as bad as automobiles and airplanes.

    Related war story: Back in the day when I repaired my own automobiles, I had an old Volvo 240. The power wire to the fuel pump kept getting flakey at the inline connection between the wire from the engine compartment and the fuel pump (within the gas tank). The connection was an inline mated pair of male and female 1/4" spade terminals, residing in the trunk, where it was clean and dry. Cutting off and replacing the mated pair helped, but it to soon failed. The problem was that the pump drew a bit too much current for that kind of connection. Replaced the mated pair of spade terminals with two crimped and soldered ring terminals (with heat-shrink sleeves) that were bolted together with a machine screw and nut, the entire assembly pushed into a plastic tube. Also changed the ground return for the pump to a ring terminal and a machine screw and nut clamping terminal to the steel frame of the car. This worked.

    Last edited by Joe Gwinn; 09-23-2021 at 01:00 PM. Reason: typos and clarifying words

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    Quote Originally Posted by dgfoster View Post
    For some reason I am moved to comment that this thread has been very informative and far more interesting than I imagined when I first saw it appear. Perhaps that is because I was significantly more ignorant of the nuances of crimped connections than I realized! Good stuff.

    Denis
    Denis, I agree. Holy crap, I had no idea.

    To be clear, I use those types of terminals with adhesive lined heat shrink.

    Here's another Q- how much heat shrink should a guy use? 2x barrel length, 3x, more?

    Sent from my SM-G981V using Tapatalk

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    In the motorcycle world what we have used are called open barrel type connectors. These are what the Japanese OEMs use. Over the years I've used these types on almost everything. It requires a special crimper but i got mine from amazon for not cheap. The terminals crimp in two places, one on the insulation and one on the bare wire. The crimpers do both in one shot. Works a treat.

    Pro'sKit 300-005 Crimper, Ratcheted, AWG 20-18, 16-14, 12-10.Non-Insulated, Open Barrel terminals, Multi: Automotive Electrical System Tools: Amazon.com: Tools & Home Improvement

    Sometimes it is difficult to find a supplier for the terminals but this guy always seems to have what i need. Apparently he lives in japan and just buys them locally?

    Connectors

    IMO 1000x better than the hardware store crimp terminals.

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    I have never understood crimping the terminals with the shrink wrap over them. Seems like you would pinch the shrink wrap and defeat the purpose of the insulation after the fact. Its better to put make the crimp then slide the shrink wrap over the wire and onto the terminal slightly then shrink and melt the adhesive inside. This gives you a solid layer of protection for the crimp/joint and some strain relief for the wire beside the crimp.

    I really like these types of terminals.
    56230.jpg

    These have some wire support behind the crimp that helps strain relief.


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