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There is a dizzying array of crimping tools available on digi-key, mouser, and other distributors. But they nearly always just say they're for specific wire gauges, without reference to what type of connector they're meant for--and just today I came up against a problem where a crimping die I'd paid $50 for turned out to not work at all for the terminal I was trying to crimp onto the wire; even using the 6 AWG hole didn't fit (it's 8 AWG wire with an ordinary uninsulated brazed-seam lug). How are you supposed to know which tool to use for which type of crimp?

I'm aware that manufacturers usually list a specific tool to use, but I can't afford to pay $3000 and wait out a ten-week lead time just to get a few terminals crimped onto some wire.

It'd be greatly appreciated--and hopefully of use to others as well--if someone could give a run-down of different types of common crimp connectors and what sort of tool they're intended to be used with.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ With TLAR...... \$\endgroup\$
    – DKNguyen
    Dec 5 '20 at 1:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DKNguyen Sorry, what's TLAR? \$\endgroup\$
    – Hearth
    Dec 5 '20 at 1:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ "That looks about right." \$\endgroup\$
    – DKNguyen
    Dec 5 '20 at 1:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DKNguyen I'd prefer to not spend $50 on a crimp die just to find out it doesn't work, though! \$\endgroup\$
    – Hearth
    Dec 5 '20 at 1:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ And every crimp tool I see does say what type it is meant for. I compare the shape against the official crimper. \$\endgroup\$
    – DKNguyen
    Dec 5 '20 at 1:40
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This is not for professional use cases, but I use pliers in the DIY situation. Either tiny little ones, or the really big 10" ones. I form the metal onto the wire just sufficiently enough to retain it. I then flux and solder it on with an appropriately sized iron.

Whilst perhaps not approved for aeronautical/military use, and slow, the advantage is that I can 'crimp' a large range of terminals with common general purpose tools.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I've done this before as well, though some of the connectors I've been working with need quite a lot of force to crimp; battery lugs made of approximately 2mm thick copper are not easily crimped with hand pliers! Pliers are pretty good, with careful use, for open-barrel contacts, though. \$\endgroup\$
    – Hearth
    Jan 1 at 15:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Hearth Absolutely. You can also use water pump pliers or a vice. And you can go to a blow torch for the big stuff. Just use a little delicacy. \$\endgroup\$
    – Paul Uszak
    Jan 1 at 16:15

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