Recommend a ratchet crimper

Moonduster

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The ratchet is a critical component of any crimping tool as it ensures the crimper will not release until the crimp has been fully formed. With non-ratcheting crimpers, it's possible to only partially form the connector and never know.

 

DDW

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Ratcheting crimpers - by themselves - guarantee nothing. If you are using nylon insulated crimp terminals, the best you can do is smash the sides together some, there is really no way to achieve a hermetic crimp. I can do just as good a job with non-ratchet as ratchet. For non insulated terminals, the real ones (Amp, etc.) are around $500, though you can find them on eBay for $250 or so.

Yeah, I'm trying to make this like the coffee onboard thread. 

 

Moonduster

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They guarantee that the crimping process was finished. Whether the particular plier and connector make good crimps is a different story, but with a non-ratcheting crimper, it's not possible to know if you've done the best possible job with the tool in your hand.

And like the coffee thread, anyone who claims they can make decent coffee on board or at home or make reliable crimps with non-ratcheting crimpers is just ... well ... uninformed

 

DDW

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Sorry, but that's bullshit. A ratchet is like an idiot light. When it blinks green you think the world is golden. The ratchet on any decent set can be adjusted to anything you like, and should be adjusted for each individual size and brand of terminator. In fact in mil spec and aerospace work, it is required that they be checked and adjusted periodically, after first being calibrated to the wire size and terminator specifics (and that's for the $500 ones, not the $20 ones). 

Anybody who says that you've got a good crimp when the ratchet stops clicking on your Home depot plier on a brand X terminator using brand Y wire and jaw Z, is ....well... uninformed. 

You can sometimes get an OK crimp on cheap crimpers and random terminators, with or without ratchets. Don't try to get it past a NASA cert test though. 

 

Moonduster

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I rather expect I own more recently inspected crimpers than you, and crimp more contacts and terminals, too.

And it is not bullshit - all those mil-std (mil spec went out the window in the 80s) crimpers are the ratcheting variety and you damned well know it. And none of the mil-std tools need to be adjusted for the contacts because the contacts conform to the appropriate mil-std as well.

For garden variety crimpers, while there is some variation in the terminals people buy, if you buy Ancor terminals and crimpers, my experience is that the results are quite good. The same is true when shopping for Amphenol, Deutsch and other reputable brands. And, again, the reason those are ratcheting crimpers is so that you know that the plier was fully closed prior to opening, which is simply not possible to know with non-ratcheting tools.

 
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sledracr

Super Anarchist
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PNW, ex-SoCal
I did the DIY buy-once-cry-once thing and bought the HST-Pro referenced by Maine Sail. 

It's probably not a pro-grade tool but, for what I do on the boat, it's done a very good job and (IMO) worth the spend.

 

DrewR

Utility Infielder
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Buzzards Bay, MA
Again, MD is spot on. Even my knock off crimpers work superbly. I plan to rework my panel and I'll be damned sure it will be cripmed and Amphenol terminals. 

I **know** that when a properly sized wire and terminal are crimped, it's as good as I can do it in reasonable time. There may be "better" ways but ratcheting crimpers are more than 'good enough'.

 

Moonduster

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DDW's point, that there are a large number of substandard crimp tools and terminals (ring, spade, bullet, butt, etc), is a good one. Actually getting an ideal crimp requires that the tool and the terminal work together to remarkably tight tolerances and if either is a substandard product the resulting crimp will be questionable. And, as there is no real standard for these terminals one might reasonably conclude that everything is substandard and all resulting crimps will be questionable. I don't disagree.

My point is simply that a ratcheting crimper allows one to know that the tool has finished making its crimp. When a tool from a reputable manufacturer is used with terminals from that same manufacturer, one can reasonably presume that a satisfactory crimp has been made when the ratchet releases.

There are three approaches for determining crimp quality:

  1. Pull testing
  2. Cross section examination
  3. Testing by certified agency

The first two can reasonably be done by the end user of the tool and give a fairly good indication of the quality of the crimp. The 3rd is probably beyond all those who aren't required to do so.

 

IStream

Super Anarchist
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The most easily available terminals (for me) are Ancor brand. Based on that, plus Rod's (Maine's) test results with Ancor ratchet crimper, I decided to get the Ancor. I probably would've even if Rod's own crimper had been available at the time. It's so much easier to design a crimper that does a good job when you also have control over the terminal design.

 

DDW

Super Anarchist
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DDW's point, that there are a large number of substandard crimp tools and terminals (ring, spade, bullet, butt, etc), is a good one. Actually getting an ideal crimp requires that the tool and the terminal work together to remarkably tight tolerances and if either is a substandard product the resulting crimp will be questionable. And, as there is no real standard for these terminals one might reasonably conclude that everything is substandard and all resulting crimps will be questionable. I don't disagree.

My point is simply that a ratcheting crimper allows one to know that the tool has finished making its crimp. When a tool from a reputable manufacturer is used with terminals from that same manufacturer, one can reasonably presume that a satisfactory crimp has been made when the ratchet releases.

There are three approaches for determining crimp quality:

  1. Pull testing
  2. Cross section examination
  3. Testing by certified agency

The first two can reasonably be done by the end user of the tool and give a fairly good indication of the quality of the crimp. The 3rd is probably beyond all those who aren't required to do so.
At last some sense. Yes many (but not all) mil spec crimpers are ratchet. Once the properly designed and adjusted crimper is matched to the terminal, then the ratchet can be the idiot light so that it can be operated reliably by idiots - this is their purpose. It is not required to make a good crimp with proper tools. You don't have a ratchet on a proper nicopress tool, how do you know you've completed the swage?

Take a look through Tico/Amp's literature for crimp terminals, even the common ones, and tell me how many different tools they reference. There isn't one size that fits all. If using questionable or unknown tools, cross examination is a good idea, in fact it's a good idea even with known tools and terminals. 

 

Moonduster

Super Anarchist
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The claim the purpose of the ratchet is to allow idiots to make successful crimps is to be, well, an idiot.

The purpose is to allow anyone to know that the handle has been fully closed and that the resulting crimp is well formed. With larger terminals, there is no other way that one can determine that the plier has been fully closed, especially once one has made a few 100 crimps that day and one's grip strength is down and one's hand has gone numb.

 

DDW

Super Anarchist
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Which is why Amp recommends not using ratchet crimpers when doing hundreds of crimps. 

 

Alex W

Super Anarchist
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Seattle, WA
The most easily available terminals (for me) are Ancor brand. Based on that, plus Rod's (Maine's) test results with Ancor ratchet crimper, I decided to get the Ancor. I probably would've even if Rod's own crimper had been available at the time. It's so much easier to design a crimper that does a good job when you also have control over the terminal design.
You probably already know this, but FTZ terminals are available at Fisheries Supply for much less than any Ancor ones.  Fisheries is a little bit of a drive from Shilshole compared to West Marine, but not much.  They also come in bulk quantity bags that are useful.

 

IStream

Super Anarchist
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You probably already know this, but FTZ terminals are available at Fisheries Supply for much less than any Ancor ones.  Fisheries is a little bit of a drive from Shilshole compared to West Marine, but not much.  They also come in bulk quantity bags that are useful.
Thanks, I get to Fisheries quite regularly (!) but I order a lot of Ancor stuff for work and my company is good about letting me add-on to their orders to get volume pricing for my personal needs. 

 


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