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Author Topic:   Crimp Tool for Uninsulated Terminals, 8-AWG, 6-AWG
jimh posted 09-09-2013 12:25 PM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
I am considering making some changes to the primary power distribution on my boat, and if I undertake this project, I will have to make several new cables. The cables will be of wire gauge 8-AWG and 6-AWG, and cables will need to be terminated in ring connectors. My present tool inventory does not have a hand crimp tool that can crimp an uninsulated terminal on a conductor of 6- or 8-AWG.

The cost of a hand crimp tools for this gauge range is quite variable. There is almost no limit to how much one can spend. Tool of more than $300 are common. I am looking for something less expensive.

There are some tools for crimping which require being struck with a hammer to apply the crimping force. I do not like that type of crimp tool. I prefer a crimp tool with a design that provides leverage so that a two-handed crimp can create enough force.

So far the most reasonably priced tools I have found are: B0002KR9MU
This tool look like it does not have the indenter-type die, but rather makes a flat crush or crimp; WESTWARD-Crimping-Tool-13H898?Pid=search
This tool is perfect, except it only does 8-AWG. It is an indenter-type crimp.

And, finally, this one, about the best choice I can find for price: CAWELAID=220260820?catargetid=1545764029&cagpspn=pla& gclid=CNCuqPTcvrkCFZE7MgodJVQALA

I am open to any other suggestions, particularly if you have first-hand experience with the tool. I suspect I will probably only make one hundred crimps with the tool in my lifetime, so I would like to get something that works, but it does not need to be built for 50-years of continual use.

K Albus posted 09-09-2013 02:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
West Marine stores generally have crimpers available for in-store use. I'm not sure if they would let you use them on cables and terminals purchased elsewhere.

Some automotive parts stores like AutoZone and Advance Auto Parts will let you borrow tools for no charge. You may want to check a couple of those places near your home to see if they have crimpers available. I'm not sure if they require you to make a purchase before borrowing a tool.

contender posted 09-09-2013 04:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
If you plan to purchase a tool, purchase one that is a quality tool, do not purchase a piece of crap (to each his own)... Another way of connecting the wire to the terminal is by using a small hand held torch, and a vise to hold the terminal. This way can be used if you are able to work on the wire out side of the place where it will be connected. Place the terminal in a vise, put a piece of heat shrink on/over the wire, strip the wire to the correct length to fit into the terminal. Heat up the terminal with the torch use a cleaner and fill it 1/2-3/4 high with solder, keep the heat on it and insert the wire. Let it cool down and move the heat shrink into place and heat it up as well, seal it with a coating of plastic tape. This is the way I have done all of my larger wire connections, on my smaller wires I crimp, solder, heat shrink and seal with a coating of plastic tape.... good luck
jimh posted 09-09-2013 05:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Contender--Thanks for the advice on purchasing quality tools. I generally buy only the best tools, but I temper that with the frequency of use. If I only need to use a tool once per decade, I do not invest $800 in the tool when an $80 tool can get the job done. On the other hand, tools that I use every day are generally tools of the highest quality. The question of what sort of quality tools one ought to buy is a good topic for its own discussion. Perhaps you can start a thread on it and we can discuss tool quality as a general topic.

Thanks for the advice on how to solder the ring terminal connector to the 6-AWG or 8-AWG connector. I most likely will not be soldering the ring terminals to those connectors because I do not want to stiffen the multi-strand cable I am buying into a stiff, one-piece, soldered cable. When a large cable is soldered like that, it becomes very still, and with that stiffness comes a risk of the cable fracturing with vibration.

I am really looking for specific recommendations for hand crimp tools that can crimp ring terminals onto 6-AWG or 8-AWG connections, and I would give the most careful consideration to recommendations of first hand experience.

Kevin--I found an even better source for a crimp tool to borrow: a friend of mine has one that will handle even 4-AWG crimps.

saumon posted 09-09-2013 06:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for saumon  Send Email to saumon     
I've got an 8-ton hydraulic crimping tool last year that I used when rewiring my boat (including relocating the batteries under the console with a switch). It can crimp wires from 14 to 0 AWG and I use it for 2, 4 and 6 AWG wire. Work really well.

More pressure than a ratcheting type tool and make really nice, strong and tight hexagonal crimps but, as it a Chinese-made product, isn't intended for industrial use but rather for the occasionnal DIY'er.

jimh posted 09-10-2013 10:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Many thanks to Saumon for his first-hand review of the Harbor Freight hydraulic crimping tool. It turns out that Harbor Freight just opened a retail store a few miles away from me. I visited the store to see this tool in person. It looks like a nice tool. It even comes with a plastic storage case for the tool and all the dies. Even better, the price at the store was reduced to $52. I now own one of these crimpers.
fno posted 09-11-2013 08:29 AM ET (US)     Profile for fno  Send Email to fno     
I would second Saumon's advice on this tool from Harbor Freight. A Greenlee or Klein version of this tool would run in the high hundreds of dollars and makes no sense for one of us to purchase for a few crimps in a lifetime. I used to doubt the quality of most everything that Harbor Freight sells. I have over time discovered that some of their stuff is of reasonable quality for the jobs I have and also that some of my needs do not require a Greenlee or Snap-On grade tool.

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