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Marine Wire Termination - The Tools

PREFACE: This article is long and rather detailed. It is written in two parts and covers crimp tooling, terminal selection, types of terminals and includes plenty of do's & don'ts. The first part covers heat shrink terminals and then goes over insulated terminals.

After writing this article I have had many request to know what tools I actually use. This is about it...

The tools on the left hand side are my primary hand tools. They are:

AMP = Seven tools total - These are all guillotine style tools, jaws come together vertically not like scissors.These tools are for Red, Yellow & Blue insulated/PIDG & "F" type open barrel terminals. These tools are the GOLD STANDARD, cost HUGE money, and usually only do one or two sizes per tool... (ouch!)

Rennsteig = Orange & Blue handle - This is a high quality German made guillotine style tool that I use for red, blue & yellow butt splices. I also have dies for solar MC-4.

Molex = Three tools for pin & socket style connectors either waterproof or non waterproof. I use these for assembling field install waterproof connectors for radar, Espar heaters etc. etc...

Hollingsworth = This is a tool that I modified to use for heat shrink 14-16GA butt splices & brazed barrel heat shrink 14-16GA ring terminals. NOTE: This tool was not designed for heat shrink but in testing out performed my heat shrink specific dies.

Anderson = This is a tool that I use for 10-12GA heat shrink butt splices & brazed barrel heat shrink 10-12GA ring terminals. NOTE: This tool was not designed for heat shrink terminals but in testing out performed my heat shrink specific dies.

Daniels = This is a tool I use for multi-pin plugs that use this type of pin crimp.

PM Hand Tools = A Swedish made parallel style tool I use for crimp solder style PL-259 VHF connectors.

The tools still in packages are tools I use less often or where the specific die information is on the packaging and it is just easier to keep the package. I also did not list any of the mid grade tools. Those are just to $200.00 to $1800.00 tools.......

When you are thinking $50.00 is a lot to spend on a tool consider that that wall contains about $6000.00 worth of crimp tools and dies......

Crimping is a form of wire termination used the world over and is the number one method used. It is used in everything from the automotive market, aerospace, military, NASA, industry and even in nuclear power plants. Done correctly utilizing the proper tools crimping is extremely reliable.


There are a few key points with crimping for the marine environment:

#1 To create a proper cold-formed termination between the terminal and wire

#2 To use tools and terminals that result in consistent & easily repeatable terminations

#3 To use wire and terminals that can handle the marine environment

#4 To produce terminations that don't result in high resistance

#5 To choose terminals that are made from tin plated copper not aluminum

#6 To choose tools that allow for a repeatable crimp before releasing

#7 To use proper technique which will result in a reliable time tested and proven termination

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3
1/25s f/3.3 at 4.1mm iso400 full exif

other sizes: small medium large auto
Simon 24-Aug-2015 19:59
Every man needs a wall like that
David 01-Feb-2014 14:44
Please tell us which tool you use for heat shrink terminals?? I bought the AMP 59250 crimper you mention at the end of this article. It works great on insulated double crimp terminals but not at all on heat shrink terminals. I am restoring the electrical system on a boat and want to do the best job I can. Which tool would you use?