Insert Depth Correct
Here is a much better strip depth. This terminal is ready to be crimped to the wire.
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Horrible Terminal Crimp
Oh, oh this is not good...... With scissor-style crimp tools care needs to be taken to ensure the terminal is crimped as evenly as it can be. Often the seam in the terminal will be cocked slightly so that when the dies come down it winds up vertical.
#1 Terminal Not Inserted Correctly
#2 Strip Depth A Bit Too Long
#3 Brazed Terminal Seam Can Split
Scissor Style Crimp Tool
When I say "scissor style" crimp tool this is what I mean. The jaws close onto the terminal like scissors. While this type of crimp tool can work perfectly fine, they take more practice, care and attention to detail get repeatable crimp performance.
Parallel Action Crimp Tool
This is a parallel action tool or what I often call a guillotine-style tool. The dies come together vertically so all you need to do is insert the terminal, with the seam aligned vertically, and then squeeze. They make crimping repeatable, very, very easy and can have more exacting die tolerances. The down side is that parallel action crimp tools are a lot more expensive.
DO NOT USE !
If you crimp a terminal like this cut it off and start over. This is not a good crimp and could even be unsafe. The strain relief jaw even split the insulation open.
On of the reason I use AMP PIDG terminals almost exclusively, when using insulated terminals, is because the seam on these is brazed. Note how even with this horrible crimp the seam held together.
A lot of three piece terminals do not feature a brazed seam. This is one of the reasons why you will find AMP PIDG terminals on US Military fighter jets and attack helicopters but you won't find too many other brands of insulated terminals in the same application.
Here is what the strain relief side looks like while being crimped with a parallel-action crimp tool.
Good (L) & Bad (R)
On the left we have a terminal that was crimped using a parallel-action tool, and on the right the bad terminatio from above. The bad one was crimped with the scissor style tool.
An interesting observance to make is the wire crimp width of the crimp band area on the paralle-action tool, and how smooth the insulation transition is on the left vs. the right.
On the inexpensive mid grade scissor style tool the wire crimp die is considerably thinner and makes a much narrower crimp band on the terminal. This is why the parallel-action tool (left crimp) will repeatably wind up at about 190 pounds of tensile force (exceeds NASA and Mil-Spec), and the one on the right varies between 60 pounds and 105 pounds of tensile strength depending on how well you execute the termination.
Attention to detail matters.
With the insulation removed there are no surprises here either. The crimp on the right is still 100% unacceptable.
Strain Relief - Good (L) & Bad (R)
Here is a strain relief view of a good crimp vs. a bad one.
Double Crimp Jaw Positioning
One other important thing to consider is the orientation of the terminal in scissor-style tools. Here the terminal is aligned to give as even a crimp as is possible with this particular tool. While the seam may look fine the off center position of the terminal can cause it to "roll" to the center of the dies once you start to squeeze. This can create an uneven crimp. Center the terminal in the crimp nest and align it well before crimping.
With mid-grade quality tools be aware that the dies can vary tremendously and some can be a pretty sloppy fit for the terminal, side to side in the crimp nest. Some of the low price point tools are actually not even made for AWG sized wire. A sloppy fit will allow the terminal to sit incorrectly in the jaws and can result in a bad crimp. Be aware of this in order to yield repeatable terminations.
A Tale of Five Off-Shore Crimp Tools
Unfortunately over the last 10 years or so cheap Chinese knock-offs of good quality American made tools have infiltrated this country. In this image I have five different ratcheting double crimp tools with five different die sets for insulated terminals. None of these tools perform the same nor do they make the same tensile strength terminations.
To the naked untrained eye they all look identical, but they are far from it.
Two of these "double crimp" tools have die sets are are NON-DIRECTIONAL meaning the strain relief side and the wire crimp side are identical. The strain relief and wire crimp sides of an insulated terminal are NEVER IDENTICAL SIZES.. This = FAIL!
The other three tools have dies sets that are nowhere even close to similar but they are all clearly marked Y, B & R. This = FAIL!
The Only tool here that really performs admirably is the Ancor tool. The die set in this tool is well machined and it makes a crimp that exceeds UL, ABYC & DIN standards.
Just like terminals, when buying crimp tools, stick to manufacturers that have a reputation to uphold.
Two of the pictured tools are from the same vendor using identical part numbers yet one has non-directional dies and the other has uni-directional dies. One thing Chinese knock-off artists are good at is consistency, yeah right... (wink) If you want to gamble buy a no-name Chinese crimp tool, if not stick with name brand tools from the likes of AMP, Molex, Ancor, T&B, Burndy etc.. Let these companies do the homework for you. With crimp tools you do tend to get what you pay for.
An Excellent Tool at a Great Price
This is the Compass Marine Pro-DCT:
After nearly three years of testing, 63 tools in total both domestic & imported, I finally developed an excellent quality controlled cycle (ratcheting), vertical-action double-crimp tool & double crimp die. The dies in this tool are as close to the AMP tools performance as could be sourced without jumping up $200.00 in price.
The machining and tolerances are excellent and this tool represents a tremendous value in a double-crimping tool. Yes, I make a small margin, for the Marine How To web site, to keep it FREE, and I pass the savings onto you the readers at a very competitive price. Every little bit helps keep MarineHowTo.com a FREE site.
Some US companies also import this crimp frame, with their logo & dies, & sell it for $265.00 - $440.00. I sell it readers of www.MarineHowTo.com for $59.70 (NOW ON SALE $48.00) and have done all the leg work to ensure you are getting a tool that actually makes a reliable crimp for yellow red and blue insulated terminals.
Please don't be fooled by mainland Chinese look-a-like knock offs, with horribly sloppy dies. They will not perform the same as this tool does. Yes, this tool is imported. At the value I desired, and what boaters are willing to pay, it has to be.
This tool is made in Taiwan not made in mainland China, like the cheaper poor crimping tools are. You'll not find a better double crimping tool for the money and certainly won't find a quality vertical-action tool at this price or quality point, I know I bought & tested 63 of them.