I need some wiring advice. I have managed to survive
until now just using wire nuts for my home projects, but
I am at the point where it would be nice to use crimp connections
in a switch or outlet box, connecting 14 or 12 ga copper
Here's my question. When I go to Home Depot, all they
carry for crimp sleeves appear to be made out of copper
or some copper alloy. Anyway, these sleeves are pretty
soft. They deform pretty easily (too easily, I imagine),
and they fail my pull test. To top it off, the crimping tools
at HD are pretty cheesy.
My only experience crimping wire is non-electrical, but there
you use a "swaging tool" and a steel crimp sleeve. Once it's
set properly, it's almost as strong as the wire.
So far, I've just been staying away from electrical crimping,
as I don't want to burn the house down, but it would be very useful
to be able to do some safe crimp connections.
Any advice gratefully accepted.
Good policy. Crimps are only listed if you use the right tool and use
it properly. A good crimping tool is usually in the $50 and up range
and it is only listed for that particular style of terminal.
The rings are crap on a par with backstab receptacles..
You figured out the problem right away: It's difficult to find a crimping
tool that's not useless. The ones at Home Depot and many other home centers
are simply crap. They flatten the connector, instead of shaping it. Whoever
designed these tools was sort of just kidding around. Stupid, in other
This is a proper design:
I have an older version from 20 years ago. You place the connector into the
appropriate groove in the jaw, based on the size of the connector. The
groove keeps the connector from being flattened. The tooth creates a concave
dimple which really grips the wire nicely. I can't pull apart the crimp
connections I make with this tool.
If you have an electrical supply store where you live, you might check them
out for tools like this. I can't imagine Mac Tools is the only company that
makes such a thing. If you can't find one at a retail store, contact Mac
Tools customer service and find out who owns tool trucks in your area. Bring
some of the actual crimps you'll be using and make sure they fit the tool
When you're deciding where to actually use crimps, be sure to keep in mind
whether you or someone else may have to go back into a particular electric
box and change the wiring. You'll usually have to cut away an existing
crimp, and if the wires are already too short, things can get ugly for a
number of reasons. If you're doing new circuit work, you have the option of
leaving extra wire, but that's not always the case.
Side issue: If you ever see Panduit wire ties available, probably at an
electric/electronics dealer, buy some. You'll never buy the ones from Home
Depot or Lowe's again. Smooth....really smooth.
Some heaters come with crimped wire connections. I assume they have a pretty
good tool. I've seen them turn black after a few years. It looked to me like
they were burnt. Just because something is approved, doesn't mean it's safe.
It means the manufacturer used lousy crimp connectors. It's not easy to find
the good ones. The solid colored ones that you see in most places tend to be
cheaper, and turn brittle easily especially when exposed to high
temperatures. Then, there are the translucent ones - same color codes as the
others, but much more flexible at a wide range of temperatures. I wish I
recalled the brand. The wires will melt before those crimps will cause
Sure it is, especially if you are a manufacturer. The problem is that so
much stuff is made to meet a price point that they can't afford to use
The solid colored ones that you see in most places tend to be
You just have to go to a real electrical store. There are at least three
in my area that stock either T&B, Panduit or Amp.
I do agree that most of the crimp stuff you find in the big box places
should be kept in the craft/toy aisle and not the electrical aisle.
Are they UL listed? This some indication of suitability and is required
for NEC wiring. A very limited perusal of Panduit didn't find UL listing.
Are they listed for solid wire or just stranded? Not an issue if you are
using just stranded. Some Panduit crimps are just for stranded. I have
had bad luck crimping #14 and larger solid.
As referenced by another post will they be used at high temperature.
There are nickle alloy crimps for high temp.
Take a look at each product individually. For instance:
They're also approved for home wiring in many locales. Most people don't
ask, though, so they're not aware of it.
Yes, that covers UL. No mention of solid or stranded - are all in that
set good for solid wire? What is your experience crimping #12 and #10 solid?
I don't remember any NEC restriction on wire connection devices for
general wiring other than they be UL listed (actually listed as
conforming to a UL standard). If listed and used within their ratings
crimps should be acceptable to the NEC. Presumably to comply with the
listing you have to use a manufacturer recommended tool.
Well this came up when I looked at a job in a high rise condo. There
were many badly damaged outlets and upon inspection it was clear that
there had been a lot of overheated connections. Even some burning. The
building was from the 70's and the wiring was all aluminum. I have had
bad experience with aluminum badly installed. One power distribution
room I was in had so much arcing in it you really didn't need to have
the lights on.
Anyway it's on Sam's here:
and initially here:
The tool required is AMP PART NO. 933150-1. They will only sell to
licensed electricians who have completed their (AMP's) training
program. Cost of training, $2000 and actually the tool cannot be
purchased only leased. Cost of a 3 month lease, $700-$800 dollars.
I presented this to my client with the option of replacing everything
with copper and he hired someone else and they used wirenuts. In
talking to a longtime employee of the building he said "Yah there have
been a lot of electrical fires in the building."
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