One of the hardest things to do these days is to use my spade lug crimper.
I sometimes can put the crimpers on a hard surface and lean down on them
with my body weight. But most times I make bad crimps because I no longer
have the hand strength to squeeze them with the force that's required.
Today I tried a pair of Robogrips to squeeze the handles of the crimpers and
that sort of worked but it's awkward. I am going to hunt down some clamps
and see if I can't make some grooved slip-over jaws for them. I would be
afraid that a c-clamp or even a vise-grip type plier would slip off the
I see that there are crimpers that use different forms of leverage to make
them easier to use. I am just wondering if anyone owns a pair of such
crimpers or can recommend a way to use the one I have now more effectively.
Thanks in advance for any input.
Very similar to these which might do the trick:
Otherwise I am thinking of welding or bolting threaded rod to one handle and
then feeding it through a hole in the other handle. Then I can use a huge
wingnut or a large hex nut with a socket wrench to tighten it. Rube
Goldberg would be proud.
Thanks for your input, Philo.
I bought a ratcheting crimper from Amazon for $20 (free shipping!)
S&G Tool Aid 18900 Professional Ratcheting Terminal Crimper $19.88
But I am already having buyer's remorse because I think with weak hands
longer handles trump a ratcheting mechanism. The Channel Lock style
crimpers have a cutter on the end and I can always use another cutter,
especially with superlong handles. We'll see. If the S&G doesn't work out,
I'll go for the Channel Locks. I came across what I thought was a Vise-grip
style crimper - really the ideal solution because of the force they can
apply, but it was made by them but not like a pair of Vise-grip pliers.
FWIW, your post led me one level up to a page listing of all sorts of
crimpers which eventually led to the Channel Locks (and the S&G unit I ended
up buying, so thanks!
PS. My wife was reading over my shoulder and asked me what I would do when
my Rube Goldberg threaded rod solution snapped the handle off my cheap
crimper and embedded a fragment of it in my skull. Note to DD: wives ARE
As I get older and do less and less "stuff" I find I am reluctant to buy a
tool for longevity if I can buy one that will do. I crimp stuff so
infrequently now that $20 is just what I want to spend - but if it doesn't
even do the job in the short run I'll return it and spring for a unit with
much longer handles.
What size lugs? Some of the hydraulic crimpers are down in the $50 range.
The supplied dies go down to about 4mm but you might be able to adapt
something. Then it would just be pumping like a Greenlee hydraulic chassis
You just reminded me! We used to have a pneumatically powered crimper in
Production! like using an automatic stapler, insert, thing senses the
insertion and stomps, done.
With all the manufacturing moving offshore, bet you can pick one up
I've seen some pretty hefty crimpers but a pneumatic one, while intriguing,
might be a little too bulky. I will search Ebay however. I want one that's
articulated like bolt cutters so that a large movement of the handles
results in a tiny but very powerful movement of the crimping jaws. But I
suspect I am going to go with the kind that Ralph M. suggested.
In fact, I just bought:
S&G Tool Aid 18900 Professional Ratcheting Terminal Crimper for $19.88 from
Amazon because they're pretty good about returning things. I hope that a
ratchet mechanism will compensate for my weakened hands but it's also
possible I'll need one with longer handles for greater leverage. The ones
I've found so far are in the $60 range. However, if the S&G unit doesn't
work, I'll spend the money since a bad crimp can be a real problem.
Thanks for your input, Robert.
I don't know if the ratchet will be enough compensation but a well designed
one guarantees a good crimp. They're also nice for positioning in tight
places. I used to build panels and with a T&B crimper you could close the
dies just enough to hold the terminal and get it in place without the
juggling act of dropping the terminal if your grip relaxed a little.
I hope the S&G works out for you. A T&B ratchet is literally 10 times that
We'll see. It should arrive by Friday and I still have some crimping to do.
Some of the nicer crimpers were $250 and above - a cost my low volume
crimping could not justify. My only fear is that even with the ratchet, the
handles are too short to develop the leverage I need. The articulated
crimpers I saw for $60 only did large cables from 12 to 4 gauge. My work is
with 22 to 12 gauge wires. Probably wouldn't work so well . . . (-:
Well, my S&G Tool Aid 18900 Professional Ratcheting Terminal Crimper
Amazon arrived after a few delivery issues were resolved.
The tool is hefty. The head is made out of laminations of black steel (5
layers inside 1/2" wide jaws) and appears to be very sturdy. It provides a
very well-defined double crimping "bite" - clearly much better than the
cheapies that come with kits of connectors.
I loaded it up, squeezed away and got the connector stuck in the jaws and
couldn't free it. There's a tiny triangular tab on the ratchet that needs
to be "popped" to release the jaws, but I couldn't reach it (it's between
the handles). Turns out that my hands weren't quite strong enough to close
the jaws tight enough to trigger the automatic ratchet release. The
articulation of the outer handle provides a lot more leverage than the
standard single-pivot point crimpers, but it isn't as much as I had hoped.
After playing with it for a while, I discovered I *could* squeeze the
handles hard enough to make a good crimp. (Strangely it's not a question of
force, but steady force over time - the mechanism operates best with a slow,
steady squeeze.) The ratchet mechanism make a perfect crimp every time.
Once I got the hang of it, I was able to make good crimps. The handles are
shaped to allow 3/4" pipe to slip perfectly over them when I get to the
point I need even more leverage than I get now. For $20 I am pretty happy.
I can make much better crimps than before because of the dual "bite" of the
laminated crimping jaws. Thanks to Ralph Mowrey who first pointed me to the
ratcheting style of crimper on Ebay. I tend to buy stuff like this on
Amazon because of their rating system. This tool had a high number of
"perfect" marks and the few negatives weren't really deserved.
The fact that you can feel the ratchet lock release once a good crimp has
been made makes it a lot easier to deal with than other crimpers. You don't
end up applying too much force and hurting your hands. The crimper is also
small enough to work in tight spaces, and that's important for the things I
use crimpers for. It makes amazingly strong crimps. I was testing their
strength by trying to pull a wire out of one and the wire broke instead of
Good work folks, and thanks to all that contributed. The only thing I
regret now is how long it took to buy the right darn tool for the job. I
can't believe how many years I put up with those plier-type single pivot
cheapies. I am comtemplating redoing all the crimped connections I have
around the house with the new crimpers since they are that much better than
my old arthritic attempts with the cheap tool.
Glad the crimpers worked for you. They fource you to make a perfect crimp
if you strip the wires correctly.
While I don't have trouble with the single piviot T&B tool and have used it
to make many crimps, the ratching action does work beter for me.
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It still requires some attention to detail to get it right but it's so much
more positive and less painful than the "squeeze until you think you
squeezed enough" sort of crimpers. I have been trying to think of a similar
tool where I would say to anyone looking for advice to "get the one with the
magic" and that would be the ratchet in this case.
I think the weed burner (ice melter) is a good example. I should move it to
the HF thread but . . .
I had a choice of a propane weedburner from HF for $20 but when I got to the
store the one with a built-in piezo-electric lighter was on sale for $5
more. So I made the big leap to the higher priced unit. (I use it for
clearing ice from the north-facing brick steps at which it excels.) Having
a push button lighter built-in, especially when wearing gloves in windy
wintry weather, is worth the $5 and then some. I wouldn't recommend anyone
buy one without a built in "sparker." Or buy a non-ratchet crimper. All
this talk is giving me a hankering to do more crimping!
I'd guess that trying to light the stupid thing
in the cold would really make it clear that the
sparker is worth the five bucks. Sadly, we on this
list have been sternly told in ALL CAPS not to buy
any thing at Harbor Freight. You're such a rebel,
renegade, scofflaw. Last of the wild mustangs on
the prarie, for sure.
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