Test to Destruction: Crimp terminals

Caltermdeformed450
Crimperjaws
Chuck writes –

We just posted a pretty sweet test of cheap crimp terminals vs. decent ones with a breakdown of how to identify the best performers; it struck me as something Makers’d be into

Some months back when Chuck mentioned a Storehouse brand assortment of crimp terminals, I commented that this was one place you really didn’t want to skimp on quality. We all agreed this would be a good subject to test emperically, and I finally found the time to jump in and give it a shot.

What follows is a test of three brands: Calterm (found at the local auto parts store), Storehouse (the Harbor Freight house brand), and some ETC terminals (which I can’t seem to find online) that I had in my toolbox from a previous job.

The conclusion won’t surprise you, but there’s a twist that might. Read past the jump for the skinny – plus oodles of pictures.

Toolmonger » Blog Archive » Test to Destruction: Crimp Terminals – Link.

8 thoughts on “Test to Destruction: Crimp terminals

  1. My tip for making these stick. Use the UNinsulated portion of your crimper (not pictured on this fancy $50 one). The uninsulated notch has a U shape with a corresponding smaller u that nests in it in the closed position. This creates a divot in the center of the terminal that pinches the wire very securely.

    When using the uninsulated position on your crimper it is up to the tool user (YOU) to know when to stop, as a full crimp will usually destroy an insulated terminal.

  2. We would always crimp and solder ring lugs and crimp connector pins at a previous job. The vehicles we made had to endure a pretty harsh environment (4km under seawater), so we wanted the best possible connection. If you have quality insulated lugs/spades, the plastic rarely melts.

    The habit has stuck with me. Corrosion and poor crimps are two less things to worry about.

  3. I throw away the plastic, solder the wire, and then shrink tube it. I’ve seen many crimp connectors fail annoyingly when they appear perfect.

  4. Crispyjones: The insulated crimp nest produces spec-quality crimps, if you’re using decent crimpers and terminals. If you have to resort to using the wrong nest, there’s something else wrong. Also, using the uninsulated nest on insulated terminals may sort of work on solid wire, but is likely to weaken the barrel and produce an even worse hold on stranded wire.

    Eoghain: Soldering without crimping means that as soon as the terminal heats up under load, the solder melts and the joint fails. Crimping and then soldering, as Russtang advocates, will continue holding past that point while still deterring corrosion.

    However, solder wicking up into stranded wire will make it less flexible, and therefore more likely to break near the joint unless you heat shrink it. You can’t go wrong with shrink tube.

    This is discussed in some detail in the Toolmonger thread, and it looks like there may be a second round of testing forthcoming.

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