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HomeTips & GuidesBattery Cable Crimper: How to Choose the Right DIY Crimper Tool

Battery Cable Crimper: How to Choose the Right DIY Crimper Tool

Join us for an elaborate discussion on battery cable crimper tools. Today, we will cover the main crimper tools you need for your general hobbyist/DIY applications. 

Also, we’ll compare crimping to soldering to help you know the better method. 

Let’s get started. 

What is Wire Crimping?

It is simply installing a lug/aluminum terminal on an electric cable. Crimping is straightforward, but not when unsure of the right tool. The perfect crimper equipment applies pressure on your lug/aluminum terminal to create a perfect joint to the wire. 

How do I Choose a Crimping Tool?

We believed in a one-tool-fits-all type of crimping tool. But our trials revealed that there’s more to the selection. Below are our findings on how to arrive at the best-fit tool. 

Understand the Types of Crimping Tools

A Crimper 

A Crimper 

We found three major categories of tools that include the following: 

Handheld Crimping Tool:

It is the universal type of tool present in most of the local hardware stores that we checked. After trials, we recommend it for anyone looking for a simple, easy-to-carry-around crimper. 

While it’s simple in its makeup, we found it easy to work with, and its versatility was also great. It was also the cheapest of all the crimper tools we tested. Finally, it was also the best choice for those looking to do a few crimps and store it. 

Hence, we recommend it for hobbyists and DIY electronic enthusiasts. 

Hydraulic Crimping Tool.

Our trials found this tool simple and more efficient than the handheld crimper. Also, its application was straightforward. However, its maintenance was more than that of handheld crimpers. It required occasional replacement of its oil seals and regular repairs. 

Moreover, this tool was highly efficient and accurate, requiring minimal mechanical input. Thus, we found it fit for heavy-duty applications and those requiring huge throughput.

Hammer Crimping Tool

At first, we thought this type was extremely manual, but contrary to that, it’s a dependable crimper. First, it is a crimping tool for heavy-duty works where high output throughput is not a primary requirement. 

Moreover, it required a limited skill set. All that was needed was placing the terminals on the wire between its wedges and knocking with a sledgehammer.

The better alternative for those looking for automation would be compressing via a bench vice instead of a hammer. 

Material

Most of the crimping tools you’ll find at your local hardware store are steel-made. But, ideally, you should invest in a carbon steel type as this is pretty tough and durable. 

If you’re dealing with a hammer crimping or hydraulic tool, the ideal makeup material is hardened steel. Such a task involves heavy pressure, and thus, the crimping tool should be able to handle it. 

If you’re using a handheld crimping tool, you’ll note it has a rubber covering on the handles. The material ensures you don’t suffer blisters when crimping as you would if they were bare. Also, the handles increase the grip. 

Crimping Tool Application

A multifunctional crimper tool. 

A multifunctional crimper tool. 

Are you looking for a heavy-use crimping tool or a one-off option you won’t use heavily much later? If you’re a DIY enthusiast, you may think of going for a one-fits-all type of tool. But this lack of specialty means it won’t do all tasks with the required precision. 

We recommend you pick the specialized tool depending on your task, especially when crimping specialist connectors. 

Operation Volume

Using a Hydraulic Crimper. 

Using a Hydraulic Crimper. 

What range of tasks do you intend to perform with your crimping tool? This consideration is very critical when choosing the crimping tool type. 

For instance, say you own a workshop that performs a few crimping jobs. 

We recommend an inexpensive option like a hammer crimping tool in such a scenario. But if your workshop deals with many daily tasks, use a more automated option like a hydraulic crimping tool. It will cost you a fortune, but it’s fast and less manual. 

Finally, a simple handheld crimping tool fits your workshop’s billing for a few DIY/hobbyist crimping tasks. 

Crimp Profile and Gauge

Cable Lugs. 

Cable Lugs. 

Again, you cannot have a single crimping tool to crimp all wire gauges precisely. Each type we covered above is suited to a particular profile/gauge. For instance, you’ll need a hammer crimping tool or a hydraulic type for the large wire gauges. 

The crimp profiles are the different crimp shapes and are critical determinants of how your crimp holds the cable. Some of the typical profiles include: 

  • Hex Profile
  • B-Crimps Profile
  • Indented Profile
  • Circular Profile

Most of the crimping tools we’ve covered will handle these profiles. 

Connector Types

Heat Shrinkable Connectors. 

Heat Shrinkable Connectors. 

What’s the makeup material/style of your connector type? There’s an extensive range of these, such as the following: 

  • Insulated 
  • Non-Insulated
  • Nylon
  • PVC
  • Heat Shrinkable
  • Spade

In most cases, the material or style doesn’t matter when selecting the ideal crimping tool. But you will find that some work better with a particular material than others. Therefore, we recommend you check out the manufacturer’s specifications. 

It will help you know which tool is suited to a particular application. 

Crimping Tool Utility Range

A Crimper. 

A Crimper. 

We advise you always to choose a tool that best matches the types of crimps you’re making. But again, having one that’s versatile will save you a lot, especially on cost. Why? You won’t have to spend time on a new tool whenever a different task profile arises. 

A perfect crimping tool lets you change your jaw sets to fit the tasks. Go for such a tool; luckily, most hand-held crimpers can do this perfectly. 

How To Crimp Battery Cables?

A Crimp Terminal. 

A Crimp Terminal. 

Below are the steps for a perfect battery cable crimping job. 

  • First, determine the ideal cable length you need, and don’t forget to factor in the cable part that the lug will take. 
  • Using a sharp cable cutter, cut the wire in the right size and mark the area to strip the outer wire cover. 
  • Stip off the cover on the marked wire part. You can use a wire stripper, knife, or other convenient tool. Some wire crimping tools will have a wire stripping part, so that’s your type, you’re sorted. 
  • Now, insert the wire onto the lug and choose a lug diameter that suits the wire size. Next, set the right dies to prepare your crimping tool for the job. 
  • Insert the lug+wire onto the crimping tool and press. Also, for a clean job, ensure you apply similar pressure through the length of the lug. 
  • Repeat this process on the second part of your cable, and that’s it!

YouTube Video Demo:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8To7_-xhqz8

Soldering vs Crimping Battery Cable Lugs: Which is Better?

PCB Soldering. 

PCB Soldering. 

Crimping is a valuable method and may prove better than soldering in some instances. Some of the upsides of wire crimping include: 

  • It guarantees a sturdy connection despite not involving conventional joinery methods like soldering or chemical processes. 
  • Also, its connections can withstand vibrations and heat. It is its primary upside over soldered connections.
  • Moreover, unlike soldering, it gives you consistent joints, and the process doesn’t take much time. 
  • Finally, the crimping process is straightforward, and you don’t require a unique skill set to execute it. 

But crimping has its fair share of downsides that may compel you to consider soldering. 

  • First, you require a crimper tool to make a good joint. 
  • Also, if you mess up with one joint, there’s no other remedy than repeating the whole process. 
  • Thirdly, crimping doesn’t fit all electronics joinery situations as some require you to use soldering.  

When to Choose Either Crimping or Soldering

Soldering suits intricate connections. 

Soldering suits intricate connections. 

The rule of thumb is that the method of choice will rely on the application at hand. For instance, you should consider crimping when joining heavy gauge cables

Also, when joining battery lugs, there’s a risk of chemical exposure, making soldering not ideal. 

In the above case, crimping is a better option. But if you’re connecting parts to a PCB, consider soldering, as it is more subtle and allows working in small spaces. 

Wrap Up

That’s it for today. Achieve a perfect crimp joint by applying the techniques discussed in this guide. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have grey areas on crimping that you’d want us to clarify. 

Hi I am Christa, sales manager of Cloom.

I have extensive expertise and experience in wiring harnesses and I believe I can help you.

And we have a very professional technical team who can clearly understand the customer’s needs and give professional suggestions and solutions after receiving the drawings.

If you also have wiring harness needs, please send me the drawing so that we can give you our quote and start our business.

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