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Discussion Starter #1
I spent my entire life with a cheap wire crimp connector set along with the cheap stripper/crimper. After my project yesterday I have decided to get some decent tools.

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Firstly is a decent crimper. My hands don't work so well anymore and need something that helps make it easier. Also hate hate hate these cheap crimpers where you have to get the connecter into the handle end of the hinge to crimp.

In my search I found these ratcheting crimpers - the ratchetting part tweaks my interest to help with not having much power in my hands.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0069TRKJ0/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1

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After reading a bunch of reviews a lot of people recommend these crimpers. Big plus is you use the end of the tool - but no ratcheting mechanism. But the 10" long handles would really help.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001LOVEGS/ref=ox_sc_act_title_4?smid=AL63YV6SZGM65&psc=1

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Then the next issue is stripping the wire. These look like the ticket for me also.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000OQ21CA/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1

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These tools represent a pretty good investment for me. They are not something I use every day but when I do need them I want to have something decent. That along with some decent butt connectors with heat shrink ends and I would be set for the rest of my life.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B071L6VDLK/ref=ox_sc_act_title_3?smid=ADAUS9RB7NG5N&psc=1

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Opinions or thoughts?
 

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:good2: Made the investment long time ago. All I use is the heat shrink connectors, terminals, spades, eyes etc. I also bought a nice tool box with individual pull out trays and have all my connectors organized by size etc.. Keep small butane torch in it also to shrink connectors, shrink tubing along with dielectric grease, tape, testers etc.
 

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I have both the Klien and Channellock versions of the crimpers you linked, and the very strippers you linked as well. I can recommend both. My experience with ratchet crimpers is dismal when used with a variety of connectors, they have to be perfectly spec'd for a proper crimp-I'd would avoid them.

Also, only get get connectors like the Thomas & Betts ones, stay far away form the elcheapo ones.
 

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Did the same thing, but did it when radio shack was going out of business last year. I walk out with close to 900 worth of stuff for 45 dollars. It was the first day of their 85% off clearance. I probably spent 1.5 hours going through every parts drawer.

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I would agree wholeheartedly with Ken here. Do not get the ratchet style. They’re perfect when you have the right die and the correct crimp connectors. Other than that they will under/over crimp any other others leaving a much less desirable connection.

Heat shrink connectors are the only way to go. T&B are top of the line and worth the dollars. I refuse to use regular crimp connectors as they are always a compromise and add a layer of problems down the road when they corrode internally or let loose. Heat shrink style won’t do either.
 

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I was in the same boat. I alos went with the vise grip crimpers and the same wire stripper. I also got the same heat shrink connectors and I bought rolls of shrink tubing. I use the heat shrink connectors the let it cool then put shrink tubing over the whole connector.
 

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Soldering is always preferred for splices, especially with anything that can get wet. You can get flooded heat shrink which will render a splice waterproof after shrinking.

I don't find the ratcheting crimp tools that much of an advantage with putting spade connectors and the like on. I have one that is used for putting coax connectors on, but that's not tractor work! While they make a professional crimp, you may need a specific die set for each size connector/wire combination. Unless you're doing high volume professional work, I don't see how that is worth the expense.

The diagonal cutters with the crimp die (2nd photo) are designed for putting the green bonding sleeves on ground wires in electrical work. They will pierce the plastic sleeve on a crimp on connector.

Al
 

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Ideal and Klein are about the best in the industry in my opinion. I have some of those automatic strippers, but never use them. The jaws/cutting blades seem to get out of alignment after being tossed around in the toolbox. For me it's quicker to use the regular wire strippers. I personally don't like the all-in-one tools if I'm doing a lot of terminations.
 

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I use something like this for stripping.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GFXD22E/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_-JNRAbCX4VCDF

Nice and small and let me cut the insulation back the length I want. The auto kind are nice if you have room to work and are doing the same connector multiple times since you can dial in the cut length for consistency.


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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the help everyone - looks like the Irwin Vice-Grip crimpler is the way to go.

Amd thanks jdmitch - forgot to out one of those little butane torches in my cart.

I have both the Klien and Channellock versions of the crimpers you linked, and the very strippers you linked as well. I can recommend both. My experience with ratchet crimpers is dismal when used with a variety of connectors, they have to be perfectly spec'd for a proper crimp-I'd would avoid them.

Also, only get get connectors like the Thomas & Betts ones, stay far away form the elcheapo ones.
I looked for those Thomas and Betts connectors - can you help me out with what I can get at Amazon that would be worth while. I only need butt connectors in red, blue, and yellow. And only need a handful of each. There is a Fastenall store in town - should I look there?

I remember going to the shop at our truck stop - constantly needed light wires fixed on our trailers. The one tood mechanic there taught me a little about the butt connectors he used. I think they had some solder in them plus had adhesive inside the shrink wrap ends. I guess that is what you guys are talking about. That’s what I want I guess but don’t need any large quantities or want to spend a fortune on this. I might do a couple splices a year at most.
 

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After reading a bunch of reviews a lot of people recommend these crimpers. Big plus is you use the end of the tool - but no ratcheting mechanism. But the 10" long handles would really help.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001LOVEGS/ref=ox_sc_act_title_4?smid=AL63YV6SZGM65&psc=1

View attachment 572833
Stan, thanks for the post. This is something that I have had on my list to look into. Looking things up on Lowes.com, those are $14.52 there. If you are going to be in a Lowes any time, you can save $5.

(They were also $15.76 on Amazon as late as 2/25/18.)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Stan, thanks for the post. This is something that I have had on my list to look into. Looking things up on Lowes.com, those are $14.52 there. If you are going to be in a Lowes any time, you can save $5.

(They were also $15.76 on Amazon as late as 2/25/18.)
I won’t be going anywhere near a Lowes until this summer probably.

I’ll look around for a better price now that I know which tools to get. I use Walmart’s ship to store a lot.
 

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These are my go-to at work. They simply work great.

Good suggestion. :good2:
Same here. I keep looking at various automatic strippers but so far haven't found any that everyone was happy with.

stripper.jpg
 

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These are my go-to at work. They simply work great.

Good suggestion. :good2:
+1 on those strippers. I have those now and do projects all the time involving wiring - have had a couple other types of strippers over the years and won't go back.

Where you are able solder and heat shrink is the best connection., but if you must use connectors then as the others said T&B is the way to go.

Keep the moisture out! Its never fun to go back and do it again because of a corroded connection....
and yes i have ignored my own advice sometimes and always end up having to revisit the repair.
Mostly with the trailer harness on my truck. :banghead: :lol:

Had to install a septic pump yesterday and you can be sure I went the extra TWO miles to waterproof and weatherproof those wire connections that live between the riser lid and the pump tank lid!! I don't want to revisit that job! :mocking:
 

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Discussion Starter #18
+1 on those strippers. I have those now and do projects all the time involving wiring - have had a couple other types of strippers over the years and won't go back.

Where you are able solder and heat shrink is the best connection., but if you must use connectors then as the others said T&B is the way to go.

Keep the moisture out! Its never fun to go back and do it again because of a corroded connection....
and yes i have ignored my own advice sometimes and always end up having to revisit the repair.
Mostly with the trailer harness on my truck. :banghead: :lol:

Had to install a septic pump yesterday and you can be sure I went the extra TWO miles to waterproof and weatherproof those wire connections that live between the riser lid and the pump tank lid!! I don't want to revisit that job! :mocking:
Another thing I learned about from an ace mechanic years ago - dielectric grease. He gave me a whole tub of which I still have. The hardest part is to stop and think for a second to get it out and use it. I try to use it on every electrical connection I make include bulb bases etc.

As far as soldering I know how to solder. But I don’t know how to fasten the wires to solder. Hard for me to put in the proper words right now - how do you make a splice in let’s say 16ga wire? Do you just twist the bare ends together than flux and solder? While that may work it wouldn’t look that pretty.

I wanted to solder what I did yesterday - installed a new glow plug harness on the Beetle Bug. The factory harness was directly wired into the main harness. The only way to replace was to cut and splice 2 wires. I didn’t like using butt connectors on that but couldn’t figure out how to solder them.
 

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As far as soldering I know how to solder. But I don’t know how to fasten the wires to solder. Hard for me to put in the proper words right now - how do you make a splice in let’s say 16ga wire? Do you just twist the bare ends together than flux and solder? While that may work it wouldn’t look that pretty.
Probably the most versatile splice is called the Lineman's Splice. Below is a YouTube video showing an example.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTL_VCvkXrg

This works well in most wire splicing situations. Remember to always start with a good mechanical connection followed with a solder job.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Probably the most versatile splice is called the Lineman's Splice. Below is a YouTube video showing an example.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTL_VCvkXrg

This works well in most wire splicing situations. Remember to always start with a good mechanical connection followed with a solder job.
Awesome - just what I needed to learn - thanks!
 
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