Crimping Electrical Lugs

Submitted: Sunday, Mar 16, 2008 at 16:45
ThreadID: 55593 Views:4995 Replies:10 FollowUps:19
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I need to crimp some non insulated electrical lugs between 6mm and 20 mm squared that I am using in a dual battery set up. Can anyone tell me whether the hydraulic crimper's are worth the extra cost or did you find the mechanical type crimper's did a good job on the 20mm squared lugs.
I have only a home handyman application but sometimes its worth getting the better tool. Of course a auto electrician could crimp them for me but I figured for a bit more cost I would always have the tool.
So what has been your experience with crimping the bigger electrical lugs ?
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Reply By: Mike Harding - Sunday, Mar 16, 2008 at 16:49

Sunday, Mar 16, 2008 at 16:49
For personal, as opposed to professional, use go for the mechanical crimpers but ensure they are specified for the maximum size of lug you intend to use.

Can you not solder the lugs instead? Would be cheaper.

Mike Harding
AnswerID: 292941

Reply By: Derek from Affordable Batteries & Radiators - Sunday, Mar 16, 2008 at 17:34

Sunday, Mar 16, 2008 at 17:34
Crimp them if possible, the tool is very handy and can be used on insulated terminals too.

AnswerID: 292945

Follow Up By: Richard Kovac - Sunday, Mar 16, 2008 at 20:13

Sunday, Mar 16, 2008 at 20:13
Derek hi

I used two 1/8" drive keys out of an old shaft in a vice too crimp an Anderson plug on my new Air Pressures, worked a treat.

Richard
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Reply By: Thylacine - Sunday, Mar 16, 2008 at 17:41

Sunday, Mar 16, 2008 at 17:41
For your situation mechanical are the go (if you had to do 100 crimps in a row, then hydraulic crimpers will save your hands a bit of work).
If purchasing mechanical crimpers, only by a ratchet type. This ensures that the lug is adequately crimped every time.


ed
AnswerID: 292946

Follow Up By: Glenn WA - Monday, Mar 17, 2008 at 22:02

Monday, Mar 17, 2008 at 22:02
My 2 bob worth..Ive been working as a sparky offshore for a number of years now. Any lugged cable that needs to operate in a place of high vibration and heat should be mechanically crimped.
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Reply By: Dunaruna - Sunday, Mar 16, 2008 at 17:53

Sunday, Mar 16, 2008 at 17:53
For the big lugs you need one of these -



Some battery shops will let you use theirs or do the crimping for you, for a fee.
AnswerID: 292949

Reply By: blue one - Sunday, Mar 16, 2008 at 18:26

Sunday, Mar 16, 2008 at 18:26
Solder is the best


Chuck out the rest.

LOL
AnswerID: 292954

Reply By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Sunday, Mar 16, 2008 at 19:36

Sunday, Mar 16, 2008 at 19:36
Solder is old technology. Only use crimps, find a local electrician and borrow his crimpers. As already mentioned you will need the large adjustable ones and a medium ratchet type.
AnswerID: 292969

Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Sunday, Mar 16, 2008 at 19:46

Sunday, Mar 16, 2008 at 19:46
>Solder is old technology.

Run that one past me again? :)

Mike Harding
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Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Sunday, Mar 16, 2008 at 19:57

Sunday, Mar 16, 2008 at 19:57
A solder joint has both conductors totally enclosed in metal, so they are much more corrosion resistant. Using the corrrect technique will prevent solder wicking up the wire and cause loss of wire flexibilty. Correct use of heatshrink will prevent fatigue failure at the connector.

If you don't saturate a crimped joint with Lanolin Oil, and if any moisture gets in, it will start to corrode, and you won't know about it till it fails.

If you don't have the right tools, materials and skills then don't crimp.

If you don't have the right tools, materials and skills then don't solder.
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FollowupID: 558588

Follow Up By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Sunday, Mar 16, 2008 at 19:58

Sunday, Mar 16, 2008 at 19:58
I used to be a big advocate of soldering the larger lugs, but have changed my tune in the last couple of years.

A soldered joint can (and will) fail more readily than a properly done crimped joint.

The problem with soldered joints are twofold:

1). they have a tendancy to be so rigid that fatigue can affect them after a while and lots of vibration.

2). the tendancy for the joint to be "dry" is also a big concern. Basically, this means that although the joint "looks" okay to the casual observer, the bond on the inside of the joint can fail. This is more prevalent on PCBs, but can also occur on larger joins like you would use in an Anderson plug etc.

Not trying to start WWIII, but just stating my opinion and the fact that I have "seen the light".

Roachie
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Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Sunday, Mar 16, 2008 at 20:12

Sunday, Mar 16, 2008 at 20:12
>If you don't have the right tools, materials and skills then don't crimp.

>If you don't have the right tools, materials and skills then don't solder.

I think that sums it up very nicely.

Additionally people - we have to keep in mind... we are not writing an instruction manual for technicians servicing a nuclear bomber. I have no doubt we could do extensive internet searches and find investigations into why crimping is "BAD" - no doubt similar searches would show why soldering is "BAD" - I seem to recall NASA decided wire wrap was the most reliable?

Once we've done all that we need to consider what Fred Smith with a Nissan Patrol really wants to do and whether he needs connections which will withstand military inspection or just wants to charge his batteries?

Mike Harding
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Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Tuesday, Mar 18, 2008 at 08:02

Tuesday, Mar 18, 2008 at 08:02
"The problem with soldered joints are twofold:
1). they have a tendancy to be so rigid that fatigue can affect them after a while and lots of vibration."

- If you have insufficient heat available the solder will wick along the cable before it's heated the joint fully - this can be avoided.


"2). the tendancy for the joint to be "dry" is also a big concern. Basically, this means that although the joint "looks" okay to the casual observer, the bond on the inside of the joint can fail. This is more prevalent on PCBs, but can also occur on larger joins like you would use in an Anderson plug etc."

- This is easily avoided if you have the a soldering iron adequate for the job and the skill to recognise when the joint has been heated fully to avoid a cold-soldered joint.
- If you apply insufficient pressure to a crimp, it may also look ok but it will fail eventually.

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FollowupID: 558930

Reply By: Dunaruna - Sunday, Mar 16, 2008 at 20:18

Sunday, Mar 16, 2008 at 20:18
There is a guy over on fishnet that extended his battery cables by bolting them together and wrapping them in tape. The sad thing was, most followup posters agreed that it was a good idea.

At least here we get pro & con discussions. Can't be a bad thing in the long run.
AnswerID: 292985

Reply By: obee - Sunday, Mar 16, 2008 at 20:48

Sunday, Mar 16, 2008 at 20:48
When in doubt give it a clout. My father reckoned the old cars could be fixed with a hammer and a crescant. I didnt have the heart to tell him he ruined every thread that he torsioned down.

My favorite adage is if it aint broke dont fix it and I will continue to use solder after I crimp.

So there!

LOL

Owen
AnswerID: 293001

Follow Up By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Tuesday, Mar 18, 2008 at 18:57

Tuesday, Mar 18, 2008 at 18:57
Obee, if you have seen the number of faulty (fatigued) solder joints that I have then you would only crimp. It's not good trade practice to solder and that has been the case for many years now.
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Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Wednesday, Mar 19, 2008 at 07:25

Wednesday, Mar 19, 2008 at 07:25
If I showed you the crappy "crimped" connections I've seen done by amateurs, you would realise the benefits of an airtight metal-to-metal seal in a PROPERLY soldered connection.
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Reply By: Gronk - Sunday, Mar 16, 2008 at 22:53

Sunday, Mar 16, 2008 at 22:53
Either method is OK...IF you know what you are doing...

If its a 20mm lug ( or bigger ) pre tin the wire before plunging it in the molten solder in the lug !!

If crimping.....if its a 20mm lug, then make sure you have a 20mm cable in it ?? If not , then solder it..

Mechanical crimpers that just flatten one side of a lug are OK for low amperage situations, but for battery cables etc.....a proper hydraulic crimper ( and same sized cable and lug ) are the go...

The idea behind crimping is to eliminate air gaps so the wires and lug form as one...no chance of hot joints etc....
AnswerID: 293032

Follow Up By: Member - MUZBRY (VIC) - Monday, Mar 17, 2008 at 09:22

Monday, Mar 17, 2008 at 09:22
Gday Gronk
I think that your dad and mine are the same person. Mine could repair anything with a screw driver and a hammer,with pipe wrench on the side.
Murray
Muzbry
Great place to be Mt Blue Rag 27/12/2012

Lifetime Member
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Follow Up By: Gronk - Monday, Mar 17, 2008 at 09:39

Monday, Mar 17, 2008 at 09:39
Ha ha.......even after saying all the "right" things to do regarding soldering etc......I have used the old hammer and screwdriver on a lug or two !!!!!!!

90mm2 cable.....hot joint....machine needs to be going ASAP.....no crimpers in sight.....out comes the hammer ........good enough until the next maintenance shift..
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Follow Up By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Tuesday, Mar 18, 2008 at 18:59

Tuesday, Mar 18, 2008 at 18:59
Gronk, It's not ok to solder if there is movement or vibration at the joint. Soldered joints fatigue and break, crimped do not. Solder is only ok on fixed (will never be subject to vibration) positions.
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Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Tuesday, Mar 18, 2008 at 19:24

Tuesday, Mar 18, 2008 at 19:24
Kiwi Kia

You know what you're talking about with things electrical - that is clear from your past posts and I am interested in your statement above.

My background is in electronics design and electrical engineering and I don't have a lot of experience in the "longevity" or "service-ability" of components so I would be most interested to hear why you state that soldered joints are more susceptible to vibration than crimped joints?

My (lack of) mechanical knowledge implies that both cables would be constrained at the point of contact with the lug so I imagine any vibration of the cable would create stress at the constraining point and thus lead to possible fractures? What d’ yer reckon?

Mike Harding
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FollowupID: 559048

Follow Up By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Tuesday, Mar 18, 2008 at 20:27

Tuesday, Mar 18, 2008 at 20:27
Hi Mike, Yep, plenty of experience which i won't go into here. Wires tend to snap off at the point where they become stiff at the soldered joint when subjected to vibration. If you like, it's a part of a bending radius (which can attenuate movement) is suddenly stopped at a stiffened point. Instead of the stress being distributed across the cores it tends to become concentrated at a single point. Copper, instead of being ductile becomes solid at the soldered junction. Stress relieving of cables is avoided on pc bds by using plugs (with crimped pins) instead of soldering direct to the pc bd. Plugs are not always just for convenience of replacement. The flexible ribbon film with printed tracks instead of cable is an example here, little stress and very flexible which absorbs movement. It is illegal to use soldered joints on most electrical cable these days - crimp or clamps only. You would be VERY hard pressed to find a soldered joint in any machine, appliance, aircraft - whatever these days and that is no coincidence, it's for a very practical reason - soldered joints fail far more easily then crimps/clamps.

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FollowupID: 559069

Follow Up By: Gronk - Tuesday, Mar 18, 2008 at 23:44

Tuesday, Mar 18, 2008 at 23:44
Would agree with most of the above, but my point was probably more about lug size ? If you don't have a lug to suit the size of cable, then you are better off soldering..

I've worked on assembling trains ( among other things ) and we always had a lug to suit the cable ( in fact you weren't allowed to use anything else ) but in some grey areas ( like an anderson plug !! ) the home handyman may not have access to different lugs or cables ??

If the cable ( and lug ) need to carry high current, then a crimped lug needs to be done right...not shoving a 16mm2 cable in a 25mm2 lug and using a crimper that flattens one side of the lug.......a hot joint can create more damage than a broken wire ( if you have 900A running thru a 150mm2 lug, then I'd rather fix a broken wire than a hot joint ? )
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FollowupID: 559125

Follow Up By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Wednesday, Mar 19, 2008 at 07:11

Wednesday, Mar 19, 2008 at 07:11
100% agree with you Gronk. Replaceing high current switch gear after a burn up ain't cheap ! (or easy work). But, you can get large clamp type lugs, you don't need to use crimps. Actually I don't like a lot of the small to medium size lugs as they don't seem to have a suffeciently large surface contact area around the bolt hole. The larger the hole the less strength in a very important part of the lug.
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FollowupID: 559157

Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Wednesday, Mar 19, 2008 at 07:32

Wednesday, Mar 19, 2008 at 07:32
"You would be VERY hard pressed to find a soldered joint in any machine, appliance, aircraft - whatever these days and that is no coincidence, it's for a very practical reason - soldered joints fail far more easily then crimps/clamps. "

The reason you only see crimp in these situations is because they are controlled - the tools are controlled, the connectors are controlled, the techniques are controlled, the wires are controlled.

The question was about joining wires at home !!!

Saying that "only crimping is reliable" is a logical as saying "never join metal by bolts - you MUST use rivets for reliability - have a look at any aircraft body".
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FollowupID: 559161

Follow Up By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Wednesday, Mar 19, 2008 at 08:57

Wednesday, Mar 19, 2008 at 08:57
Mike, the problem is work hardening and then failure (fracture) at the solder point - not the electrical conection quailities. As I have mentioned previously soldering of terminations is ilegal in a 'power' context. This is not just an opinion of mine it has sound physical engeineering reasons behind it. I have never said that it (solder) does not work, it is just not 'best practice' these days.
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FollowupID: 559172

Reply By: Mainey (wa) - Wednesday, Mar 19, 2008 at 08:03

Wednesday, Mar 19, 2008 at 08:03
kwk56pt, as can be seen there are many and various replies and methods given above.

Why not just take (or buy) the cable, cut to length, to your local Auto lecy and ask him to do it for you, he will supply the correct lug for the job if you take the item being connected too.

How often will you use a "professional" crimping tool suitable for the larger Dual battery system cables ??
The smaller handyman type crimper for smaller cable as Derek has shown is suitable for hand crimping.

Mainey . . .
AnswerID: 293528

Follow Up By: Gronk - Wednesday, Mar 19, 2008 at 10:06

Wednesday, Mar 19, 2008 at 10:06
Yep, good point.......take the lug ( might be the only one you do for 3 yrs ) and get someone to crimp it properly !!!!

Being a 4x4 site....and no doubt a lot of anderson plugs have been put on.....how have people been lugging them ??
I found that my 8mm2 cable was way too small for the lug, so soldering seemed the only way to go ??

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FollowupID: 559191

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