Crimping open barrel terminals is a technique that can produce long lasting joint, efficiently and easily with very little training. There are a vast range of crimps out there in the market. As someone who builds a lot of electrical things, one of the perhaps most unexciting yet fundamental subject areas is connectors. The range of connectors available and in-use today is truly astonishing. With so many different types of connectors available, it’s often difficult to know what to buy, especially when you’re buying for general use or stock up.
In this tutorial I hope to give some advice on making crimps that you are likely to encounter in installing accessories or making repairs to residential or commercial devices.
Crimping V.S. Soldering
Before we start tutoring how to make crimps, let’s talk about the differences between crimping and soldering.
When crimped properly, the strands remain individual even upon entering the insulation crimp, making the chances of strands breaking low.
When soldering, there is a very high chance that the solder will wick up the wire, beyond the insulation crimp, making it very vulnerable to mechanical damage. In this situation, it only takes a small amount of movement to start snapping the strands at the invisible weak point.
Soldering doesn’t have any disadvantage in electrical terms, only mechanical. That makes this method non-viable for production use; except under very controlled conditions with connectors that are designed for soldering.
Step 1: Material Preparation
1. Open Barrel Non-insulated Crimps
This type of crimp has by far the biggest amount of variation tending to be the type used in connector housings. You will find these connectors widely used in cars, domestic appliances, Hi-Fi equipment etc.
You may well find different types on your car for other applications- if you need to replace these good auto-electrical suppliers can often provide you with a kit of parts. These types will often need a very specific tool to crimp correctly.
If buying new wire, the size will be listed on the reel or packet. If modifying an existing installation it may be more difficult to determine. Many wires are now either printed or molded into the insulation with this information repeated along the length so it will be work a look to see if you can find it.
3. Cable Tools
The most basic tool list should be as follows.
1 x cable cutter
1 x wire stripper
1 x crimping tool
As an ancient proverb goes, ‘using the right tool to do the right job’. There’re a wide range of crimping tools with different functions in market. Make sure you have the right tool to crimp open barrel terminals.
Step 2: Prepare the Wire
1. Cable cutting
Tips: Set up a wire choosing metric and always follow it for your convenience, such as:
- Black for ground
- Red for power
- Blue for negative power
- Other colors for data
2. Wire stripping
A good stripping tool should promise no hurt to the wire cores, here we use iCrimp HS-D2 wire stripper.
Step 3: Terminal Terminating
Crimping is not an easy task, especially with the tiny crimps like JST, Molex, Dupont and D-Sub connectors. Below are some common terminals from worldwide famous manufacturers and their crimp results from iCrimp open barrel crimping tools.
XH – (JST – Japan Solderless Terminal)
PH – (JST – Japan Solerless Terminal)
KK 254/ KK 100(Molex)
Feel free to click and check the crimping operation video here:
Step 4: Extract the Terminals
This step occurs when you need to replace connector housings for repair.