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Hi all, I just finished installing my new battery charger (Xantrex Truecharge2, 40amp) today. While putting together the wiring, which was 6 and 8 gauge, I was trying to figure out how to make good crimps without buying another expensive tool. I had to make one more trip to WM (of course) to get more wire, ring terminals and heat shrink. As luck would have it, I brought 3 pre-cut wires with me to make sure I bought enough fittings. Anyway, on my way to the register I took a lap through the sailing tackle section, and what did I spy? A bench-mounted crimper. So I just pulled my fittings and heat shrink out of the packages and put them together using WM's crimper. Very nice indeed! I figured, what is the worst they could do to me? Tell me to stop? Nobody even noticed and I built 4 complete lines. BTW, if they gave me sh*t for using their stuff I was going to remind them of how much I have spent in their store.

Thought you all might like to know. Especially if you just need to do one or two wires. And yes, I did pay for the fittings, etc. :)

Good luck, Bill
 

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I don't think they mind at all. The dockmaster here mentioned that they had one and I asked if I could use it and they said sure no problem and the bolt cutters are under the bench if you need to size the cables. While I was there crimping cables I pointed a customer to where the nuts and bolts were. :)
 

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I like West Marine

After a re-cut of my jib I needed a short cable (pendant) about a foot long to go between the swivel and the sail. The West Marine person said they do not make these to order (liability reasons) but walked me thru the whole process. She helped me pick the right wire cable, the correct crimps, and the correct thimbles that go in the loops. Also gave me directions on how to do the crimping right. I had a friend with me so he held everything and I did the crimping. The WM lady said to just bring the empty bags for the parts to the register and tell how much and what size cable to ring me up. I would be surprised if they not only didn't say anything about crimping wire connectors but would probably suggest it or the West Marine I go to is just full of nice people.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Damn! I thought I pulled one over on them! Well it is good to know that they allow it. I'll be back with some other stuff to crimp.

Bill
 

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The bench mounted crimper, was it a hammer driven one? If so, they don't make a really good crimp most of the time. The ones that look like bolt cutters do a much better and more consistent job of it.
 

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I broke down and bought a crimping tool years ago. Money well spent. It's one of those specialty tools that you don't use much, but is worth it's weight in gold when you need it. Quality tools, especially avionics tools are something best not to scrimp on.
 

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The bench mounted crimper, was it a hammer driven one? If so, they don't make a really good crimp most of the time. The ones that look like bolt cutters do a much better and more consistent job of it.
Not sure if this applies nationwide but at the three WM stores local to me in RI, all have the proper crimping tool as well as swagging tools and allow anyone to use them, with or without supervision. Certainly makes sense to pay the small price to purchase the materials there with this as the benefit.

Given the criticism WM often receives here and elsewhere, particularly in their pricing, they deserve some credit for this unique customer service.
 

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Not sure if this applies nationwide but at the three WM stores local to me in RI, all have the proper crimping tool as well as swagging tools and allow anyone to use them, with or without supervision. Certainly makes sense to pay the small price to purchase the materials there with this as the benefit.

Given the criticism WM often receives here and elsewhere, particularly in their pricing, they deserve some credit for this unique customer service.
Ditto. They've got the same bench tools down here in Chesapeake country. In my experience, they are always happy to let folks use them, especially if you're buying some of the fittings, cable, or wire from them.

I ask permission first, just as I would prefer someone to do if they borrowed my tools. But they probably don't care one way or the other. Also, I find when I ask, some of their employees are eager to help out and often have good advice.
 

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not

The crimp tools mounted to the work bench at most WM stores are sized for nico press swage sleeves not electrical crimp connectors... As such it will be guess work at best to ascertain whether you have actually made a true cold formed crimp. If using these tools I would advise cutting a fitting open right in the middle of the crimp then hitting it with a drill mounted wire brush to see if any wire ends expose. If you see individual strands instead of one solid mass of copper the crimp is not a good one..

It may very well make a solid crimp but to be sure I'd certainly want to visually inspect one especially on that gauge wire..
 

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That's very cool

Actually, they have both at the stores I mentioned
That's very cool. The 12 or so WM stores I've been in only have the Nico Pres crimp tools not electrical.

This is what the heads look like on the electrical lug crimping tools and also the chart that shows how to choose the right dies.



 

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Interesting crimping tool, Halekia, but is that crimping or staking? (i.e. pushing a point into the lug body?)

It seems as is everybpdy has "one way and one way only" to make a proper crimp, I know one master electrician who insists hexagonal die crimpers are the only way to go for heavy power cables, including 4AWG and larger battery cables. And everyone says not to solder--except the elevator industry apparently solders all their connections, again high power cables.

I wonder what they do at NASA, and on the USN subs?


I don't remember what my local West store let me use last time, but it beat the heck out of the "No problem, mon!" crimps a nice chap at Home Depot did on the bench vise. (Yeah, well...it had to be one crimp, "now", and that's what there was.) I have to confess that any carefully crafted crimp I've made in the last 20(?) years hasn't come apart, regardless of vice, die, solder, or otherwise.

I believe in good tools, there's just a scarcity of hundred dollar bills around for one-shot jobs. And a similar scarcity of any docs, from anyone, suggesting proper die sizes (vs wire size) or pressures or anything else, besides "Buy our tool".

Hmmmmm....
 

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That's very cool. The 12 or so WM stores I've been in only have the Nico Pres crimp tools not electrical.

This is what the heads look like on the electrical lug crimping tools and also the chart that shows how to choose the right dies.
I'm aware of the distinction which is why I said "proper" when referring to crimp tools - I can't speak to the 12 stores you've looked in but it may help others if you mentioned it to those store managers who may not know the difference so that they obtain the correct tools for their customers as have the local managers here.

Frankly, this is a distinction without much of a difference as so many commissioning yards use the wrong crimpers on new or updated boat electronics that a few good crimps doesn't offset.
 

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This is what the head of the crimping tool I have looks like:

 
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