Author Topic: Performance of home-crimped coax assemblies  (Read 523 times)

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Offline TheUnnamedNewbie

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Performance of home-crimped coax assemblies
« on: December 04, 2017, 05:37:31 AM »
Hi guys,
Am looking to get myself some coax for the lab as a xmas gift to myself. Looking at reasonable cost options, I thought that perhaps I should get myself some raw coax and a bunch of connectors instead of cable assemblies (good assembly from reputable brand easily costs you 15 euros per cable (SMA-SMA, RG316, 1 meter). How hard is doing your own crimps? Do they give repeatable and low-loss results?

As a sidenote: what are good crimp tools to get? Seeing as I will be using it for other applications as well, I want to get one with a decent range of interchangable dies, but I have no clue what is out there.
HP6253A (x2) - Philips PM3244 - Tektronix TBS1052B - Tektronix AFG2021 - Tektronix PWS2323 - Philips PM6667 - Philips PM6661 - Keithley 2000
 

Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: Performance of home-crimped coax assemblies
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2017, 05:51:30 AM »
I can't give you a general answer, but I can tell you that I have tried a variety of low cost crimping tools.  Almost all gave results that ranged from terrible up to marginally satisfactory.  A very few low cost tools and most of the high end ones give excellent results.  I can't recommend a low cost tool because the ones that I have had success with are no longer available. 

Unless you have quite a few cables you will probably save money by buying them ready made - the tools that work consistently cost quite a bit.  But you also have to trade that off against the performance and reduced clutter that comes from having custom cables that are just long enough to perform their function, and also against the difficulty of sourcing unusual combinations of connectors.
 

Offline TheUnnamedNewbie

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Re: Performance of home-crimped coax assemblies
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2017, 05:56:43 AM »
How expensive are we talking when it comes to a ''high-end'' tool? Is this a 50 euro, 100 euro, 500 euro thing? I was thinking of getting myself a tool anyways, and if there is not too much of an increase in cost when going for a tool that has interchangable dies and also can do coaxial cables, I figured why not.
HP6253A (x2) - Philips PM3244 - Tektronix TBS1052B - Tektronix AFG2021 - Tektronix PWS2323 - Philips PM6667 - Philips PM6661 - Keithley 2000
 

Online 2N3055

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Re: Performance of home-crimped coax assemblies
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2017, 06:10:37 AM »
In Europe, you can get Pressmaster... Look it up..
Premium tools, decent prices..

Regards.
 

Offline jjoonathan

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Re: Performance of home-crimped coax assemblies
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2017, 08:12:22 AM »
Almost all gave results that ranged from terrible up to marginally satisfactory.

Just toss some heat-shrink on there and she'll be roight!  ;D

Seriously, though, I've opened plenty of "good" assemblies (in that the company I work for paid good money for them) only to find a mess of a crimp/solder that I daresay I could have made myself.
 

Offline David Hess

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Re: Performance of home-crimped coax assemblies
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2017, 12:48:27 PM »
A couple years ago I bought a Paladin Tools CrimpALL with the approprate crimping die to make RG-316 SMB cables and it works great.  At the time it was like $60 but since GreenLee bought Paladin, the price has doubled.

For larger cables like RG-58/RG-400, I use clamp connectors.
 

Offline denverpilot

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Re: Performance of home-crimped coax assemblies
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2017, 07:45:44 PM »
I was a die hard solder connector guy for a long long time.

Bought high quality Amphenol crimper and connectors years ago, and never looked back.

Couldn’t tell you today’s prices, but you can have my crimp tool and my quality connectors after you pry them from my cold dead hands. Haha.

It only hurts once.

Agreed with the above comment that you need a number of cables to make to cover the startup costs, but nowadays I make myself a few cables a year, and still love that I can just buy high quality bulk cable on a spool, run it, go to each end, even if the end is on a roof, dress it all in, and cut it to exact length, and put any connector on the end that I like.

I guess it was sometime around the late-1990s when friends in the cellular tower business told me nobody did anything at those frequencies but crimp connectors anymore and the key was going name brand and high quality ones, and zero problems, when I decided it was time.
 

Offline hagster

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Re: Performance of home-crimped coax assemblies
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2017, 11:11:25 PM »
I have used these tools and they are absolutely fine. I have measured the results on a VNA and they work fine so long as you follow the instructions for the connector.

https://www.wifi-antennas.co.uk/cable-crimps-crimp-tools-antennas-wifi-connector-ratchet/crimp_tools_.html

I have also seen incompetent people make some really naff cables using descent tools.
 

Offline Neomys Sapiens

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Re: Performance of home-crimped coax assemblies
« Reply #8 on: Yesterday at 10:14:39 AM »
I recommend getting either a Daniels HX3 or HX4 (with some dies) or the 75_Z-0-0-51 from Huber&Suhner.

There are nice multipurpose tools from Klauke, Knipex and others, but I don't really trust them when it comes to RF precision connectors.
 

Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: Performance of home-crimped coax assemblies
« Reply #9 on: Yesterday at 10:38:53 AM »
The modern "compression" connectors seem to do a much more uniform job than the traditional multi-piece kind (whether solder or crimp).
Note, however, that they can be used only with solid inner conductor while stranded cable is more suitable for laboratory experimentation.
The compression connectors come in BNC, RCA, and "F" varieties quite readily available.  Even at the big-box home improvement shops.
And the tool is quite modestly priced compared to traditional crimp tools, especially considering all the different sizes in play.


 

Offline denverpilot

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Re: Performance of home-crimped coax assemblies
« Reply #10 on: Yesterday at 03:14:36 PM »
Note, however, that they can be used only with solid inner conductor while stranded cable is more suitable for laboratory experimentation.

That’s a good point. I’ve gotten away with soldering the center pin on stranded and then crimping the rest on. Wouldn’t use it without testing it out thoroughly first, but in a pinch it works far more often than it doesn’t.
 


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