Author Topic: Crimping Mate-n-Lok connectors. Need "official" (expensive) tool or no?  (Read 412 times)

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Offline mindcrime

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Folks

I'm working on something where I think these connectors will be appropriate. They are crimp-connect and are in the "Mate-n-Lok" series.




AMP/TE makes an "official" crimper for the Mate-n-Lok connectors:



but these things are kinda pricey at around $300 USD. I'm wondering if the "official" tool is really required, or is there a generic (and less expensive) alternative that will do the same job? Any thoughts?

 
 

Offline mvs

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Tyco connectors use the same crimp principle as unisolated spade, molex minifit jr and some other.
There are many compatible crimpers, you do not need to go for original tyco.
 
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Offline mindcrime

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Tyco connectors use the same crimp principle as unisolated spade, molex minifit jr and some other.
There are many compatible crimpers, you do not need to go for original tyco.

Awesome. I thought that would probably be the case, but I don't have much experience working with these kinds of connectors, so wasn't sure if there was some "magic" about these. I just ordered a cheap $24 USD crimper on Amazon,hoping that will fit the bill. There may also be a compatible die for my Greenlee crimper, not sure yet.

I'm also assuming that when you buy this kind of connector it comes empty, and that I have to buy the appropriate pins separately. Does that sound right to you more experienced folks?

Thanks for the info!
 

Offline mvs

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I'm also assuming that when you buy this kind of connector it comes empty, and that I have to buy the appropriate pins separately.
Yes, they sell plastic housing and pins separately.
 
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Offline highpower

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... There may also be a compatible die for my Greenlee crimper, not sure yet.


There is. Search for "open barrel connector" dies.
 
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Offline jmelson

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I have an AMP Service Tool I, which is very much like the Molex crimper, but made to vastly higher precision, and does a much better job of folding in the contacts.  It now runs something like US $90.

Jon
 
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Online TimNJ

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All I'll add is that I've used the expensive-ish AMP/TE crimp tools (for insulated Faston, insulated ring) and they basically work flawlessly every time. If you just need to do like 10 crimps, then hell no, don't buy it...But if you need to do more, or if it's for an actual production job, I'd still at least think about the official tool.

The official tool is partly expensive because it's actually robust, but mostly expensive because TE/AMP wants to lock you in to using TE/AMP connectors/terminals for the rest of your life. So, it's a bit annoying, purely out of ~principle~ but hey the tools are pretty good.
 

Offline wizard69

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It really comes down to two things.    1.  How much crimping do you intend to do.   2.  What sort of quality metrics do you need to meet.

If either of these are high go for the high end crimper sold for the contact assemblies that you will be using.   Note that your are really making use of a die set specific to the contacts, as the crimpers often take other die sets.

As someone else has said if you are only doing a few "hell no" find a cheaper solution.   That being said some of the cheaper solutions are a pain to use.   

At work I made them buy a decent  crimper for wire harness repair on some robots.   In this case also a Mate-N-Lok variant.   Lets put  it this way it can be extremely frustrating to mess with a cheap crimper when hanging off a ladder, working in the dark and having sweat and oil all over the place.

Lets put it this way, I've had to buy tools that got a lot less use over the years than those crimpers.   In the end the price isn't that bad compared to many things you will be buying over the years.
 

Offline mindcrime

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It really comes down to two things.    1.  How much crimping do you intend to do.   2.  What sort of quality metrics do you need to meet.

If either of these are high go for the high end crimper sold for the contact assemblies that you will be using.   Note that your are really making use of a die set specific to the contacts, as the crimpers often take other die sets.

As someone else has said if you are only doing a few "hell no" find a cheaper solution.   That being said some of the cheaper solutions are a pain to use.   

At work I made them buy a decent  crimper for wire harness repair on some robots.   In this case also a Mate-N-Lok variant.   Lets put  it this way it can be extremely frustrating to mess with a cheap crimper when hanging off a ladder, working in the dark and having sweat and oil all over the place.

Lets put it this way, I've had to buy tools that got a lot less use over the years than those crimpers.   In the end the price isn't that bad compared to many things you will be buying over the years.

Thanks Wizard69. In my case I don't expect to do this very often, at least right now. I'm a hobbyist mainly... at best some of the work I do might constitute a prototype of something I might one day want to have manufactured and sell. So for now, the quality metrics are just "I can get it to work here in the lab."  ;D

I did recently buy a Greenlee crimper, something a little nicer than the generic crimpers you get from Walmart. I originally didn't realize it had replaceable dies and could do these kinds of connectors as well. I was thinking of it mainly for crimping those generic ring/spade/blade connectors and what-not.

I also didn't originally understand the process of how these kind of connectors are built, where you crimp the barrel connector part on and then press it into the housing. I think I was thinking that connector required a "special" tool to crimp the pins *inside* the housing somehow. D'oh.

Making cables with connectors like this is just one of those random tings that I've never really needed to do before, so I'm learning as I go.  :)
« Last Edit: April 22, 2021, 05:05:44 pm by mindcrime »
 

Offline tkamiya

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It goes something like this....

Most generic crimper will do decent job as long as they are ratchet type. 
Radio Shack (dead) kind without ratchet will often do very poor job.
If you need the absolute best and meet every spec, you'd better use one specified by connector manufacturer.
If you are going to hold connector company liable, they won't even talk to you unless you use theirs.
If life and safety depends on it, use proper ones.
If you are building a space ship, use proper ones.

For everything else, a good after market one will do just fine.  I spent about $200 and bought aftermarket ones from Amazon.  One of almost each common type.  I have no issues.
 
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