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Old 30-12-2015, 13:46   #1
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Ancor crimper rant

Okay, I read all the reviews and advice here and bought an Ancor double crimper and several hundred insulated butt connectors. I find myself doing dozens of connections in refitting this boat, and I thought having a nice crimper would make the job easier and faster and result in a better crimp.
I was SO wrong.
I've now "practiced" with this thing hundreds of times. And it takes hundreds of times to maybe get 20 usable crimps. This thing just flat doesn't work for me. It's hard to get the connectors correctly lined up, and the line up is critical. I've tried trimming the insulation off, I've tried pre-loading the connector in the jaws and I've tried every wiring twist and configuration I can think of. Still, after months of trying and literally hundreds of crimps, I am lucky to get one useable crimp after going through a half dozen connectors . I wasted 75 bucks on this thing, and have wasted a lot of time and effort trying to make it work.

It might be a great tool if someone was sitting on a bench somewhere with a spool of cable to work with, but trying to get a connector onto a two inch stub sticking out of a bulkhead, this thing is worse than useless.

What works? simple vise grips. Every time.

Okay, I'm done now. But if you think getting an expensive crimper like this will make your electrical work easier, forget it. Save your money.
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Old 30-12-2015, 13:54   #2
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Re: Ancor crimper rant

Quote:
Originally Posted by Canibul View Post

It might be a great tool if someone was sitting on a bench somewhere with a spool of cable to work with, but trying to get a connector onto a two inch stub sticking out of a bulkhead, this thing is worse than useless.
I was thinking similar at 2am this morning trying to solder an errant anchor light connection as the boat rolled like a pig in 25 knots and the 12V soldering iron can't be put down nor can the writhing LED and wire.


Btw my crimper doesn't even have a brand name...
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Old 30-12-2015, 14:01   #3
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Re: Ancor crimper rant

Something is clearly wrong.

I get something like 99 out of a hundred, solid, yank-on-it-hard, reliable crimps, and have probably used the crimper on board for hundreds (thousands?) since buying it three boats ago, maybe 1996 or 97.

First thought, user error. Not insulting you, but you do know there is a front and back to the crimper? Or maybe it's top and bottom.

Do you place the open end of the barrel right side round?

Are the jaws aligned?

Any pics of a failed crimp?
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Old 30-12-2015, 14:11   #4
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Re: Ancor crimper rant

Love mine, been using it for years. I have been thinking of getting their single crimper, though. I think the single crimper would work better on heat shrink connectors.


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Old 30-12-2015, 14:11   #5
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Re: Ancor crimper rant

Quote:
Originally Posted by Canibul View Post
Okay, I read all the reviews and advice here and bought an Ancor double crimper and several hundred insulated butt connectors...
I've now "practiced" with this thing hundreds of times. And it takes hundreds of times to maybe get 20 usable crimps...trying to get a connector onto a two inch stub sticking out of a bulkhead, this thing is worse than useless...
If you need hundreds of butt splice connectors, you're going about this all wrong. Especially if you're cutting the wires off 2" from a bulkhead before extending them. These connectors are extremely rarely used on a yacht. You should reexamine your approach.

Those crimpers should make a perfect crimp every time. But they might require adjusting to do so--mine did (different brand/same design)--a very simple procedure. Tighten the adjustment just to the point where the ratchet is fully released after crimping is complete. Place the lug into the crimper such that the crimper jaws fall precisely outside the lug's metal barrel, gripping lightly, until you insert the stripped conductor and complete the crimp. On heavier gauge wire, you might need to use both hands. Sometimes I will push the crimper's handle against a solid object, to give me more squeeze power.
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Old 30-12-2015, 14:15   #6
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Re: Ancor crimper rant

This is my crimper, with the red handles. You are talking about something similar to this, yes?

Apologies about poor quality pic. It was a quick phone pic to someone in the past.
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Old 30-12-2015, 14:17   #7
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Re: Ancor crimper rant

Some thoughts;

  • Butt splices are best spliced with a single crimp die tool not a double crimp die tool.

  • Double crimp tools, like the Ancor, are uni-directional; one side for strain relief and one side for the crimp barrel. If you reverse this the crimp will fail as one side is larger than the other..

  • Proper crimp terminals for a double crimp tool are three piece terminals and have a slightly larger OD than a butt splice will because a butt splice is a two piece terminal.

  • On a boat you would ideally use heat-shrink butt splices and these use a different tool, not a double crimp, than a three piece insulated ring terminal will. Heat shrink crimp terminals are not designed to be crimped with a double crimp tool.


  • The tool should be used with only the terminals it is designed to be used for. For the Ancor tool this means Ancor brand or Molex but usually insulated terminals such as AMP, Molex, FTZ, Burndy, Ancor etc. will work fine with the Ancor crimper. Off brand or cheaper terminals can have varying OD's and wall thicknesses and may not match that of a good quality terminal.


  • These tools can be calibrated and that should be checked.


  • Make sure you are using AWG wire not metric or SAE.


  • There are a lot of look-a-like crimp tools passed off as Ancor etc. that are not built to the same die sizes. Today most inexpensive crimp tools are coming out of China with hugely varying quality and die sizes that are all over the map.


I own an older Anchor double crimp tool and it exceeds UL-486A, NASA STD-8739-4 and ABYC -E11 on red, blue & yellow FTZ terminals as well as AMP. I would guess the possibility of a bad tool, wrong terminals for the tool, adjustment or possibly even technique.
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Old 30-12-2015, 14:19   #8
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Re: Ancor crimper rant

I guess I'm just a dummy. But after 40 years in the offshore underwater acoustics industry, reterminating thousands and thousands of cables and wires on sonars, acoustic tracking systems, sub bottom profilers, ROVs, manned subs, etc. I can't make this effing thing work.

It's the ancor crimper and ancor connectors. I just this morning added an additional LED to a circuit , and to get those two crimps done right I first went through four failed ones before giving up and grabbing my cheap no-name crimper. Same one I use to make up wire leaders for fishing.

Don't take this wrong, but I'm not going to spend a lot of time here discussing all the ways I've tried to get reliable crimps from this thing first time. Oh, I can eventually get a crimp, after trimming and re-trimming the short wire and wasting four or five connectors. But I'm giving up on this particular one. It sucks.
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Old 30-12-2015, 14:23   #9
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Re: Ancor crimper rant

Could it be an Ancor knockoff and not a real one?

I use heat shrink connectors and a single crimp tool from seadog. Not the absolute best, but does a good crimp every time.
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Old 30-12-2015, 14:25   #10
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Re: Ancor crimper rant

[QUOTE.... On heavier gauge wire, you might need to use both hands. Sometimes I will push the crimper's handle against a solid object, to give me more squeeze power.[/QUOTE]

There is a small but noticeable variation in both wire diameter, as well as terminal barrel diameter, among the various vendors. Not a great deal, but enough to make some crimps a bit tougher than others, hence the two hand method.

I glanced over the "butt" terminal reference before. Are you actually cutting and then extending existing wire? Not necessarily wrong, but you might want to think about that a bit, depending on your actual requirements.
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Old 30-12-2015, 14:26   #11
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Re: Ancor crimper rant

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
I was thinking similar at 2am this morning trying to solder an errant anchor light connection as the boat rolled like a pig in 25 knots and the 12V soldering iron can't be put down nor can the writhing LED and wire.


Btw my crimper doesn't even have a brand name...
I typically hold the end of the soldering iron my my teeth for those, frees up both hands to hold the wires and shield the tip from the wind a little.

The crimper that works time and time again doesn't have a name, either.

It's the $ 75 name brand Ancor crimper that's causing me problems.
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Old 30-12-2015, 14:31   #12
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Re: Ancor crimper rant

Klein Tools 1006 Crimping/Cutting Tool for Non-Insulated Terminals - Crimpers - Amazon.com

Only crimper I ever use but then I've heard they're not for boat electrical s for some reason.
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Old 30-12-2015, 14:32   #13
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Re: Ancor crimper rant

Quote:
Originally Posted by
Don't take this wrong, but I'm not going to spend a lot of time here discussing all the ways I've tried to get reliable crimps from this thing first time. Oh, I can eventually get a crimp,[B
after trimming and re-trimming the short wire [/B]and wasting four or five connectors. But I'm giving up on this particular one. It sucks.
Please don't take offense, but could you show us what you mean by the "re-trimming" the wire?

Just trying to understand why the crimps are failing.
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Old 30-12-2015, 14:43   #14
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Re: Ancor crimper rant

Quote:
Originally Posted by Canibul View Post
Okay, I read all the reviews and advice here and bought an Ancor double crimper and several hundred insulated butt connectors. I find myself doing dozens of connections in refitting this boat, and I thought having a nice crimper would make the job easier and faster and result in a better crimp.
I was SO wrong.
I've now "practiced" with this thing hundreds of times. And it takes hundreds of times to maybe get 20 usable crimps. This thing just flat doesn't work for me. It's hard to get the connectors correctly lined up, and the line up is critical. I've tried trimming the insulation off, I've tried pre-loading the connector in the jaws and I've tried every wiring twist and configuration I can think of. Still, after months of trying and literally hundreds of crimps, I am lucky to get one useable crimp after going through a half dozen connectors . I wasted 75 bucks on this thing, and have wasted a lot of time and effort trying to make it work.

It might be a great tool if someone was sitting on a bench somewhere with a spool of cable to work with, but trying to get a connector onto a two inch stub sticking out of a bulkhead, this thing is worse than useless.

What works? simple vise grips. Every time.

Okay, I'm done now. But if you think getting an expensive crimper like this will make your electrical work easier, forget it. Save your money.
I once did 250 crimps for a Practical Sailor heated salt spray chamber test. They lasted over 2 years, until the test ended and terminal blocks were falling apart.

I've done many more than that on boats and in industry. It is my go-to tool for 20 years. I've never had a failure, though about 1 in 20, if working in a tight spot, I slip and decide to do them over.

Be patient. You did not waste money, you just need practice. Perhaps learning the method at the bench would help. Or perhaps it just not your taste.

Don't throw it away; I bet someone will buy for a fair price. Good tool.
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Old 30-12-2015, 14:48   #15
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Re: Ancor crimper rant

Quote:
On a boat you would ideally use heat-shrink butt splices and these use a different tool, not a double crimp, than a three piece insulated ring terminal will. Heat shrink crimp terminals are not designed to be crimped with a double crimp tool.
What is the correct tool for heat shrink crimp terminals?
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