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A few months ago I was looking for a crimping tool large enough to crimp 4AWG to lugs. HD and Lowe's don't sell them, NAPA doesn't sell them (just the hammer type, sketchy). I never could find anything other than very expensive ones online. One day I happened upon a battery dealer who sold a lot of golf cart type batteries and whatnot. I asked if they sold the large crimpers. The guy said "No, we don't sell them but I have a bench crimper in the warehouse you're welcome to use". It was awesome. I was able to make all the custom cables I needed with the proper size lugs at each end, proper lengths, etc. They even let me use their heat gun to heat shrink everything. The cables were perfect.

Fast forward to now. I'm living in the van, but I've left my city where the nice battery people would allow me the use of there fine tools. And I've decided to change my entire electrical setup, requiring a lot of new cables. I've run out of ideas as to where I might find a crimper to use. I feel like the answer is right under my nose. Any suggestions? Car stereo shops?
 

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It is under your nose. Go to a Interstate battery store and have them make the cables for you. I used small cotton rope to show the length I needed between eye holes, added a tag at each end saying the connector dia. and if straight or 90 and last a tag in the middle giving the wire size and if red or black. Inexpensive to have them make the cables.

 

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I am not a fan of hammer crimpers. I have seen lugs get warm under heavy load. I have also pulled cable out from hammer crimped lugs. It is difficult to get consistent results with a hammer crimper. Hydraulic is the way to go.
 

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What I used, It was a tool I had for work. A manual crimper certified to make crimps that pass the Electrical code.


You can get used ones for $100 dollars on Ebay
 

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I just bought a cheap crimper from Amazon a few weeks ago, works great!
Damm, I might have bought this one had I seen it a year ago. Mine is effectively the same but with metric markings on the dies. It just means a lookup is necessary. Yes, I know Canada is supposed to be metric. Instead we're just a confused mishmash.

I do wonder though if they're the same ones with the approximate conversions stamped on them. There are some 'tween sizes I'd love to have. I'd even make them if needed more often.

I did make a punch/die set for bending sheet metal. Someone will start selling those soon no doubt.

Otherwise it's a great tool for the money. I can make and modify cables whenever I want/need.
 
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Harbor Freight sells a surprisingly good hydraulic crimping tool. I have used one for making numerous cables over several years, including for my Transit van project.

Harbor Freight Hydraulic Crimping Tool

Harbor Freight Coupons

Always use a coupon at Harbor Freight. A photo on your phone will be acceptable if the the coupon number at the bottom is legible.

I agree with Boondox, hammer crimpers are not reliable, and have seen them fail on electric vehicle projects.
 

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I selected this set because it had a good variety of dies, and they are marked on one side with awg and the other in mm.
Actually, those dies are a bit different. Mine don't have the dowel pins. They just slide into slots in the head.

Are the pins just for locating/retaining or do they serve another purpose?
 
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Yes, locating/retaining.
When taking the pics I realized that the set they sent me is NOT the set that was advertised, so it is being returned and I will get a nicer set.

The listing set:
136497


What they sent me:
136498
 

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Fast forward to now. I'm living in the van, but I've left my city where the nice battery people would allow me the use of there fine tools. And I've decided to change my entire electrical setup, requiring a lot of new cables. I've run out of ideas as to where I might find a crimper to use. I feel like the answer is right under my nose. Any suggestions? Car stereo shops?
maybe a Maker space? I don't know where you are, but our local TinkerMill seems to be very well equipped.
 

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A few months ago I was looking for a crimping tool large enough to crimp 4AWG to lugs. HD and Lowe's don't sell them, NAPA doesn't sell them (just the hammer type, sketchy). I never could find anything other than very expensive ones online. One day I happened upon a battery dealer who sold a lot of golf cart type batteries and whatnot. I asked if they sold the large crimpers. The guy said "No, we don't sell them but I have a bench crimper in the warehouse you're welcome to use". It was awesome. I was able to make all the custom cables I needed with the proper size lugs at each end, proper lengths, etc. They even let me use their heat gun to heat shrink everything. The cables were perfect.

Fast forward to now. I'm living in the van, but I've left my city where the nice battery people would allow me the use of there fine tools. And I've decided to change my entire electrical setup, requiring a lot of new cables. I've run out of ideas as to where I might find a crimper to use. I feel like the answer is right under my nose. Any suggestions? Car stereo shops?
I needed to crimp several 4/0 big cables. I rented a hydraulic crimper from Sunbelt rentals. It was a brand new Hilti crimper and it was fantastic.
 

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@gvlive West Marine has hammer crimpers you can use in-store for free. That's where I bought all my Ancor tinned lugs and cable, which were decently priced and didn't have to wait for a shipment. The guy in my store said I could park out front and come-and-go as I please while doing the work in the parking lot as long as I inform the employees of what I'm doing.

I'm not a fan of hammer crimpers either, so I bought a hydraulic one off Amazon similar to the ones above. But it wouldn't effectively crimp 0 AWG and larger so I ended up going a smaller die size and pinching the lugs. I'm not happy with it but it works and they're tight and not creating heat so I believe I'm good.
 

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I bought the hammer crimper but use it in the vise. Total control of the crimping and low cost.
 
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