In my view, for safety and reliability, multi-strand copper wire should never be inserted raw into a screw or clamp terminal. So many times in the field I see wires twisted and stuck into a terminal strip or other type of clamping system.
Screw terminals can cause significant damage to the copper, weakening the connection and tearing off individual strands causing reliability and safety issues. Soldering the copper before insertion is not a satisfactory option, creating a weak spot in the wire where the solder has finished wetting into the copper.
This is where bootlace ferrules come into the picture. Overcoming the mechanical issues listed above by protecting the termination end of the wire, they make a screw terminal connection sound, satisfying electrical and safety criteria. It’s an economical and efficient way of solving a lot of multi-strand cable termination issues.
OK, so I have convinced you that bootlace ferules are the go. But the thought of sticking hundreds, maybe thousands of these little crimp terminals onto a cable end, holding it in position while terminating it with a cumbersome crimping tool doesn’t fill you with joy? Never fear, for I have the answer! Well an option anyway…
I have the Legrand Starfix bootlace ferrule crimper for your consideration. I have been using this crimping tool for about Five years now and I can honestly say that I couldn’t imagine workshop and field electronic work without it. Made in France from light and what appears to be very tough (to the point of brittle) plastic, it is a constant addition to my tool case.
Go to http://www.legrandgroup.com/ if you want to check out the company. They mainly produce products for the electrical industry and are based in France…I think…go to their history page and if you can work out what’s going on with this monster then you’re a better person than me! Of interest to Australian readers is that it appears that this monster consumed HPM in 2007.
So anyway, why do I like this crimper so much? For a start it uses a cassette or magazine system for the ferrules, which makes them real easy to handle. The ferules are lightly joined together in a strip, which then slides into the Legrand magazine that fits into the upper handle of the crimping tool. I would call the crimping application for low current or signal wire termination, with the supplied cassettes with the tool catering for Legrands range of 0.5, 0.75, 1, 1.5 & 2.5 mm2 ferrules.
And I already know what your thinking – the cost of being locked into the Legrand system…and you would be right, its expensive, but there are options out there for the ferrules if you care to look. And the savings in time and logistics, to me alone, makes this tool a worthwhile investment.
I have used normal crimpers with these ferrules and while it works, its cumbersome. Especially with the smaller ferrules it can really test the dexterity of clumsy big fingers. And it’s SLOW! Which is OK if you are just doing a few terminations here and there but if you need to do more than the odd one, it’s where this baby shines. It can get through a termination job with amazing speed. No good if you charge by the hour I guess. :)
I think the best way to demonstrate the effectiveness of this item, is with a vid. So it’s off to YouTube we go…
Pretty crappy “review” but I’m still getting the hang of this stuff so bear with me.
A few things I didn’t note in the video, one is the obvious; on how the different size ferrules come in different colours to suit the particular cassette. It’s all very nicely thought out. I don’t think I have given enough credit on how light and easy to use the tool really is. I can see manufacturing people (cabinet assembly etc.) operating this sort of crimper for long periods, and the light weight would be a lifesaver in that application.
One other problem I see with this review is that it looks like the crimper model shown here may be superseded. At some stage I will see if I can get hold of the new model but my intension here was to give readers a look at a variation to the generic crimpers on the market. There are options out there if higher than normal crimp volumes (with hand tool applications anyway) apply to you.
And just to sum up, this crimper is all about time saving. If your time is money, and you do a heap of ferrule crimping, then a look at the Legrand Starfix stuff might be worthwhile.
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