Do you ever wonder how network cable plugs and switches are attached? Were you in awe of how the tiny cable wires are perfectly arranged in a straight line and connected to the copper conductors inside the plug? Well, a crimper made all these happen. What is a crimper, you ask?
Crimping 101: What Is a Crimper?
For you to know what a crimper is, you need to know first what a crimping tool is. A crimping tool is like a plier with a hinge at the tip instead of the plier’s teeth. Below the hinge are some grooves with an extensive set of flat teeth. Some of these tools even feature a wire stripper and wire cutter.
It is also essential to know what a wire crimper is. A wire crimper is a tool that presses two wires together with precision and in perfect contact without cutting them. Imagine making two wires hug each other tightly or a wire hugging a contact point.
Now, what is a crimper? A crimper squeezes wires together by bending and deforming them in a way that causes them to hold each other or take the shape of the crimping tool’s dull teeth.
However, some network cable wires are so small that stripping them to expose contact points will be too labor-intensive and presents a large room for error. Stripping wires manually can also expose more than enough conductive surface that may touch other wires and lead to malfunctions and disasters.
Why Use a Crimper?
A specialized tool, like a crimping device, prevents unnecessary contacts and give a reliable and tight one. Crimping tools can punch precise cuts in these tiny wires without exposing too much conductive surface. It can make enough conductive material contact without exposing wires with ease.
Excellent crimping tools also connect and attach network cables while keeping them airtight. This may seem a trivial feature, but, air moisture can lead to rusting and other anomalies that increase the rate of wear and tear of your network cables.
Crimping Versus Soldering
The SMDs (surface-mount device) and SMTs (surface-mount technology) prove that even the smallest pieces of connections can be soldered. Miniaturized consumer electronics prove this to be true and efficient. These SMDs and SMTs can be soldered by hand, and many people in the DIY community have done so.
Moreover, soldering requires a solder and tin. These bonds contact points together with the tin to make sure that the connection is intact and would not fall off easily.
Now, what makes crimping superior over soldering? Or is it the other way around? Additionally, how can pressing two items together be better than welding them?
If soldering bonds with a strong medium, then that secures connection. A soldering iron can heat up conductive materials uncontrollably. So, in essence, when the tip of your iron touches the terminal points, it heats up even the insulated copper strands. The rubber insulation can melt with the heat of the iron, and too much heat can melt the strands, too. Sadly, heated and melted strands can become brittle and prone to breakage.
Though soldering may seem like the sturdiest way to fuse wires and terminal points, lack of experience in doing so can lead to more damage or faster wear and tear.
A crimping tool will not need electricity. But aside from that, the true advantage of crimping is it doesn’t potentially damage the terminal points. A properly crimped wire can be screwed, latched, or attached to a terminal point without the need for welding the contact points.
The wires and insulation are not heated; therefore it is possible to maintain their durability. Compared with soldering, bonds and connection using crimped wires are as sturdy too. Accidentally pulling crimped wires, however, are easier to dislodge. Although, repairing can be easily given if you have the right set of tools.
Common Application Crimper
There are many ways as well as applications of wire crimpers. For each type of job, there is a specific type of crimping tool. Today, the most common application you may be familiar with is using it on network cables. Local area network cables and ethernet cables are common in offices and households. But even before that, telecommunications have been crimping network wires for ages!
How To Crimp Wires Like a Pro
Today, since there are home and office applications, the tools are more available, and the process can be easily learned through tutorials. However, a few mistakes can lead to poor connection. Here are some things you need to pay attention to, to avoid faulty connections.
Avoid cheap wire crimpers.
The goal of crimping network cables is to establish a connection between two or multiple computers. A high-quality crimping tool will give precise pressure, indentations, and connections for every cable you crimp. A knock-off may not be able to provide consistent results though.
Strip wires with caution.
Network cables are made of multiple coated wires that have jacket insulation. Before crimping, you will need to strip the insulation to expose the network wires. Only leave about half an inch of the smaller cables to be inserted so that the jacket will fit inside the connectors.
Double check the wire colors.
For ethernet cable applications, the sequence of the color would not matter much. However, if you are planning on networking two computers directly without using an access point, it is necessary to have the right arrangement of the cables.
Give it a firm press.
Every time you crimp a wire, make sure that you give it a firm press that closes the tool all the way. Don’t worry about applying too much pressure. These tools are precisely designed and graduated to make sure they always hit the right spot. Go ahead and give it a firm press.
Cable crimping is not a new technology. It has been used in many electronics applications! If you are not familiar with what a crimper is, we hope you have learned from this post! Now, before you buy a wire crimping tool, make sure that you educate yourself on how to use it properly.