The Types of Wire Crimps

Updated April 17, 2017

Crimping is the process of connecting a wire to a terminal. Since this is where the wire comes to an end, sometimes crimping is referred to as terminating. A wide variety of crimps are available. They are classified by how they connect to the wire. Selecting a type of crimp will depend greatly on the application. A crimp used in your washing machine will likely not be suitable for your car.

Types of Crimps

There are three basic styles of wire crimps. These include the quick-connect, the ring and the spade. Each of these styles has a number of design variations that affect how the wire is connected to the terminal. In a closed-barrel style, the stripped end of the wire is inserted into a cylindrical end of the crimp. In an open-barrel style, the end of the terminal is shaped like a "U" and allows the wire to pass from the top down. Crimps can be further classified by the shape they make after they have been closed. Shapes include the "O," the "B," and the "U." The "B" crimp is most commonly used in straight wire applications. The "B" can be used in insulated applications as well. However, the "O" is often preferred and even required as it does not damage any of the internal insulation.

Types of Crimping Tools

The ratchet style and pliers style are the two basic styles of crimping tools. You can also find combination and speciality tools. Regardless of which type you select, the crimping tool will be classified as either cup to cup or point to cup. This refers to the teeth in the biting edge. Cup-to-cup tools form a small "O" when squeezed together, while point-to-cup tools have teeth that fit into cutouts on the opposite side.

The Four Rules of a Good Crimp

Crimping can be one of the most efficient means of terminating your wires. However, if it is done incorrectly, crimping will cause failure in the whole system. According to Molex, an expert crimping company in Lisle, Ill., the following four rules will prevent crimping problems:

"1. Choose the right connector for your application requirements."

"2. Use the crimp tooling specified by the terminal manufacturer."

"3. Properly adjust and maintain the crimp tooling in good working order."

"4. Periodically replace the parts that displace metal (e.g. conductor and insulation punches, anvils and terminal cutters)."

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About the Author

Based in CT, Bridgette Ashmore has been writing on a variety of topics since 1996. Her articles have been published in trade publications such as "LibraryScope" and "24/7" as well as topic-specific magazines like "ATV Rider" and "Side by Side." Ashmore has received numerous academic awards and possesses several college degrees—most recently a Master of Business Administration from the New York Institute of Technology.