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Terminal lugs: Please help.


Jakes
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I should have asked this a long time ago.

My installation is done, but one thing surely got the better of me.

Some terminal lugs fit onto the cable like a glove, like they're made for each other. Others are a very different story. No matter how good your intentions are, you're in for a battle.

I've tried cutting the cable with a fine toothed hacksaw, tin snips, a thin bladed angle grinder, I even tried a knife of sorts.

You look at a 35mm cable and you sommer know: there's no way how that cable will go into that 35mm lug. I've tried only stripping like 3mm initially to make it less likely to separate at the end, I've tried holding the hairs together with a cable tie, I've considered sending the cable for a haircut.

80% of the lugs I had to do were co-operating nicely, but some of them gave me a hard time.

What's the secret?

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Amen Jackal, Amen brother. Bought the same tool for a few rand and my problems where also gone.

 

 

@Eugene. After seeing first hand, and smelling burn flesh (my own) on what a UPS can do to soldering in cable tips, not to mention the heat shrink, I do not and never will use soldering or heat shrink in, on or around cable lugs.

 

When that cable starts heating excessively, before the fuses go, due to a problem in i.e. batteries, soldering and cable shrink melts.

 

Been there, done that, got the scar to prove it.  :D

 

Soldering in or around cable tips / lugs, it is not a good idea.

 

Get the right lugs and crimper, not a vice either. Trust me.

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The days before crimping lugs, cable lugs were slightly larger and more robust, Cable ends were stripped about 10mm longer than the lug then smeared with flux, inserted into the lug, the lug was heated with a blowtorch and solder (solder stick) allowed to flow into the lug, a wet cloth was then used to cool down the cable and lug. A layer of rubber tape and then insulation tape to finish off. 

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Agreed Eugene.

 

My point is that when the cable heats excessively, the soldering will melt first, weakening the connection.

 

This is also one of those things people debate on. It ends up being your personal preference, experiences and beliefs.

 

After having read a lot up on attaching lugs to cables, mine is against soldering and heat shrink for I have seen (felt) how they melt.

 

Joke is, problem was caused by a internal fault inside a 100ah battery, showed the right volts powering a 280w load BUT after few minutes, inverter doing it's best to draw the amps from the reduced battery capacity, the positive cable joint overheated, heat shrink became crisp and shrunk further exposing the lug and the soldering used in the lug oozed out.

 

Cable did not get damaged, lug was however useless.

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Thanks for the advice. Taken to heart.

 

I have not bought a decent cable cutter, which seems would have solved the most problems. If ever I do another installation I'll surely buy one.

 

I did buy a half-decent crimping tool, which made life a lot easier.

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@Jake - pleasure. My frustration nowadays is a) I have cable, no lugs for the cable or B) lugs, but no cable for the lugs.  :D

And it happens every time the shops are closed. Ja ja ja ... bad planning but too much stock, issue, to little stock, issue.

 

@Eugene, worst I have seen is a guy taking say a 35mm2 cable and a standard crimping lug. He then melts soldering into the lug, pushes the cable in, add some more soldering, tap the lug lightly, pull at it a few times and then claims proudly that that is that, safe as it can be. (facepalm)

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I also installed a solar powered borehole pump at our place.

 

I did not have a crimping tool for MC4 connectors at the time, but I wanted to make sure that the cable/connector joints were good.

 

So I decided to crimp the lugs with a normal (red/blue/yellow) crimper and also solder them. This is out in the veld, so you use a soldering iron powered by an inverter off the TLB's battery.

 

After much sweating (I don't swear) I realized that the solder had filled the entry tube of one of the female MC4's. The male part couldn't enter completely, so it had a bad contact. The system couldn't produce the necessary power, and that specific connector was not the first point I started looking.

 

So we learn.

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I've also got one like the yellow "Budget range" ones in your link.

 

It cost like R750 from Rubicon.

 

A more expensive tool wouldn't have done the job better, I think.

 

It's a lot of tool for the price compared to an MC4 crimper, of which I also bought a "budget" one, but at 2.5 times the price. I see you can quickly pay north of R10k for a decent one.

 

Men and tools. A topic of note.

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I've also got one like the yellow "Budget range" ones in your link.

 

It cost like R750 from Rubicon.

 

A more expensive tool wouldn't have done the job better, I think.

 

It's a lot of tool for the price compared to an MC4 crimper, of which I also bought a "budget" one, but at 2.5 times the price. I see you can quickly pay north of R10k for a decent one.

 

Men and tools. A topic of note.

Boys and their toys ;)

 

I personally think there's a lot of "price fixing" on some of these tools, which are no where close to the sale value. They could be far cheaper and still do the same job!

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I agree re. price fixing. I agree re. cheaper methods.

 

But as someone once told me: An engineer who worked out the exact measurements of say i.e. a tool, he deserves their compensation. 

 

To which I answered: Until the rest makes a huge profit from his/her work.   :D

 

Respect the engineers, argue with price with the sales people and hate the corporations making the real profits.  ;)

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I agree re. price fixing. I agree re. cheaper methods.

 

But as someone once told me: An engineer who worked out the exact measurements of say i.e. a tool, he deserves their compensation. 

 

To which I answered: Until the rest makes a huge profit from his/her work.   :D

 

Respect the engineers, argue with price with the sales people and hate the corporations making the real profits.  ;)

The truth is, the engineers who design those tools and the engineers who build them don't get much reward, other than their salaries. And then the tools get mass produced so even if they were to get 1% or 2% "reward" it would have been huge. I have worked with many, many tools, in many different industries - you get good quality tools and bad quality tools. The design generally doesn't change too much. 

 

The "price fixing" comes in since this industry is still a bit "new", or rather "specialized", and since you're making money out of the tool it should be far more expensive. Surely, if a R2K crimper can do the job, the R24K one can do it as well? why should it be SO much more expensive?

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Surely, if a R2K crimper can do the job, the R24K one can do it as well? why should it be SO much more expensive?

Boils down to (short version):

a) What R&D process, materials and methods are used to manufacture the tools. 

B) Sales and marketing! - the better they market the tools, the more expensive the tools become.

c) And shareholders wanting larger profits for funding (a) having employed (B):D

 

Some tools are cheap because they are copied (no R&D) and manufactured using child labour.  :o  ;)

 

But the biggest single culprit: Human desire for maximum Profit.

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