Quick non-scientific crimp tests

Firstascent

Solar Addict
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Mar 7, 2020
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I did some quick testing tonight as I was noticing some interesting things preparing to crimp various wires for my solar build.

I started with UL listed components thinking that would give me a better chance at the right fit for each item.

Wire - 2/0 Ancor UL listed wire
Lug connector - Pandit LCA2/0-38, UL listed

The first thing I noticed was that with this exact config, it is a VERY tight fit, before crimping. meaning it's difficult to get the lug over all the fine strands without damaging them or a single strand falling out. It can be done, but it take some time

I did some quick crimp test with different setups and also crimp tools and was also able to borrow a VERY fancy automatic crimper.

The attached photo shows 4 crimps, in order from Left to Right, here are the info/results from each. All wire is the same 2/0 wire.

1. 2/0 copper lug, Crimped using Milwaukee battery powered crimper with 2/0 die set.
Perfect results. As long as you can get the lug over the wire without damaging the fine strands​

2. 3/0 copper lug, Crimped using Milwaukee battery powered crimper with 3/0 die set.
I tried this thinking I could see someone sizing up due to the tight fitment of the lug. This "looked" great, but with a little elbow grease I was finally able to pull the lug off of the wire.​
Not too surprising since the die is meant for a larger 3/0 wire. But could be dangerous, I bet someone out there has done this.​

3. Same 2/0 copper lug as #1 above, but crimped using a manual Greenlee crimper, set to the 2/0 adjustable die.
Perfect results as well, but similarly as long as you can get the lug over the wire without damaging the fine strands​

4. This is actually a 2/0 lug, but it's similar in size to a 3/0. I'm not sure why, it's not a manufacturing error, and I checked it against the specs on Panduit's website. This is an LCAX instead of LCA model, Not sure the purpose or reasoning behind it but they felt a need for it for some reason.
In any case, I used the 2/0 die from the Milwaukee crimper. I think it crimped ok for the wires internally, but you can see the extra flange/tab material on the side from the crimp, this is due to the lug being physically larger in size so the extra material gets pushed out​

I think next I'll cut in half #1 and #3 to see if I notice any difference in the crimp on the wire itself, but I'm betting they will look fairly identical.

Anyway, just thought I would post up my little test, I was bored tonight so if anything, I had fun haha.

IMG_0893.jpegIMG_0894.jpegIMG_0895.jpeg
 

MattiFin

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Dec 31, 2020
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LCAX is for fine-stranded wire "Can be used with code conductor and flex conductor class: G, H, I, K, M and Diesel Locomotive" and the reason is exactly what you noticed: fine stranded cable can be difficult to insert to standard lugs.
LCA is "for stranded conductor"
Die size is same for both LCAX and LCA

Some manufacturers recommend "hex +indent" crimping for fine-stranded conductor to get enough tight crimp.
 

Bluedog225

Texas
Joined
Nov 18, 2019
Messages
1,144
I’ve just started making my own cables with a Temco hydraulic crimper.

First problem I’ve run into is finding quality heavy tinned copper lugs.

Is panduit the way to go? Other “go-to” brands?

Thanks
 

MattiFin

Solar Addict
Joined
Dec 31, 2020
Messages
296
I’ve just started making my own cables with a Temco hydraulic crimper.

First problem I’ve run into is finding quality heavy tinned copper lugs.

Is panduit the way to go? Other “go-to” brands?

Thanks
Any of the color-coded &UL listed lugs look good to me.
Panduit, Burndy, Thomas&Betts, ABB, Morris, AMP/TE are probably some of the names in US market.

Here in Europe: Klauke, Elpress, Ouneva (and at least two standards, Swedish SEN in nordic countries and DIN)
 

Firstascent

Solar Addict
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Messages
212
LCAX is for fine-stranded wire "Can be used with code conductor and flex conductor class: G, H, I, K, M and Diesel Locomotive" and the reason is exactly what you noticed: fine stranded cable can be difficult to insert to standard lugs.
LCA is "for stranded conductor"
Die size is same for both LCAX and LCA

Some manufacturers recommend "hex +indent" crimping for fine-stranded conductor to get enough tight crimp.
Ah I see that now! Thanks, I saw those cut sheets before but "flexible" didn't click in my head as meaning Fine strands. But completely makes sense. Makes sense being that it is easier to insert with the larger size however brings up a lot of questions for me.

I compared the internal and outside diameters of an LCAX2/0 vs an LCA3/0, and they are EXACTLY the same.
Also, as you mentioned, both the LCA2/0 and LCAX2/0 use the same crimping dies, even though the LCAX2/0 is the same size as an LCA3/0, that is odd and creates issues when crimping.

I already tested using the 3/0 die but it didn't give a tight enough crimp, but of course fit the larger lug perfectly. I wonder if I crimp the larger lug first with a 3/0 die, then follow with a 2/0 die, if I would still get the extra flange on the side. I will test that today. I'm not sure what the "proper" way to handle this situation is.
As you mentioned, maybe hex +indent, I haven't seen that mentioned anywhere yet but also haven't looked for it.

Great info Matti, I appreciate it, give me more to play with now :)

I’ve just started making my own cables with a Temco hydraulic crimper.

First problem I’ve run into is finding quality heavy tinned copper lugs.

Is panduit the way to go? Other “go-to” brands?

Thanks
Yes as Matti also mentioned, you can't go wrong with any of the big names that are color coded and UL listed. They will all be stout, wait until you have one in hand, there's a lot of copper there :)

Personally, I went with Panduit because for me it was the easiest to get and at a "better" price compared to what I can get the others at. I did look at Burndy and Thomas&Betts as well. They will all be similar quality which is very high.

They are expensive (comparatively) so just make sure to figure out exactly what size(s) you need. Also, when you get into quality lugs, they offer different sizes of stud holes as well so you can really fine tune.
In my case, one of my cables will connect to a busbar which has a 5/16" stud on one end, and the device is 3/8", so I have a 2/0 lug with a 5/16 stud hole and another 2/0 lug with a 3/8 stud hole for a perfect fit to my devices.
 

MattiFin

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I already tested using the 3/0 die but it didn't give a tight enough crimp, but of course fit the larger lug perfectly. I wonder if I crimp the larger lug first with a 3/0 die, then follow with a 2/0 die, if I would still get the extra flange on the side. I will test that today. I'm not sure what the "proper" way to handle this situation is.
As you mentioned, maybe hex +indent, I haven't seen that mentioned anywhere yet but also haven't looked for it.

Great info Matti, I appreciate it, give me more to play with now :)
hex+indent: Elpress DUAL system

You could try 3/0 first followed by 2/0 die. Or partial crimp with 2/0 die (stop before you get ears) and rotate the lug before full crimp.
You could also try to crimp with 2/0 dies and stop when you start to get ear formation. (Do a pull-out test if you go for this route)

Ears are no-no on high voltage installations (10kV and more) as they create sharp corners that increase field strenght &cause corona discharge.
I wouldn't worry over them so much on low voltage installations unless you get huge ears.

If the crimping passes pull-out test I'd call it a day.
Minimum pull-out force for 2/0 is something like 300lbs and 750lbs for mil spec. ABYC marine spec is for toy connectors and only 50% of UL486.

04-Marine-Wire-Termination.jpg
 

Firstascent

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@MattiFin Yes I think that will work, I used the 3/0 die first, then followed with the 2/0 die. Initial visual results look good, I will cut it in half later but I don't see any reason this won't look good. and no ears so I'm happy about that.

Now I need to order more LCAX2/0 or LCA3/0 lugs :( haha

The top crimp in the photo was slightly misaligned, but the bottom crimp looks good. Both were done with 3/0 die first followed by 2/0.
IMG_0902.jpeg
 

HRTKD

Boondocker
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Somewhere South of Denver
I’ve just started making my own cables with a Temco hydraulic crimper.

First problem I’ve run into is finding quality heavy tinned copper lugs.

Is panduit the way to go? Other “go-to” brands?

Thanks

@Bluedog225 , you bought the crimper from TEMCo, why not the lugs? I bought all my wire, lugs and the crimper from them. I had great results.

It's not uncommon to need to use a die that isn't an exact match for the cable/lug. I had to do that for just one size of wire, the rest of them were exact matches. I thought that by purchasing all my stuff from one source I would minimize any fitment issues and I think that worked out well.
 

Firstascent

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Joined
Mar 7, 2020
Messages
212
@Bluedog225 , you bought the crimper from TEMCo, why not the lugs? I bought all my wire, lugs and the crimper from them. I had great results.

It's not uncommon to need to use a die that isn't an exact match for the cable/lug. I had to do that for just one size of wire, the rest of them were exact matches. I thought that by purchasing all my stuff from one source I would minimize any fitment issues and I think that worked out well.
True, that's been my past experience as well. But I was hoping sticking with UL listed components, even within the same manufacturer then that wouldn't be needed.
But in my test above, using UL listed cable with correct diameter/dimensions, and even using UL listed Panduit components (lugs with their recommended die) things still don't always play nice. this appears to become an 'issue' with fine stranded wire (from a UL listed perspective at least) since the 'appropriate' lugs are one size up but still have the recommended die that match the wire size.

I do think this would be less of an issue with smaller gauge wire, maybe anything smaller than 1 AWG? I'll be crimping anything from 8 AWG up to 4/0 very shortly so I'll know for sure :)
 

Zil

Just another ass on the web
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May 27, 2020
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1,832
For AWG4 and larger, I use Ftz lugs with a Ftz manual crimper. It doesn't work as well with Ancor lugs of some sizes.
 
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