RoadTest: Cool Tools - Molex Hand Crimper
Evaluation Type: Connectors & Cable
Did you receive all parts the manufacturer stated would be included in the package?: True
What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?: The molex crimp tool is comparable to other crimp tool manufacturers, however I believe in molex as being somewhat superior in design to others of it's type. There are pros and cons with any tool, but I was not able to find a design flaw of any sort that would have precluded my purchasing or use of this specific tool to perform the tasks it was designed and engineered to undertake.
What were the biggest problems encountered?: 1. Upon unpacking the device, I read the enclosed user pamphlet and then did an inspection of the crimp tool. I initially found it "locked up" so that I was unable to release the handgrip to it's fully extended position. The tool was already closed so adding a little pressure to simulate "completing a crimp action" should have released the grip to a fully extended position however, it did not. Further inspection caused me to use the jam release lever and some pressure was required to extend the hand grip fully. I then lubricated the points identified in the enclosed pamphlet and then exercised the crimp tool until free motion was achieved. The lubrication also helped to allow me to free the link to allow me to change the pressure wheel. 2. The 0-9 pressure wheel positioning was not easily identified as the numbers on the wheel did not contrast with the wheel very well. The wheel was black metal and it might have been better if the numbers were white or a brighter color. They appeared to be gray or off-gold in color and somewhat difficult to read. 3. For me personally, the physical size of the crimps were difficult to insert in the die most likely due to the size of my large hands and fingers. Small needle-nose pliers and tweezers were very useful in successfully inserting the crimp into the die. 4. While the tool can be used right handed or left handed, it seemed that disassembling it to reconfigure may have been unnecessary had the crimp locator and die been designed slightly differently. The locator easily could transition to the opposite side of the tool had the locator center hole allowed for the diameter of the bolt head. Also, I believe that if the tooling was slightly designed differently it would not need to be removed and repositioned. I believe all that would have been required to use left-handed would be to reposition the locator onto the opposite side of the tooling die.
Molex 638194400 - PremiumGrade Hand Crimp Tool for CLIK-Mate and IllumiMate Wire-to-Board Terminals, 26-28 AWG wire
I received the crimp tool in good condition with it's supply of crimps and a length of wire suitable for the 26awg-28awg crimp die already in the tool.
There was also a brief instruction pamphlet which described the tool, it's operation and maintenance, it's assembly and disassembly, and its use in good detail.
The package contents were labeled accordingly (except the wire size itself). I took notice of the date on the box containing the crimp tool. The date might have contributed to the reason that (as I indicate in the "problems encountered" section below) that led to my initial issues with opening and closing the handle of the tool.
Upon oiling the tool after being able to release and fully extend the handle, exercising the handle allowed the handle to operate as intended. Perhaps this particular unit had been in storage an extended period of time of non use.
I understood there were a variety of sizes to be tested in this roadtest and I was quite surprised with the ones I received (26awg-28awg). I had never professionally encountered the use or need for such small crimps, yet with today's world of miniaturized electronic devices I should not have been too surprised. It certaintly was a challenge to acclamate myself to handling such small crimps adequately.
Ten of the crimps were made each with the 0-9 force settings. Sufficiently forceful pull tests completed on the crimps and wires failed to disengage the wire from the crimp. All ten crimps remained intact and ohmeter tests continued to show continuity end-to-end of each wire segment.
This is the first crimp I made with the tool and crimps of such a small size and wire guage. It came out fine however, if one looks close enough, one might notice a slight defective crimp near the insulation crimp itself. At first I thought the wire had protruded past the end of the crimp, but it had not.
In the "problems encountered" section as indicated below, this is the issue I spoke of regarding the contrast between the force numers (0-9) and its visibility against the black metal background of the wheel. It's very dissicult to distinguish the numbers and which of the 3 numbers is the one actually engaged. Zooming in closer there is a concave arch on this side of the stationary handle that I presumed is the mark indicating the number setting. The numbers are barely visible. Is this a flaw in the design or simply this specific device which according to the packaging is over 4.5 years old and most likely in storage all that time? It's anyone's guess at this point.
I also mentioned the possibility of the locator to be able to just be removed and replaced on the opposite side of the rooling die to expedite switching from right-left-handed operation and the reverse. The next photo shows the opposite side of the tooling die with the locator for left-handed use. While the pamphlet shows disassembling the rooling die to place it on the flip side of the crimp tool, I could not see (other than a minor modification/engineerring change) to where the only removal and replacement would be to relocate the locator to the opposite side of the die.
This photo shows the "normal" side of the tool as it was received in the mail and out of the box. The previous photo shows the flip side and the bolt head which prevents the locator from simply beingtransposed to the other side without affecting the die or disassembling it and reassembling it on the opposite site of the tool.
First, let me express my thanks to element14 and to Newark for being selected for this road test. This being my first road test I believe it was very productive and has inspired me to apply for more road tests in the near future. Previously, I had been (2015) a finalist in the "Sci-fi-your-Pi" contest (Raspberry Pi microcomputer) which also was very productive, informative, and enjoyable as well.
Overall I like the feel of the molex crimp tool and its design and construction. Other than the mentioned minor issues I encountered with it's initial use, I believe it is very well made and durable. Under normal circumstances and regular maintenance as outlined in the user pamphlet, I feel it would last many years of use and remain as durable as it is today.
One item of mention is that I would have liked the tool to have it's own wire stripping blade built into the tool. Guaging the correct length can be tedious when working with small diameter and delicate wires and insulation.
I also searched online for various distributors of the tool andwhile I found some of it's pricing leaning towards the high end for the tool, I felt it could be somewhat less costly than it is today. However, I also understand that as durable as it is, it is/may be considered an industrial tool and therefore comes with a higher pricetag than the average consumer might be willing to spend.
As I stated earlier, I was extremely surprised at the physical size of the crimps, but thouroughly enjoyed the road test and learning to utilize the tool as engineered and designed.
Thank you element14 and Newark for the opportunity to explore and report and comment on this device and I look forward to future roadtests and contests as time permits.
Comments and suggestioned are welcomed by any menmbers or staff of element14 and associates.