Wire crimper

From Team 449 Wiki

A wire crimper is used to connect a wire to a connector/crimp in order to create an electrical connection. Crimping is the act of joining wires electronically by deforming/crushing them together.



Different contacts exist to be placed onto the wires- 15, 30, and 45 amp. 15 amp contacts are designed for 16-20 AWG wire, and 30 amp are for 12-16 AWG wire. Once the contacts have been successfully crimped to the wires, specialized housings are placed on the wires.


Connectors are crimped onto wires in order to form a connection. They consist of housings, the plastic coverings, and terminals, the metal contacts. The housings, as their name implies, "house" the terminals, which are the parts that make the electrical connection. There are male and female terminals in which a male fits into a female (housings do not have genders). Team 449 generally uses TE Connectivity AMP Connectors (ordered from Digi-Key) for 10-12 AWG wire.

How to Use

Crimping Standard Wires (Powerpole)

  1. Strip the wire.
  2. Find a properly sized Powerpole conact for the wire, either 15, 30, or 45 amp.
  3. If the proper contact is 15 or 30 amp, place it on before using the crimper. If it is 45 amp, put the contact in the crimper before putting it into the wire
  4. Keep the contact's flat side down, and insert it into the proper (labeled) slot on the crimper.
  5. Squeeze down on the handles until a clicking noise is heard. You don't need to go all the way down- just until you hear the noise.
  6. Take the wire out. Pull on it to assess the crimping- if the contact can come off, it was a failure. It is sometimes advisable to crimp again 1 size smaller to be absolutely certain of a proper connection.
  7. Once the contact is secure, place a Powerpole housing over it. As is standard, use a black housing for a black wire or a red housing for a red wire. As the final test, if the housing resists pulling and stays on the wire, the crimp was successful.

Crimping Standard Wires (Old Version)

  1. Strip the wire.
  2. Place it into the opening of the connector and ensure that the stripped wire is in contact with the terminal.
  3. Use the crimper and squeeze around the connector in order to crush it around the wire.
  4. Pull on the connector to ensure that it is firmly crimped to the wire. If it comes off, try again using another crimp.

Crimping PWM Wires

When crimping PWM wires, different crimpers and connectors are used. Team 449 uses female and male gold terminals with 0.100" housings ordered from Hansen Hobbies. These housings can be removed by lifting the flaps with a utility knife.

  1. Strip one of the PWM wires.
  2. Place it in the terminal. Ensure enough is stripped so that when crimped, part of the terminal will wrap around the insulation and the other will wrap around the stripped wire.
  3. Use the crimper to squeeze both parts of the terminal around the wire. Ensure that the rectangular part is not crushed in the process.
  4. Repeat for the other two wires.
  5. Slide the wires into the housing. If crimped correctly, they should snap into place.
  6. Pull on the wires to ensure that they are properly crimped. If they slip out, cut them off and retry.