Make A Clean Cut
The tools they have at the marine store are often dull and cheap. It's a good idea to clean up the end before you begin your connection. I used my Klein High-Leverage Cable Cutter's Part No. 63050 to cut this 2 GA cable and they work very well for this.
A Clean Cut
Good tools make nice cuts.
This Tool Also Works
Don't tell my wife I stole her Fiskars Anvil shears from her garden shed. These work amazingly well for both stripping the wire, if you're careful, and for cutting it. I have cut up to 4/0 but it is more comfortable cutting 3/0 and down. Costs about $12.00 at Home Depot.
You may laugh but these Fiskars Anvil Pruners are my go-to tool for cutting and stripping large GA battery cable. I go through about two pairs per year but overall they cost less than large wire cutters that also go dull and need replacement. They also fit neatly into my tool bag. I have found them on-line for as little as $9.00....
Strip The Wire
To strip the battery cable simply close the wire cutters around the jacket and make a circle. Do not press to hard or you will damage wire strands. If you look closely you can see that none of them have been cut. There are many ways to strip battery cable I just find this one, with a little practice, to be the quickest and easiest. I think the Fiskars do a better job and that is what I use mostly.
My only suggestion here is to use proper wire cutters similar to the ones pictured or use the Fiskars. In this photo I've chosen to use my Klein High-Leverage Cable Cutter's Part No. 63050. They cost about $20.00 at Home Depot. Chanel-Lock also makes a set that are slightly less money but nowhere near as accurate. Klein Tools are fairly high quality and will hold an edge for a long time when compared to products like Chanel-Lock. The right tool, for the right job, is always well worth the expense, unless of course you discover a real bargain like the Fiskars tool..
Using a set of Diagonal Cut Pliers or "Dykes" as they are normally called will not make as clean or as nice a cut, or strip, as a good set of cable cutters or the Fiskars will.
Test Depth = Incorrect Fit
This is an incorrect fit. In this photo I have stripped the wire and inserted it until it bottomed out in the lug. It's always easier to strip off more than you need and then cut to length. I went a little overboard here for illustrative purposes..
Test Depth = Correct Fit
Here I have trimmed some of the wire off, with my Klein cutters, and re-inserted it. The fit is now ready to be crimped.
Install Shrink Tube
This is more of a good tip than anything. Depending upon your battery lug and wire size your chosen adhesive lined heat shrink tube may not fit over the lug after it has been crimped. Simply install it over the wire before you make the crimp. I usually cut my heat shrink to about two inches long for battery cable as it comes in 12" log tubes from my supplier.
This FTZ Industries battery lug is industry standard black color code for 1/0 ga wire and is embossed with the letters E-A for the die settings.
This E-A embossing tells you the correct dies to use when crimping with industry standardized crimpers. The industry "gold standard" crimper for battery lugs is generally the AMP Rota-Crimp tool. While there is no standard that I can find for lug crimping tolerances the Amp is the tool of choice for many professionals. Unfortunately this tool costs well over $1000.00.
FTZ has their own tool, which is significantly less money, yet uses the same rotating die standard with the same letter codes as the AMP tool. I have crimped Ancor, FTZ, Quick Cable and AMP lugs with the FTZ crimper and it works equally well on all those lugs except Ancor. Apparently Ancor is now sourcing whatever they can get for the least amount of money and the tolerances are often out of whack to the rest of the industry. Their "heavy duty" lugs are also not color coded or embossed with die settings.
As you can see in the photo there are two positions separated by black stripes where your crimp tool is to make two separate crimps. In the picture I am in the position to make the first crimp.
Make The Crimp
Technically, with battery lugs, the first crimp should be made at the end of the lug closest to the wire. The second crimp is then made closest to the hole. I have done it backwards and never had a problem. This is backwards from the way industrial compression lugs are crimped. With industrial lugs you start at the stud hole end and work towards the wire. I have even seen some "battery lugs" marked backwards and other marked forwards. I guess if the industry can't agree why should we really care.
The reason it is suggested to crimp the wire end first, with battery lugs, is to keep the wire jacket distance from growing away from the lug. You're applying adhesive heat shrink so a little gap is no big deal.
I learned that with the diamond crimp tool you can get sharp edges on the non-rounded part of the die. In order to alleviate this I consulted with both FTZ and Quick Cable and decided to do two crimps in each spot.
Make the first with the lug parallel to the crimp head then, as seen here, flip it 90 degrees or vertical and make one more crimp in the exact same spot.
Doing this rounds over all sides making for a very neat and tidy crimp under heat shrink. While not necessary it does make for a neater and more professional looking job.
Round Side / Sharp Side
When the lug is crimped once it has two nice rounded corners and two pointy corners. By flipping it 90 degrees and making a second crimp you now have four nicely rounded corners to your crimp. Simple & easy..
First Crimp Done
Here is a shot of the first crimp after double crimping it and rounding all corners.
The finished crimp is well executed and well formed. The tool actually reduces the diameter of the lug similar to swaging standing rigging. The Ancor hammer crimper simply distorts the lug and puts a dimple in it.
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