Questions about crimpers - hex dies needed for connectors and good cable

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wowcool

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I want to run some LMR400 cabling, and I found a lot of sources for cable, but for connectors, I want a tool to crimp my own connector terminals, not just N connectors but a variety of others too. Im confused with some of the crimpers that says it crimps n, bnc, tnc, sma, etc. and others that crimps xx inches or xx mm. I know each of the connector terminals say a N type male or female, has a barrel you you use the crimper to finalize the cable making process. But what Im unsure about is that can any crimper work, or do I need to find the right size that fits the type of cabling I plan to use, which is LMR400. For my buddy we will run a cheapr LMR240 i think. LMR240 for example, has 1.42mm core, 3.81mm outer insulation. Do I need to find a crimper, or hex die for that specific size? Or can a 3.5mm 3.0mm crimper work to crimp the N connector barrel onto to the cable? Or do I need a larger hex size over 3.5mm? I also notice the other type of connectors that you solder and its a different process to make the cable, but soldering is no problem, and I will solder both types anyways since I read that is recommended to solder the pin to the cables copper tip to terminate it properly.

Sorry for the noob question, its taking me weeks already just to look for the tools, and the majority are RG8 RG58 RG59, nothing for LMR100 and up, or RG3xx and up, 50ohms. The ones I did find didnt support LMR400, maybe up to LMR195 which is fine if it had hexes for both. I do like a variety of support for all LMR195, LMR200, LMR240, LMR400, LMR600, but main goal is to support LMR400 and LMR240 if that even matters for a connector crimper.
 

mmckenna

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I've got something similar to the 1505 kit shown on that page, and it is what I use when I do installs at home. so far it has done all the mobile installs just fine, and it will do up to LMR 400.
It should work for any of the standard connectors, even ones that have a crimp center pin. For less than $100 you get a good basic kit. Sure, you could easily spend way more, but I've found this kit works just fine for my low volume home stuff.

Now at work, that's a different story, we do LMR-400, LMR-600, RG-58, 1/2" and 7/8" Heliax. For the LMR-600 I use: https://www.tessco.com/products/displayProductInfo.do?sku=491577&eventPage=1
With some added on prep tools and dies to do the LMR-400 connectors. This gets pretty pricy, and if you are not doing this stuff professionally and in some quantity/regularity, no point spending that sort of money.

Soldering on connectors is nice, but when you are outside, on a tower, rooftop, etc, the heat from the soldering iron gets dissipated pretty fast, and unless you have a really hot iron, you'd have a difficult time doing those. I still solder some at home, if I really need to, but not often.

If you are going to be doing more than just a few of these, you should look at getting heat shrink tubing and a heat gun too. Some of the good LMR-400 and up connectors will come with heat shrink to act as a seal around the connector to cable mating area, and provide some strain relief. You don't need a fancy heat gun, you can often find them at hardware stores in the paint department for $30 or less. Get an assortment of heat shrink tubing for the size cable you will be working on too, it really makes for a nice, professional looking job.
 
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mpddigital

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For folks installing several connectors at home and not planning to do it on a regular bases I strongly recommend going with "Clamp" type connectors. The reason for this is simple. By the time you purchase quality crimpers and dies for LMR-400 you can purchase a good number of clamp connectors you can install with hand tools and a soldering iron.

Cheap crimpers and dies will work OK for a short while and can be picked up for 40 bucks or so. But you will also need a stripper for 18 bucks in order to get quality cuts. You can get them for as low as $12 sometimes. In contrast the crimpers we use for production run about $200 bucks each for the hand crimpers and $50 for the dies. Our press runs about $800. You don't need that.

Just grab some clamp connectors and make up 10 cables or so for the cost of a crimper set up. OR if you want to pick up some good used ones send me a PM and I'll try to dig up some crimpers and dies that would be good for a few years.

In answer to one of your other questions, all connectors for LMR-400 use the same size cupplers/ferrules so you only need one set of dies to make cables with any type connectors. LMR-240 uses a different set of dies that can fit on the same crimper you use for the LMR400.

Shrink tubing is good stuff and cheap but it is not weather proof. Get some good 3M rubber splicing tape or sealing pads to go over the top of your connections. Don't use cheap chinese "coax seal".
 

wowcool

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thanks for the help guys. i did buy a crimper and it supports lmr100, lmr400 since I wont be using it that much. I do want to crimp LMR240 and the crimper also have the size .128 or 3.25mm as well. Is that too small to crimp LMR240?

Also Im not going to buy cheap chinese cable, any suggestions besides Times for USA made quality coax similar to the LMR series? And the connectors, the sites I see doing a google search, most are quite expensive, like $5-7 a pop. Any recommendations for a USA company that sells them cheaper?
 

mpddigital

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You will need a new die for LMR-240. The die should handle all the 240 connectors and be interchangeable with the crimpers you have. To make sure check to ensure your dies are connected with screws to your crimpers frames. Most will interchange regardless of who made them as long as they are for the same style of crimper.

For coax, look for Times, Commscope, Andrew, Coleman, Alpha, Suhner, Draka, Teldor, and others that are non-chinese. Most of the stuff made in Taiwan is pretty good also.

We pay less than 2 bucks for connectors, but we buy them from the maker in 500-1000 lots. If you need 5 or more let me know and we will deal. We stock most every type for LMR-400, 240, 195, RG-213, RG-8x, RG-8u, 58 and 214. Our connectors are made in the US, Israel and Taiwan.
 

wowcool

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Yes i could use a deal, and I need more than 5, but a variety, ill send you a pm. Thanks for offering, I been digging around google trying to find a discount, and i can understand why people would buy chinese parts.
 

wowcool

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Hmm i cant send a pm, guess im too green on the forum. But i do recognize your name, because i looked at your site and about a dozen others. Ill contact you from the site
 
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