Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Papa's got a brand new tool

After seeing my video of the crumbling power cables yesterday, Stein Bruch of SteinAir offered to crimp the terminals back on and get my power system back up and running. Typical Stein. But I had another plan. Stein carries the Terminal Tool, used to professionally crimp terminals on fat #2 (and smaller) wires and I like tools. So Stein sold a Terminal Tool today to a customer who realizes that having the ability to make custom-built cables may not make financial sense but does building an airplane make financial sense. It's also made in the USA and isn't it about time we start buying stuff that's made here?

This is a great tool. It's what SteinAir uses. "That tool is almost idiot proof," SteinAir general manager Jed Gregerson said to me. I take that as a challenge. Let's see.

This gizmo goes in your vice.

Then a dieset -- this one is for a #2 wire -- goes into it.

Put your terminal into it and tighten to hold it steady...

Strip about a half-inch of insulation off the wire and insert it into the terminal...

Then take a 5/8" socket wrench and start turning... and turning....switch to a long torque wrench and just make sure you don't go above 120 foot pounds. I chose to apply about 80-90 pounds of pressure, mostly because I'm not that strong. You can hear the little strands cry out...

Then add heat shrink tubing and apply heat from the heat gun and you've got a professional job. It's supposed to withstand a 50-pound pull. I don't know what a 50-pound pull is, but I couldn't get it to budge.

What I like about having the flexibility to quickly and effectively make cables is I can orient the terminals to the installation. Note the small ground cable above. The way I have it set up (terminals perpendicular to each other, will make for a much better fit in my installation.

Not only is it "idiot proof," you can drink beer while doing it.

Oh, that's my new dark green T-shirt. The best thing about living close to the gang at SteinAir (aside from the obvious), is when you drop in and spend money, you get to walk out with almost equal value in SteinAir swag -- two new T-shirts, a sweatshirt, and a replacement Garmin hat.

And two well-built cables.

1 comment:

  1. Hooray for the Terminal Tool! THIS is how tools are supposed to be made...