Monday, March 18, 2013

Wire strippers

A little while back, Drew posted an article on crimpers.  As usual, any article about tools featuring one I don't have sets me off in a bout of tool envy.  Like as not, it will cause adamant rationalization, and finally result in a trip to a place that sells the tool in question.

Drew's article is no exception.  I have been doing my crimping with a pair of pliers-type crimpers that I bought more than 30 years ago to crimp the 10-gauge 220V power terminals on a submersible well pump that would be installed 100+ feet below the water surface.  Now I'm gonna have to make that trip to the tool store.

But turnabout is fair play.

I noticed in Drew's article that he uses a pair of those stamped sheet metal wire strippers.  Like the pliers-type crimpers, these are OK, but there's a better tool choice:

These things are just wonderful.  They:
  • Strip any common-sized wire
  • Self-adjust to the wire size and insulation thickness
  • Require only one hand for operation (great in tight spaces)
  • Produce repeatable strip lengths

To use is simplicity itself.  First, set the little red stop to produce the strip length you require.  Insert the wire:

Squeeze the handles, and voil√†!  The wire is stripped to the desired length without nicking the conductor.

No tool is perfect.  Here are a few caveats to go with this one:
  • I'd say the upper size limit for this is probably 10 gauge wire, maybe 8 gauge if the insulation is thin
  • With very light gauge wire (28 gauge), sometimes one of the conductor strands departs with the stripped insulation
  • If you are stripping nylon-coated wire (TFFN/THHN), you will likely have to strip it once for the nylon coating and once for the insulation.
Now get thee to a tool store!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Drew didn't give us any close-up photos like you did - now I'm envious too.

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