Common wire-to-board, wire-to-wire connectors, and crimp tools



As someone who builds a lot of electrical things, one of the perhaps most unexciting yet fundamental subject areas is connectors. The range of connectors available and in-use today is trully astonishing. Big sellers like Digi-key/Farnell/Mouser literally have tens of thousands of product lines in their connectors category!

With so many different types of connectors available, it’s often difficult to know what to buy, especially when you’re buying for general use or “personal stock”. On this page I’ll cover some of the most common connectors in use today, and detail crimping/tooling considerations.

Every connector system ever conceived has its own official crimp tool, in most cases the cost of these is over and above what any hobbyist could and would want to pay for a crimp tool.

I personally own many of the official tools but for cost reasons don’t necessarily recommend them.

Engineer PA-09 and PA-21
Engineer PA-09 and PA-21

For the past 5 years this page has been focused on comparisons with the above tools. Note that I do not recommend buying these. They are expensive, poorly finished, causing contacts to stick in the jaw, and the scissor type action makes it difficult to get sufficient force on the wire part.

My recommended budget tools

My preferred budget tools: IWISS SN-2549 and Engineer PAD-11
  • IWISS SN-2549. It’s good for most medium sized power connector families on this page i.e. Microfit, Mini-Fit Jr, E.I., KK .156, Mate-n-Lok, .187 FASTON. It has a cleanly machined jaw, so contacts won’t get stuck in it. It crimps the wire and insulation in a single action, with the ratchet double hinge mechanism providing good force on the wire part. It tends to apply too much force to the insulation part, but one cannot have it all on a budget.
  • Engineer PAD-11. Unlike the PA-09/21 its jaw is cleanly machined, allowing easy removal of contacts after crimping. It is a little pricey but definitely wins for crimping smaller contacts i.e. PH, XH, Picoblade, SL, KK 100 etc.
  • IWISS IWS-2820M. A copy of the Engineer PAD-11. Not as well made but for the significantly lower price, it could be forgiven.

But of course the connector family you were most interested in is Mini-PV (a.k.a) DuPont. I have detailed a few tools to consider for these below.

What differences can I expect using original tools versus generic tools?

These are four main differences:

  • Single action: All original tools allow insertion of the contact and crimping in one go. Generic tools will often require the insulation and wire crimp to be performed as separate actions
  • Correct crimping force: When using generic tools, it can often be difficult to get sufficient crimping force, especially when crimping thin / small gauge wire into contacts . It is also equally easy to over crimp contacts, damaging the wire in the process.
  • Locator: All original tools have a ‘locator’ which holds the contacts in place during crimping, this means that your crimps are perfect every time. Using generic tools, it can be frustrating trying to line the contacts up correctly.
  • Insulation crimp accuracy: Original tools are designed to not piece the insulation, whereas generic tools do most of the time. This means that terminations subject to continual mechanical stress are going to last a lot longer.
  • Cost: Original tools are all extremely expensive.  Unless like me you’re happy to prowl eBay looking for deals on second hand original tools, expect to be paying hundreds to over a thousand dollars (USD) / £ (GBP) for an original tool, only to have it work on a single connector family! To rub additional salt into your wounded wallet, it’s not uncommon to find that the connector manufacturer has a different tool for every single wire size, each costing $500+

What’s wrong with just soldering contacts?

Before I get started, let’s cover this one briefly with a simple diagram:

Correctly crimped terminal
Correctly crimped contact

When crimped properly, the strands remain individual even upon entering the insulation crimp, making the chances of strands breaking low.

Soldered terminal
Soldered contact

When soldering, there is a very high chance that the solder will wick up the wire, beyond the insulation crimp, making it very vulnerable to mechanical damage. In this situation, it only takes a small amount of movement to start snapping the strands at the invisible weak point.

Soldering doesn’t have any disadvantage in electrical terms, only mechanical. That make this method non-viable for production use; except under very controlled conditions with connectors that are designed for soldering. This having been said, I would recommend soldering in scenarios where connectors are carrying significant current, and the manufacturer tool is unavailable (see below).

Load testing contacts crimped with off-brand tools

If you aren’t using manufacturer original tools, but your connectors are carrying significant current: Load test them before you leave them in-situ. If you think it’s going to carry 10 amps continuously, then test it as such. Manufacturer current ratings cannot be guaranteed if you haven’t crimped them with their tools. While many cheap tools may make nice looking crimps, correct force on the wire part is not a given.

Even if it tests good, you may still have future problems because moisture can leak in over time, reacting with the different metals in use, resulting in a meltdown. To avoid this, contacts can be soldered, with the caveat of less mechanical durability mentioned previously.

A loop of wire with 19A running through it. Inserted are two Mate-n-Lok interconnections rated for 19A. The pair on the right were crimped with the manufacturer tool. The pair on the left are crimped with a $10 tool purchased off eBay and are at the temperature of the wire, around 65°C. Note the significant difference in temperature at the wire ends and on the contacts. The pair crimped with the manufacturer tool remain significantly cooler at around 35°C. More details in the 6.35mm Mate-n-Lok section.

Below is an interesting graphic from TE, from this video. On the left a cross section of a “gas tight” crimp, typical from a manufacturer original tool. The graphic on the right is the typical result of an off-brand tool. It’s important to put this into context however – gas tight crimps are only needed where contacts are used near their current rating, are expected to last a very long time, and/or the consequences of failure are serious.

Source: TE Connectivity

Branded vs no-brand contacts

Back when I first started using crimp connectors, almost everything I built made use of cheap no-brand contacts with no particular care as to what they were plated with (not that it was ever specified anyway). Why waste money on name brand contacts when no-brand contacts work just fine?

Fast forward a few years, and I find that some of that equipment I built 3-5 years ago begins to malfunction. The problem was that I had mated contacts from two different eBay sellers with differing plating. The dissimilar metals in use corroded over the years ending in failure.

Attempts to save a few quid back then have now resulted in hours of profanities as all of those connectors have had to be re-crimped with name brand gold contacts.

If you are not on a tight budget, and building something that has to be reliable, and last – go straight for manufacturer original gold plated contacts . If buying Molex: 0.38µm “Selective” plated contacts are good enough (unless your creation is a life support system, or going to the moon).

Alternatively, if you don’t want to stump up for gold plated contacts – Tin plated contacts from known brands i.e. Molex / TE/ Amphenol / JST will last a lot longer than no-brand contacts.

Brass vs Phosphor bronze contacts

Phosphor bronze and brass are both alloys of copper, however with different ingredients. Phosphor bronze contacts are generally regarded as superior as they are harder and retain their tension for significantly longer. Smaller brass contacts may need to be re-tensioned after 5-10 mating cycles. If a contacts material is not specified (i.e. it’s a cheap no-brand type) assume it’s brass.

There are other exotic materials used in contacts i.e. beryllium alloy however these tend to only be found in very expensive contacts (for example genuine Mini-PV).

Mini-PV – (Amphenol – formerly FCI, formerly Berg, formerly DuPont Connector Systems)

Mini-PV Housings
Mini-PV Housings

Mini-PV is a 0.1″ (2.54mm pitch) connector first introduced in the 1970s by DuPont Connector Systems. Its contact measures 1.25mm square and features an elaborate bi-metallic design with a phosphor bronze contact body and a beryllium alloy spring. As the heading suggests it has changed hands a few times since then. They were most commonly used in computer equipment.

In subsequent decades its design as been copied and altered by other parties. The original Mini-PV family is still manufactured today by Amphenol, but is too expensive for hobbyist use.

Authentic DuPont Mini-PV connector found in the wild on a piece of computer equipment manufactured in the USA circa 1984. A contact is removed to show its distinct bi-metallic design.

“DuPont” Connector

Is a vernacular term for a type of low cost, low quality type of connector which resembles the original DuPont Mini-PV design, but is not manufactured or designed by DuPont or any of the subsequent acquiring companies. Its contacts are typically bent from a single piece of stamped brass into a box shape around 1.6mm square.

I first saw these copycat connectors in the late 1990s. I’ve not yet seen any equipment from prior years containing them.

De-constructed Mini-PV contact and wishbone spring (left) and “DuPont” clone (right). It’s easy to see why DuPont’s original design fell out of favour. While mechanically superior, a contact with two separate pieces of differing metal is very expensive to manufacture.

As for who designed them, and what they are actually called, we may well never know. Harwin are the only well known connector manufacturer producing this type I’ve ever been able to identify. Could they be the creator of the first “DuPont” clones? Today these connectors are made in countless factories in mainland China, comprising the bulk of what is for sale online, many of which are particularly poor quality.

These days genuine Mini-PV connectors and contacts are rarely seen, perhaps not surprisingly (not least due to cost considerations), despite looking almost identical to common “DuPont” clones, Mini-PV contacts/housings and clone contacts/housings are surprisingly not interchangeable.

Uncrimped Mini-PV Terminals
Left: Genuine FCI Mini-PV contact. Centre and right: “DuPont” clone contacts consistent with the original design first appearing in the 1990s, also identical in appearance to Harwin’s M20 line, despite being sold to me by a local distributor under a different name. Today there are many other variations of “DuPont” clones.
Left: A common clone housing. Right: Genuine Mini-PV housing
Left: A common “DuPont” clone housing. Right: Genuine Mini-PV housing

It’s barely visible, but you can make out the differences in the image above. The Mini-PV housing has just a tad less room for the contact, meaning that “DuPont” clones don’t fit. Inserting genuine contacts into clone housings doesn’t work too well either – they’re too loose and tend to fall out.

The headers Mini-PV mate with are sold under the trademark “Bergstik”. Top left and bottom right are original Amphenol parts, not that it really matters for headers, as they’re both of identical 2.54mm spacing.

Bergstik Headers
Bergstik Headers

In terms of Amphenol’s tools – I’m aware of three official parts:

  • HT-95 (HT-0095): The current Mini-PV crimp tool. A large, expensive, clumsy tool, which despite being heavy and not particularly easy to use, does do the best job of crimping.
  • Another tool I have seen mentioned is HT-102 which apparently crimped the male contacts.

The price of this tool brand new seems to fluctuate between high and extremely high. I have seen it sold for as little as $800, as high as $1600.

DuPont/FCI HT-95
DuPont/Amphenol HT-95
Note that it states “Property of” DuPont. This tool is so expensive that it was typically rented from the manufacturer at the time.

My one is an old DuPont branded tool, identical to the current one, which I paid a fraction of the price for second hand.

The current “Amphenol” version of the HT-95 is black and yellow, priced at $1400 (11/2020). A tad cheaper than the traditional $1600 asking.

I disabled the ratchet mechanism (and added a piece of string to hold it shut) as it has no manual release, meaning if you get a contact stuck in the wrong way during crimping, the inevitable result is a snapped anvil, which happened to me, and cost me nearly as much as I paid for the tool to fix.

There are two other tools for this series:

  • HT-208A: Historic tool for crimping 22-26AWG wire
  • HT-213A: Historic tool for crimping 28-32AWG wire

I am uncertain as to why DuPont manufactured two different series of tools for one connector family. The ergonomics of these tools is vastly superior to HT-95/102, but results are tiny bit rougher. If considering one of these I would recommend focusing your search on an HT-213A as AWG 28-32 is a more useful wire size for this type of connector.

If you do buy one, expect to have to do some repair work on it. I had to re-mount the spring and replace the original locator with a 1×1 housing on both of mine.

DuPont HT-208A and HT-213A crimp tools
DuPont HT-208A and HT-213A crimp tools

All three tools crimp both original and clone contacts just fine.

Crimping with unofficial tools

Crimped Mini-PV Terminals
From left to right: Generic contact crimped with PA-09, “DuPont” clone contact crimped with HT-95, Genuine Mini-PV contact crimped with HT-95

Mini-PV is the one and only light contact family I’ve encountered which generic tools such as PA-09 suck at crimping. As can be clearly seen above, the insulation crimp is a mess, often these won’t even fit into the housing.

Crimp tool upper jaw

The problem is apparent when we examine the upper half of the crimp jaw. The original tool is clearly cylindrical, whereas the generic is split, with the intention of curling each side around and back down into the wire again, which is most certainly not what we want for this type of contact.

There are (as of 2020) a couple of tools which have dies like this:

Recently marketed tools with cylindrical dies

IWISS SN-025: A rare example of a crimp tool with a cylindrical type die

Above is the IWISS SN-025 which is sold as being for “DuPont” contacts . I’m not entirely sure it is. More about it here.

Below is an example of a cheap tool specifically designed for these contacts (and some others). Read more about it here.

Why so many cheap contacts , and so few cheap tools then?

The vast majority of these contacts are consumed in a factory setting where a pneumatic feed-through applicator is used. From an established brand, these machines are very costly. Not surprisingly, the Chinese make their own, thus they have no need for hand tools.

A pair of “DuPont” contacts crimped with a Chinese made applicator

Male contacts


Above is a couple of types of eBay purchased male contacts. The DuPont designed tool I mention here do not take male contacts out of the box, so either they have to be modified or generic tools must be used.

I’ve modified my HT-2xx tools to crimp these, by adding a 1×1 housing to the locator mechanism:

Crimping a male Mini-PV terminal
Crimping a male Mini-PV contact

PH – (JST – Japan Solderless Terminal)

This 2.0mm pitch connector is very commonly seen in consumer electronics. They’re dirt cheap, reasonably compact but not so great in terms of robustness.

JST PH connectors
JST PH connectors

The official tool is WC-240.

JST WC-240
JST WC-240 (mfg’d by Wezag Germany)

The WC-240 is nice to use, but there’s not a lot to set it apart from generic tools for occasional use. I personally crimp a large amount of PH, hence the investment in the official tool.

Crimped PH terminals
Crimped PH contacts

Left: Contacts crimped with PA-09. Right: Contact crimped with Original tool (WC-240).

XH – (JST – Japan Solderless Terminal)

JST XH Connectors
JST XH Connectors

This is a slightly larger edition of the PH connector, except with 2.5mm pitch, and slightly larger contacts. Once again, mostly found in low cost consumer electronics.

I don’t use these very much but one advantage of them is height. The mated assembly is considerably slimmer than any other type of connector I use. It’s a shame the pitch isn’t 2.54mm – I would use them a lot more otherwise. That said, you can usually jam 2 or 3 (maybe even 4) position headers onto strip board if needed.

The official tool is WC-110

JST WC-110 (mfg’d by Wezag Germany)

I wasn’t going to bother covering the differences between this tool and generic tools, because they looked so similar, but lately I’ve been noticing something –

Left: Crimped with WC-110, Right: Crimped with Engineer PA-09

When we look at the crimps top down from the rear, we see that the original tool has beautifully curled the insulation crimp ends around, pressing neatly on the insulation without piercing it. This explains one of my biggest gripes with these connectors, which went away when I started using the original tool: The insulation keeps tearing off.

This problem is particularly acute with this type of connector because the transition from wire to contact is at flush with the top of the housing, so if there’s already a tear created by the crimping process – it only takes a few movements back and forward to create the above mess.

Picoblade (Molex)

Molex Picoblade connectors
Molex Picoblade connectors

Very small (1.25mm) pitch connectors commonly found on laptop and VGA card fans.

Old Picoblade crimp tool 63811-0200. Manufactured by Pressmaster Sweden. This tool has been replaced with a newer version (63827-1500).

Picoblade is a type connector whose contacts are so tiny that they are quite difficult to crimp with generic tools. The Engineer PAD-11 does well with these.

KK 254 / KK .100 (Molex)

This type of connector is produced by a very large number of manufacturers. For the most part, headers and housings mate and latch fairly well across brands.

Sub series:

  • KK 6471 – Housings
  • KK 6410 – Headers
  • KK 7395 – Headers (Right angle)
  • 08-50-0113 – Contact (Tin plated)
  • 08-50-0114 – Contact (Tin plated, Pack of 100)

The application most people have likely seen it in is as the connector for PC 2, 3, and 4 wire fans.

For the most part I don’t buy original Molex parts, with the exception of the oddball 47054-1000 housing and 47053-1000 header – both have the specially tweaked polarisation for 4-wire fans (pictured below).

Various KK.254 and compatible components
Molex KK100 crimp tool
Molex KK100 crimp tool (mfg’d by Pressmaster Sweden)
Crimped KK100 terminals
Crimped KK100 contacts

Left: Contact crimped with PA-09, Right: Contact crimped with Original molex tool.

I don’t think the result of the PA-09 is unacceptable, but it requires a lot of force to get sufficient crimp on the wire part, subsequently leaving you prone to then over crimping the insulation part, in many cases severing the wire off completely, and having to start again!

The official tool is a lot easier and faster to use!  it also does not end up piercing the insulation after crimping. If you crimp a lot of these like I do, I suggest waiting around on eBay for one to come up cheap, it’s worth it.

Unofficial male connectors

Unfortunately there is no standard male connector in the KK 100 family, but this hasn’t stopped a slew of unofficial connectors from being produced.

Compatible KK 100 male connectors
Compatible KK 100 male connectors

Above is a variety of Chinese manufactured connectors I’ve purchased off eBay and Alibaba which are designed to mate with KK 100 female connectors. They are only found in 2, 3 and 4 positions, because, these are the variants used for PC fans.

The quality of these is not comparable to that of the mating connectors, but perhaps this is not so surprising, given the intended market of these connectors.

SL (Molex), AMPMODU MTE (TE Connectivity)

Molex SL contacts and connectors

A common 0.1″ (2.54mm) pitch connector which is similar in appearance to Mini-PV, even mates with Mini-PV but is quite different in design, in that the retention mechanism is part of the contacts, where as with Mini-PV it is part of the housing. Not surprisingly, contacts and housings are not interchangeable. It is manufactured by both TE and Molex with some minor differences.

If I were to start over, I would probably use these connectors in place of several others I commonly use, this is because it is truly a “do-it-all” connector family.

With 2.54mm pitch, they’re good for breadboard, strip board and anything else like it, they have a reliable and practical wire-to-wire male connector, they’re polarised, latching and contact retention is very good i.e. in male housings they don’t flop around risking bending on mating. There’s even panel mounting options!

They’re not particularly cheap, but if not on a budget, well worth considering.

Molex SL crimp tools
Molex SL crimp tools. Left: 63811-8700 (Pressmaster), right 63811-8800 (Wezag).

From Molex there are two crimp tools for SL:

  • 63825-8800: AWG 24, AWG 26, AWG 28, AWG 30
  • 63811-8700: AWG 22, AWG 32, AWG 34, AWG 36
  • 64016-0201: Budget crimp tool (Works with SL, but not designed specifically for it)

From TE:

  • 91531-1: $850 !!!

The 63811-8700 is not a tool the average person would use as SL is not a particularly good connector family for AWG 22, or AWG 30+ wires.

Left: SL contact crimped by 63825-8800. Right: SL contact crimped by Engineer PA-09

Unlike Mini-PV which almost no generic tools can crimp properly – SL Contacts crimp pretty well with off-brand tools.

As we can see from the picture above we have a familiar problem of not being able to apply the same kind of force. The original tool is designed in such a way that a large amount of pressure can be applied to a small area, but on the Engineer tool this just isn’t possible short of jamming the jaw into a vice every time, which’d be a little time consuming.

CGrid III (Molex)

Very similar to the SL series mentioned above, except cheaper and lacking latching options. These are a good choice for those looking for something in the form of “DuPont” style connectors, but better quality, and unable to stomach the punishing cost of Amphenol Mini-PV.

The design of the contacts is distinctly different to SL. They crimp more like Mini-PV contacts with an ‘O’ crimp on the insulation.

If seeking a CGrid III crimp tool – the old version (69008-0985, mfg’d by pressmaster) is a better bet for hobbyist use as it often seen cheap on eBay and covers both contact sizes in a single tool. With the current offering two different tools are required. Coming into possession of this tool marked the end of my usage of DuPont clone connectors.

AMPMODU MOD IV (TE Connectivity)

Various AMPMODU MOD IV components

Tired of reading about 0.1″ wire to board connectors yet? AMPMODU MOD IV is yet another example, but one from the ark. The newest equipment I’ve ever found one in was manufactured in 1986. They remain in full production to this day, for some reason or other.

The housings are quite a bit thicker than most other types. The two row housing has the same thickness as a 0.1″ IDC connector. To me the only interesting thing about this family is the housing on the left. It’s got the exact dimensions and polarisation of an IDC connector. Quite handy when in situations when mating a non-IDC cable assembly to a shrouded IDC header. Agreed, an unlikely use-case. Beyond this, these are an expensive relic.

The old tool for AMPMODU MOD IV contacts

KK 396 / KK .156 (Molex)

Molex KK 156 compatible connectors
Molex KK 156 compatible connectors

Effectively a jumbo version of the KK .100 connector, this is another very common wire-to-board connector of which compatible connectors are made by a large number of manufacturers. Pitch spacing is 0.156″ (3.96mm). The most likely place you will encounter them is inside of switching power supplies, almost certainly on the primary side, and possibly on the secondary side too.

As with KK .100/.254, connectors with this same 0.156″ pitch, which mate with these are available from many other manufacturers.

There are two varieties of contact: basic and “trifurcon” – a special variant which contacts the pin on three surfaces for increased current carrying capability.

  • 63811-7500: Official crimp tool (This has now apparently been replaced by a new tool)
Molex 63811-7500: KK .156/396 crimp tool (mfg’d by Wezag Germany)
KK 396 Trifurcon contacts
  • Left: Crimped by Molex 63811-7500
  • Centre: Crimped by Generic tool (HT-225D)
  • Right: Crimped by Engineer PA-21
KK 396 Standard terminal
KK 396 Standard contacts

As expected, the original tool is effortless to use and gets absolutely perfect results.

Due to their larger size and awkward shape, they do not crimp easily with the Engineer tools (although it is definitely possible). I have a cheap tool (Model # HT-225D) which does a pretty good job of these, albeit not quite applying enough force to the wire crimp.

Update: Don’t use HT-225D for crimping these contacts. I recently had a few go up in smoke under heavy load, and it was because of insufficient force on the wire crimp. I went back to check a few others too and found those were also in a dangerous melted state.

Mini-Fit Jr (Molex)

Molex Mini-Fir JR connectors
Molex Mini-Fir Jr connectors

Used for 20 and 24-pin ATX power supply connectors, and for the 4, 6 and 8 pin +12V connections found in modern PCs.

There are several official crimp tools for this family:

Molex Mini-Fit Jr crimp tool and extraction tool
Molex Mini-Fit Jr crimp tool and extraction tool (mfg’d by Pressmaster Sweden)

The extraction tool

Sold separately (11-03-0044). If you’ve ever found yourself trying to remove already inserted contacts, you’ll appreciate one. Instead of potentially hours of uttering profanities attempting to extract contacts with sewing needles, the contacts will pop straight out with one of these.

Crimping with unofficial tools

Crimped Mini-Fit JR terminals
Crimped Mini-Fit Jr terminals

Left is a contact crimped with the Engineer PA-21. Pretty good really, about the same result as the budget Molex tool would produce, albeit with less ability to apply the minimum recommended crimping force.

On the right is a contact crimped with the original tool, the big difference is that the insulation crimp is cleanly wrapped around the wire, whereas on the budget tool, and on generic tools, the insulation crimp has ended up piercing the insulation, which is technically a less robust result.

Mate-n-Lok – 6.35mm pitch (TE Connectivity)

Also known as Universal Mate-n-Lok. This a type of connector I have found many times in whiteware appliances, typically on a high voltage, high current connection. It is also often seen in automotive applications, as well as for battery connectors on the RC scene. At 600V it is the highest voltage rated connector I cover here. Contact rating is 19A.

Its contacts are remarkably similar to the 5.08mm pitch Mate-n-Lok connectors mentioned below, but not quite the same. They’re not interchangeable. As you may have predicted, officially there’s a different tool for them too, so that’s another months spending money if you aren’t keen to crimp them with off-brand tools.

I keep a small stock of these for high voltage applications, as they safely handle a 230V 13A load (UK max socket outlet) without breaking a sweat. They crimp perfectly with the 91504-1 tool mentioned below, despite it not being intended for this purpose. I cannot see any compelling reason for there to be another sodding tool.

  • 58637-1: Current AWG 14-20 crimp tool
  • ‎926894-1‎: Male crimp pin (AWG 14-20)
  • 926893-1: Female crimp pin (AWG 14-20)
  • ‎1-480698-0‎: 2 position receptacle
  • ‎1-480699-0‎: 2 position plug
The old Universal Mate-n-Lok crimp tool 90296-2.

Contact extraction tool

Universal Mate-n-Lok extractor tool 539972-1

This tool is well made and effective. Extracting contacts from receptacles (pictured above on the left) is tremendously difficult without one. Unfortunately at $60 it’s not cheap. I got mine off eBay for a song. It also works with 5.08mm pitch Mate-n-Lok connectors pictured later on this page.

Crimping with unofficial tools

I went through all my cheap eBay tools on these. The one that came out on top is labelled SN-48B. The engineer tools aren’t suitable for contacts this large.

Top: Crimped with 91504-1 tool. Bottom: Crimped with SN-48B tool. Wire size: AWG 16 / 1.5mm

Not too bad of a result, however not quite enough force on the wire part, this is a bit of an issue under heavy load as the thermal camera image at the top of this article shows.

Mate-n-Lok (5.08mm pitch) – TE, Formerly Tyco, Formerly AMP

Also known as Commercial Mate-n-Lok. Not a particularly popular connector family anymore but notable as the 4 position variety of these were used on 5.25″ floppy disks as far back as 1976, they were also adopted on 5.25″ PC hard drives, CD-ROM drives and 3.5″ parallel ATA hard disk drives, plus a veritable arseload of other PC related applications. The two and three position varieties are sometimes found on very old computer equipment in design specific applications only.

This connector family includes a rather uncommon member: A single position housing. The contact’s circular mating surface allows them to swivel 360°

There is a hoard of different tools for Commercial Mate-n-Lok, Pictured below are 91504-1 and 91512-1 which crimp sizes AWG14 to AWG24.

Mate-n-Lok crimp tools 91504-1 and 91512-1. There are a few unlikely-to-be-used others too.

Key part numbers (AMP)

  • 91504-1: AWG 14-20¹ / 2x AWG18² crimp tool
  • 91512-1: AWG 18 / AWG 20-24 crimp tool
  • 60619-1: AWG 14-20 Female crimp contact
  • 60620-1: AWG 14-20 Male crimp pin
  • 1-480426-0: 4 position male housing
  • 1-480424-0: 4 position female housing

¹ Although the singe wire die states AWG 14-20, it’s more like an AWG 14-16 in practice.

² Special contacts with longer tabs are required when crimping two wires into a single contact.

Contact extraction tool

Commercial Mate-n-Lok extraction tool 465644-1

Is a piece of rubbish made of some kind of brittle metal. It broke about 10 minutes after I received it. I’m normally a sucker for a good contact extractor but this was a complete waste of $20. The Universial Mate-n-Lok (6.35mm pitch) extractor pictured earlier is significantly better quality, and works perfectly on these connectors.

“Molex” connector

Molex introduced a compatible connector (for the 4 position variety only) in 1983 imaginatively named “Disk Drive Power Connection System”, making them a second supplier of what was by then a very popular connector in the PC industry. Despite (somehow?) their name becoming the vernacular term for this type of connector, they have since exited this market, with all parts either discontinued or near end of life.

In practice it is unlikely that one would ever encounter a Molex branded connector. Where quality parts are utilised; Mate-n-Lok is the more common choice given AMP’s long term commitment to this family.

Molex original Disk Drive Power Connection System crimp tool, housings and contacts. Molex’s distinct “four eyed sunglasses” design can be seen here on the female housing. Male contacts and housings were discontinued 20 or more years ago, were eye-wateringly expensive when they were made, and are almost never seen in the wild.

Molex contacts have a special retention feature for the locator in the tool, which makes both the tool and the contacts incompatible with anything else. Male Molex contacts are larger at the throat than other makes, meaning they fit very tightly in the housing, so one does not have to manually line up the pins before mating, however because of this they do not interchange with other branded parts. Unless like me you have a propensity for collecting crimp tools and connectors I would not recommend attempting to obtain any of the above.

Crimping with unofficial tools

The IWISS SN-2549 does a good job of crimping Mate-n-Lok.

Mini-Fit Sr (Molex)

Mini-Fit Sr connectors
Mini-Fit Sr connectors

A commonly used heavy (50 amp) power connector. It has no frequent consumer uses, but is often used industrially for battery connectors, chargers, large motor controllers, DC power supplies etc.

Despite the similarity of the name to Mini-Fit Jr, that’s about where it ends – these connectors are bigThey would make a very a reliable replacement for cigar plugs in marine/automotive applications.

There are three official crimp tools for this family:

Given the amount of force required to crimp these, I’m doubtful there is much in the way of good unofficial crimp tools. Even with 63811-1600 – large enough to bludgeon someone to death with, crimping requires significant elbow grease.

Half measures aren’t generally a good idea when you’re dealing with something that carries the kind of power these are designed for. If you don’t have the tool, I would suggest carefully soldering contacts – unless you’re looking to start a fire. Mini-Fit Sr contacts are near impossible to reliably manually crimp with pliers.

Mini-Fit Sr crimp tool 63811-1600 (Right) next to Mini-Fit Jr
Mini-Fit Sr crimp tools 63811-3800 (top) 63811-1500 (middle) and 63811-1600 (bottom). All mfg’d by Wezag Germany.

Mini-FIt Sr in recent years has become my go-to for big DC power connections. The one gripe I have is that in the case of the AWG8 contacts – Molex appeared to have forgone the possibility of an insulation crimp. Instead those larger contacts are crimped entirely onto the wire, leaving nothing restraining the insulation, which isn’t as robust as what we end up with on AWG10+ sized contacts.

The AWG 14/16 tool understandably requires smaller contacts. I find it a little difficult to insert the contacts into the tool, so not so great for usability, In any case, these wire sizes are far too puny for the monster size and carrying capacity of these connectors. If you are using AWG 14/16,  it’s because everything else in your system uses a bigger size, and you want something smaller on this one particular occasion. That can make splashing out on this tool hard to justify.

AWG 10/12 are the optimum wire sizes for Mini-Fit Sr.

Crimped Mini-Fit Sr terminals
Crimped Mini-Fit Sr contacts
Mini-Fit Sr Extraction tool
Mini-Fit Sr Extraction tool

Micro-Fit (Molex)

Molex Micro-Fit connectors
Molex Micro-Fit connectors

These look identical to Mini-Fit Jr, but quite a bit smaller. Not often seen in consumer products but has occasional use in small ‘DC’ / ITX / Automotive PC power supply applications. I’ve also seen them in other unusual applications such as the connector on the DC end of the plug pack for HP Printers and Cisco routers.

Molex Micro-Fit crimp tool and extraction tool
Molex Micro-Fit crimp tool and extraction tool

The extraction tool

Similar in appearance to the Mini-Fit Jr extraction tool, but used quite differently. Read the manual.

Microfit 3.0 contacts crimp fairly well with generic tools:

Left: Crimped with Engineer PA-09 Right: Crimped with original tool
Left: Crimped with Engineer PA-09 Right: Crimped with original tool

As always when using generic tools, results are usable but not entirely ideal. The insulation crimp has clearly pierced the insulation, meaning it would be at risk of tearing under mechanical stress. Another issue I noticed is that the contact ends up bent vertically a little too, due to the awkward un-crimped shape of the contact. This means that you’ll have to bend each contact straight again before insertion into the housing.

Due to their small size and high current capacity, these have become one of my favourite connectors.

Milligrid (Molex)

Molex Milligrid connectors
Molex Milligrid connectors

2.0mm pitch. Was used by parallel ATA laptop hard disks. Has a few current uses i.e. USB 3.0 internal headers. Compatible connectors are manufactured by many other companies.

.250 FASTON, .187 FASTON – TE Connectivity

“Proper” FASTON contacts. 0.187″ (top). 0.25″ (bottom)

PIDG terminals a bit too cheap for you? Fear not…

FASTON is a proper connector family, yielding very professional looking terminations, with a proper $1600 tool to match. They crimp OK in common tools like the SN-48B tools for wire sizes AWG18+.

A variety of FASTON Crimp tools. 90180-1 is the old crimp tool for .187 contacts. Also shown is an older example the current $1600 90165-1 .250 tool.

Annoyingly (and predictably) there is a brace of different tools for FASTON contacts, for example, there are at least four tools for .250 contacts, and .187 contacts have a different tool too (91509-1). I don’t have it. The IWISS SN-2549 crimps these very nicely. Male “tab” contacts require the massive AWG10-14 tool due to the material thickness. I use my Mini-Fit Sr 63811-1600 tool for these.

  • 41274: 0.250″ AWG 14-18 Female contact
  • 63609-2: 0.250″ AWG 18-22 Female contact
  • 1-170823-8: 0.250″ Clear sleeve
  • 41412: 0.250″ Male tab contact (requires a large AWG 10/12 tool to crimp)
  • 61758-2: 0.187″ Female contact
  • 1-170823-3: 0.187″ Clear sleeve

E.I. – Economical Interconnect – TE, Formerly Tyco, Formerly AMP

AMP E.I. Connectors
AMP E.I. Connectors

E.I. is most commonly known by its 4 position variant which became the de-facto standard power connection for PC 3 ½” floppy drives, and various other peripherals which installed into 3 ½” drive bays.

Despite its ostensible obsolescence by its original floppy drive use-case, this type of connector lives on as a sundry power connection for a variety of items which people install into their PCs requiring only a small amount of power.  Contemporary power supplies still also include this type of connector and adapters to it from other types of connector are still sold in reasonable quantities. Unless some kind of new standardised power connection surfaces which meets this need, it isn’t going away. Clearly someone is still using the other types for some unknown purpose as well, as this product line and all its variants remain in full production.

Economical Interconnect crimp tool 91556-1

There is a swag of different tools for E.I. as one would expect for an AMP connector family, but the one most commonly used is 91556-1 which crimps AWG 20-26 wire, with the corresponding sized contacts.

Molex 90331/8619 series

Molex 90331/8619 connectors
Molex 90331/8619 connectors

The IBM PC 5150 was the first type of computer to use a connector compatible with these for the power supply connection to the mainboard, and also internally inside the power supply – but from a different manufacturer. I have not been able to identify who originally marketed this type of connector. They were used for the power supply to mainboard connection for PCs up to the Pentium I era. Starting around 1998 they were gradually replaced by Mini-Fit Jr connectors, which are specified in the ATX standard.

The original series came in a number of different positions. On this page I show an obscure 4 position example from the original mystery manufacturer – “P4” which was used for the AC Fan.

Molex only ever produced a 6 position variety of this connector, as this was the only one which came to be incorporated into the XT/AT standard.

The most useful housing is 90331-0001 which comes with all polarising ribs attached, allowing one to snip off the remainder to achieve the desired polarisation. Unfortunately for anyone needing them, they’re now rather difficult to come by.

Sub series

  • 8619: PCB Headers
  • 90331: Housings
  • 2478: Crimp contacts
  • 63811-7500: Official crimp tool

AMPLIMITE – TE, Formerly Tyco, Formerly AMP

There are quite a few manufacturers of crimp D-Sub connectors. I ended up with the tools for these from a job lot, so that’s what I’ve mentioned here. D-Sub’s are normally soldered, however there are some scenarios where it is desirable to crimp them:

  • Where large numbers of connectors are terminated by hand – crimping is easier
  • In applications of significant mechanical stress – crimped terminations are more robust
  • In my case – I can’t be bothered with backshells most of the time, and found that even heat-shrink covered terminations were constantly breaking, so switched to crimping, resulting in easier-to-make longer-lasting cable assemblies.

Example part numbers:

  • 66683-4: Female contact
  • 66682-4: Male contact
  • 205203-3: Female housing size E / 9 position
  • 205204-4: Male housing size E / 9 position

There is a plenitude of current and former crimp tools for these connectors, supporting various different wire sizes, as well as contacts with and without insulation support.

Two of the many AMPLIMITE hand crimp tools. I have others too, which I’ll probably never use.

Unsurprisingly the current tools are very expensive. eBay is awash with the older tools for reasonable prices. Unless working with large wire sizes, 90374-1 is probably the only one worth bothering with. The 90265-1 tool I’ve pictured is for contacts which don’t have an insulation support. I am unsure why anyone would choose such an arrangement.

In terms of crimping these with budget tools, there’s nothing particularly special about them. Tools like the Engineer PAD-11 will suffice for hobbyist applications.

The only budget tools I use

IWS-02B and SN-2546B. Two handy tools I don’t use for their intended purpose

Pictured above are the only two generic tools I that I still use (since I have the manufacturer tools for everything else).

I use the SN-2546B for “fixing” insulation crimps which I’m not happy with, for example, all of the FASTON tools crimp the insulation too lightly on smaller wire sizes, so I re-crimp those with this tool afterwards if needed. It’s not designed for this, but having a set of single large dies, it works well for it.

The IWS-02B is designed for “buckle” crimps (un-insulated wire joiners), but I found it does very nice crimps on pre-insulated contacts:

Top: “Yellow” fork contact crimped in the IWS-02B (insulation has to be removed first). Bottom: Crimped in the “yellow” die of a generic pre-insulated terminal crimp tool (insulation removed after crimping).
Above two crimps, cut open

The above image demonstrates why I’ve abandoned my pre-insulated crimp terminal tool. When I cut open the contact crimped with the IWS-02B, contact and wire are crimped nicely into a solid mass of copper. I then finish this with a layer of glue-lined heat-shrink, making an inexpensive but excellent termination.

When I cut open the contact crimped with the recommended tool, all of the wire strands fell out. Hardly a termination I feel I could trust.

You’ve got a type of connector which I haven’t listed here

Over the years I have received hundreds of emails from people asking me to identify obscure connectors. I didn’t know what any of them were. In summary: If it’s not here, I don’t know what it is. I would have to spend hours looking through thousands of pictures of connectors on re-sellers websites to identify it. I do not have time for this!

From time to time I come across obscure rarely used connectors too. Because we live in a world where there are tens of thousands of different types if connectors, it can take (even me) days to identify these. My general approach is to measure the pitch between the contacts with calipers. You should be able to work out its spacing i.e. 1.0mm 1.5mm 0.1″ 0.2″ (2.54mm, 5.08mm) etc. Enter this measurement as well as the number of contacts (any other visibly obvious features) into either Mouser or Digi-key’s parametric search on their connectors category. You may just find it.

145 thoughts on “Common wire-to-board, wire-to-wire connectors, and crimp tools

  1. Many thanks for taking the trouble to make this publicly available. The range of connectors available is just bewildering and the naming inconsistent so this is very helpful

  2. This was extremely helpful. Thanks for putting this together. I had browsed digi-key’s site and was overwhelmed by the variety. Your introduction to connectors was a great find.

  3. I echo the previous comments. I have had cause to start working with some of these connector types recently; I was utterly bemused at the enormous range of products and tools on the market, to say nothing of the confusing names and terminology used, so this article has been very helpful indeed. Many thanks for taking the time to put it together.

  4. like the above comments:
    excellent guide, I appreciate you taking your time to o such a comprehensive article.
    Others found on the net can be quite cryptic and incomplete.
    I just picked up a Berg HT-47 for 50$ incl. shipping on Ebay, since generic tools doesn’t seem to cut it.
    hopefully it’ll do the job as well as the HT-95.

  5. Thanks a lot.
    I’ve been researching for a while about this connectors and tools and your’s is, by far, the most complete and informative post I’ve found.
    I was looking for a budget “universal” crimping tool (or two) that I could use to start making my own connectors.
    Looks like the Engineer tools are the ones to look at. The other brand I’ve found interesting was KS Tools, models 115.1440 and 115.1450, but I haven’t found any review about them.

  6. As said before, this was extremely helpful. I’m working on a tiny project to add a couple of contacts on the rear of my desktop that will be wired to the power switch on my motherboard, allowing for general switching needs, but I couldn’t for the life of me find the correct search terms to find the right connectors on *generic chinese webshop* for the motherboard headers. Turned out to be DuPont, thanks for helping out!
    Also enjoyed reading the rest of the article, you have an enjoyable writing style.

  7. 3 position Mini-PV plugs are used for most hobby servos btw. (some servos use what I think is a JST-RE connector which will mate with Mini-PV but uses a slightly different pin and housing design) Futaba uses a Mini-PV variant with a polarizing flange on one side of the housing (the pins are the same the only difference is the flange on the housing) The funny thing is that tracking down the identity of this connector was actually pretty hard, and most people in the R/C hobby don’t know the true identity of this connector or what the proper crimping tool for it is (it took me ages to track this down)

  8. MPI (a company that sells R/C stuff) sells servo plug kits using the “double D” type pins I was talking about earlier, they look like Mini-PV but they have an insulation and conductor crimp with square “wings” and will crimp correctly with double D type crimpers. I don’t think these are real JST-RE connectors rather I think they are a chinese knockoff, for one thing JST-RE doesn’t have an official male pin. I’ve noticed that a lot of R/C hobby servos now use these instead of the Mini-PV knockoff.

  9. Have you ever come across TE Connectivity connector systems? I liked the look of their Power Triple Lock connectors so bought a bunch of different plug housings and crimps. Unfortunately the crimps are not suitable for the HT-225D crimper, my only tool. TE’s tool costs over $1000 as far as I can tell although I can’t really work out if you can buy the die separately and get a 2nd hand “structure only” tool?

    1. In this day and age it is quite difficult not to come across TE. They do now own several of the families I have listed on this blog.

      Most of the stuff I’ve listed on here is made by several manufacturers. Connectors like what you’ve mentioned are still in patent and only made by the one company. Of course, when dealing with such systems, it will not be cheap and therefore not really in the ‘hobby’ realm.

  10. Sorry I’m back again (even when I try and Google an answer your page comes up the top).

    I’ve literally been looking for a couple of weeks for 2.54mm (breadboard compatible) connector system that is suitable for both wire-to-board and wire-to-wire connections. I do a lot of breadboard and low power robot projects and am looking for a good connector system to justify the invest in a crimping tool. I’m trying to satisfy these requirements:

    – Small header for board socket, 6 to 8 mm,
    – Locking mechanism,
    – Crimp Contacts,
    – Supports 22 AWG wire.
    – Price, 2 position plug & socket less than USD1 each.

    The only thing I’ve found that matches the first 4 are the AMPMODU MTE family from TE. But some of the parts such as the 2 position connector are a USD1.65 each.

    I’ve looked over the JST ranges: XA, XH, SM, PH & RCY but they see to be W2B only.

    Is there anything out there??

    1. Molex SL will satisfy your requirements – not sure about AWG22. That might be pushing it. Will definitely do AWG24.

      Quite similar to Mini-PV but has different crimp tool, housings and contacts.

      I thought about buying into SL a few years back but realistically couldn’t justify it.

        1. When I say ‘Generic’ I guess I also infer readily available and inexpensive.

          Probably not worth considering then. Genuine tools come up cheap on eBay fairly often.

  11. Harwin makes their own version of the Mini PV connectors that they call M20 connectors. they also have their own crimp tool for them called Z20-320 which is “reasonably” priced at $445

  12. Just found another tool for Mini PV pins, the Berg HT-114, it’s an odd looking tool, apparently a set of wire cutters with an 22-26AWG Mini PV crimp die built into the handle.

  13. Seems there is actually an official tool for crimping the male terminals after all, the HT-102. I’ve seen these with Berg branding so it’s not a recent thing either.

  14. And there’s the HT-73 which is for crimping Mini-PV terminals onto 18-20AWG wire. How you’d fit an 18 AWG wire into a Mini-PV housing I don’t know, 20 AWG would just barely fit, some hobby servos come with 20AWG leads.

  15. Also FCI Amphenol makes large wire (18-20AWG) and small wire (28-32AWG) versions of the Mini PV crimp terminals as well as multiple versions of each type that have differing insertion force ratings. Again I have no idea how you’re supposed to fit an 18AWG wire into a Mini-PV housing, it seems like it wouldn’t go in unless there’s a large wire version of the housings (which I haven’t been able to find)

    Anyway this page shows the different terminals with part numbers in an organized table.

    1. Good find – I’ll order some large contacts.

      I have a spool of #18 thinwall insulated wire, rated UL1061.
      Insulation measures 0.064″. That’s close to generic #22 insulated wire I have which measures 0.060″.

      Anyhow, the #18 Insulation slips into a ‘clone’ Mini-PV shell with clearance.

  16. Matt, great info, which I’ve used to firm up some of my own which is currently a work in progress at OCN PC Crimping Part Numbers.

    See the info I added this evening about Disk Drive Power Connection System (Molex) which are still being used in most ATX PSUs. which are currently available as TE parts.

    Btw, got me an HT-208a in fantastic condition a few days ago; found it on eBay for just over $50 US, including shipping.

  17. Thank you for all this great information! It’s helped me figure out different contact systems. I originally was wondering how to crimp those DuPont style connectors and since reading this last year, I’ve now got a HT-102, HT-95 and a HT-208. Though between the 95 and 102, the crimp anvil on the 102 for the contacts is too long for the DuPont style connectors and crushes them.

    I’ve decided I’m going to give that knipex 97 49 44 a try as well since I saw it floating around on Amazon for $37 bucks. Worth a shot if it’ll fit into my paladin crimp handles.

  18. Matt – what an excellent resource!

    Re: Generic crimpers with round insulation crimp dies, for Mini-PV:

    Hozan crimper models P-706, P-707 work for Mini PV.

    Both models have have round insulation dies. There is no issue with the contact hanging up at the insulation crimp during installation.

    Crimp settings:
    — Hozon P-706
    1.4 width wire die
    1.8mm round insulation crimp

    — Hozon P-707
    1.4Lmm width wire die
    1.6mm round insulation crimp

  19. Matt, you mentioned “for the most part I don’t buy original Molex parts” above, and I was just wondering what your preference was when sourcing (e.g.) Mini Fit Jr. type housings .

    1. In terms of Mini-Fit Jr, I only buy originals – they are actually easier to get (for me at least).

      For KK100, in reference to that comment, my preference has since changed. I discarded my entire stock of knock-off KK100’s and replaced them with original gold plated headers/contacts. The reason for this is that I have found that tin plated KK100 connectors (when used for signal connections) only last about 3 years, after that they corrode and fail, needing to be replaced – something I have gotten rather tired of lately.

      1. Thanks for that update, always good stuff to know. Since you mentioned the problem with the tin-plated contacts, are you referring to corrosion in general, or something more specific like fretting corrosion?

        1. Matt, thanks for the great writeup. I’m also curious about the type of corrosion you saw with tin-plated terminals, as I’ve read warnings on other websites about tin corrosion, but I’ve never heard of someone who actually observed it. Did you see oxidation or fretting (or both) on your tin-plated terminals?

          Also, regarding gold terminals for Mini-Fit Jr (for PC power connections), I’ve read that it’s very bad to mate gold-plated terminals to tin-plated terminals (male to female, or vice versa). Google “mate gold to tin”. The claim is that gold-mated-to-tin can actually speed up oxidation of the tin-plated terminals. And since both my PSU pins and motherboard power pins are non-gold plated (probably Tin, based on the color), I’m concerned that if I go with gold-plated terminals on my power cables, that means I will have gold-to-tin connections and it may make the oxidation/corrosion worse versus all tin-plated cables connecting to tin-plated PSU/motherboard power pins.

          So I was curious if you had any thoughts on the subject, since you’ve actually observed corrosion issues with tin-plated terminals? I know your corrosion was on signal connections (which tend to be more sensitive than power connections), but I’m curious if you have any thoughts about gold-plated versus tin-plated terminals for PC power cables?

          1. The corrosion I observed was a small strip of black crud. Barely visible to the naked eye. The more visible change is having to spray them with contact cleaner to make them work again, after which they failed again 2 months later.

            Never tried tin-to-gold. My high school chemistry knowledge says this should be no worse than tin-to-tin.

          2. As a failure analyst I’ve seen numerous issues with dissimilar metals. Any difference in electronegativity (in the galvanic series) greater than 0.15V is considered to be prone to corrosion unless in a controlled environment, in which case the difference can be as high as 0.5V. Unfortunately tin has a 0.6V difference from gold, making the tin sacrificially acidic; it will corrode over time, exposing the brass/bronze base metal. The base metal is prone to corrosion with oxygen, sulfur, and other substances in the air. The corrosion by-products can be dark red, dark green, shades of blue, and black/brown, so a black “crud” isn’t unusual.

            If the mating contacts carry enough current, the localized heating can accelerate the corrosion process. I have seen quite a few “charting events” due to dissimilar mating materials, so maintaining a low galvanic potential between these materials is key.

  20. I am looking for Berg/Dupont/Mini PV keying pins. They were the plastic ‘spikes’ which seated flush with the connector shell


  21. Just found the identity of another common connector type, this one took me ages to track down. These are commonly used on RC servos as an alternative to Mini PVs (more servos in recent years seem to use these instead of the Mini-PV). They originally showed up on JR Propo servos and then spread from there. They are superficially similar to Mini-PV terminals but the “latch” is lower on the housing and they are designed for a double D crimp die. The male side of the connector has a shroud that snaps over the housing.,2,3,4series.pdf

    I don’t think these are the original JR connectors but rather a copy of them, for one thing they have Futaba style housings with a polarity key.

  22. Addition to the above, I mean they have futaba style housings available for these terminals in addition to the JR type housings. The main difference is that JR housings have a beveled corner for polarity pritection where the Futaba type have a flange on the side of the housing.

    Genuine Futaba terminals are yet another 0.1 terminal type, they have two “tongs” that grip the male pin on either side. So far I have not been able to track these down.

  23. @Fythios I have an HT-102 and it works perfectly for Mini-PV male terminals. Does yours have the terminal holding device? I’ve seen a lot of modified or flat out incorrect tools being sold on Ebay as HT-95 or HT-102s.

  24. @Atomic Skull apparently I dun goofed and got that backwards. The HT-102 is fine, but the HT-95 anvils wire crimp area are too long and crush part of the contact. Both have the terminal holders, the 102 has the male holder and the 95 has female holders.

  25. With the Molex Micro-Fit 3.0 pins, do you use the PA-09?
    I’ve been crimping with needle nose and finally had to give up with these tiny pins and sockets.

    I don’t want to dish out $300+ for the official crimper, so I was wondering about whether an Engineer-PA09 would do the job.

    1. I have got the official tool for those.

      Never tried the engineer on Microfit. Did not think anyone would be interested. Will give it a shot and update shortly.

  26. Thanks for the info.

    The Sargent tool is a pretty good universal style crimper for wraparound style insulation wings, just crimp the wire and insulation separately. About $50-$55 USD. Works well on AMP Superseals.

    Sargent CT 1026 for the superseal and CT 1027 for D-Subs.

    1. @Scott Evans very good tip! It’s a bit more than that now (£45-ish in UK), but compares to Engineer PA-20/21. And should be a good investment should one standardize on Molex and doesn’t go below 24 awg.

    1. @Evidlo Deans and XT60s are not crimped connectors, Powerpoles are though they aren’t small wire to board connectors.

  27. Nice article. Though i am a beginner it helped me a lot while differentiating between the connectors. I will be glad if you can put few images of those connectors where they are used. That will make me more clear when i will use them actually. I am working on a project where the device consist of sensors, steppers, stepper drivers, switches, power supply and arduino mega. I would need to figure out few connectors but want to know which connector will be exact fit for the place where i am going to use it.

  28. This is an astonishingly well-conceived, exhaustively-considered, and beautifully rendered resource. It’s incredibly valuable for beginners like me; I don’t think there’s anything else like this out there on the Internet. Many many thanks for this!

  29. Matt- is the official extraction tool necessary for the micro-fit connectors? I figure I can insert it by hand, wondering if I need to pay $20 for that specific extraction tool.

    1. You’ll be struggling to extract contacts without it. IMHO more important than having the official crimp tool. The only extractor i regret buying was for Mini-fit Sr.

  30. Thanks. So what are the KK254 style plugs called on eBay? I love them, and hate JPX, and every seller on eBay has KK254 and JPX mixed up under the weirdo terms like “terminal pin housing header adapter”. A search for JPX yields many results but “KK254” or simply “molex” doesn’t give me what I’m looking for. I have to search for “pcb connector” and then prune the results by looking at the pictures.

    1. As I stated on this page, this type of connector is produced by a very large number of manufacturers, each which have their own name them. Good luck!

  31. What’s the difference, or is there a difference between Molex KK connectors and JST VH connectors? I don’t think the crimp pins are compatible, for one.

    1. I prefer the VH connectors over the molex; the jst contacts are a box style and their housings are clearly marked for pin position. However while the headers and contacts could work together the plastic locking parts of the two systems are not compatible and will not get out of each others way until something breaks.

      Excellent page btw!
      One tip I can provide is that the price per contact of many of these connectors is often much higher if you buy them “loose” vs on a strip, so always check the prices on the strips as well when looking to buy from distributors like mouser et al.

      1. You need to be very careful before buying terminals on a strip, for example, Molex KK.100 terminals on strip need to be cut with a special tool – doing so with pliers or scissors is so difficult that it isn’t worth the savings.

  32. I got a lot of useful information, thanks so much for the excellent guide!
    Quote: I have never seen a generic tool with a jaw like this. If you find one, tell me about it!
    This tool – Hozan P-707
    This crimp tool have round insulation die (1.6mm round insulation crimp) and it works just fine with Mini-PV (DuPont) terminals.
    more iformations here:

  33. Thanks for the overview and comparison, this is really valuable information. You didn’t mention which crimp size your used in most cases. I’d be particularly interested in the Mini-Fit Jr. and if the PA-21 can properly manage the 16AWG, some articles/forms posts have reported mixed results… it doesn’t seem to be rated for 16AWG crimps though. At 18AWG it’s not an issue, but since the Mini-Fit Jr. can go as big as 16 I was wondering if the Engineer can manage.

    1. Mini-fit Jr is just fine with AWG16. The official tool has a jaw for AWG16 and official terminals are available. I was crimping some just the other day.

      Only thing I would say is while the copper side of things is no issue, some AWG16 has quite thick insulation which can be a struggle with this connector family.

      Standard hook up wire is OK, fancy wire i.e. silicon sheath is generally too fat.

      I would imagine the engineer tools would just about manage it, but have not attempted it. Perhaps look at one with larger terminal support.

    2. agreed, I use Mini-Fit Jr. with the Engineer PA-21 pliers and 16-gauge wire (thousands of repetitions), and they DO work well. I use the 2.5 tooth for 16-gauge insulation and the 2.3 tooth for 16-gauge conductor (CCA in my case)

  34. Hi, this is a great resource – thank you!

    As someone who builds a lot of custom projects and has flexibility in selecting a crimp-able connector – which should I buy into? This would be for projects which averagee 2-8 connections per cable and typically do not carry more than 30-50 watts of power. Mix of relatively low frequency data (25khz or lower) and DC power. Typically something close to AWG16. I’d like to have a box of connectors on hand for when the mood strikes. Right now most of my projects are built around lots of wire to wire soldering.


    1. I saw that comment and am considering buying it for review on this page.

      If anyone gets it before me do share results…

  35. I am starting to see several Berg crimpers show up on ebay cheap. I just got a HT101 and a pair of HT48’s. How do you know which dies you need to look for to use these professional crimpers? I also just got one of the SN28B’s. They look like they will work but I gather from your write up that they will not, at least not very well.

    1. I assume you mean putting the die’s from the HT-95 into this tool? If so, I don’t think you’ll manage that. There are eight pieces per tool (4x Anvils & 4x Dies). Each one costs about US $80 new. Very rarely seen second hand.

  36. This is a great guide to the beginner like myself but it doesn’t go quite small enough for what I need; I need to crimp some (100) HIROSE DF20 rectangular crimp socket contacts on AWG30 wire for a touchscreen interface cable. The HIROSE tool is over $1000! I looked at the Engineer PA-09 but I am wondering if the IWISS IWS-3220M would be a better fit. Any thoughts?

    1. DF20 with the PA-09? – Forget it. The terminals are too tiny.

      The Engineer PAD-11 does these fairly well. A tool I have, but have not covered here (yet), but will get around to at some point.

      1. Thanks for the reply. The crimp from the PAD-11 looks good but what does it’s width measure? I ended up ordering the Iwiss IWS-3220M just to give it a try but the crimps came out to 1.15mm, too wide to fit the housing. The original crimped contacts measure 0.75mm.

        1. The crimp from the PAD-11 is the correct width – about 0.7mm as stated on the die.

          That said, crimping each terminal is pretty darn fiddly.

          1. I just wanted to stop back in here to thank you for the recommendation. The Engineer PAD-11 did the trick nicely. As you mentioned, it was indeed “pretty darn fiddly” since each contact had to be individually cut from the strip, pre-bent parallel to fit the die on the PAD-11, inserted rather precisely into the die, and crimped multiple times including lightly crimping around the insulation in the 1mm die then lightly crimping in the 0.7mm die and lastly test fitting each contact in the housing and re-crimping as required. This over the 100 individual contacts plus several test crimps and bad crimps. Needless to say, it took a long time. lol.

            Unfortunately, the first go with the new harness was not fully successful. After much [more] fiddling, 100% continuity testing, 100% resistance testing and a little extra help from people smarter than myself on web forums it appears that I must now extract many pins and twist together some wire pairs (for proper “timing”?). I will begin that process today. Since I don’t have a proper removal tool, I will just use a fine needle to remove them. I am not quite sure if this will be much less efficient than using a real removal tool but tests so far indicate it will be slow but doesn’t seem to harm the contacts. I’ll let you know how it goes.

            Thanks again!

  37. I congratulate you for the detailed tutorial. I wanted to ask you if any of you know the terminals that mount the cable AXI I2C 800mm PMBus Cable (Corsair Link PSU connector):

    These terminals are the same as the Micro-Fit (Molex) very common in the power cables CPU and VGA, but its size is half of small.

    I have asked the Corsair brand and they have not even bothered to answer me. I believe that being the owner of a power supply of that brand, I am entitled to know it…

  38. Very informative pages. I have just bought a replacement LCD screen for my laser engraver which has a hirose 14pin header. Some fow I need to connect it to a 14wat ffc ribon cable. Any suggestions very welcome.

  39. Really like this page. Very useful.

    A couple of great additions would be the JST-SH 1.0mm pitch connectors (which I don’t like very much), and JST-GH 1.25mm pitch connectors (which are awesome). They’re both used heavily in smaller/racing drones.

    My Engineer PA-09s are the best solution I’ve found so far.

  40. Bloody awesome page. I’ve been doing lots of electronics in the last couple of months and connectors we’re always my achilles heel. Your guide helped me alot, thanks mate!

  41. Fantastic ,simply Fantastic .Thank You MUCH for sharing this knowledge .Yepp connectors is what I start working on when my “Patience Meter” is maxed out .I was looking to identifie some connector on FPV Camera +Mini DVR’s to link everything up .(some have kind of “USB” look, others like JST-XH/PH,some are Micro/Mini HDMI ) but the size never match .If I cant find matching connectors I will need to try to remove (with out destroying everything with the heat ) and spot wires everywhere .

    If anyone know about connectors used in that field ,please feel free to reply .
    Again TYVM Matt Thumbs Up!!

      1. I have that tool (different brand but the exact same tool). I got mine from an R/C hobby shop. It’s quite challenging to get the terminal lined up with the wire compared to the official tools and it tends to bend the terminal slightly. I never use it since I got an HT-95 and HT-102.

        Mini PV terminals are used extensively in R/C hobby wiring, though most servos now come with a very similar terminal that is designed for a “double D” crimp die. The connector box is also better designed. The housing is similar to the generic Mini-PV type except that the “latch” is lower on the housing and some have a Futaba style polarization key (a lot of companies don’t bother with the key because the positive lead is in the middle with the signal and ground on either side so if you plug something in backwards it merely doesn’t work). I call these TYU connectors due to the “TYU” printed on many of the housings however I suspect that they are made by several different manufactures. Took me forever to track down exactly what these things are:,2,3,4series.pdf

        I’m still trying to figure out what exactly Futaba servos use, the terminals look like a milligrid terminal except it’s 2.54mm spacing for compatibility with the pin headers on hobby R/C equipment. Picture of the mystery Futaba connector here:

  42. Molex 64016-0201 will also work with SL terminals as well as a few other Molex connector families, it is a “service grade” tool and costs about half the price of the other two more expensive tools. The difference is that it has a simpler design for the terminal locator and it does a “double D” insulation crimp instead of an “overlap” crimp. Apparently SL terminals are designed to work with either crimp style though the overlap is considered superior.

      1. They would! I did some more digging later and found the 75653 range Amphenol Mini-PV male crimp – I bought them as a cut strip under the part number 75653-002LF from Mouser, waaaaay more reasonably priced. Current price was 0.181 NZD per (at 500+ price break), converts to about 0.093 GBP at time of writing.

  43. A good alternative for Mini Fit Sr. are Anderson Powerpoles and SB50 connectors (they both use the same terminals). The PP45’s are single terminal housings that can be stacked and the SB50’s are two pole keyed housings. Both are hermaphroditic which might be a problem in certain applications. While the official tooling is very expensive Powerwerks makes affordable third party crimp tools for them. Also while the PP45 terminals claim 45 amps maximum they are actually very underspecced and can take a lot more than that. I’ve seen them used on large electric helis with 10 gauge wire that pull 50-100 amps continuously and spike up to 200 amps for a split second periodically without any problems. The amp rating on the terminals seems to be based on the wire rather than the terminal e.g. the PP15 terminals have the exact same contact area as the PP45 terminal, it’s just designed for a smaller wire crimp (PP15s and PP45s both use the same housings)

  44. The “high contact force” version of the female Molex SL terminals are not for use on wire to wire connections only with square header pins. The reason why is that round crimp terminal pins can slide sideways out from between the two contacts because the end of the connector box on the high contact force terminals are open at the top and bottom. On the datasheet it says “TERMINAL TO BE USED WITH (0.64)/.025 SQUARE PINS” but doesn’t explain why this is and it’s easy to miss.

    1. Actually after some experimentation I think the high contact force SL female terminals are ok with SL male pins, just not with mini-pv / dupont connector pins due to how those terminals can wiggle around in the housing where the SL pins can’t

      1. After some further experimentation I’d say the high contact force SL female terminals are also ok with the male dupont crimp pins, provided they fully mate with the pins. The thing with the high contact force SL terminals is that the top and bottom of the connection box is open in the middle and if the pin does not reach the back of the terminal where it is constrained on all sides it could in theory slide out from between the two contacts if the housing were to become skewed at an angle.

  45. Another tool for mini-pv / dupont terminals recently came to my attention, the FCI SP1552B. This tool has a round die on BOTH crimp barrels. I found it worked well with genuine mini-pv but not so well on *some* of the knockoffs. The ones I have from Hansen Hobbies (which I think are actually Harwin M20 terminals) work great, the cheap ebay terminals I had laying around not so much (wire pullout force was lower). Currently this tool is being sold cheap on Ebay as NIB surplus by a couple different sellers, the actual retail price appears to be around $300. The locator is a gate style, the one I had needed the adjustment nut on this gate to be tightened slightly as it was a bit sloppy. Crimp height adjustment did nothing as the die fully closes with the default setting. The correct way to align the terminal seems to be with the back end of the connector box lined up against the gate.

  46. Does any of the Engineer Crimpers work with the Molex SL? Could you post pics of proper SL crimps? Thanks for this awesome page!

    1. These are the exact same cheap connectors that any eBay seller is flogging. They work fine but tend to become unreliable after about 20-30 mating cycles due to loss of spring tension in the contact. If you need something durable and reliable you have to look at originals or a different family which of course is going to cost more.

  47. Re. Molex Disk Drive connector tool 63811-7000: it’s a currently available product (04/2019), you can buy one under $300, so not only you can see one, but you can afford it, too 🙂

  48. Thank you sir, this was extremely informative and I wish out found this article months ago it would have saved me hours of searching, cross-referencing, and quite frankly guessing as to what the hell I was looking for.

  49. This is a good source for quality dupont terminals, these guys specialize in selling servo connector supplies to the R/C hobby.

    These are NOT the same cheap noname terminals a lot of Ebay vendors well, I’m pretty wire they are actually Harwin M20 series terminals. If you need generic square housings then do not buy the servo housings as these are either keyed ion the case of the Futaba type or have a beveled corner in the case the the JR type.

    I will also say that the Hozan P-706 works better than the ratchet crimper they sell (which is a generic “double D” type crimper). You can get a P-706 off Amazon for around $45.

  50. I have some odd looking crimp connectors, flat, forked blade with a normal wire crimp looking tangs on the wire-side.

    Cannot find them anywhere, but I’m sure you would know what the application is.

    Would be glad to email a pic…


  51. It looks like I had a pair of the HT-213 generic crimpers mentioned by @dzeez. I’m new to crimping, but the crimp looks really nice. However, the 28 AWG wire is not held by the wire crimp nor the insulation crimp.


    1. The problem might partially be due to the size of my wire. The wire gauge is 28 AWG but the OD is only 0.6mm. However, I would have still expected it to the crimp the wire portion correctly but even that was very loose.

      When I crimped 24 AWG it looked nice (but 24 AWG is a bit large for Mini-PV/Dupont so the wire bulged out the sides a bit).

      1. R/C servos use dupont connectors and standard sized servos use 22AWG leads so I wouldn’t say that 24AWG is too large.

        The HT-213 and the other similar design dupont crimpers have an issue with die alignment on generic 0.1 “dupont style” terminals, you can correct this by putting a washer under the terminal holder thick enough to align the terminal correctly with the die. The HT-95 and HT-101 don’t have this issue and will work equally well with genuine of knockoff terminals with no modification.

  52. I find myself today working with some TE NanoMQS connectors, which are downright pathological in their crimp dimension tolerances. The official crimper is $800 so that’s out of the question.

    My trusty 63811-1000 doesn’t even rank. Its narrowest nest is 1.4mm and that’s simply too wide for the cavity, the terminals won’t even start to insert.

    What’s working best for me right now is crimping the wire-grip with the 1.3mm nest of a PA-13, then gently hitting the insulation-grip with the A nest of an AMP Service Tool I, then returning to the PA-13 to gently narrow the insulation-grip in the 1.3mm nest. (Crimping it directly in the PA-13 bananas it badly.)

    The root problem here is that the PA-13 has the right X and Y dimensions of its crimp cavities, but the Z thickness is way too thin. The other automotive-style crimpers have the right Z dimension, but they don’t go nearly small enough in X and Y.

    Does ANYONE make a generic Service Tool type crimper with narrow nests, say 0.8, 0.9, 1.0, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3mm, but a nice thick (say, 3.5mm) jaw? The Engineers are all thinned to 1.0 or 1.5mm in the nests I care about, and that makes banana crimps every time.

  53. Those both look pretty rare or expensive. I myself certainly don’t mind sourcing tools like that however the majority of people reading this are usually looking for something cheaper / more common. The bounty is for a cheap Chinese tool. Still have not been made aware of one!

  54. Regarding the Mini PV Male crimp, I noticed that the part numbers and corresponding images noted on this thread, namely 47792-003LF and 75653-002LF, don’t match the data sheet for these parts:


    The difference being the following on the data sheet for the noted part numbers:

    1) Data sheet notes the base of the tip has a wings/barbs (images don’t have this)

    2) Data sheet notes flange/wings for insulation and bare wire crimping contact points (just as the images note), but there are two flange lock guides just above the pin on the images but not on the data sheet.

    Am I missing something ? Could someone point me to the data sheet for the images noted in this thread for the Mini-PV male crimp?


    1. Are you looking at genuine Mini-PV or “mini-PV style” terminals such as Harwin M20 series terminals and the countless noname Chinese ones?

  55. @ Lucas Edwards For the Mini-PV terminals I’d recommend a Hozan P-706 over the Engineer PA-09. The PA-09 makes a mess of them while the P-706 does a job almost as pretty as the HT-95 (and equally strong crimp)

  56. Concerning the XH (JSD) crimping. You pointed out that when XH connectors are crimped with the WC-110 tool it produces a rounded/rolled effect on the strain relief wings i.e. the crimp does NOT cut or smash the wire insulation. Is there an alternative tool that will do the same?

    1. Very unlikely. To get a result like the tool has to have tolerances within thousandths of a millimeter which wouldn’t be the case for a generic tool.

  57. I also recently got a Preciva PR-3245. It does a great job properly rounding the insulation crimp on Dupont/Bergstik connectors.

    However, as with all the generic crimping tools in the pictures, it didn’t squeeze the wire tight. I found that I could only get a 24 or 26 AWG wire to pass the pull test if I stripped about 1/2″ of insulation and then folded the wire end twice (resulting in four layers) to get an 18 or 20 AWG equivalent thickness before crimping. And that only worked properly if I made sure the wire coming directly out of the insulation was on the bottom of the connector, with the folded wire piled on top, before crimping.

    I have no idea if this is a reasonable technique or how long it will last, but at least it’s giving me a solid connection in the short term.

  58. How quality of crimps for JST PH 2.0 from WC-240 compared with something like SN-02BM/SN-01BM/SN-2549? Which generic tool would be better for it?

  59. Hi, I have a German radio in which the wire-to-board connections for the speakers to the chassis are standard (?) “blade” or “spade” connectors – female on the socket side, arranged four in a row, with the blade recepticles parallel, like | | | |. I have been unable to find a replacement housing of this type. Do you know if there is a common name for this type of socket so I can search for it more effectively? Thank you.

  60. Regarding Molex C-Grid III: perhaps this sentence needs updating?

    > Very similar to the SL series mentioned above, except comes in a two row configurations.

    I’m seeing that Molex SL comes with dual row configuration as well, example below.

    So, comparing C-Grid III to SL, I can spot only one difference: C-Grid III appears to be twice cheaper, based on sample point of 1 pair of analogous housings on Mouser. Beyond that, no point to bother with C-Grid III, is there?

    2.54mm Pitch SL Crimp Housing, Dual Row, Version A, Non-polarized, 4 Circuits, Black
    Series: 70450
    Overview: SL Modular Connectors

    1. Interesting. I’ll have to buy some and have a look. It does seem absurd that they market two types of connector which are so ridiculously similar.

  61. You 100% need to check out the MDPC CTX3 Crimper. It is the most popular crimper in the PC Cable Sleeving Community!

    It claims to be able to perfectly crimp “2.54 grid DuPont” style terminals, Molex Mini fit jr Terminals, Molex Sata power Terminals, Molex KK 254 (Fan Terminals) and the “Molex” Disk Drive Power Terminals or more widely used TE Mate-n-Lok (5.08mm pitch) Terminals.

    Actual MDPC website with the CTX3 Crimpers:

    UK Reseller of the MDPC CTX3 Crimpers:

    1. Am aware of it. It’s very similar to several of IWISS’s tools, and doesn’t have the correct jaw for DuPont terminals.

      1. I see, so you wouldnt reccomned it for Dupont terminals then?
        Also I was wondering if you could give your advice on whether the Mate-n-Lok (5.08mm pitch) will work fine for this style of connector which is used (Unsure which specific brand is used but they are widely known as “Molex connector”) on PC internal devices like fan controllers, or RGB controllers etc or would you reccommend somthing else?

        And whether the Mini-PV, “Dupont” Knock offs, Molex CGrid III & Molex SL are all suitable for PC motherboard headers, USB & Audio? or would you recommend another Terminal?

        1. The SN-025 is a better bet for DuPont terminals. The IWISS SN-28B will do Commercial Mate-n-Lok terminals just fine. The MDPC CTX3 looks like a re-badged SN-28B for double the money.

          1. Your Previous comment which I think was deleted made me laugh! 😀

            Also do you have any recommendations for what I mentioned in my previous comment by any chance? or which ones you think are the best ones to use in the mentioned applications or if I was completely wrong haha!

          2. Using SL in a PC would be a bit odd. They will work but probably a bit high end for this kind of application in my opinion. CGrid III would be a better bet, but the terminals require an ‘O’ type crimp tool like the SN-025.

  62. Thank you, I will be sure to take a look at them terminals and that crimper then!
    So regarding the “Molex Style” Terminals that everyone calls them in PC’s is it infact the Mate-n-Lok (5.08mm pitch) that is used? or should be used when creating cables?

    Also Regaridng the MDPC CTX3 on your front page I beleive you have linked the reseller and not the actual MDPC website not sure whether this was intential or not but thought I would mention it just in case.

    Thank you for all your help BTW with my questions and this amazing page!

    1. AMP (now TE) themselves refer to them as “Commercial Mate-n-Lok” – a stupid name. It’s a huge family of connectors which includes the 4 position type found on disk drives.

      While they are commonly found on expensive name-brand servers and workstations, and Apple computers, for example – for average consumer use, completely overkill. No need to splash out on them. There’s zillions of Chinese manufactured look-a-likes which are of sufficient quality.

      1. Yeah, that’s what I saw too but I thought it was strange that they put them in a whole different series just because the body material is different, so I thought something else must be different between them.

        However it does indeed look like that’s the only difference. Hopefully anyway ?, soon find out when I order some.

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