DuPont and “DuPont” connectors, and how to crimp them properly

Introduction

“DuPont connector” is a vernacular term which refers to a number of different types of 0.1″ pitch connector. They feature black plastic housings which retain contacts with “fingers” built into the housing body. All are very similar in appearance but vary significantly in quality and price.

There are various other names often attached to these, such as “TYU Connector” or “JWT Connector” (drop a comment if you know of another). These are acronyms for some of the many Chinese manufacturers, typically physically moulded into the product.

In some cases “DuPont connector” may refer to unrelated connector types which vaguely resemble the original design, however are significantly different in detail. Chinese reproductions of Molex SL / AMPMODU MTE and Molex CGrid III are some examples. On this page I’ll be sticking to the original series, and close look-a-likes.

Contents

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

Amphenol/FCI/DuPont Mini-PV Connectors
Mini-PV wire-to-board housings, headers and a variety of contact sizes and plating options. The white strip on the right is a set of snap-off blanking plugs.

Mini-PV is a 0.1″ (2.54mm pitch) design likely introduced in the 1960s or 1970s by E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. Its contact measures 1.25mm square and features an elaborate bi-metallic design with a brass contact body and a beryllium alloy spring. As the heading suggests it has changed hands a few times since then.

The original Mini-PV family is still manufactured today by Amphenol in the USA, but is a fairly premium product which is not marketed for hobbyist use, and is priced accordingly. In subsequent decades its design as been copied and altered by other parties.

I found Amphenol ICC’s website quite difficult to navigate, with catalogues incomplete, publicly available datasheets and documentation at best sporadic, and virtually non-existent for tooling. On this page I have summarised the parts which may be of interest to hobbyists who aren’t on a tight budget.

The Mini-PV family features a dazzling array of different contact types (original catalogue).

The most interesting feature is variable spring tension. I use “Ultra-high” types (48257-000LF) as it is rare that I build anything requiring more than 6-8 positions in one connector, and the higher disconnection force eliminates the need for latching.

In practice these should have been labelled “low”, “medium” and “high” as the “standard” type is not standard at all, it is actually a specialty contact which only makes sense in connectors with large numbers of positions (20+ from my tests).

Spring tension is rated for 1000 mating cycles.

Example part numbers

Numbers in bold can be changed to order connectors with a different number of positions. Note that some don’t correspond to the number of positions, I’ve added a few examples of these to show how to work out the needed part number.

Housing 1×1 position (Mind the price, Mouser is cheapest from 100pcs+)65039-036LF
Housing 2×1 position65039-035LF
Housing 3×1 position65039-034LF
Housing 1×3 position polarised78211-003LF
Housing 2×2 position65043-035LF
Housing 3×2 position65043-034LF
Polarising blank plug65307-001LF
Female contact AWG 22-26 (‘ultra high’ mating force, 15µ Gold)48257-000LF
Female contact AWG 22-26 (‘high’ mating force, 15µ Gold)48254-000LF
Female contact AWG 22-26 (‘ultra high’ mating force, Tin)47750-000LF
Female contact AWG 22-26 (‘high mating’ force, Tin)47715-000LF
Female contact AWG 28-32 (‘high mating’ force, 15µ Gold)48254-000LF
36 pin single row snap off header (15µ Gold)77311-818-36LF
36 pin single row snap off header (Tin)77311-418-36LF
36 pin single row snap off header – long 10mm mating pins (15µ Gold)1577311-832-36LF
72 pin dual row snap off header (15µ Gold)77313-818-72LF
72 pin dual row snap off header (Tin)77313-418-72LF
3 position polarised vertical header (15µ Gold)69167-103HLF
3 position polarised right angle header (15µ Gold)78208-103HLF

Cut strip / loose piece

The female contact part numbers I’ve listed are for pre-cut (loose piece) packaging. They are considerably cheaper if purchased as “cut strip” (reel packaging) however note that these are designed to be crimped by a “feed through” applicator, which means that cutting them for use in hand tools is quite time consuming.

Pain in the backside: Mini-PV contacts in cut strip form are connected end to end. Lots cheaper, but lots of work to cut them by hand.

Part numbers are in the catalogue. Note that distributors such as Mouser and Digi-Key only stock a very limited range of these contacts in “cut strip” form.

Wire-to-wire system

Amphenol/FCI/DuPont Mini-PV Connectors
Mini-PV wire-to-wire housings and contacts

Mini-PV also features a wire-to-wire family. I’ve not been able to find a catalogue which gives an overview of this family. I discovered it by accident when I once came across one of its peculiar “winged” female housings (without the accompanying male) – identifying it was a considerable effort. It uses the same female contact as the wire-to-board system, but introduces a male contact and different housings.

The same housing is used for both male and female contacts, with the housings containing male contacts having a shroud permanently latched to it (and rather difficult to remove once fitted) – sold separately. The shrouds latch into the contact opening, not the tabs on the side, same for the mating connector friction latch, so will also latch onto regular unpolarised housings no problem. They latch onto “DuPont” clone housings too.

I found the quality of these to be quite good, comparable to Molex SL (also featuring a high quality wire-to-wire option). Tolerances are tight, and disconnection force is considerable, especially when loaded with ultra high force spring contacts. If already invested in this system, well worth considering however note that 8 positions is the maximum available.

Example part numbers

Numbers in bold can be changed to order connectors with a different number of positions. They are available in single row 2-4 position configurations, and dual row 4-8 position configurations with part number suffixes ranging from 001LF to 003LF for each type.

Wire-to-wire housing 2×1 position67954-001LF
Male connector shroud 2×1 position67955-001LF
Wire-to-wire housing 2×2 position68105-001LF
Male connector shroud 2×2 position68106-001LF
Male contact AWG 22-26 (15µ Gold)75967-312LF
Male contact AWG 22-26 (Tin)75653-002LF

Crimp tools

If you can afford to use these connectors, you’ll also be able to afford to buy the appropriate tools to crimp them. I have confirmed six types:

  • HT-95 (AWG 22-32): The current and most commonly used Mini-PV tool. It’s large, expensive and isn’t particularly easy to use, however crimps these contacts to perfection.
  • HT-102 (AWG 22-32): Same as the HT-95 but has a modified locator for male contacts.
  • HT-73 (AWG 18-20): For ridiculously large wire sizes.
  • HT-112 (AWG 34-36): For tiny wire sizes. Tool and contacts are special order only.
  • HT-208A (AWG 22-26): Single die hand tool. Discontinued.
  • HT-213A (AWG 28-32): Single die hand tool. Also discontinued.

I’ve not been able to work out what the exact use-case for the HT-73 tool is, given that the wires it crimps are too large to fit into Mini-PV housings. Uninsulated single terminations perhaps?

There are three other tools – HT-66, HT-86 and HT-94 which are also stated by some sources to be for Mini-PV however aren’t mentioned in current literature. They are all different to the tools I have already covered. I’ve not been able to establish the purpose of any of them.

I’ve not ever been able to find an exhaustive list of all of the DuPont crimp tools and accompanying documentation. There are many other HT-xxx tools in addition to what I’ve listed, all for sale on eBay in various quantities and states of repair. Most of these are for the obscure Maxi-PV family but there are many other types too, likely for obscure, largely forgotten former DuPont connector products.

The price of the most commonly used HT-95 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.

Note that it states “Property of” DuPont. This tool is so expensive that it was commonly rented from the manufacturer.

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

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.

DuPont Amphenol FCI Crimp Tools HT-73, HT-95, HT-102, HT-112
From left to right: HT-95, HT-102, HT-73, HT-112. Note that HT-95 and HT-112 are identical apart from the locator. All made in the USA.
DuPont Amphenol FCI Crimp Tools HT-73, HT-95, HT-102, HT-112
From left to right: HT-95, HT-102, HT-73, HT-112. These tools have flown under many different brand names and logo variants in the 50 years since their introduction. It’s unlikely to find two alike.

Example crimps

DuPont Amphenol FCI Crimped contacts
HT-73, 95, 102 and 113 examples. Crimps of HT-208A and HT-213A aren’t pictured but are indistinguishable from HT-95.

It is possible to crimp AWG 22-26 contacts in the AWG 28-32 die of the HT-95/102 tools however they will “extrude” (elongate) significantly, potentially beyond the end of the housing insulation once inserted.

Old single die tools

I am uncertain as to why DuPont offered 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. They were discontinued decades ago, and may have been offered as a more affordable alternative the tools I mentioned earlier, however I cannot confirm this as it appears that no pricing information remains in the public domain.

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, manufactured by Wezag GmbH.

Crimping with unofficial tools

AWG 24 crimps using 48257-000LF contacts. AWG 28 crimps using 48254-000LF contacts.

The Hozan P-707 crimps these to near perfection, although it takes three actions to get the job done. It’s quite possible that an HT-95 tool may be able to be obtained second hand for similar or less money.

Any other tools which crimps “M20” clone types will also handle these to varying degrees. The IWISS SN-025 does fairly well however is a little light on the conductor crimp.

M20 – “DuPont” clone (Harwin, and many others)

“DuPont” clone connectors from various manufacturers including Harwin

“DuPont connector” generally refers to these. They are a low cost, low quality type which resembles the original DuPont Mini-PV design, but are 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. Unlike Mini-PV which has 4 different contact sizes, this type has just one single size – covering AWG 22-28 wire sizes, and is available in either Tin or “gold flash” plating (a few atoms thick).

This connector family has a significantly smaller range of components than the Mini-PV family that inspired it, with product being limited to unpolarised housings, pin headers and female contacts. The picture above is basically the lot. Male contacts are available, but are not an official offering from established manufacturers or orderable from well-known suppliers.

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 Be-Cu wishbone spring (left) and “DuPont” clone (right). It’s easy to see why DuPont’s original design became a target for a low cost alternative. While mechanically superior, a contact with two separate pieces of differing metal is expensive to manufacture.

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.

Regardless of where they are made, and by whom, all non Mini-PV types are largely identical to Harwin’s “M20” design, with variation limited to quality of materials, and accuracy of stamping, bending, moulding and plating. As such there is no purpose in listing individual manufacturers of this type.

I used these a lot a decade and more ago however now I only use them for prototypes. Even with the best quality Harwin contacts, spring tension is poor, less than the lowest tension Mini-PV type, and with brass not being a particularly “springy” material, are only good for a handful of mating cycles before they may need to be re-tensioned.

For connections which are frequently mated/unmated and need to be dependable, the money saved isn’t worth the extra hassle created by the poor contact durability (in my opinion), also considering that genuine Mini-PV connectors are reasonably priced when purchased in bulk.

Example part numbers (Harwin):

Numbers in bold can be changed to order connectors with a different number of positions.

Housing 1×1 positionM20-1060100
Housing 2×1 positionM20-1060200
Housing 3×1 positionM20-1060300
Housing 2×2 positionM20-1070200
Housing 3×2 positionM20-1070300
Polarising blank plugM20-003
Female contact (Gold flash)M20-1180042
Female contact (Tin)M20-1180046
36 pin single row snap off header (Gold flash)M20-9993645
36 pin single row snap off header (Tin)M20-9993646
36 pin single row snap off header, right angle (Gold flash)M20-9963645
36 pin single row snap off header, right angle (Tin)M20-9963646
72 pin dual row snap off header (Gold flash)M20-9983645
72 pin dual row snap off header (Tin)M20-9983646
72 pin dual row snap off header, right angle (Gold flash)M20-9953645
72 pin dual row snap off header, right angle (Tin)M20-9953646

The male contact pictured above is not manufactured by Harwin. Mine were purchased from a Chinese seller on eBay.

Popular crimping techniques

An image taken from an uplifting “DuPont” crimping tutorial on instructables where a no-brand SN-28B is the crimp tool of choice, and apparently performed the above crimp. I would argue there’s room for improvement, as we’ll see.

The majority of all hand crimping of these contacts by hobbyists is done by an SN-28B or similar tool. If you’re happy with a crimp like the one depicted above – my experimentation found you can save yourself $20 by using a hammer.

Official tooling

Factory crimping of this type is done mostly by Chinese designed applicators fitted with dies which produce “reasonable” results (not quite correct, but fairly close).

In the years since I first published this page, I’ve only been able to identify one hand tool which is specifically designed for these contacts and crimps to spec (thanks to a tip from a reader). The Mini-PV hand tools crimp these contacts very well however aren’t designed for them, and need to be specifically adjusted to do so.

Harwin M20 Crimp tool
Harwin Z20-320. Crimps “DuPont” clone types effortlessly and perfectly. It’s made by Pressmaster in Sweden. At $460 new, it’s not cheap, but a lot cheaper than the DuPont designed tool. It is very rare to find it second hand on eBay. I waited 2 years for the above sample to come up for sale, and the seller wasn’t prepared to give it up for a song.

There was an earlier Harwin branded M20 crimp tool tool marked “Z1015-00”, from a different manufacturer (Wezag) – an even less likely item to find for sale.

“DuPont” contacts crimped with various tools.
The DuPont designed hand tools HT-95, HT-208 and HT-213 crimp these very well. Their conductor crimpers are a tad long however not an issue provided the locator position is adjusted correctly. M20 contacts will extrude a little in the AWG 28-32 die.
A pair of “DuPont” contacts crimped by an unknown Chinese made applicator. Insulation crimp is correct, however conductor is a bit too loose.

Crimping (properly) with unofficial tools

These are the one and only light contact family I’ve encountered which generic tools such as SN-28B and 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.

The Hozan P-707 is an example of a tool which has cylindrical insulation crimpers. It’s been around quite a while and to date still gets the best results for the money, but at $70-80 it’s a little too expensive for most.

Hozan P-707 crimp tool
Hozan P-707

There are (as of 2020) a couple of lower cost 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.

Is it possible to mix Mini-PV and M20 style contacts and housings?

In short, no. Despite looking almost identical to common “DuPont” clones, Mini-PV contacts/housings and clone contacts/housings are surprisingly not interchangeable.

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, don’t latch and easily fall out.

This is a massive pain the wallet in the case of the single position housing – the one you’d want for making high quality jump leads. It’s ludicrously priced at $1.38/ea and 85c/ea in quantities of 100 (Mouser). If unprepared to stomach the cost of single position housings, insulating jump leads with heat-shrink is a cheaper option.

DuPont “Maxi-PV”

There couldn’t be a “Mini-PV” without there also being a “Maxi-PV” connector family, one that did indeed exist. They are stated to be a 0.125″ (3.18mm) pitch design and are the most obscure connector family I’m aware of.

There are no photographs of them in the public domain (that I could find), nor are there any available to purchase, however there are many Maxi-PV crimp tools for sale on eBay (HT-47/HT-48/HT-49). Clearly they were/are used by somebody, for something or other.

Depiction of Maxi-PV connectors from FCI drawing 65410

The above drawing is the only clue I could find as to their appearance. Apparently a “Jumbo”, perfectly scaled up version of the Mini-PV connector. Ever seen one? Got one? Drop a comment!

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