How to Crimp an Aircraft Cable

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Properly crimped electrical cable lugs contribute to aircraft electrical system safety.
Properly crimped electrical cable lugs contribute to aircraft electrical system safety. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Modern aircraft electrical systems are extremely complex, and include many feet of electrical cables and hardware. Cables are used for many important applications, such as providing power to the flight instruments and landing gears. Each electrical connection’s integrity affects the entire electrical system, and the aircraft’s safe operation. A well-made cable assembly includes an appropriately sized cable and new cable connectors. Cables are crimped with a crimping tool that easily accommodates all aircraft cable sizes. A secure cable crimp is an essential component of a well-functioning electrical system.

Things You'll Need

  • Cable lug
  • Machinist's rule
  • Sharp knife
  • Crimping tool
  • Heat shrink
  • Heat gun

Obtain the correct size cable lug. Purchase the cable lug from your local aircraft mechanic or aircraft supply company. Cable lug sizes are based on each cable’s size, as well as the size of the terminal onto which the cable is installed. The cable size is always written on the cable. Measure the terminal size with a machinist’s rule.

Strip the insulation from the cable end. Use a sharp knife to carefully remove the insulation. Do not nick or cut any of the cable’s strands. Test-fit the lug onto the cable. Ensure that the cable is even with the end of the lug.

Crimp the lug onto the cable end. Place the lug onto the cable end. Insert the cable into the crimping tool. Some tools use a lever to provide the crimping action, while others use hydraulic or pneumatic power. Follow the directions specific to your tool.

Remove the cable from the crimping tool. Pull on the lug to ensure a tight connection.

Slide a piece of heat shrink over the lug. Leave the ring terminal exposed. Shrink the heat shrink with a heat gun for a corrosion-resistant seal.

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