Welcome to Connector Microtooling Systems, Inc.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q.How can I determine if a connector has front release or rear release contacts?

A.Connectors with rear release contacts have a blue stripe painted around the body of the connector.

Q. Is there a procedure, to more easily insert and remove contacts, in the environmental resistant connectors, which have a soft rubbery type insert?

A. Just before inserting the tool tip into the insert, dip the tool tip in isopropyl alcohol, which will act as a lubricant with no residue left after the procedure.

Q. How can I determine the part number of a connector contact?

A. Normally this can only be done by knowing the exact part number of the connector, except, in the case of military standard connectors. "MS" contacts have a BIN (Basic Identification Number) code consisting of three color bands around the crimp barrel. There are 10 colors which designate a number.

Black = 0 Red = 2 Yellow = 4 Blue = 6 Gray = 8

Brown = 1 Orange = 3 Green = 5 Violet = 7 White = 9

The BIN codes are read from the wire barrel end of the contact towards the mating end. The first band is wider than the other two to further facilitate identification. For example, a BIN code appearing as Red (wide band closest to the wire barrel), Yellow and Black would designate the BIN code 240. This number appears as the suffix of the military part number, M39029/31-240.

Q. Why can't I just order a set of red, blue and yellow insertion and removal tools?

A. Because there are literally hundreds of different tools color coded with these colors. Red designates tools which are used with either size 20 or size 8 contacts; Blue for size 16 or size 4 contacts; Yellow for size 12 or size 0 contacts.

Q. After cutting and stripping a wire, why is it so difficult to insert the conductor into the wire barrel of the contact?

A. You probably cut the wire with side cutters or some other "anvil" type tool, which will flatten the stranded conductor. If you then attempt to push the conductor back into a round shape the strands flare out. You should always use a "shear" type cutter such as the Ideal 45-123 or 45-223 "T-Cutters."

Q. What is the difference between the less expensive Stripmaster® Wire Stripper versus the more expensive Custom Stripmaster® Wire Stripper?

A. A Stripmaster® wire stripper has a knife type blade which is commonly used with PVC jacketed wire and other insulation types which are more easily removed. The Custom Stripmaster® Wire Stripper incorporates a die type blade which, by design, allows you to get closer to the conductor without nicking, scraping or cutting the individual strands. The die type blades are specifically designed for the removal of tougher jacketed material, such as Teflon, Kapton and Kynar, which are used on most sophisticated electrical systems including aviation wiring. There are many sizes of die type blades designed to fit the many different wire specifications including most military applications and the special wiring installed on aircraft. In addition to the precision blades, the Custom Stripmaster® Wire Stripper uses special gripper pads to hold and position the wire correctly as the die type blade makes the strip.

Q. Why can't I use the wire strippers I purchased at the hardware store?

A. Those strippers are fine for wiring in non-critical applications such as house, automotive or boat wiring. In critical electronics and aerospace applications, they can nick, scrape and/or cut the conductor strands, which changes the electrical characteristics of the conductor. In these critical applications you should only use strippers which contain precision machined, counter-bore, die type blades, specifically designed for the wire specification, such as the Custom Stripmaster® Wire Stripper mentioned above.

Q. What strippers are available to strip large power cables?

A. There are several options available to strip large cable. For hard to reach areas and low volume stripping, hand strippers are available such as the 45-128 (for cable diameter 3/16" to 3/4" O.D. and insulation thickness up to 5/32") and the 45-129 (for cable diameter 3/4" to 1-1/2" O.D. and insulation thickness up to 5/32"). The "Swivel Blade" automatically turns direction, eliminating repositioning the tool, for "ringing" and "slitting" operations. For larger volume applications we have several bench models such as the 45-064 and 45-065 "Lever Stripper", as well as the 45-665 pneumatic version. These products will handle cables from AWG 18 to 1.125" diameter.

Q. What do I use to strip Teflon wire?

A. Teflon wire is a high temperature wire which adheres tightly to the conductor during the extrusion process in manufacturing. A die type blade is the best method since it is counter bored to fit against the insulation thickness and has a precision machined cutting area which penetrates the insulation to within several thousands of the conductor. This design allows for the insulation to be separated and removed while avoiding the conductor strands. The Custom Stripmaster® products are used for this type of wire. They also incorporate special gripper pads to hold and position the wire correctly as the die type blade makes the strip.

Q. Sometimes the maintenance manual requires terminating a conductor into a contact crimp barrel that is too large to obtain a proper crimp and the conductor slips out. What can I do?

A. If the procedure requires a strip length of 1/4", double the length to 1/2" and then fold the conductor back on itself, to the edge of the wire insulation. By doing this, you are increasing the mass going into the crimp barrel and should be able to achieve a strong, proper crimp.

Q. Why did I receive only the back shell attachment when I ordered a new connector using the part number I saw on the old connector?

A. The part number you saw on the old connector was printed or stamped on the back shell. The connector part number will appear on the main body of the connector usually in the area of the coupling ring or mating face of the connector.

Q. How can I determine the size of the contacts for proper tool selection?

A. The part number stamped on the main body of the connector contains an insert arrangement identifier. The various insert arrangements and contact sizes can usually be found in the maintenance manual for the equipment you are repairing. We highly recommend you purchase Volume VI of "The Encyclopedia of Connectors" offered by Edward's Publishing Company at http://www.edpub.com/epc.