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. Throughout this page I’ll demonstrate the use of two inexpensive generic crimping tools: the Engineer PA-09 and PA-21, and compare them against the genuine parts.

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

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 terminals. It is also equally easy to over crimp terminals, damaging the wire in the process.
  • Locator: All original tools have a ‘locator’ which holds the terminal in place during crimping, this means that your crimps are perfect every time. Using generic tools, it can be frustrating trying to line the terminal up correctly.
  • 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!

What’s wrong with just soldering terminals?

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

Correctly crimped terminal
Correctly crimped terminal

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

Soldered terminal
Soldered terminal


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.

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

These are often referred to as “DuPont” connectors. This is not an ideal name for two reasons: DuPont Connector Systems made many families of connectors, and the ones we commonly refer to as such aren’t quite the same as DuPont’s original “Mini-PV” design.

So what should we call these connectors then? Quite frankly – I have no idea.

Mini-PV Housings
Mini-PV Housings

The top three housings are clones, and the larger is an original. Can you spot the difference? Stuffed if I could have at first!

Bergstrip Headers
Bergstrip Headers

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.

Original Mini-PV connectors and terminals are rarely seen, perhaps not surprisingly (not least due to cost considerations), despite looking almost identical to common clones, Mini-PV terminals/housings and clone terminals/housings are surprisingly not interchangeable.

Uncrimped Mini-PV Terminals
Uncrimped Mini-PV Terminals

From left to right: Original Mini-PV terminal, Clone female terminal, Clone male terminal.

Original terminals (left) are ever so slightly slimmer, equally, there is that much less room in the housing, meaning that you can’t jam cheaper clone terminals into Mini-PV housings. This is somewhat of a bummer when you consider that the range of original housings is more extensive, better quality and more reliably obtainable than clones.

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

  • HT-95 (HT-0095): The current Mini-PV crimp tool. This is a large, expensive, clumsy tool, which despite being heavy as all heck and not particularly easy to use, does do the best job of crimping.
  • HT-100 (HT-0100): This tool is apparently identical to the HT-95. Another one to watch out for on eBay if you are wanting to buy original.

Amphenol recently generously dropped the leading ‘1’ from the retail price of this tool – reducing it from £1,800 to an affordable £800 (not!)

DuPont/FCI HT-95
DuPont/Amphenol HT-95. The HT-100 looks identical to this.

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

I also removed 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 busted crimp jaw, which does not cost under £100 to fix.

There are two other tools for this series:

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

If setup properly, They’re much nicer to use than HT-95, but fairly rare. Can only be had second hand these days.

DuPont HT-208 and HT-213
DuPont HT-208 and HT-213

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

Crimping with unofficial tools

Crimped Mini-PV Terminals
Crimped Mini-PV Terminals

From left to right: Generic terminal crimped with PA-09, Generic terminal crimped with HT-95, Original terminal crimped with HT-95

Mini-PV is the one and only light terminal 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 terminal.

I have never seen a generic tool with a jaw like this. If you find one, tell me about it! I find myself wondering if it may be possible to attack a cheap tool with a Dremel to fix this.

This is a shame because these are the terminals most likely to be used by hobbyists on a budget, who don’t want to fork out a months pay to buy a better tool.

Unofficial male terminals

While similar families like Molex SL have male connectors, Mini-PV is a strictly wire-to-board connector family, so no official male terminal or housing has been produced, But as always, if there’s a market, there’ll be a product.


Above is a couple of types of eBay purchased male terminals. The DuPont designed tools do not take male terminals, 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 terminal

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

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 terminals

Left: Terminal crimped with PA-09. Right: Terminal 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 terminals. Once again, mostly found in low cost consumer electronics.

I almost never use these, but on the rare occasion I do, the Engineer PA-09 does the job

Picoblade (Molex)

Molex Picoblade connectors
Molex Picoblade connectors

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

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 – Terminal (Tin plated)
  • 08-50-0114 – Terminal (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).

KK 100 compatible connectors
KK 100 compatible connectors
Molex KK100 crimp tool
Molex KK100 crimp tool
Crimped KK100 terminals
Crimped KK100 terminals

Left: Terminal crimped with PA-09, Right: Terminal 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.

KK 396 / KK .156 (Molex)

Molex KK 156 compatible connectors
Molex KK 156 compatible connectors

Preferred for high voltage applications due to low cost and generous pitch spacing, these are the connector typically used for PC power supply mains inlet connections.

KK 156 crimped terminal
KK 156 crimped terminal

My blue handled generic crimp tool (HT-225D, pictured below) does a pretty good job of crimping KK 156 terminals,

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 two official crimp tools for this family:

Molex Mini-Fit Jr crimp tool and extraction tool
Molex Mini-Fit Jr crimp tool and extraction tool

Crimping with unofficial tools

Crimped Mini-Fit Jr terminalsCrimped Mini-Fit Jr terminals

Left is a terminal 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 terminal 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.

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 terminals – unless you’re looking to start a fire. Mini-Fit Sr terminals are near impossible to reliably manually crimp with pliers.

Mini-Fit Sr crimp tool (Right) next to Mini-Fit Jr
Mini-Fit Jr crimp tool (Left) next to Mini-Fit Sr (Right)
Crimped Mini-Fit Sr terminals
Crimped Mini-Fit Sr terminals
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

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.

Disk Drive Power Connection System (Molex)

Disk Drive Power Connection System
Disk Drive Power Connection System

Referred to as “Molex” connectors by the layman, this is a largely obsolete family. Notable however, as it was used for 5.25″ PC floppy drives, CD-ROM drives and 3.5″ parallel ATA hard disk drives, plus a veritable arseload of other PC related applications.

The official crimp tool for this family is 63811-7000. I have never seen one, and I doubt that I ever will.

Key part numbers

Crimping with unofficial tools

Realistically you can crimp these with almost anything. If you own the genuine tool, I tip my hat to you. I bet you didn’t pay for it!

Below is a tool known as HT-225D I got for a few quid off eBay a while back:

HT-225D Generic crimp tool
HT-225D Generic crimp tool
Crimped terminal
Crimped terminal

Does a superb job of crimping Molex DDPCS. It also does a swell job of crimping KK 156 terminals (see above).

E.I. (AMP)

Often mistakenly referred to as “Molex” connectors – Molex did not ever produce any connector compatible with this family.

Like the above, also obsolete, but historically notable. Used for 3.5″ PC floppy drives. These connectors came with up to 9 positions. I have only ever seen the 4 position variety, and I suspect this will remain the case.

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

Like the above, these can be crimped with pretty much anything you can fit the contact into.

34 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. Thank you Sir for this great introduction and comparison to various connectors and corresponding tools. Very, very helpful and best resource I’ve seen about this subject.

    I uses hours trying to get my head around this – and was baffled – not anymore.

  9. One other tool that is very useful, is the AMP Service Tool I also known as the SUPER CHAMP Hand Tool 696202–1. This is an “inexpensive” (~$125 list) stamped tool. It will do the round strain relief crimp and many 2.54mm, 3.96mm, and some larger contacts fairly well. There is also a Service Tool II, but I do not have one and can’t describe how it’s different. It looks identical to me in the photos I’ve seen.

    1. Do you have any material that verifies this? From what I can see the tool you refer to is another generic double wrap-around crimp die which isn’t appropriate for Mini-PV

  10. This is awesome. I’ve scoured the web for information like this and it’s very difficult to find. This page is even better than what I expected to eventually find so thank you for taking the time to put this together, it’s very appreciated!

  11. Great info, thanks! I envy your official crimp tool collection.

    Since most of my project work is automotive, Deutsch DT, DTM, and DTP connectors have become a mainstay. Molex has equivalent connector systems but availability is a challenge.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

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