|Handy, but, apparently, a touch tricky.|
|Boat restoration sometimes demands single-purpose tools: you should see my prop puller (which can also remove transmission tailpieces, thank goodness)|
So I wanted more Powerpole connectors as there's a lot of electrical work ahead of me on Alchemy. Using even my decent Ancor crimper on the little silver connectors at the heart of the Powerpole pieces wasn't working well, so I decided to order, along with a fresh batch of connectors and connector housings (I've wrecked connectors, but no housings, yet), the recommended specialty crimper. The fact that I have a U.S. dollar VISA and didn't require the items immediately made ordering online from the States a no-brainer; while I know (and originally bought my first batch of Anderson connectors) from a perfectly professional Canadian radio shop, it's a distant and uphill bike ride, and their prices reflect, as is typical, the "Canadian markup" to which I'm become sadly accustomed.
Even though I express my Scottish genes when it comes to extracting value from my transactions, I'm not neurotic about it. My wife works part-time at a decent chandlery, after all, and I certainly patronize them and the other local shops (save West Marine, which has little I want) for things I need quickly or which make no sense (like exhaust hose) to order "foreign". Shipping charges and delay factor, of course, into these decisions, but in general, because I usually get free advice in addition to the products purchased, I try to patronize local marine retailers.
But that's not always logical or possible. The Powerpoles are one example; they aren't specifically boaty, and are most closely associated with amateur radio folk. It took me some research to even find them in that realm at the retail level in Toronto; ask for them in the biggest Home Depot and you'll get a blank stare. Even electrical contractor places haven't heard of them, and give the impression they would prefer you got your non-contractor backside out of their shop so they can help the guy with the 15-kilo toolbelt behind you.
That said, I did not expect to go on a retail odyssey yesterday in search of a battery cable crimp tool. The saga started with the redoubtable "Maine Sail" and his excellent and previously cited primer on making one's own battery cables. His recommendations regarding both gear and technique have yet to steer me wrong, and feelings of child-like devotion illumine my otherwise barnacled spirit whenever I read his screeds on The Right Way to Do Things on a Boat. And he liketh not the "hammer crimper", nor the insufficiently beefy "starter lug". He does liketh the Heavy Duty Power Lug and the FTZ Industries Heavy Duty Non-Ratcheting Crimp Tool. And it was good.
|And lo, across the land, even unto the Great Satan, it was out of stock. And low-res.|
|Cold-forming: the copper has been crushed to form a solid mass that is largely moisture-resistant, meaning less resistance electrically. This is actually stranded wire compressed by a hydraulic crimper, one step beyond what I require.|
|If not next door, more or less in the direction of the water.|
|This is actually from 1970 Manitoba, but Ontario's governmental boozers looked much the shame.|
Now, here's where my own countrymen, despite a rep (not entirely deserved in my experience) for civility and politeness, fall down. I placed the U.S. order last night around 1800h. While I've been writing this, around 1230h the next day, I've received a call from a nice fellow named Chad, apologizing that BargainBoatParts does not in fact have the crimper in stock, and that he's been on the phone to FTZ Industries and the delay would be some two weeks, plus five days for delivery...and would that be all right?
Yes, Chad, that's fine. Particularly given I now know you are in freakin' Idaho, a long way from water. I haven't bought the cable or the batteries yet, and the Power Lugs might now extend my original order, because you've proven you want the business of a single boat restorer. U.S. firms seem to grasp on the importance of keeping even "little" customers happy, and I was gratified to experience this mysterious "customer service" of which I've heard so much. And given that every other places was out of the Must-Have Lug Crimper of the Season, I wasn't entirely surprised to hear of the delay. I was surprised to hear of it via a personal phone call. As for retail, even in my big city, sometimes it's just better to shop other than in person, I guess.
UPDATE 14.05.21: The Powerpole gear arrived today, and the crimper appears reassuringly hefty. Will start making up test leads shortly.