How to crimp coax cable without a crimping tool: How to Crimp Coax: 8 Steps (with Pictures)

How to Install F Connectors on Coaxial Cable

By

Timothy Thiele

Timothy Thiele

Timothy Thiele is an IBEW Local #176 Union Electrician with over 30 years of experience in residential, commercial, and industrial wiring. He has an associate degree in electronics and completed a four-year apprenticeship. He’s been writing for The Spruce on residential wiring and home installation projects for over eight years.

Learn more about The Spruce’s
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Updated on 10/19/22

The Spruce / Margot Cavin

Project Overview

Traditional coaxial cables were once the standard means of connecting a television to an antenna or cable TV access point. But they are less common now that high-definition and ultra-high-definition televisions make prevalent use of HDMI, fiber optical, and ethernet cables for many of their connections. Still, coaxial cables have their purposes, and your video system may still use them.  

A coaxial cable used to bring electronic signals to a television or other electronic device terminates in an F connector. Despite the name, F connectors are round metal barrel-like bits that attach to the end of the coaxial cable.

There are several ways these F connectors can be attached to coaxial cable. Professional installers use a coaxial cable stripper, which strips all three layers of the cable at once. Then, they slip on the F connector and secure it with a coaxial cable tool, which presses the connector onto the cable and crimps it at the same time.

What Is an F Connector?

An F connector is a fitting that connects a coaxial cable to an electronic device or a wall jack. It contains threads that allow you to screw the cable onto a TV, cable wall outlet, or other electronic devices.

Watch Now: How to Install F-Connectors on Coaxial Cable

If you’re not a pro, you probably don’t have these special tools. But you might own (or can borrow) a basic cable crimper that will allow you to install a crimp-type F connector. Don’t have a crimper? No problem—simply buy a twist-on F connector, which you can install by hand. 

As for stripping the cable before adding the connector, an ordinary utility knife will do the trick. It helps to have standard electrical wire strippers for one of the steps, but you can also get by with the utility knife. Just be sure to work cautiously to protect the inner copper cable—and your fingers.

The Spruce / Margot Cavin

Equipment / Tools

  • Utility knife
  • Wire strippers (optional)
  • Cable crimper (for crimp-style connectors)

Materials

  • Crimp-type or twist-on F connector
  1. Strip the Wire

    First, you’ll strip 3/4 inch of the black or white outer jacket from the end of the coaxial cable, using a utility knife.

    Carefully make a shallow cut all the way around the cable, cutting through the outer jacket only. Use your fingernails to peel away the jacket from the cable. This exposes the layer of fine metal shielding wires and foil just inside the jacket. 

    The Spruce / Margot Cavin

  2. Trim the Shielding Foil

    Fold back the shielding wires onto the cable jacket, and trim them with wire strippers or scissors so they are about 1/8 inch long. Now, use the utility knife to cut through the metal shielding foil so it extends only about 1/4 inch from the cut in the cable jacket.

    The Spruce / Margot Cavin

    Warning

    The metal shielding wires inside the outer sheath of a coaxial cable are very fine and have pointy tips. This means they can easily stab a finger, so be extra cautious working with them. Using gloves will make the job much harder to complete, so go for an ounce of prevention here.

  3. Trim the Plastic Layer

    Strip 1/4 inch of the white plastic insulating layer from around the copper wire core of the cable, using wire strippers or a utility knife. Be very careful not to cut or nick the copper wire itself, as this can affect the cable’s performance. There should now be 1/4 inch of the bare copper wire extending from the end of the white plastic layer.

    The Spruce / Margot Cavin

  4. Install the Connector

    This stage depends on which type of connector you are using:

    Crimp-type F connector: Fit the crimp ring of the F connector over the end of the cable and slide it down over the outer jacket and shielding wires. Slide it until the white plastic layer makes contact with the hole inside the connector. You should see about 1/4 inch of copper wire inside the end of the F connector. Continue to the final step.

    Twist-on F connector: Fit the F connector onto the end of the cable and twist it clockwise until the white plastic layer contacts the hole inside the connector, and the copper wire extends about 1/16 inch beyond the front end of the connector. For twist-on connectors, your work is done.

    The Spruce / Margot Cavin

  5. Complete a Crimp-Type Installation (if Necessary)

    On a crimp-type F connector, place the crimping tool jaws over the crimp ring of the F connector, and squeeze the tool handles to secure the connector to the cable. You are now finished.

    The Spruce / Margot Cavin

 

How to Terminate coax wire with compression connectors

How to Terminate coax wire with compression connectors

 
 
 
Cable Types
There are three basic communications cables used. They are coaxial cable for video applications. Cat5e UTP cable for data networking and Cat 3 used in telephone applications

Coax Cable
RG-59 Generally not recommended anymore for CATV or Satellite. Smaller 22 AWG center conductor with 40% braiding, thinner in diameter than RG-6. Loses 80-90% of a signal every 100ft.

RG-6 is recommended by CATV and Satellite. 18 AWG center conductor with 60% braiding. Loses about 50% of the signal every 100ft.

RG-6 Quad is double shielded with two layers of foil and braiding with a 18 AWG center conductor. Use when extra protection from outside interference in needed. Loses about 50% of the signal every 100ft.

Coax Connector Types
Typical coaxial cable connectors used for CATV, satellite and video applications are called «F» connectors. Available in a compression, one-piece crimp, push-on, and a twist-on style. For security applications, BNC style connectors are used. They are available in crimp or compression style.
 
 Twist on are the easiest to use but can be pulled off the end of the cable. Crimp On have been the standard connector used for many years. Push On are a great alternative and really stay on the end of the cable and require no extra tools to install. Compression connectors add a watertight seal and are recommended by satellite and CATV providers.
 
The connectors are available for RG-59, RG-6 and RG-6 Quad coaxial cables. Make sure to match the connector to the type of coaxial cable you’re installing.
Compression Push-On Crimp-On Twist-On
Pro Connection Best Connection Better Connection Good Connection

COAXIAL/CONNECTOR SELECTION GUIDE
  Pro-Compression Connector
Professionals use compression connectors because they are approved by cable and satellite providers. However, they are easy enough for anyone to install. The connector is permanent and does not putt off the cable and provides a watertight connection.
 
      Best-Push On Connector
After stripping the cable and folding back the braiding, the connector is «pushed» onto the cable until the white dielectric is even or flush with the small opening. The push-on connector is a permanent termination and cannot be pulled off.
 
  Better-Crimp on Connector
Crimp On connectors use a crimping tool to install the connector onto the end of the cable. After stripping the cable, the connector is pushed onto the cable. Simply load the connector into the correct hole in the tool and squeeze the tool until it releases (more detailed instructions included with tool).
    Good-Twist On Connector
Twist on connectors simply thread onto the outer jacket of the cable after it has been stripped. They require no additional tools to install. Just twist the connector onto the cable until it is fully sealed.

DEFINITION OF TERMS
Braid
Same as shielding- Typically made from a number of smaller aluminum or copper conductors interwoven together to form an outer conductor around the dielectric core. The braiding stops lower frequency noise from interfering with the signal traveling down the center conductor.
 

Center Conductor
RG-6 and RG-6 Quad have a 18 AWG copper coated steel conductor that carries the signal.
 
Dielectric
Insulation used to separate between the center conductor and braid shielding conductor of coax cable.
 
Foil
The foil shield stops higher frequency noise (RFI) from interfering with the signal traveling down the center conductor.
 
Jacket
Outer material serves as a protective covering from the environment and may also add in the overall flame retardant properties of the cable.

COAXIAL INSTALLATION STEPS

Step 1

Choose the right connector from the selection guide
Step 2

Cut Cable

 
Data T-Cutter
Cat. No. 45-075
Cut cable using a round cutter to maintain cable geometry

Step 3

Strip Cable

BNC compression and all F-connectors require a two step 1/4 in. x 1/4 in. strip. Crimp BNC require a 3 step strip. (See product packaging for instructions.)
Coax Stripper
Cat. No. 45-603
 
Strip cable by inserting cable into stripper and rotate stripper multiple times.   Fold Back Braiding
Fold back braiding over outer jacket of cable. Place connector onto cable until white dielectric is even with center hole of connector.
 

TERMINATING A DATA JACK
Step 4


Compression F-Style
Place the connector onto the end of the cable until the white dielectric is flush with the center hole of the connector. Insert the connector into the tool and squeeze the handle until the connector is fully compressed.

Crimp F-Style
Insert stripped cable into connector until the white dielectric is even with the center hole. Crimp per tool’s instructions.

Compression BNC
Insert stripped cable into BNC connector until the white dielectric reaches a point where you can feel the center conductor connect with the inner center pin socket.

Compress per your tool’s guidelines.

(Note: To help approximate how much cable to push into the connector for the center conductor to grab, you can do the following: Hold stripped cable against the connector as shown in photo to the right. End of center conductor should line up with movable portion of the connector. Mark cable where it meets end of conductor. The mark show how to insert to fully seat conductor.)

Cat. No. 30-603 Finish connector
   

BNC Compression RG 6 Connector Termination

 

1-800-543-4333  

How to install a connector on a coaxial cable: preparation, winding and crimping

  1. Main
  2. How to install a connector on a coaxial cable: preparation, winding and crimping

Coaxial cables are used to transmit cable TV signals. Most of their connection options (cable splicing, as well as connecting the cable to a splitter) involve the use of so-called F-connectors. In these threaded connectors, the role of one of the contacts is performed by the central core of the coaxial cable. The outer shielding shell is attached to the other contact of the connector (which is also a threaded connection) without soldering, by crimping or wrapping.

Preparation for installing connectors on coaxial cable

When installing an F-connector, the first step is to cut the cable straight. The cut plane must be strictly perpendicular to the cable axis. This can be done, of course, with ordinary wire cutters, but it is desirable that a tool (cable cutter) be used that provides a smooth cut surface. However, some budget cable TV installation kits, for example, Greenlee 46602, include wire cutters. But they differ from ordinary wire cutters in the shape and sharpening of the cutting surfaces.


Greenlee Coax Kit Contents 46602

Next, step back from the end of the cable about 12 mm and make an incision on the outer insulating sheath. The incision must be applied with truly virtuoso precision. On the one hand, cut the insulation deep enough so that it can be easily removed. But, on the other hand, you can not cut the braid. Of course, these actions can be carried out with a sharply sharpened knife. However, even if you have extensive experience installing cable television systems, mistakes are possible. If the braid is cut, you will have to cut the cable again and remove the insulation. For professional use, this is unacceptable. That is why a special device called a stripper should be used to strip the insulation. It cuts the insulation to a predetermined depth. It should be noted that modern materials have made it possible to start producing coaxial cables with thinner outer insulation. Therefore, it is better if the cut depth of the stripper is adjustable, as, for example, with the tool included in the Greenlee 46603 kit.


Composition of the kit for working with coaxial cable Greenlee 46603

After removing the outer sheath, unwind the braid and fold it in the direction opposite to the end of the cable. At a distance of about 2 mm from the edge of the insulation, we remove the screen and the inner insulation covering the central core. This is followed by the installation of the connector on the end of the cable, which can be carried out in one of two ways: wrapping and crimping.


Coaxial cable terminated for F-connector

Screw on connector

For this method, connectors made of relatively hard alloy are used, which have an internal thread on the cable entry side. The stripped braided cable is screwed tightly into the connector until it stops. In this case, the thread diameter must exactly match the diameter of the cable so that the connector can be fixed without problems and it is held securely. As already noted, the diameter of modern coaxial cables can vary depending on the thickness of the outer insulation. There are at least two widely used variants of cable-wound connectors that differ in the diameter of the thread on the cable side.

RG-6 connector for wrapping

The advantage of wrapping is that the connector can be reused. The disadvantages are the complexity and time spent on the installation of the connector. Therefore, wrapping is used when the user carries out the laying on their own, as well as for individual installation of cable television within the same apartment.


Connector RG-6 for crimping

Installing the connector using the crimp method

The connector provided for this mounting method has a soft metal sleeve into which the pre-wired braided cable is inserted. The sleeve is compressed using a device called a crimper. The result is a strong and reliable connection.


Greenlee F-Type Coax Installation Tool 45516

Crimping has the advantage of being quick and repeatable. The disadvantage is the impossibility of reusing the connector without degrading its properties. The installation of connectors by crimping is used mainly by professional craftsmen. Crimping is of great benefit when implementing large projects, for example, laying cable television throughout an apartment building.

Braid strands may stick out of the connector after crimping or wrapping. It is recommended to carefully cut them without damaging the outer insulation of the cable.

Installation features of the CATV connector

In order to connect the cable to the TV set, a CATV type plug (cable television, male type) is installed on it. This connector is not threaded, which means that the connection it creates is not secure enough. But it is still used in TVs to ensure compatibility with older equipment. The CATV connector was used back in the days when TVs were cathode-ray, and it was possible to receive, at best, five analog channels on it. Modern TVs are flat, they are hung on the wall. In order to connect a coaxial cable, the TV set includes an adapter from CATV male and CATV female connectors connected to each other at a right angle. As practice shows, the appearance of another non-threaded connection in the path of a television signal can degrade the quality of reception. In addition, there are still old-style CATV connectors that also create problems for modern cable television.


The recommended CATV adapter for good reception is F-connector

Therefore, if you have a flat-panel TV and your cable TV provider provides high-definition digital channels, we recommend installing an adapter of the following design that provides a reliable connection. On one side of the adapter is a CATV connector. On the other hand, at right angles to it, there is a socket type F. As a result, the number of non-threaded connections does not increase.

Professional Coax Tool Kits

Professional Cable TV Laying Kits are produced mainly for crimping technology. They can be placed both in a soft case (for example, Jonard TK-450M) and in a hard case (DataShark PT-70008).


Jonard TK-450M and DataShark PT-70008 tool kits

Minimum tool kit: cable cutter (or wire cutters specially designed for coaxial cable), stripper and crimper. A very convenient addition is a line tester, which is included, in particular, in the Paladin Tools PT-9 set.01083 Broadcast Ready.


A set of tools for working with coaxial cable Paladin Tools PT-

3 Broadcast Ready

To transfer all types of information (telephone, television, Internet) in digital form, an Ethernet cable is enough. Nevertheless, for the convenience of users, so that they do not purchase additional set-top boxes, large providers still practice placing separate cables for telephone, television and the Internet into the client’s apartment. In this case, multifunctional kits like Paladin Tools PT-9 will be convenient for specialists working in such companies.01081 CoaxReady.


A set of tools for servicing Video, CATV and SCS networks Paladin Tools PT-

1 CoaxReady

Some kits, for example, Paladin Tools PT-4910 SealTite Pro CATV, are supplied with sample connectors.


Set of tools for mounting coaxial cable Paladin Tools PT-4910 SealTite Pro CATV

The convenience lies in the fact that the operation of the device can be immediately tested on the example of connectors that are known to be compatible with it. In addition, space is allocated for the connectors in a bag or case. As the connectors included in the kit are used up, they can be replaced by others purchased separately.

Do you still have questions about installing connectors on a coaxial cable? Send us a message!

See also :

Equipment examples

How to crimp a network cable without tools (screwdriver)

In this tutorial, I will show you how to crimp a LAN network cable and make an Internet cable with your own hands without tools. Instead of a crimper (a special tool for crimping twisted pair in RJ-45), we will use a regular screwdriver. And for stripping the twisted pair — a knife.

In the article how to crimp a twisted pair in RJ-45, I showed the whole process using a crimper. And he promised to prepare a guide for crimping an Internet cable without crimping pliers. Everything is simple here: if you already have a special tool, then you most likely do not need all these instructions, you are already in the subject. And if you are looking on the Internet for how to make a network cable with your own hands, then you most likely do not have a crimper. And you are not going to buy it, for the reason that you simply do not need it. The tool is not cheap, and buying one to crimp two connectors is not a good idea. Therefore, you can do everything with a regular screwdriver and a knife. Yes, it may turn out a little collective farm and not the first time, but it will work out. But on a budget and without outside help.

We will need the following materials and tools:

  • The cable itself is twisted pair. I took a small piece, but your cable must be of the required length. Buy a little spare.
  • RJ-45 connectors. To make one network cable, you need two connectors. But be sure to buy more. The connector is disposable. And if something doesn’t work the first time, you have to go to the store again.
  • Screwdriver, with which we will crimp the twisted pair into the RJ-45 connector.
  • Twisted pair stripping knife.
  • And preferably some wire cutters to trim the wires. You can also use wire cutters, which are usually on pliers. If you do not have any wire cutters or pliers, then you can cut the cable with scissors or a knife. This is not very easy to correct, but as a last resort it is possible.

I have such a set:

My knife is a little big for this kind of work, but it doesn’t matter. The main thing is to be sharp 🙂

As it turned out (I learned about it while writing the article), there are so-called toolless connectors. An interesting thing. With their help, you can make an Internet cable even without a screwdriver. All you need is a cable stripper. They look something like this (in the photo there is a SUPR connector):

How they work: we strip the cable and insert it into the connector. The connector itself even has a diagram of where to insert which wiring. Then we simply snap it on and the cable is crimped. The thing doesn’t seem to be very popular. I don’t even know if you can buy such a connector in a regular store. You have to ask.

Before you start crimping a twisted pair with our screwdriver, you need to decide on the scheme by which we will manufacture the cable.

LAN cable crimping diagrams

There are two ways to make an internet cable. Most likely you need the first method, direct crimping. Let’s take a closer look.

one
If you need a cable to connect a laptop, computer, TV, or other equipment to a router or modem, then you need to make a cable according to this scheme. This is a straight crimp. The easiest and most common way. Such a network cable, for example, comes with a router.

There are two crimping methods: T568A and T568B. I did according to the T568B scheme, which you can see below. It turns out that we crimp both connectors in the same way.

2
The second way is cross, or cross. Such a cable is useful for connecting two computers directly (without a router).

I think you have decided on the scheme. You can read more about this in the article: twisted pair: what is it? Schemes and methods of twisted pair crimping. I will make a simple cable (straight crimp) according to the T568B scheme.

Twisted pair crimp without tool (crimper)

If you have everything you need, you can start making the cable. I will try to show everything as detailed and step by step as possible.

one
We remove the outer insulation from the twisted pair. About two centimeters. Lightly cut the insulation in a circle and pull it off. Just be careful not to damage the insulation of the wires themselves.

2
We straighten the wires and set them by color. According to the scheme that you chose (photo above). It is advisable to set them so that they do not intertwine. I got it like this:

3
Next we need to cut the wires. Leave about an inch. I will do this with special cable cutters. As I wrote above, you can cut them with scissors, or a knife.

four
We check whether the wiring is correctly set according to the diagram, and insert them into the connector. We hold the RJ-45 connector itself with a latch away from us. As in the photo below.

Insert the wires all the way. They should go completely, and rest against the front wall of the connector.

5
Once again, we check whether the twisted pair has entered the connector correctly, and proceed to crimping. We take our screwdriver (maybe you have something else), and press the contacts in turn. Watch carefully, do not hurt your hand!

Contacts must be pressed firmly. So that they break through the cable. The contact itself should not just align with the connector body, but be slightly recessed into the body. The job is not the easiest. When I crimped the cable with a screwdriver, it was hardly inserted into the LAN port of the router (but it already worked), after which I still squeezed the contacts with a screwdriver.

After I crimped each pin, I also latched the cable retainer. It is simply pressed inward and we press the outer insulation.

Everything is ready. We do the same on the other side of the cable. I got it like this:

As you can see, the contacts themselves are slightly damaged by a screwdriver. When crimping with a crimper, there is no such damage.

I tested the cable by connecting my laptop to my router. The Internet appeared on the laptop, which means that everything turned out and works. I managed to make a network cable the first time. Even without a special tool, with a regular knife and a screwdriver. I hope you did the same.

What to do if the network cable does not work?

It might be. But I would not be in a hurry to immediately blame everything on the cable. It is possible that the problem is in the router, computer, or other device that you are connecting. Need to check.

  • Connect another device using the supplied cable. If possible, check the devices by connecting them with a different cable. To make sure that the problem is in the network cable that we just crimped.
  • Be sure to carefully check the sequence of wires in the connector according to the diagram.
  • If you mix up the sequence of wires, then bite off the connector and redo it.
  • If everything is according to the diagram, then take a screwdriver and press the contacts on the connector. It is possible that there is no contact.

That’s it. Write in the comments about your results, ask questions, and share tips. Good luck to all!

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