IDC Crimp Solutions for the Budget-Conscious

A common question we receive here at Digi-Key is a request for inexpensive ways to more effectively terminate IDC (Insulation Displacement Connection)-style connectors in the field. Often this is for repairs to consumer equipment, or for prototypers or makers that can’t exactly throw down thousands of dollars on a professional-grade bench vise to terminate a handful of three-dollar receptacles.
Fortunately, there are two solutions available to those who need a quick-and-dirty, low cost option for terminating common IDC connectors.

The first is Klein Tools’ part number D234-6C . This combination crimp plier/cutter has been designed specifically to ease termination of IDC connectors and reduce damage to connector housings as compared to ordinary pliers. While intended primarily for use with Scotchlok splice terminals, the tool can also ease installation of typical rectangular receptacles.

If your concern is solely with rectangular ribbon cable connectors, another option is Eclipse Tools’ part number 300-011. This is a Digi-Key Marketplace part, so it may take longer to get to you than the Klein pliers above, but it’s a fantastic option for terminating rectangular IDC receptacles on a “one week’s coffee expenditure” budget.

Either of these tools should help you in terminating your IDC parts without breaking the bank, letting you repair your RV, prototype around that shiny new FPGA you’ve been dying to tinker with, or clean up your cable runs in that greenhouse watering robot you’re building for your YouTube channel. Victory for your wallet!