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Old 12-21-2012, 11:41 AM   #1
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Connecting Copper Wire to Aluminum Wire

I am no-where near an electrician, but I recently replaced a light fixture in my un-born babies room. After I disconnected the fixture I noticed that the wires connecting to the fixture are copper and the ground is a thick guage of something.... Aluminum? The NEW fixture is equiped with two smaller guage aluminum wires and a ground.
I have been getting split opinions on how I connected these wires together. I know I connected them correctly, but I am being told that I HAVE TO put some sort of compound on the wires since they are not matching material. If I dont my house will burn down from an electrical fire. The other people are saying, it's no big deal, nothing like this will happen.
I have attempted to do some research online and the only thing that I am finding is that the aluminum wire could lose conductivity when connected to copper. If I do need to put something on the wires, what is it?


Last edited by StarStryker11; 12-21-2012 at 11:42 AM. Reason: Spelling Error
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Old 12-21-2012, 11:45 AM   #2
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The fixture wires are most likely tinned copper. I have never seen a fixture with AL wires.


Answers based on the National Electrical Code. Local amendments may apply. Check with your local building officials.
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Old 12-21-2012, 12:38 PM   #3
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As Jim said, tinned copper, just snip off an end with wire cutters and you will see the copper, just like our new pennies in reverse!

I would do the same on that ground wire coming out of the wall. Having copper conductors and an aluminum ground just doesn't make sense. It could be a makeshift jumper someone slapped in from a ground screw in the box, try to see what it is connected to.
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Old 12-21-2012, 12:48 PM   #4
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Regardless, no compound is required. What ever connectors are used, they have to be listed for use with the conductors that are being connected.
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conductive , fire , house

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