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Old 01-04-2010, 06:28 PM   #1
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Aluminum thoughts


I have heard good and bad on aliminum wire and was just wondering what you all thought. I am running a sub panel about 40' from the main and the price difference between copper and aluminum is quite a bit. Not trying to be a tight, but don't like throwing money away either! Just wondering the good and bad on aluminum.
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Old 01-04-2010, 06:33 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by rodsteryz View Post
I have heard good and bad on aliminum wire and was just wondering what you all thought. I am running a sub panel about 40' from the main and the price difference between copper and aluminum is quite a bit. Not trying to be a tight, but don't like throwing money away either! Just wondering the good and bad on aluminum.
There is no problem using stranded Al, just use the antioxidant paste on your connections. Most all the problems with Al occur with solid wire in 12 and 10 gauge.
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Old 01-04-2010, 07:09 PM   #3
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I've used a LOT of AL wire in commercial/industrial applications. I've yet to have even one fail.

The POCOs use it almost exclusively, and considering they always grossly undersize wire, it can't be all that bad.

The key is to connect it properly, and consider the load it's supplying. Be careful to not nick it when it is stripped, use anti-oxidant paste, and wiggle the wire in the lug as you are tightening it. Put the paste on within a few minutes after it's stripped.

The only place I would not use AL with setscrew connections is for a motor feeder. The starting surge current will cause momentary heating, thus loosening the connection over time. Crimp connections are OK here, but not setscrew. Anyplace else, setscrews are OK.

Using AL for a feeder to a panel is perfectly fine, even with setscrew connections.

Rob

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Old 01-06-2010, 05:30 AM   #4
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Thanks guys, that eases my mind! I think I will go with AL.
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Old 01-06-2010, 05:53 AM   #5
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Well just to be on the other side here. I would never use AL wire. There is a reason they stopped putting it in house a long time ago. Copper has less chance of issue. Once again this is just to be the devils advocate I would never use AL wire.
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Old 01-06-2010, 08:43 AM   #6
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Well just to be on the other side here. I would never use AL wire. There is a reason they stopped putting it in house a long time ago. Copper has less chance of issue. Once again this is just to be the devils advocate I would never use AL wire.
The OP is talking about using AL in a feeder cable. The problem was in the branch circuit wiring, not feeder cables.
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Old 01-06-2010, 08:59 AM   #7
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I understand that. I would still NEVER USE AL WIRE.

EVER LOL No matter if it was to wire a gate closed.
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Old 01-06-2010, 06:22 PM   #8
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So Jim, are you saying you are OK with it too? Running 40' to a 100 A sub.
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Old 01-06-2010, 06:54 PM   #9
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I would not hesitate to run an aluminum feeder cable.

Anti-oxidant is good but not required. Be sure to follow the torque values specified for the lugs. Both too loose or too tight can create hot spots, but this would apply to copper also.
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Old 01-07-2010, 09:58 AM   #10
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I understand that. I would still NEVER USE AL WIRE.
You must have more money than most!
Theres nothing wrong with Al feeders, and your larger cirs. Besides they dont make 14 and 12 and 10 AWG Al anymore due to its inherent problems. Every power Co. feeds all services with Al.
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Old 01-10-2010, 03:49 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Big N8 View Post
Well just to be on the other side here. I would never use AL wire. There is a reason they stopped putting it in house a long time ago. Copper has less chance of issue. Once again this is just to be the devils advocate I would never use AL wire.
Just wanted to point out that the modern AL alloy used in electrical wires is not the same alloy that caused the problems back in the 70's.
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Old 01-10-2010, 04:19 PM   #12
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the reason the power co uses aluminum wire is its cheap/light weight.it oxidizes really easy and expands/contracts much more than copper which is main reason i never use it for anything once it reachs the mast outside for power co to tie into.
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Old 01-10-2010, 04:31 PM   #13
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You must have more money than most!
Theres nothing wrong with Al feeders, and your larger cirs. Besides they dont make 14 and 12 and 10 AWG Al anymore due to its inherent problems. Every power Co. feeds all services with Al.
My Service feed is copper



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Old 01-10-2010, 04:35 PM   #14
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My Service feed is copper
Ive used both equally sucessful! No problems with either.
Bet your power co feed is AL.
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Old 01-10-2010, 04:40 PM   #15
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Ive used both equally sucessful! No problems with either.
Bet your power co feed is AL.
On the wire ? Connecting all Telephone poles ? Dunno

But from the pole to my house is all copper
I imagine their are plenty of areas where copper is used
Possibly by local code/requirement, or by Homeowners Assoc where everything is buried

My old aerial feed was also copper



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