Stranded Aluminum Fixture to Solid Copper

rpn1167February 21, 2011

I've found many posts here and elsewhere regarding issues with joining copper and aluminum, mostly in regard to switches, receptacles, branch circuits, etc. However I haven't found the answer to a more basic question. Is there any problem with connecting a ceiling fixture with stranded aluminum leads to solid copper house wire? If this is OK what is the proper method of connection?

Thanks for any assistance you can provide.

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Those fixture are most likely tinned copper conductors not aluminum.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 10:32AM
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Very unlikely to be aluminum leads.

Tinned copper is the most common fixture wire.

If you are not sure, take a knife and scrape a strand and see if it is copper colored under the plating.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 1:59PM
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While I tend to agree with brick and salt, NOTHING coming out of Communist China surprises me, and I mean NOTHING.

Please report back with what you found. Most of these new "push-in" type connectors (e.g. IDEAL brand) are listed for use with stranded COPPER wire... just pre-twist the strands very tightly before inserting, and check the see-thru portion to ensure all strands were "captured". Personally, I'd solder-tin them first.

If it turns out you really DO have aluminum on your hands, and you don't want to get a refund, then you're on a quest to find an electrical supply house that carries wire-nuts or connectors or splices listed for mixed Cu-Al use... pretty sure Duh Big Box stores do NOT carry such.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2011 at 2:00PM
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WAGO brand "Lever-Nuts" are the simplest-to-use, easiest to RE-use (but most bulky and expensive) of the push-in connectors. Because there's no force on the strands until you press-down the locking lever, you don't even have to pre-twist stranded conductors. But again, listed use for COPPER ONLY.

If you ever have to remove this ceiling fan/fixture, even to paint, the Wagos make it almost as simple as a plug-in appliance. Just used them in GF's rental flat to install way-cool chandelier. If/when she moves, landlord's lame-o pendant gets swapped back in approx. 3 minutes flat. ;')

    Bookmark   March 4, 2011 at 3:08PM
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