Transition from aluminum to copper

alan_s_thefirstApril 15, 2013

Looking at buying a place with some aluminum wiring. Insurance shouldn't be a bother but I do see outlets have been replaced with Decora style, which aren't (I believe) AL rated. Assuming they've been done right, there will be a transition via pigtail to copper.

If not, I will be replacing them and doing them properly (vendor or predecessor PAINTED the outlets. Looks stupid.)

Just wondering - haven't seen info online to confirm this or not - can I use regular Marrettes (I prefer Cantwist) on the aluminum to copper transition, with the appropriate paste, or are there special connectors?

Also, can grounds be crimped? I'm assuming not, since the crimps I'm familiar with say copper only.

I should note, I'm in BC, Canada, so the rules are somewhat different, but the principles should be the same.

This post was edited by alan_s_thefirst on Mon, Apr 15, 13 at 1:47

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alan_s_thefirst

Looks like I need these:

No pretwisting? Really? Is that optional, or actually preferable?

Looks like they're pre-treated with antioxidant paste, which is handy.

Here is a link that might be useful: Twister Al/Cu

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 1:46AM
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alan_s_thefirst

Edit: Never mind, looks like I found my own answer. I am curious about the pre-twisting, though. I'd think it's a more reliable connection, but given the different expansion coefficients, I wonder it it's wise if it's a Cu/Al mix?

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 1:55AM
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glennsparky

Hi alan. Those wirenuts are still CSA rated, but they are not recommended by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. If you can possibly find AL or ALR rated devices, use paste and a torque screwdriver, that's the way to go. Use AlumiConns
http://kinginnovation.bmobilized.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.kinginnovation.com%2Fproducts%2Falumiconn%2F
for the grounds.

The old AL alloy gets brittle too fast when bent or squeezed too hard. Squeezed not hard enough and you get arcing. That's why the torque screwdriver. And why pretwisting is problematic. You can't twist away with wild abandon like you can with copper. Go gentle. If you don't pretwist, the instructions still say, turn the wirenut until the wires twist two times.

This post was edited by glennsparky on Mon, Apr 15, 13 at 3:34

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 2:46AM
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glennsparky

No crimping for you. There's only one listed crimping system. You have to take the manufacturer's training before they will RENT you the crimper. It's mucho dinero per month.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 3:00AM
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w0lley32

Hi! I am no expert, but I know that my parent's house original wiring is aluminum, and the house was built in 1971. All of the all-aluminum connections, the aluminum-copper connections and the connections with a fixture's wiring have worked flawlessly with the Marrette 63 and Marrette 65. I bought some of the Ideal purple twisters for the kitchen chandelier, and it took about 4 months before the connection failed to the point it melted the wire nut.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 9:08PM
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alan_s_thefirst

Wow re the melting. Thanks for the tips. Ironic that I have a crimper now, but won't have copper to use it on.

Have you seen how much those torque screwdrivers cost? $200-$300 - wow.

This post was edited by alan_s_thefirst on Tue, Apr 16, 13 at 0:15

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 12:05AM
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Ron Natalie

There are two ways to solve the cable connector. First, You can get an "Right Angle F Adapter" at Radio Snack that will probably fix you right up.

They also make replacement cable wall plates that recess (often tilting downward) the jack. These are popular to install behind flat panel TVs. Just google recessed cable wall plate.

Here is a link that might be useful: Right Angle F Adapter at Radio Snack

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 4:28AM
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Ron Natalie

Ignore that last one it was for the other thread.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 5:26AM
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brickeyee

"Have you seen how much those torque screwdrivers cost? $200-$300 - wow."
Use a small 1/4 inch drive inch-pound wrench and the correct hex drive adapter and bits.

The smaller wenches are a lot less expensive, and the adapters have no affect on torque readings.

You can even use 1/4 inch drive extensions to make reaching easier (I usually keep about a 3 inch one on my wrench).

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 12:45PM
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