Electrical wiring

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wrote:

I am notorious for flipping letters around. Isn't dyslexia just a wonderful thing?
Anyway it was not my argument. http://www.copper.org/applications/electrical/energy/onesizeup.html
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I know copper wire has many advantages over AL wire but I have a question or two.
First off why is almost all the 'big' wire AL? When I started service here I was required to buy AL wire to connect the meter to the breaker box on the pole and to connect that box to the breaker box in the trailer.
Also can you even buy 'small' AL wire, e.g. 10 ga? If so is it that much cheaper than Cu?
Would anyone here use AL wire for anything?
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no spam wrote:

Cost -- compare the price for large diameter Cu vis a vis Al and you'll see they "why"...
It would be unusual to require Al, most will accept either as most terminations these days are Cu/Al compatible. If the service gear was rated for Al only, then it would make sense.
Another reason for Al is that it bends more easily so for larger sizes it is easier to handle.
Al for service entrance, feeders, etc., sure...
I would expect a very high fraction or more of those "here" have Al in their own residences in at least those applications.
--
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IIRC, you can use a smaller Cu wire.

I just know what the permit people told me. I guess you can't buy a Cu rated meter box.

I missed a word. It should read: Would anyone here use AL wire for anything else? That is would anyone here use AL wire from the breaker box to the outlets.
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no spam wrote:

But the comparison of the required Cu to that for Al for the same current rating still favors Al in a sizable ratio.

I'm sure they were simply telling you to do common practice. Al is the de facto standard for feeder/service use.

See Doug's response -- w/ NEC 2005 at least it isn't allowed.
--
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Lightweight, and less expensive.

Required? Really? That's unusual.

Yes.
Yes.
Other than as a service entrance, no, not if I can help it.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Doug Miller wrote:

...
...
I assume somebody must still make it, but out of curiousity I did a little looking -- lots of feeder and various other larger cable, but I couldn't find a single reference to 10/x or smaller Al. Smallest I found was #8.
I'm thinking w/ the Al-wiring scare there simply has been so little demand for ordinary circuit Al wiring it has become almost, if not, a thing of the past.
I'm not sure for the smaller gauges the cost differential would be that great, but maybe, but couldn't find any to try to do a comparison on...
--
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Hmm. Thought I'd seen #10 not too long ago. But then, "not too long ago" is a longer time period than it used to be, too. :-(

I imagine the biggest factor is this:
"Conductors normally used to carry current shall be of copper unless otherwise provided in this Code." [2005 NEC, Article 110.5]
Exceptions include services and feeders, but not (as far as I can tell) branch circuits.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Doug Miller wrote:

I started to say I thought the Code _might_ have removed AL from branch circuit use, but wasn't sure enough to say so (and didn't feel like digging through to find out for sure).
That pp would certainly put a crimp in the market, wouldn't it? :)
So, at least for all practical purposes, the answer to the question of is AL in smaller sizes (for electrical wiring purposes) available is "No"...
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|> Speaking of useless answers. I went to some trade show years ago. I |> got a tote bag that might have said Copper is Proper. I cannot find |> the tote bag to see if that was the logo. Two points were made in the |> handout and it was geared towards commercial electricians. Well maybe |> one point. Copper flows electricity better than aluminum. 12 guage can |> be less expensive over the life of a building versus 14 guage due to |> lower power losses with the bigger wire. Equipment can run better with |> lower voltage drops. | |I know copper wire has many advantages over AL wire but I have a question or |two. | |First off why is almost all the 'big' wire AL? When I started service here |I was required to buy AL wire to connect the meter to the breaker box on the |pole and to connect that box to the breaker box in the trailer. | |Also can you even buy 'small' AL wire, e.g. 10 ga? If so is it that much |cheaper than Cu? | |Would anyone here use AL wire for anything?
Cost and weight.
As I stated earlier, the resistivity of Al v. Cu is about 1.5 to 1.7 depending on the alloy. Expressed another way, increasing the Al wire by approximately two gauge equalizes the losses. (Cu 12 AWG ~ Al 10 AWG)
For residential wiring, the downsides of Al are corrosion, creep and dissimilar metals issues when connected to copper. The lower wire cost is eaten up by the specialized connections required to use it.
For overhead long distance transmission lines the cost and weight advantages of Al are a big deal.
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I'll take that one step further. If a guy has to ask the difference between 10/2, 10/3. 12/2 etc... WTF is he doing wiring his shop?
For chrissakes, call somebody who knows and who has the certification and insurance!!
And GET A FARKING PERMIT!!
(Yes, yes, I know, I know... there are many here who have the knowledge and confidence to do that kind of work themselves, but when questions indicate a complete and total ignorance of the topic at hand.........)
r
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You have always heard there are no stupid questions. Maybe the questions were asked for reference. To see what others had done when there shop was wired. I think it was a legitimate question asking the difference between the wires. If he is to have someone wire the shop are all electricians going to wire with 12/2 on 220 and 10/2 on 110? Knowledge is a good thing and being able to tell the electrician what you want can only make the shop that much better.
John
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One who lacks knowledge on a topic is far better served by telling the electrician what functionality he wants and leaving the how-to's to the person most knowledgeable - the electrician. BTW, no - all electricians are not going to wire with 12/2 on 220 and 10/2 on 110. Just the opposite. And yes - for the most part, all electricians are going to wire the same way - based on the requirements of the circuit.
--

-Mike-
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On Sat, 11 Aug 2007 22:33:45 -0400, "Mike Marlow"

I won't argue against the point of specifying the desired functionality to the electrician - that's just good sense. But I do take a mild exception to the "better served" part. It's been said that a "little knowledge is dangerous", but I firmly believe that ignorance is even more dangerous.
Before anybody gets incensed, "ignorance" is the opposite of "knowledge", not the opposite of "intelligence" and is not an insult. None of us know all there is to know, so we are all ignorant of more things than we have knowledge of.
I applaud the OP's question. Any attempt by a person to convert a little ignorance into a little knowledge is a laudable pursuit.
Tom Veatch Wichita, KS USA
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<Tom Veatch> wrote in message

Oh, I applaud anyone's interest in gaining new knowledge. That however, is not the point of Robert's and other comments about seeking qualified help on some things when one's level of knowledge is so low. And my follow on comment in response to you was simply that one would be foolish to expect that a couple of posts in a woodworking usenet newsgroup is make one capable of directing an electrician in how to perform a task. That would be a dangerous amount of knowledge.
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-Mike-
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Tom Veatch wrote in
*snip*

*snip*
I know something about everything. Sometimes I know that I don't know. ;-)
Puckdropper
--
Wise is the man who attempts to answer his question before asking it.

To email me directly, send a message to puckdropper (at) fastmail.fm
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wrote:

Then I would say you've advanced to the 2nd level of knowledge on that particular topic.
1. Don't know that you don't know. 2. Know that you don't know. 3. Know that you know. 4. Don't know that you know.
Tom Veatch Wichita, KS USA
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Tom Veatch wrote:
| Then I would say you've advanced to the 2nd level of knowledge on | that particular topic. | | 1. Don't know that you don't know. | 2. Know that you don't know. | 3. Know that you know. | 4. Don't know that you know.
This sounds remarkably like a former Secretary of Defense's semi-coherent ramblings on Middle East intelligence...
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/SC_Madison.html
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wrote:

No, it's more like the redneck statement of the three laws of thermodynamics;
1. You can't win. 2. You can't break even. 3. You can't get out of the game.
Tom Veatch Wichita, KS USA
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A couple of more points. 1) The more you now about things the easier it is to calculate your building cost.
2) If you have people bid on a project it helps to know just what they are planning on using. If Joe's Power bid is lower than Bill's Power its nice to know that one reason is Joe's is planning on using smaller wire.
Personally, when it comes to wiring bigger IS better. Even more so when it comes to a workshop. I'm looking at building a new home in a few years and if I can afford it I will 'over wire' the entire house for a couple of reasons. First, look around your house now and think about how it looked 10 years ago. How many more electrical items do you have now? How many more might we have in 10 more years?
Second, its much more difficult to have an electrical fire if you wire a 20 amp breaker with wire that will carry 40 amps or so.
Third, if you need to 'upsize' later its a lot easier to just put in a larger breaker than putting in new or more wire.
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