Thanks to everyone who's responded to my last question about aluminum
wiring. I thought I'd investigate the option of using a hydrolic
pressing or crimping tool to add copper pigtails onto the aluminum
wires. Apparently that's how aluminum wire connections are made by the
I know there's a tool available and certified for residental wiring,
called COPALUM, unfortunately the company who offers this tool has very
strict rules and regulations, etc. regarding who can use it, etc. ...
making it quite expensive to actually use, not to mention that no one
in Canada is actually certified at the moment to use this tool.
However, electrical utilities obvioulsy have tools that they use also
for such things. Hence I'm wondering if anyone could help me dig up
some information on other powered crimping tools that can be used to
attach copper to aluminum wire.
Newsgroups: alt.engineering.electrical, alt.building.construction,
Date: Wed, 10 Aug 2005 19:09:50 GMT
Local: Wed, Aug 10 2005 3:09 pm
Subject: Re: Powered crimping tool equivalent to COPALUM tool
Thanks. I know about those, however, even though they are UL approved
the CPSC has apparently shown in tests that they do in fact fail under
normal conditions ... hence they do not approve of them. Therefore I
was hoping to find a solution that both testing agencies approve of ...
the only one I'm aware of is the COPALUM tool. They don't seem to have
as negative a view of CO/ALR approved devices (even though they do say
that they also have failed in tests). But since not everything is
available as CO/ALR compatible you're back to having to use pigtails,
at least for some things.
Harry Muscle wrote:
If you use crimp/compression connections the crimper has to be one that
the manufacurer says can be used.
My experience is that solid wire does not work in a crimp (#14-#10
range) - partly because too much torque can be applied from the wire the
crimp connection. Looking at a panduit catalog I didn't see any
limitation on solid wire. Make sure crimp connectors are listed for
solid wire if that is what you have (small gauge stranded aluminum wire
probably does not exist).
My suggestion would be to use copper/aluminum rated wire nuts; crimp in
small wire sounds like a pain. In general I look for wire nuts with a
'live spring' - the spring deforms over the wires making a tighter
In the trivia department, in compression connections on larger wire, the
sleeve is compressed so tight there is a cold weld between the sleeve
Apparently the COPALUM tool I mentioned in the original post does in
fact create a cold weld to the aluminum and copper. Which means the
equivalent tool I'm trying to find would also have to be able to create
enough pressure to do the same ... am I correct in assuming that that
rules out hand operated crimping tools and only leaves powered ones?
P.S. According to some of the information available on the COPALUM
tool, it creates 10,000 pounds of pressure.
Small lugs and connector pin crimping tools, such as those by AMP and
Amphenol for signal cables (e.g. 18 AWG and smaller) also create 'coldweld'
crimps, using just hand tools. But for anything larger such as 12AWG and
larger, I think you'd pretty much have to use something with a lot of
mechanical advantage such as hydraulic.
Sr. Product Engineer
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