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.
That would be "hydraulic"...
I've notice this pretty consistently and it grates on my eyes... :)
For ordinary household wiring don't think you'll find anything that
would be practical.
I think what you've found is that the perceived potential liability has
essentially prevented the introduction of anything for consumer/end user
use. Don't foresee this changing.
There are many crimping tools designed for wiring (not necessarily house
wiring but any) that will work with #12 wire no problem. I have also seen
copper sleeves (Ferrules?) for use in crimping wire in the electrical
section at HD and other hardware stores.
Hydrolic is probably overkill if you are doing only one house (maybe if you
are thinking about going into business but....) A simple mechanical
ratcheting crimping tool will work fine. The cheaper one that come with the
connector kits will not be able to give you enough mechanical advantage and
the crimp is too narrow. There are many brands and can be found in the
electrical tools section of almost any hardware store probably right next to
the copper sleeves.
You could make a perfectly good crimper out of a cheap pair of bolt
cutters by drilling or grinding the right sized hole in the blades.
The bigger problem is finding crimp sleeves that are appropriate for
joining copper and aluminum. Tin plated might be compatible with both
metals, I'm not sure.
That's where I'd think the problem lies, too...and if one is looking for
NEC-approved or equivalent as I thought OP was, that could be a problem.
I guess NicoPress would be one place one could start looking...we use
them on electric fence, but that's not the same thing by any stretch as
for residential wiring...
There are indeed _many_ crimping tools and sleeves. But few of them
are UL/CSA/NEC/CEC approved for work on AC power wiring. And secondly,
_none_ of them (except the COPALUM device _with_ the hydraulic crimper)
are approved for connecting aluminum wire to copper.
So, telling people to just wander into the automotive section, and use
whatever they find there on their AC power wiring (whether Aluminum or
not) is a very bad idea.
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It\'s not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
ratching crimpers are what I would and do use.
The biggest issue is to find a crimp that is AL/CU rated.
After much googling I found this
"COPALUM connectors are available from Tyco Electronics under the AMP brand.
Consumers can check to see if the COPALUM connector system is available in
their area by calling the company at (800) 522-6752. To order a list of
authorized electricians in their area, consumers can write to: Tyco
Electronics Corp., Attn: Aluminum Wire Repair Program, P.O. Box 3608,
Harrisburg, PA 17105-3608. If no authorized electrician is currently located
nearby, consumers can have an electrician interested in repairing their home
contact the nearest supplier of AMP- brand COPALUM connectors for training
and other repair information."
Seems no one is going to sell parts,,,, tools yes.
Have fun anything that is this "closed" I have serious suspicions about.
COPALUM is the tool I mentioned in my original post. Unfortunately,
it's virtually impossible for one to get their hands on it ... first
off you have to be a licensed electrician, then you need to get
certified (apparently only one guy in all of Canada is certified, but
he no longer works with this tools and wants nothing to do with it due
to the costs associated), then you can finally get the tool, but they
only rent it, never sell it ... way to much hassle and cost to go thru.
replying to SQLit, fish on wrote:
Anytime there is s solution to the problem everyone wants to find a way to
circumvent the fix.Aluminum wiring is a problem,cheap homeowners and handymen
and Mr.Fix it ate bigger problems when it comes to aluminum wiring.There's a
reason why you need to be a licensed electrician and certified in this
process.Aluminum wiring because of it's characteristics needs to be handled
gingerly with proper syrippers so as not to nick wire which is an altogether
different problem than joining 2 dissimilar materials.Anyway would you use a
janitor to to perform surgery or terminate high voltage cables .don't think so.I
am an electrician certified with Tyco Amp for copalum remediation.I have seen so
many botched jobs from homeowners and uneducated electricians when it comes to
aluminum remediation using purple twisters and alumicon connectors because of
nicked wiresand trying to jam more wires than the allowed by these 2
methods.Wires are burnt and then cut shorter because of previous fix attempt.
Get it done right once and hire a qualified electrician.What price do you put on
Nobody has actually found a problem using CoALr devices when properly
installed but hype has taken over the whole conversation.
Most of the aluminum problems could actually be traced to bad
workmanship and the houses that were going to burn down, already have.
They are 40-50 years old now. Just about the time when the industry
came up with the fixes for aluminum wire, (better alloys and better
devices) they stopped using it.
I also reject most of the dissimilar arguments too. It is very hard to
find a lug that isn't aluminum and we put copper wire in them every
day. (No Goo) The issue was coefficient of expansion in a screw
binding terminal and they fixed it with a different screw in CoALr
On Sat, 30 Apr 2016 13:35:47 -0400, email@example.com wrote:
My house is now 43 years old. It was one of the last batch wired with
aluminum in Kitchener - Waterloo - using the new improved alloy with
standard (not COALR or AL-CU rated) I was changing insurance
companies which required an inspection - and some insurance companies
will not accept (grandfather) non co-alr devices without copper
pigtails, so I changed everything to CO-ALR - then found I needed to
install GFCI devices. (and I was replacing the fuse panel with
breakers as well) I was able to use GFCI breakers in some circuits,
but needed to use GFCI outlets for 4 outlets - and they don't make
COALR GFCI outlets so I needed to pigtail them. I used stranded copper
and MARR 65 connectors withnoalox paste.
There was not a single bad connection in the entire house and my
"upgrade" passed 2 inspections.
There is actually a calibrated torque scewsriver that is "technically"
required to torque all the screws on COALR devices.
On Sun, 01 May 2016 01:15:35 -0400, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I assume a MARR 65 is an Ideal 65 (purple wirenut)
U/L says they are fine. Some bureaucrat at CPSC wrote a bad report on
them and the networks picked it up.
I have a regular torque screwdriver with a phillips. I did the same
deal on my 1971 house in Md, 40 years ago when the panic started. That
was before the Ideal 65 tho. I put goo in 3m's with the live spring.
On Sun, 01 May 2016 01:27:38 -0400, email@example.com wrote:
Your assumption would be DEAD WRONG. The Thermoplastic Ideal is NOT
approved for use on copper/aluminum connections in Canada any more
because THEY are a fire hazard The Marr 85 is a brown phenolic wirenut
that won't melt or burn if a connection gets hot.
The official desognation is a MARR ACS #65 connector. There is also
the Marr ACS #63 connector (slightly smaller) The 65 is good for a
minimum of 2 #14 wires and a maximum of 1 #12 + 2 #10 conductors. and
good for copper to copper, copper to aluminum, and aluminum to
aluminum. The spring is copper finished. They are made by Thomas &
Betts / ABB.. They take less space than the "wingy" ideals as well.
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.
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