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Technical Copper wire

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by rs57, Mar 4, 2020.

  1. rs57
    Joined: Apr 9, 2008
    Posts: 135

    rs57
    Member
    from oklahoma

    I don’t know how some others feel about it .
    But when installing any wiring on my vehicles I want copper wire
    Seems more and more
    They are selling copper clad aluminum stranded wire without
    Telling you .
    Maybe it works ok for some stuff I don’t know .
    But you might want to check next time you buy wire .
    Cut it scrape strand and see if silver
    Color shows up
    If so it’s copper clad .
    I’m sure most guys know this
    But just in case someone new to
    Building or restoring a vehicle
    Might could use this information .
    Any other opinions welcome
    I know there are guys out there who
    Know a lot more than I do .
     
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  2. OLDSMAN
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,424

    OLDSMAN
    BANNED

    I haven’t heard of this until now, but aluminum wire in any form isn’t acceptable for automotive uses. If this is fact something needs to be done with the manufactures of this fraud wire
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2020
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  3. Good to be aware of especially with the foreign crap that has flooded the market place.
     
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  4. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,136

    squirrel
    Member

    Maybe buy it from a real auto parts store, not Amazon?

    Sent from my Trimline
     
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  5. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 4,725

    41rodderz
    Member
    from Oregon

    Touche
     
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  6. BadgeZ28
    Joined: Oct 28, 2009
    Posts: 1,044

    BadgeZ28
    Member
    from Oregon

    I think it is steel plated with copper? I see it available for speaker wires also. Lots of crap on the market today. Buyer beware.
     
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  7. CCA is some speaker wire and some industrial wire. GPT wire is automotive.
     
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  8. indcontrols
    Joined: May 29, 2013
    Posts: 88

    indcontrols
    Member

    A far better product is just the opposite of "scrape off the copper and get aluminum", the wire should be silver already, scrape that off and get copper - If that is the case, then it is tin (or silver, but tin is more common) plated copper.
    Tin plated wire is FAR more suited to our applications than bare copper. The tin plating prevents corrosion. I'm sure you have seen the older copper wire turn black and green, strip it back a mile to get to clean copper - especially if its a trailer plug or a boat.
    As most cheap automotive wire is pvc insulated, and pvc is corrosive, well... the rest is easy to figure out. I know of no good application for copper coated aluminum stuff... though it seems to be making its way over here from lands east...
    Also good the check the temperature rating of the insulation - 75 degree C rated junk is fine for speakers, not so good for headlights and fuel pumps...
     
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  9. rs57
    Joined: Apr 9, 2008
    Posts: 135

    rs57
    Member
    from oklahoma

    Good informative info thanks for posting
     
  10. rs57
    Joined: Apr 9, 2008
    Posts: 135

    rs57
    Member
    from oklahoma

  11. deathrowdave
    Joined: May 27, 2014
    Posts: 2,152

    deathrowdave
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from NKy

    Tinned copper , I think is the answer , just right to solder
     
  12. Beanscoot
    Joined: May 14, 2008
    Posts: 1,409

    Beanscoot
    Member

    I recall copper plated aluminum battery cables on some '70s or '80s GM cars.

    On another note, those cheap battery isolator thingies with a big thumb screw that you loosen to isolate the battery (negative terminal of course, to prevent the phlogiston from leaking out) that are shiny brass - I filed into one to discover that it is brass plated zinc.
     
  13. rs57
    Joined: Apr 9, 2008
    Posts: 135

    rs57
    Member
    from oklahoma

  14. A couple of years ago I was at a scrap yard talking with owner. he was complaining about some electric motors that he got in, he showed me that they were copper coated aluminum. He wasn't happy, he had paid the price for copper, he learned a lesson.
     
  15. Ned Ludd
    Joined: May 15, 2009
    Posts: 4,004

    Ned Ludd
    Member

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  16. I had the option to run copper or aluminum wire for the 200 amp power supply to my barn. the aluminum was much cheaper despite being much larger to handle the amp load. I would guess in an automotive dc system it would have to be sized up to function safely.
     
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  17. The Shift Wizard
    Joined: Jan 10, 2017
    Posts: 1,958

    The Shift Wizard
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I recall a big stink a few decades ago when home builders began using aluminum wiring in their new home construction. The issue was the mismatch of the terminal and connection materials causing above normal corrosion, which caused overheating and fires. I vaguely recall and don't remember the exact details, but I think the homeowners had to retrofit bandaids or rewire for safety reasons. Don't quote me on any of this without checking.
    I'll bet NASA uses a lot of gold and goldplated electrical systems in those Mars rovers, satellites, etc.
     
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  18. Ebbsspeed
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 5,035

    Ebbsspeed
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    In 1983 our company built a huge new office building, and virtually all of the electrical wiring was aluminum. After a couple of years the issues started to show up. The different expansion rates of the wire and the associated connectors resulted in loosening of the connections. The building electricians replaced a lot of what they could, but the remaining aluminum required regularly scheduled inspection and tightening of connections in the breaker panels, light switches and electrical outlets.
     
  19. The Shift Wizard
    Joined: Jan 10, 2017
    Posts: 1,958

    The Shift Wizard
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Hey! Thanks for clarifying.
    My recall was not so exact to the point. I wonder what possible issues might be encountered with aluminum wiring in vehicles. I suppose copper-plated aluminum can be soldered if it must be spliced. (?)
     
  20. I've had reason to buy more wire than normal lately. I checked this morning and have found no copper clad aluminum among in the wire I have bought. It's all branded Pico, Grote and Standard Motor Products. All labeled made in Canada, USA, or Mexico.

    I seem to remember though, working on cars built in the 80s (GM mostly) the wiring running to the tail lights was aluminum, no copper cladding, and repairs had to be made with crimp connectors, there was no soldering that crap wire. The aluminum wire was more brittle than copper and would break in areas of tight corners or any stressed areas.
     
  21. no55mad
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 1,846

    no55mad
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from nipomo, ca

    Bought some magnetic mount towing lights from a big box store. Worked okay but then started acting up. Troubleshooting reveled that the wire inside the insulation had disintegrated to a white powder. Will have to check some of the surviving wire and see what it is.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2020
  22. That's my place, made in the early 70's aluminum wiring with pigtail copper ends (now).
     
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  23. Thanks for bringing this up rs57. I didn't know this was happening. I remember the issues with aluminum wires in houses and if I remember right the big issue was that aluminum wire oxidizes right away so the connections in the boxes weren't very good. Sometimes it led to arcing which is bad news. I think the copper coated wire would eliminate this problem but aluminum wire shouldn't be in a vehicle because aluminum work hardens and breaks from the movement a lot faster than copper. If I buy any more wire in the future I will definitely watch for this.
     
  24. Early Ironman
    Joined: Feb 1, 2016
    Posts: 550

    Early Ironman
    Member

    I use Ancor Marine Grade Wire and get it from Amazon. It is cheaper than getting it from West Marine.



    Ancor Marine Grade Wire and Cable
    Manufactured from tinned copper stranding for maximum protection against corrosion and electrolysis. Ultra flexible (Type 3) stranding resists fatigue due to vibration and flexing.

    Ancor’s proprietary premium vinyl insulation stays flexible even in extreme cold (-40°F / -40°C) and resists salt water, battery acid, oil, gasoline and ultra-violet radiation. Exclusive insulation is rated at 600 volts, 221°F / 105°C dry and 167°F / 75°C wet, and is resistant to heat and abrasion.

    Exceeds all UL 1426, US Coast Guard Charter boat (CFR Title 46) and ABYC standards.
    Description
    Ancor Marine Grade Primary Wire is manufactured from tinned copper stranding for maximum protection against corrosion and electrolysis. Ultra-flexible (Type 3) stranding helps prevent fatigue due to vibration and flexing. Ancor's proprietary premium vinyl insulation stays flexible even in extreme cold (-40° F/ -40° C) and resists salt water, battery acid, oil, gasoline, and ultraviolet radiation. The wire's exclusive insulation is rated at 600 volts, 221° F / 105° C dry and 167° F / 75° C wet, and is engineered to withstand heat and abrasions. Exceeds all UL 1426, US Coast Guard Charter boat (CFR Title 46), and ABYC standards.
    Features & details
    100 Feet of Black 16 AWG marine grade wire
    Manufactured from individual copper strands and tinned to perform in the harshest marine environments
    Ultra-flexible Type 3 stranding resists fatigue from vibration and provides added corrosion protection
    Exceeds all UL 1426, US Coast Guard Charter boat (CFR title 46) and ABYC standards
    They are constructed with premium vinyl insulation that is rated at 600 volts, 105 deg C dry and 75 deg C wet, stays flexible even in extreme cold (-40 deg F/C) and resists salt water, battery acid, oil, gasoline, heat, abrasion and ultra-violet radiation

    Ancor Marine Grade Primary Wire and Battery Cable (Black, 100 Feet, 16 AWG) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000NUYFVM/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_MxIyEbKBBT37E


    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2020
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  25. rs57
    Joined: Apr 9, 2008
    Posts: 135

    rs57
    Member
    from oklahoma

  26. leon bee
    Joined: Mar 15, 2017
    Posts: 483

    leon bee
    Member
    from Arkansas!

    Year after year I just go to NAPA and grab a roll or two. No problems yet.
     
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  27. rs57
    Joined: Apr 9, 2008
    Posts: 135

    rs57
    Member
    from oklahoma

    That anchor marine wire sure seems like a good way to go thanks for posting that
     
  28. Elcohaulic
    Joined: Dec 27, 2017
    Posts: 924

    Elcohaulic
    Member

    I've been using aluminum in service entrances for 50 years without one issue...

    So long as you get the larger size there shouldn't be an issue...
     

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