Copper-clad aluminum wiring?

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Copper-clad aluminum wiring?

Postby plectrudis » Sat May 20, 2017 7:37 pm

Dangit.

I found what seemed like a good price on wire on amazon with a lot of good reviews. Only now that it's here, I've realized that it's not all copper--it's copper-clad aluminum. (And was marked as such on amazon--I just missed it).

Is this... bad?

In particular, will it cause problems when I connect it to switches or fixtures that use all-copper wire?

Do I have to coat it in some special anti-oxidizing product? (If so, what?)

It if was a mistake, it was a $15 mistake, so not a huge deal, just--annoying.

https://www.amazon.com/Speaker-Car-Audio-Sky-High/dp/B00MR5K326/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

Here's the manufacturer's pic:

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Re: Copper-clad aluminum wiring?

Postby KTM_Guy » Sun May 21, 2017 12:14 pm

What are you going to use the wire for?

CCA is great for high frequency applications like audio, communications, and data. Not the best for low frequency like low or high voltage power. Aluminum does not conduct power as good as copper so you need a bigger wire size to handle the same current at copper. CCA was used in houses for a few years in the 70's from what I recall, and the power from the pole or underground to your house is most likely aluminum.

Can you use it in your tear? Sure but there are better choices. And I would just stick to your low voltage stuff like the USB plugs, LED lighting. Probably not to a 12v outlet that might have an invert, heater or 12v hair dryer run off it.

This is what I plan to use in my build, https://www.amazon.com/Ancor-MArine-Grade-Duplex-Wire/dp/B000NUYAQM?th=1 18GA for all LED, USB, and trailer lights. Then some short runs of 14GA for 120v and a 12v outlet.

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My feeling on power in a TD is most people go way overboard on their wiring. Look at your house and what you plug in on a daily basis. Not things like microwaves, refrigerator, sump pump that should have dedicated circuits. Toaster 100-1500 watts, waffle iron 500-1000 watts, coffee maker 800-1400 watts, probably the thing that you plug in with the most draw is a hair dryer at up to 1800 watts. All these run off 14GA wire and a 15 amp breaker. So unless you want to run a coffee maker and hair dryer at the same time you can't at 15 amps, and guess what, you can't at 20 amps either. I see no reason to run 12GA wire in a TD. Even for AC if you are going to go with a regular house window unit they are made for 15 amps because most electric circuits in bedrooms are 14GA wire so 15 amp breaker. For me I doubt I will put 120v in my build, A.because I don't plan to camp where there is electric, B. I like to camp to get a way from noise so a generator isn't going to happen. C. I don't think I want AC, if it's so hot I would need AC it's to hot to camp. (That just my feeling I know some people need it because of humidly and they like hot weather, I live in the desert and have low humidity. It can be 120 degrees here and I can drive 1.5 hours and be in the mountains and have cool nights.) But if I was going to have one of the portable AC units I would just run an extension cord to the power pedestal. Same thing with the galley. Most campsites have the power pedestal in the back of the site on the left side. A 25' 14GA extension cord with 3 outlet end will cover anything I would ever need while camping.

Good luck,
Todd

PS Love your build thread and your determination. :applause:
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Re: Copper-clad aluminum wiring?

Postby H.A. » Sun May 21, 2017 1:57 pm

Saly.
Last edited by H.A. on Thu Jul 06, 2017 4:11 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Copper-clad aluminum wiring?

Postby plectrudis » Sun May 21, 2017 2:47 pm

Thanks, guys--that's what I feared. But it's good know for sure. It's going to take me 2-3 years to finish this project, so I may as well do it right.

I appreciate the link, Todd--there are so many choices when it comes to wires that it's rather overwhelming. And it looks like this meets my key criteria--I wanted two wires joined together ("duplex"?), but in different colors. This looks like it will fit the bill, and I'm charmed to know I can go down a size or two for most of my uses, which will be lights and USB ports.
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Re: Copper-clad aluminum wiring?

Postby Dale M. » Mon May 22, 2017 7:55 am

Personally from years of experience in telecommunications industry would go with straight copper.... Years ago the "industry" pretty much eliminated all aluminum wire and bussbars from it systems and that told me the aluminum was not as good as the copper that replaced them....

If you are buying bulk there are some really good sources other than amazon... Quality is probably more reliable too....

https://www.delcity.net/

https://www.waytekwire.com/

Also these sites have lots of interesting "stuff" for low voltage wiring might want to do a little "window shopping"...

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Any statement made by me are strictly my own opinion.
You are free to ignore anything I say if you do not agree.

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Re: Copper-clad aluminum wiring?

Postby low277 » Mon May 22, 2017 10:11 pm

I've had good luck with waytekwire and Digi-Key. Both Minnesota companies.
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Re: Copper-clad aluminum wiring?

Postby Bob Hammond » Tue May 30, 2017 8:27 am

There is nothing wrong at all with aluminum as a conductor, but it should only be used with devices that are marked for it because repeated thermal expansion and contraction cycles may cause it to creep out from under a screw and short out. In the 1960s, many houses caught fire because of that and so it's been discontinued in building construction. If you buy a house from that era, you better check it out and make sure that if it has aluminum wiring then the receptacles and other devices are marked for use with aluminum wire.


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