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John Dirks Jr

copper clad AL branch

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Am I correct to understand that copper clad aluminum branch wiring does not have the problematic history that pure aluminum branch wiring does?

Just want to make sure.

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I have no idea, but I must say, I didn't even know the product existed. I've never seen it here. Wouldn't the aluminum still expand / contract more than solid copper? The process where copper ends are added uses solid copper. I'm poised to learn something...

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Am I correct to understand that copper clad aluminum branch wiring does not have the problematic history that pure aluminum branch wiring does?

Just want to make sure.

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I don't see how the copper coating would fix it, other than abate the galvanic action between the dissimiliar metals. What's curious is the pronounced deformation of the aluminum conductors in the photo. A lack of sufficient deformation is one reason why the aluminum formulations introduced in 65' were a problem. Couldn't deform enough to attain a connection with adequate surface area. Later formulations that were developed before the guvmint ban in 72' improved on the maleability of the aluminum. Maybe the conductors in the photo were of a later formulation.

At least that's what I gather from what I've read.

Marc

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Am I correct to understand that copper clad aluminum branch wiring does not have the problematic history that pure aluminum branch wiring does?

Just want to make sure.

I'm not aware of a definitive answer. I suspect that it wasn't used enough to establish a track record.

The copper cladding will prevent oxidation of the surface of the aluminum, which was part of the problem. So, at least in that regard, it should be better than uncoated aluminum was.

Jim Katen, Oregon

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The house does in fact have FP Stab-lok panel. I thought I was going to be delivering the double whammy with the AL branch/Stab-lok combination until I discovered it was CU clad.

The only reference I can find is on page 13 of the following document. It says there's no know problems associated with it.

http://www.inspectapedia.com/aluminum/alreduce.pdf

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The house does in fact have FP Stab-lok panel. I thought I was going to be delivering the double whammy with the AL branch/Stab-lok combination until I discovered it was CU clad.

The only reference I can find is on page 13 of the following document. It says there's no know problems associated with it.

http://www.inspectapedia.com/aluminum/alreduce.pdf

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In that case, I wouldn't worry about it.

Marc

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I see this fairly often, especially in one particular neighborhood. I've spent some time looking for some sort of empirical data that blesses or condems copper-clad AL, but haven't had any luck. I'm not much of a punter, but I ALWAYS tell a customer that an electrician should take a look and render an opinion.

From Chad, in the old thread John G. linked to: I'd be willing to bet that there isn't any reliable data anyway. True forensic methodology is hardly ever used to determine the cause of a fire unless the insurance companies suspect foul play.

If the occupants don't smoke and and weren't cooking then the cause is electrical.

I think he nailed it.

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As I read the post John copied from the old thread, it occurred to me that I used to type my thoughts- now, for the most part, I just think them as I read the thoughts of others. I like to think I'm evolving into a more introspective, calculating, open minded person but I have a gnawing suspicion that it may be laziness.

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As I read the post John copied from the old thread, it occurred to me that I used to type my thoughts- now, for the most part, I just think them as I read the thoughts of others. I like to think I'm evolving into a more introspective, calculating, open minded person but I have a gnawing suspicion that it may be laziness.

Introspection and open-mindedness are, without any doubt, the fast lane to wisdom - priceless practices. I've been telling folks for years, "A good home inspector is like a fine bottle of wine - getting better with age."

We are all constantly being led to the trough of wisdom. Some drink and some don't. [:-tophat]

(I doubt it's laziness.)

PS. I do, however, miss entering a thread, now and then, to behold someone's blood and guts still fresh on the walls, from your, apparently retired battle axe...

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As I read the post John copied from the old thread, it occurred to me that I used to type my thoughts- now, for the most part, I just think them as I read the thoughts of others. I like to think I'm evolving into a more introspective, calculating, open minded person but I have a gnawing suspicion that it may be laziness.

Fear not, for the trenchant chiarascuro of your thoughts is still noticed and appreciated by me, despite my occasional ball-breaking . . .

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I don't even pull the covers on those anymore. Too many breakers falling out.

I just tell em to replace em and if they won't do that, at least have an electrician pull the breakers and take a gander at the bus bars.

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Back to copper clad aluminum. Our state SOP has the following...

(d) Report, if present, solid conductor aluminum branch circuits. Include a statement in the report that solid conductor aluminum wiring may be hazardous and a licensed electrician should inspect the system to ensure it's safe.

I think most associations' SOPs have something similar. Note that there's no "except when it has a nice shiny copper coating". The lack of any empirical data, one way or the other, doesn't give me the confidence to treat or report the stuff any differently from any other solid aluminum conductor.

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Back to copper clad aluminum. Our state SOP has the following...

(d) Report, if present, solid conductor aluminum branch circuits. Include a statement in the report that solid conductor aluminum wiring may be hazardous and a licensed electrician should inspect the system to ensure it's safe.

I think most associations' SOPs have something similar. Note that there's no "except when it has a nice shiny copper coating". The lack of any empirical data, one way or the other, doesn't give me the confidence to treat or report the stuff any differently from any other solid aluminum conductor.

That would be my gut feeling as well. It's still an aluminum core, and it's still going to expand and contract more than copper.

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Hey John. Is that black tape or melted insulation, third wire up on the right side?

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White colored insulation used as hot on a 240v circuit. Taped with electrical tape to indicate its being used as a hot.

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I don't even pull the covers on those anymore. Too many breakers falling out.

I just tell em to replace em and if they won't do that, at least have an electrician pull the breakers and take a gander at the bus bars.

I know, I'm very careful with these. With the breaker toggles facing outward in the on position, they have a tendency to catch the cover when you remove it. Thats enough to knock 'em loose.

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Sorry, off topic a bit. I never pull the deadfronts on FP Stab Lok's. I've had to many issues in the past. You are guaranteed to shut of at least one breaker or more. Also, it's really tough to get the f--'n things back together due to the fact that the enclosure is way to small and it has more than likely been stuffed full of more wires due to its age. I had a buddy of mine take the dfront off of one and the main breaker fell out, arced and would not trip. Somehow he got the POS back together and got to go home and hug his wife and kids.

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