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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Default Aluminum or Tinned copper?

    Hi, this is my first post. i'm a novice who likes to make sure she is doing things correctly and i've hit a confusing snag...
    i'm trying to identify what type of wiring i have in parts of my house. my home improvement bible is letting me down.

    i'm trying to figure out if i have aluminum or tinned copper wiring. I have no idea when the wiring was done, so i can't use timing to narrow it down.

    it's a two wire flexible armorded cable with fabric then plastic sheathing and stranded silver colored wire. i "think" it's copper but the wire is so thin that i can't really see the core when i snip it. i am going to snag a magnifying glass to see if i can get a better idea.

    so, if its aluminum i have to use the CO/ALR specific outlets/switches. but what i don't know is if i'm getting myself in trouble using those if it happens to not be aluminum. am i causing a problem if i use the CO/ALR and it is actually tinned copper wiring?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    693

    Default Re: Aluminum or Tinned copper?

    If it is stranded I can guartandamtee it is not aluminum if it is smaller than #8.

    If it is stranded you should splice it to a solid conductor or use the proper crimp terminals if going to a screw terminal on a device.
    Last edited by NEC; 11-07-2009 at 03:37 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    5

    Default Re: Aluminum or Tinned copper?

    thanks for your quick reply!

    will it be a problem if i use CO/ALR devices? i just happen to have some, but i can easily go buy others i suppose. i will be sure to use crimp terminals.

    i'm happy to have my non-aluminum suspicions confirmed. so much easier!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
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    Default Re: Aluminum or Tinned copper?

    To answer your question CO/AL receptacles will work with aluminum or copper. Like NEC says if it stranded it's copper.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  5. #5
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    Feb 2009
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    693

    Default Re: Aluminum or Tinned copper?

    Quote Originally Posted by toxigal View Post
    thanks for your quick reply!

    will it be a problem if i use CO/ALR devices? i just happen to have some, but i can easily go buy others i suppose. i will be sure to use crimp terminals.

    i'm happy to have my non-aluminum suspicions confirmed. so much easier!
    Not a problem........ Most every device made these days is CO/AL.

    Just do not try wrapping that stranded wire around a screw terminal on a switch or receptacle. Use the proper crimp terms or wirenut it to solid wire.

  6. #6
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    Nov 2009
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    5

    Default Re: Aluminum or Tinned copper?

    i have a lot of wire nuts, but no crimp connectors. i admit, today i wrapped some wire around the terminals because i was in a hurry. i plan on redoing it though. i hope the house doesn't burn down tonight!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Default Re: Aluminum or Tinned copper?

    Quote Originally Posted by NEC View Post
    If it is stranded I can guartandamtee it is not aluminum if it is smaller than #8.

    If it is stranded you should splice it to a solid conductor or use the proper crimp terminals if going to a screw terminal on a device.
    okay, i just realized you said it is copper if smaller than #8. this appears to be #12. i just installed a light fixture with regular wire nuts and wonder if i should have used the purples just in case.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Fayette County, Ohio
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    Default Re: Aluminum or Tinned copper?

    12ga is much smaller than 8ga.. The larger the ga number the smaller the wire size.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    5

    Default Re: Aluminum or Tinned copper?

    Quote Originally Posted by JLMCDANIEL View Post
    12ga is much smaller than 8ga.. The larger the ga number the smaller the wire size.
    Jack
    doh! i knew that. really i did. i can now rest in peace. thanks!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    693

    Default Re: Aluminum or Tinned copper?

    Quote Originally Posted by toxigal View Post
    doh! i knew that. really i did. i can now rest in peace. thanks!
    Well,....... just do not rest in too much peace and have some fun while you have shoes to put on........... Or, take off, whatever.

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