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'[OT] Dissimilar metals'
1999\09\26@212325 by Mike Keitz

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On Sun, 26 Sep 1999 19:26:24 -0400 Wagner Lipnharski
<spam_OUTwagnerlTakeThisOuTspamEARTHLINK.NET> writes:

I thought it was just a faster way to do
> the
> wiring, even representing a very weak contact compared to what could
> be
> if using the screw just aside the same power outlet.

That's about what they are.  The spring contacts aren't very good.
They're useful for lighting circuits and maybe the last/only outlet on a
15A circuit.  If your circuit "daisy chains" through the outlet to other
ones definitely use the screws.

> Of course the screw connection would be much stronger, but...
> probably
> for aluminum wire this is the answer.

The outlets I've seen had warnings on them to use only copper in the
spring contacts.  If you must deal with aluminum wire, consult an expert
to see what the latest recommended wiring devices and practices are.

> By the way, some experiences with transformers using aluminum wire?

They work but are not very efficient.  It was also common to wind small
motors (1/3 hp, 1/2 hp) with aluminum.  In the '70s the price of copper
was apparently rather high.  It's a classic trade-off of initial cost
versus other factors.  The leads are usually connected with crimped-on
connectors (I would imagine special ones designed for aluminum).

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1999\09\26@222102 by bowman

Mike Keitz wrote:
> In the '70s the price of copper was apparently rather high.

That is putting it mildly. In rural areas, there were instances of
people stealing transmission lines to salvage the copper. Live ones,
that is. Go out into the desert, shoot the insulators off, wait for the
sparks to die down, roll it up and get the hell out of there before the
power company crews or cops could arrive.

The company I was working for wound their own high voltage transformers
for high power RF work, so we did some experiments using aluminum. Not
too good, but if push came to shove..  In the same period, molding
compound was difficult to get due to the pertroleum shortages. GE was
attempting to use a furfurol (a corn ensilage derivative) based compound
to mold watthour meter bases. Everyone was relieved when we could go
back to using real copper and real epoxy. Necessity may be the mother of
Invention,  but she is a real bitch. Its a wonder more houses didn't
burn down.

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