Where can I buy 10/2 Al wire?

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by runderwo, Sep 11, 2007.

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  1. runderwo

    runderwo New Member

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    I want to buy a length of 10/2 Aluminum branch wire for repair in an aluminum wired house... even the electrical shops around here won't sell in qty less than 250 feet. All I need is something like 3 feet of it.
  2. got_nailed

    got_nailed DIY Senior Member

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    277
    Can you use copper to AL wire buts?
  3. runderwo

    runderwo New Member

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    I have a 4 wire 10 gauge Al junction that I need to add a 12 gauge copper wire to for a total of 5 wires. There is nothing that will connect the 5 dissimilar wires and meet code. So I need to use a small Al jumper wire (use a Scotchlok B/G nut for the 5 10awg Al wires) and then pigtail the copper to that single wire instead. Only problem is, I can't find a small length of Al 10awg wire anywhere.
  4. runderwo

    runderwo New Member

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    I guess I hoped somebody on here would see this post and sell me a piece...
  5. runderwo

    runderwo New Member

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    It was the first place I looked when I realized that no supply house would sell it to me locally... no luck there either...
  6. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

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    You have a situation that probably doesn't have a good "code compliant" solution.

    If I had to solve the problem I would get an uninsulated CU/AL rated connector that you can find at HD. Get the smallest connector that is large enough to put all 5 stripped wires through one hole. Then I would strip the conductors (4 Al and 1 Cu) long enough to go through the connector to engage BOTH screws of the connector. Clean the aluminum and apply NOALOX or other antioxidant, insert the conductors into the connector (you can use either or both ends as convenient for wire routing) and tighten BOTH screws.

    Then I would insulate it with rubber and plastic tape or a piece of heavy-duty shrink tubing. I have used the kind of shrink tubing that is used when installing submersible pumps. It contains a meltable sealant and usually comes in a package of 4 with butt connectors. Look in the plumbing section where they sell submersible pumps.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2007
  7. runderwo

    runderwo New Member

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    Could you post a google images result for the type of connector you are talking about? I understand your method if the connector is what I'm picturing in my mind.

    I guess the other option is to install an extension or two on top of the box to give me more room, pigtail all 4 aluminum wires, and then nut the 5 resulting copper wires together. Ugh...
  8. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

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    Location:
    New Hampshire
    I can't find a picture but it is just a short hollow metal bar with a set screw near each end to clamp the wires. My suggestion is to just put the aluminum and copper wires through under both screws for double clamping of all wires.

    I have seen them in the same place that they have lugs. You could put all of the wires through a lug but you would have only one set screw to hold them. I would use the connector for more certain clamping.
  9. runderwo

    runderwo New Member

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    O.M.G. I don't think there are words for the level of unholiness that is stuffed in that box now :eek: but I'll try anyway.

    I pulled some slack out of some existing Al wire in the house and cut off about 6 inches, enough for two jumper wires to git er dun

    The panel wiring is 10awg Al. There are 2 daisychain fixtures wired with 10awg Al and 1 daisychain wired with 12awg Cu. There is a wall switch for the fixture that hangs off this box that is wired 10awg Al. The fixture itself is 3 separate lights (9 wires) of 14awg stranded Cu.

    Here goes...

    panel hot 10awg Al + 2 daisychain fixture hot 10awg Al + 1 wall switch send 10awg Al + jumper hot 10awg Al = Scotchlok B

    panel neutral 10awg Al + 2 daisychain fixture neutral 10awg Al + jumper neutral 10awg Al = Scotchlok B

    panel ground 10awg Al + 2 daisychain fixture ground 10awg Al + jumper ground 10awg Al = Scotchlok G

    jumper ground 10awg Al + daisychain fixture ground 12awg Cu + this fixture ground 12awg Cu = Alumiconn

    jumper hot 10awg Al + daisychain fixture hot 12awg Cu = Alumiconn

    jumper neutral 10awg Al + daisychain fixture neutral 12awg Cu + this fixture neutral jumper 12awg Cu = Alumiconn

    wall switch return 10awg Al + this fixture hot jumper 12awg Cu = Alumiconn

    this fixture hot jumper 12awg Cu + fixture assembly hot 14awg stranded Cu = Scotchlok R

    this fixture neutral jumper 12awg Cu + fixture assembly neutral 14awg stranded Cu = Scotchlok R

    Unbelievable... I truly pity the next guy.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2007
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    27,032
    Location:
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    al wire

    I cannot imagine anyone even having an aluminum wire as small as #10.
  11. runderwo

    runderwo New Member

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    Apparently I'm "lucky" since I'm told in the 70's some branches were wired #12 AL which can only carry 15 amps safely... but with a 20 amp breaker installed anyway...
  12. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    27,032
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    10/2

    I was referring to anyone having a piece of 10/2 aluminum wire to sell you now. Back in the 70's there was 12/2 and 14/2 aluminum, but once residential small gauge aluminum wire was outlawed there was almost no reason to even produce it.
  13. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

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    Location:
    North Carolina

    Has never been outlawed and is still being produced except it was never allowed to use 14/2 Al conductors
  14. runderwo

    runderwo New Member

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    I think in some local areas it may beagainst code to use it, but the NEC still allows it? Looks like there is new construction using copper-clad aluminum today... not solid aluminum like I have.
  15. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

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    689
    Use 12/2 copper with TIGHT wirenuts.

    Nothing wrong with that. It's done every day.

    CAREFUL when you strip the Al wire. Use the #10 slot in the strippers. If you ring the wire even a little bit, it will snap off in the nut.
  16. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    What are "tight" wire nuts? Are they approved for AL to CU splices?
  17. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    27,032
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    tight

    I assume he means TIGHT as in turn them as much as possible. But that did not stop the old systems from deteriorating,a nd loosening, because of different rates of expansion and contraction.
  18. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
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    I truly hope he does not mean that. If so he should NOT be giving advice such as this on a public board. Not unless he wants to burn down some houses.

    There are few ways to splice small AL conductors to copper. A regular wire nut is NOT one of them!
  19. runderwo

    runderwo New Member

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    37
    Supposedly, a scotchlok nut with a flame-free antioxidant, the wires scraped and pre-twisted, and with no more than 4 wires to a nut, is considered a good connection -- if not UL listed. But definitely do not use any regular wire nut that isn't a "spring" type, or those UL listed Ideal purple nuts you see at the store... they readily flame out.

    I just use the Alumiconn lugs to remove any question, but they only take 3 wires, they are bigger than a wire nut, quite a bit more expensive due to the patent, and proper tightening of the lugs requires a torque screwdriver. Though I would suggest a torque screwdriver when tightening any AL wire connections such as switches and outlets, because it removes the margin for error that exists when you tighten by 'feel'.
  20. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Split bolts rated for AL/CU are available in a wide range of sizes. Insulate with tape.

    There is also a nice terminal strip that is rated for up to 30 Amps with for wire up to #10 that would work with "1 to 1" connections. It can be cut to length. I could not read the listings molded into the insulation because the print is too small and no contrast. http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?parentPage=search&summary=summary&cp=&productId=2103232&accessories=accessories&kw=terminal+strips&techSpecs=techSpecs&currentTab=summary&custRatings=custRatings&sr=1&features=features&origkw=terminal+strips&support=support&tab=techSpecs
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