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Old 03-20-2015, 11:18 PM   #1
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Aluminum wiring

We're starting to have some weird electrical problems in my '66 Ambassador. I'm a little concerned about aluminum wiring & safety anyway. What is the best way to reduce the risk of fire? Do I need to re-wire the whole trailer? Anyone use AlumiConn?

I've tried searching this forum for threads on aluminum wiring, but aluminum just isn't a unique word around here!

Can someone direct me to a few threads on the topic?

Thanks,
Tracie
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Old 03-21-2015, 03:50 AM   #2
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Any professional electrical supply house will have special wire nuts to make the transition. They are fairly cheap and solve the problem. Some Ace's even carry them.
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Old 03-21-2015, 07:37 AM   #3
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The most important thing with aluminum wiring it to make sure all connections are tight. So the wire nuts dwightdi suggested is a good start where there are wire nuts. Tighten all other connections where the wire is held by a screw. (Outlets, breakers, etc.).
All wires heat up when current is flowing through them. Because Aluminum expands and contracts a lot more than copper, the connections can loosen. Check all connections periodically and you should be okay.
However, if you are gutting your trailer to the studs for a remodel, I would replace it with copper.
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Old 03-21-2015, 10:33 AM   #4
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Definitely NOT gutting - it was in beautiful shape. Hubby is looking at using AlumiConn. That looks like overkill, but better safe than sorry. Am I correct that leaving aluminum in the 12v system is probably ok?
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Old 03-21-2015, 10:59 AM   #5
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Hi,
I'm working on a '67 Safari right now that has aluminum AC wiring. The 12V is all copper. You can find some strange wiring problems in older Airstreams. I've bought the Alumicon connectors for the terminations that need them. There are outlets and circuit breakers rated for al wire. Make sure you have every termination checked and coated with dielectric grease. Good luck!
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Old 03-21-2015, 11:17 AM   #6
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I would NOT USE WIRE NUTS OF ANY TYPE in an RV!!!!

I have seen too many failures that result in burnt wires due to the greatly increased resistance of a loose terminal. I try to follow marine standards as much as possible (ABYC E-11) and that PROHIBITS THE USE OF WIRE NUTS!

The better alternative is a device called a terminal strip. They are available in varying lengths up to 12 connections and retain all wires insulated screws. They join 2wires together with 2 insulated individual screws. Perfect for use with differing wire sizes or types, like aluminum/ copper or stranded/solid.

I'll try to post a photo later.


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Old 03-21-2015, 11:30 AM   #7
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When in doubt, I do what Lew says to do. :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by lewster View Post
The better alternative is a device called a terminal strip. They are available in varying lengths up to 12 connections and retain all wires insulated screws. They join 2wires together with 2 insulated individual screws. Perfect for use with differing wire sizes or types, like aluminum/ copper or stranded/solid.
Sounds like it is almost as good as an AlumiConn connector.

I never use wire nuts in an RV either.
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Old 03-21-2015, 05:53 PM   #8
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OK, here are the terminal strips I mentioned in a prior post. These will hold 6AWG wire easily and are rated at 600volts and 60 amps. You can cut them for any required number of wires. They contain a barrel connector with metal plates that crush stranded wire for a more secure grip, per ABYC requirements.

They are especially great when you want to join stranded wire to solid wire, and work equally well with aluminum wire when it joins to copper, as each wire has it's own retention screw.

They come in different sizes for different wire capacities.
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