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Tool Talk Discussion Board

Re: I think I need a new welder

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Posted by Stan in Oly, WA on July 05, 2013 at 19:37:58 from (

In Reply to: Re: I think I need a new welder posted by Greg 2N (TX) on July 05, 2013 at 17:54:09:

Well, two things (and then I'm not going to post on this thread any more---I feel like I've about run what I have to say into the ground). Pure copper may have 38% less resistance than the same size aluminum conductor, but aluminum has a moderate weight advantage and a significant cost advantage over copper so there's no reason to use the same size. Aluminum cables supplying electricity to a residence are much larger than copper cables which would carry the same load, and they're still just a fraction of the cost of copper.

The other thing is that aluminum house wiring wasn't dangerous because of heat generated by high resistance. It was dangerous because it expanded and contracted at a different rate than the dissimilar metal (i.e. non-aluminum) screws to which it was attached in outlets (and probably switches, too). This caused attachments to loosen which led to arcing which led to fires. This is still a problem in electrical service panels where the aluminum supply cables attach to the lugs. It's less serious than the old aluminum house wiring because most homeowners and amateur electricians are rightfully wary of working this far upstream, and real electricians know how to deal with it. But lots and lots of illegal and/or incompetent wiring of lighting and outlet circuits has always been done, and always will be. That's why aluminum house wiring stopped being legal many years ago.

I don't think you and I are disagreeing about anything. We're talking about different aspects of the same thing.



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