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Old 18-Mar-2012, 9:23 AM   #1
rickcain
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Aluminum ground wire source

Radio shack discontinued the part # for its 40' solid aluminum grounding wire.
I've looked at many places and simply can't find it. Lowes, Home Depot, Atwoods, Wal-Mart, etc...

Anybody knows where you can get solid aluminum 8 to 10ga wire? Even electric fences these days don't use it anymore, replaced with some sort of woven stuff that has the wire in it.

I'm needing some to ground both an antenna and a dish and the price for copper wire would put it out of my budget due to some long runs.
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Old 18-Mar-2012, 3:27 PM   #2
MisterMe
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Ground wire is not a place where I should look to save money. Aluminum tends to be more brittle, less conductive, and more susceptible to oxidation than copper. I gather that it is acceptable as ground wire, but I would stick with copper.
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Old 18-Mar-2012, 3:41 PM   #3
Underdog
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FWIW I bought #6 copper at the local electical supply store. 52 cents a foot but I only needed 25 ft.
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Old 18-Mar-2012, 6:10 PM   #4
Electron
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Tv antennas and Tv reception

As I recall , flexible soft aluminum wire for electric , 120 volt , 240 volt , electric systems is no longer used for wiring. The flexible soft aluminum wire gives way in connectors and then the connection is loose and intermittent. Special connectors are required and even then it's not safe. I remember something about law suites concerning , soft aluminum wire that was used to wire , buildings , house and mobile homes. . . Cost more money in fuel for the car driving around looking for aluminum wire then just buying copper wire to begin with. I recommend using copper wire that is made for grounding. It's hard it's tough , is made to last a long time outside.

Last edited by Electron; 19-Mar-2012 at 8:17 AM.
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Old 19-Mar-2012, 2:47 AM   #5
Electron
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Places that buy scrap metal usually have rolls of wire on hand , and sell it for less then retail. I strongly recommend copper ground wire.
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Old 19-Mar-2012, 5:01 AM   #6
GroundUrMast
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electron View Post
... I strongly recommend copper ground wire.
Agreed.

The price difference between copper and aluminum is not that great. Copper will tarnish on the surface but hold up for years. Aluminum corrodes deeply in a surprisingly short time when exposed to the elements.
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Old 25-May-2012, 5:17 AM   #7
xploremore
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Aluminum

Hello to everyone:

Yes Electron is correct in one sense, aluminum wire is not the preferred material for typical residential and commercial wiring. This is because when the wire is under a high load, aluminum wiring has a high expansion rate. After the load is removed (say a skillsaw for instance, after many cuts) the wire cools and eventually ends up shrinking back to original size. The constant expansion and contraction cycles will eventually lead to a loose connection where the wire is attached to the outlet, or series of outlets. These loose connections can eventually lead to overheating, and worse yet, fires. Some of the newer connectors are made with these concerns in mind, however, I would prefer copper all of the way.

Having said that, a ground connection using aluminum wire is a whole different thing. In most cases there is no noticeable load whatsoever. If there is, one would definitely have other things to worry about.

I use to install a lot of Starband satellites. The common practice back then was to install the ground wire using aluminum wire, which is what I did as well. However, after driving the ground rod into the soil, I always left a couple inches of the ground rod above ground. The aluminum wire was then attached (clamped) above grade. While this doesn't look quite as nice, it seems as if the integrity of the clamp is achieved by the connection being above ground.

Coincidentally, I am only here because I am having a garage sale tomorrow. I had a bulk of the ground wires, as well as other installation items from my past work. I came upon this site trying to figure out a reasonable price to charge for the items I had.

I look forward to checking this site out more in the future.
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Old 25-May-2012, 10:23 PM   #8
MisterMe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xploremore View Post
...

Having said that, a ground connection using aluminum wire is a whole different thing. In most cases there is no noticeable load whatsoever. If there is, one would definitely have other things to worry about.

I use to install a lot of Starband satellites. The common practice back then was to install the ground wire using aluminum wire, which is what I did as well. However, after driving the ground rod into the soil, I always left a couple inches of the ground rod above ground. The aluminum wire was then attached (clamped) above grade. While this doesn't look quite as nice, it seems as if the integrity of the clamp is achieved by the connection being above ground.

....
Aluminum wire has many problems that make it a poor choice for ground wire. Aluminum was banned in the USA for home wiring. Unlike copper, aluminum oxidizes almost instantaneously when exposed to air. This is a good thing [sort of] because the aluminum oxide coating protects the wire from the elements. However, aluminum also develops small cracks when worked. This is a bad thing. Those cracks oxidize almost instantaneously. Cracks in metal propagate which explains some of the deep corrosion mentioned by GroundUrMast. Aluminum oxide is an insulator, which increases the effective gauge number of your ground wire which, in turn, reduces the wire's current-carrying capacity.

The bottomline is that aluminum represents an unnecessary risk as ground wire. Use copper.
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