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#27569 - 07/21/03 08:20 PM Aluminum Buss
ga.sparky56 Offline
Member

Registered: 11/24/02
Posts: 582
Loc: young harris georgia usa
How does everyone feel about al buss panels?

I have changed out a few that were only 2 or 3 years old and am a bit leery of them.

Opinions?

Russell

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#27570 - 07/21/03 08:33 PM Re: Aluminum Buss
Electric Eagle Offline
Member

Registered: 04/20/02
Posts: 928
Loc: Alpharetta, GA
I've never seen an AL buss and I would never install one. Now we put in panels that have a nickle plated buss that is silver looking, but they aren't AL.

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#27571 - 07/21/03 09:28 PM Re: Aluminum Buss
caselec Offline
Member

Registered: 04/14/02
Posts: 557
Loc: San Jose, CA
I don't have a problem with AL bussing. Most of the failures are not from the buss but from a bad clip on the breaker. Even if CU bussing is used the damage caused by bad breaker clip will usually still make the position unusable.

Most loadcenters have AL bussing as standard. Square D QO and Homeline loadcenters have AL bussing except for few models that have a CU in the catalog number. Most Siemens load centers are available with AL or CU bussing. Cutler Hammer BR loadcenters have AL bussing CH loadcenters have CU bussing. GE uses CU bussing in many of their common load centers. If you order switchgear or panelboards they will come with AL bussing unless you specify CU which will add additional cost and possibly more lead time to the order.

Electric Eagle - What brand and model of loadcenters do you use?


Curt
_________________________
Curt Swartz

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#27572 - 07/21/03 09:51 PM Re: Aluminum Buss
frenchelectrican Offline

Member

Registered: 02/06/03
Posts: 938
Loc: Wi/ Paris France { France for ...
i did use the aluminan buss bar also but i am not too crazy with it because few reason why : 1) have to derated more than copper verison
2) easy to get croddred in high humity area ( this is the # 1 probem with it )

3) breaker clips never stay very well in the buss bar at all if remove and install few time it will wreck it see #2 above

the SD QO useally have copper buss bar there but have al verison

the SD HOMELINE is full alum buss bar and that is a low price produit that i will try to avoid it

majorty of my work i useally spec copper buss bar it have better warrty and workmanship is better and more duriblty


merci marc
_________________________
Pas de problme,il marche n'est-ce pas?"(No problem, it works doesn't it?)


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#27573 - 07/22/03 04:12 PM Re: Aluminum Buss
Fred Offline
Member

Registered: 04/30/01
Posts: 461
Loc: Straughn, IN 47387
I have never seen a Square D QO loadcenter with an aluminum buss and my Square D Digest doesn't list one.

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#27574 - 07/22/03 05:24 PM Re: Aluminum Buss
caselec Offline
Member

Registered: 04/14/02
Posts: 557
Loc: San Jose, CA
Fred,

I just checked Square D's web site and you are correct about the QO load center having Cu bussing with a few exceptions. Most of the smaller loadcenters have AL bussing unless the catalog number ends with a CU but anything 125 amp and over appears to have CU bussing. I don't use QO loadcenters much and the information I was looking at last night only showed optional CU bussing on a few models.

Curt
_________________________
Curt Swartz

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#27575 - 07/23/03 01:27 AM Re: Aluminum Buss
Trumpy Offline

Member

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8540
Loc: SI,New Zealand
Russell,
I've worked with AL busses before and I think that they should be got rid of, the world over!.
Give me brass or Cu, any day, something that has a certain level of mechanical integrity.
The thing that I hate the most about Al, is the fact that, ALL the Busses, have to be that much bigger and heavier, as compared to Cu.
And the corrosion problems....don't get me started now, I work with Al, quite frequently!.
_________________________
Let's face it, these days if you're not young, you're old - Red Green grin

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#27576 - 07/23/03 01:31 PM Re: Aluminum Buss
donles Offline
Member

Registered: 04/28/01
Posts: 82
Loc: Pennsylvania
I'm under the impression that aluminum buss in a panel is plated, same as copper. Why does it corrode? Is corrosion based on geographic location such as coastal areas?

Trumpy, no offense but as far as size goes, the same breakers clip to copper and aluminum so how is that an issue? I'm just trying to get an understanding.

Aluminum buss seems to be a hot point with some guys but to others it doesn't matter. I've done most of my work in industry and I'm into residential now. In my limited residential experience, I have not seen problems that I could say were caused entirely by aluminum buss.

Don

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#27577 - 07/23/03 06:32 PM Re: Aluminum Buss
Fred Offline
Member

Registered: 04/30/01
Posts: 461
Loc: Straughn, IN 47387
I have sen several alum buss stabs arced away to nothing. They were usually in loadcenters located in unheated areas with 2 pole breakers installed where the buss failed. Often the breaker was feeding electric heat. I theorized that the swelling and shrinking from heating and cooling loosened the connection over time and caused greater heating with the loose connection until it became loose enought to start arcing. I saw this a lot in livestock buildings in the 70s-80s. The added corrosive conditions of livestock buildings, especially hog buildings, caused several failures I saw to occur with in 2 years. Personally, I never use alum buss panels. The savings over copper aren't that great and there is no question that copper is a better conductor than aluminum. Panels I use are either tin plated or nickel plated copper. I haven't seen a copper buss failure of one of my installations in my 24 years in the trade.

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#27578 - 07/23/03 08:40 PM Re: Aluminum Buss
ga.sparky56 Offline
Member

Registered: 11/24/02
Posts: 582
Loc: young harris georgia usa
Thanks for the input gentlemen.

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