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Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 55
W
wendel Offline OP
Member
Does anyone know if aluminum wire is appropriate for outdoor landscape low voltage lighting? Copper is getting a bit expensive so I thought in an outdoor, low voltage situation, aluminum might be a better way to go.

Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 197
L
Member
AL wire is totally and absolutely useless for anything.

Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 681
P
Member
LearJet

That is just your opinion.

I certainly would not use Al wiring outdoors/underground.

For other applications, Al could be a cost effective way to install feeders. There are many ways to accomplish this, raceways, MC, etc...


Pierre Belarge
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 132
M
Member
If all of your runs were in PVC, and all your connections in above grade "power posts", with DB rated connectors, aluminum would be great.

For the typical LV, direct burial setup, I'd have a hard time trusitng it. Too bad, since LV lighting uses some heavy cable, the copper adds up.

Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
I
Moderator
I agree with PCBelarge and mhulbert. [Linked Image]


Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician
Massachusetts
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 1,044
Tom Offline
Member
Unless the manufacturer of the power unit for the system specifically allows a differant cable type or conductor type in their installation instructions, aluminum would not be permitted IMO.

In UL's White Book, under the heading of Landscape Lighting Systems, Low Voltage (IFDH), the conductors should be listed SPT-3 or SPT-2-W.

Under the heading of Flexible Cord (zjcz) in the first paragraph " All conductors are stranded copper."


Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Cat Servant
Member
Learjet has expressed the feeling of "the trade" ... if not that of the wire manufacturers!

Aluminum, anywhere near the ground, can't help but have corrosion issues. Nor have I ever seen a landscape lighting transformer listed for use with aluminum wire. As far as I know, aluminum is not currently made in wire finer than #6. (I could be wrong on that).

Indeed, the only place I see aluminum used is in the PoCo service drops.

But, before I get my shorts in a know over "can I or can't I," I'd look to see if the stuff exists first of all.

Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
I
Moderator
Quote
Learjet has expressed the feeling of "the trade"

No he has not spoken for "the trade".

Aluminum can be and is used without problem for many circuits.

Would I use it for direct burial?

Would I recommend it for a seaside installation?

No.

Inside a building for feeders yes it is a fine product.


Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician
Massachusetts
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 315
L
Member
Around here aluminum cable is used on 99.9% of residential services. The standard here is 4/0 Al. SEU service cable.
I have even seen some commercial feeders being run in aluminum .

Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,492
T
Member
Most European power companies have been known to run Al underground feeders everywhere, so it must be possible. One thing though: they always use crimp splices and embed them in some kind of resin, so there is absolutely NO chance of moisture or air getting to the connections.

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