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Old 04-16-2010, 11:47 AM   #1
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copper vs copper clad aluminum

so I was just thinking about this and then saw someone mention it in jalats thread so I figured let me try and figure out once and for all the difference.

I know copper is copper. I know cca is aluminum that looks like copper or had copper clad to it or whatever. I know copper makes a better conductor than aluminum, so copper is the better one (according to wikipedia it looks like copper is nearly twice as conductive). cca though I'm not so sure about. I guess because it sounds like a mix of both I'll say its half way between the two. but really, is there any significant gain between the two in car audio? also, how much of a role does the thread count play. I can find welding cable with 1000 strands, and "car audio" cable, same size, made of copper, for less money (before shipping) and 5100+ strands. which is the better choice?


lastly, I know silver has the greatest conductive properties. would it be feasible to say link some untensils together and end up with a better connection than a sufficient amount of actual wire? (this part was a joke, I have to say this because I know someone on here is gonna take that seriously)

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Old 04-16-2010, 11:57 AM   #2
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i wonder that too about the strand count, the only difference i would think is the more strands the more flexible it would be.
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Old 04-16-2010, 12:42 PM   #3
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yep flexibility, and the negative effect of having more surface area to corrode (exposed to the elements). As far as cca vs. copper, the only real negative is that you need more of it, larger awg, to transfer the same power...but it is cheaper and as copper prices keep going up, it may be a reasonable alternative.
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Old 04-16-2010, 12:48 PM   #4
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what if you melted down the siler-ware and turned it into speaker wire?
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Old 04-16-2010, 02:48 PM   #5
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You can buy silver and silver blended wire. It ain't cheap though..

In practical terms, there is no advantage to copper clad aluminum wire over aluminum wire other than it looks like copper.
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Old 04-16-2010, 03:08 PM   #6
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but in say a 16' run, or two for + and - from the battery, is there any significant difference for say the average car audio fan?

I figure for the SPLers copper is the way to go, but for the everyday schmuck does it make a difference?
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Old 04-16-2010, 03:25 PM   #7
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They mixed both to make a lighter alloy, it is used in voice-coils, for example.

I use welding cable for power connections.
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Old 04-16-2010, 07:53 PM   #8
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dang you guys are good ...copper clad aluminum in car audio... better than aluminum, less good than copper as a conductor... flexible! light weight compared to copper, MUCH less expensive than copper, avoids aluminum oxide issues (non-conductive oxide layer)

for power wire the only reason it is done is to save money and trick people into thinking it is copper. It is a common commercial solution for long distance cable and bus-work.

The high thread count as stated gives high flexibility, aluminum enhances this, high thread count improves HF performance (if this wasn't a power cable we were talking about)

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Old 04-16-2010, 07:55 PM   #9
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if you ever get a chance check out Habia cable incredibly flexible stuff
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Old 04-16-2010, 09:10 PM   #10
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copper clad aluminium is cheaper that copper and has more resistance. It is sold bacause it look like and thick like real copper. The *only* way to make any judgment is to be able to compare the resistance per lenght of copper clad vs copper for a specific gauge. Unfortunately, when you buy cooper wire you can actuall buy awg 4 gauge cable and be assured of what you get and look up resistance in standard tables. Copper clad aluminium has no standarg awg gauge. I see copper clad wire as *number 4* but looks like awg 8 and I have not seen any resistance *ohms per foot* tables for coppe clad. So in my books there no way to make any objective comparison of copper clad vs pure copper and therefore I just dont touch the stuff.

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