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Where'd all the copper go?

Old 01-03-2009, 03:01 PM
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Angry Where'd all the copper go?

I haven't been by my local electronics shop for a little over a year now and my reserves on wire and terminals were running a little low, so i had a stop by.

I was about to grab 2 rolls of 4awg, when I had a good look at it and my colorblind eyes noticed something was wrong...it was silver, not copper in colour. So to my dissmay, I asked the vendor what the joke was and he said most wire has switched to some mix of tin/aluminium and maybe a bit of copper... wtf?! (arms flailing)

I'm no electrician...actually, you should never let me near a/c of any sort, but i'm guessing the power charts that tell you what size wire to use for your specific run and power rating are gonna have to be revised now? (copper is more conductive than whatever that silver poop is)

Can anyone in the industry let me in on what's going on? Did China gobble up all the copper too? Bunch of
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Old 01-03-2009, 04:36 PM
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copper is more expensive than gold now. where have you been?
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Old 01-03-2009, 04:50 PM
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listening to music, not news...
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Old 01-03-2009, 08:36 PM
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Copper is superior at carrying current to aluminum. If you are lucky it is aluminum plated copper but it is kind of a dumb product as the copper out performs aluminum for the exterior metal. This is when a 4 gauge aluminum cable is not = to 4 gauge copper cable. Almost all your high voltage power lines are aluminum or copper clad aluminum and have been for decades for a number of reasons including cost.
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Old 01-03-2009, 09:44 PM
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I remember hearing on the news in the summer, someone was going around stealing the copper grounding wires in power polls. I forget where but it was in Ontario.
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Old 01-03-2009, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Epica-Go-Boom View Post
I remember hearing on the news in the summer, someone was going around stealing the copper grounding wires in power polls. I forget where but it was in Ontario.
Last winter, all the copper propane lines were stolen from the trailers in our campground. On my own trailer, this represented two lengths of about 1 foot each. So how long did it take them to crawl under the trailer, find the lines, cut them, drag them out from underneath, drag themselves out, and go to the next trailer. Letís say they did got 2 feet from all 250 trailers = 500 feet. How much did they make and how long did it take them ???

On the other end, purchasing splicing connectors and tubing, forming it and repairing it cost me 30$ And that's because I did it myself. The other 99% of the owners couldn't do the repair themselves so they just gave up on propane and installed an electric water heater and purchased those 2 elements table top stoves.
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Old 01-03-2009, 10:13 PM
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I think the return on scarp at the time was $3+ a pound... and copper is pretty heavy.
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Old 01-04-2009, 03:20 AM
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Hahahah. theres a guy who localls tried to hacksaw through a LIVE pwoerer cable trying to steal it from the goodyear plan in kitchener...... HAHAHAHHA BURN. Literally. Mad burnt his up. He learned from that..... not just thelegal shiz. I would totally learn more from a permanent destroyed hand than any leagal charges from that.

Bottom line. !00% copper wire is a valueable thing. Buy welding wire.... dont be chumps.
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Old 01-04-2009, 06:30 AM
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Some pretty crazy stuff was happening out here as well...all the stainless steel was being stolen from maple syrup makers. Buckets were disapearing all kinds and some even broke into the boiling rooms and stole pots, lids, etc. from there too. One guy told me they even took his 4 stainless locks...

Things are getting outta hand.
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Old 01-04-2009, 08:56 AM
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Most Stranded copper wire is what they call 'tinned copper' It has a coating on it that will not oxidize as much as copper. The coating is a mixture of tin and lead, just like solder. If it's expensive wire, there is copper inside.
Copper coated steel used to be used for coax, but its getting more rare these days.
Belden has lots of info on thier site.
http://www.belden.com/03Products/03_HookUp.cfm
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