# Why has Romex wire gotten so expensive?

"Big" copper is safer. More surface area contacted on ANY given wire nutted union! I'll stick with my low resistance, yet higher current capable big stuff, and let the breaker box manage the shorts instead of the wire in the wall managing a fire, thank you.
The lower voltage is safer as well.
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On Thu, 22 Jun 2006 04:40:04 GMT, Roy L. Fuchs wrote:

And what defines "big"? Right... Current, or more precisely: current density! Surely a 50 amp bussbar looks HUGE when only supplying a 15A circuit, but that perspective quickly changes when you try to bolt the very same bar into a 4kA feed ;-)

Half the surface area @ half the current = same current density. So the difference for well-made connections is nil.
For a faulty connection OTOH, things get a lot dirtier (for 120V, that is). Since faults are non-linear in nature, 240V faults will develop _much_ more heat than a 120V one (often by a magnitude). This might look horrible, but it _actually_ means that, in 230..240V-land, most faults literally go out with a (firecracker-like) bang, either clearing the circuit or tripping the breaker immediately!
Granted, it scares the cr*p out of people IF it happens, but I somehow prefer that over 'silently arcing, while lighting yet another electrical fire'...

Well, practice what you preach, then!
In practice, however, you'll end up terminating those thicker wires into gear that (from a .eu perspective) can only described as dangerously flimsy, despite having to handle twice the current. So much for safety... ahem...

Obviously, wire size is still _the_ criterium for rating the breakers. Huge DUH! You'll need less current, so it trips at less current... There is absolutely no practical difference WRT short cicuit conditions.

In a 'bare wire to bare wire' comparison it surely is, but:
Using 'lower voltage' and 'safer' in the same sentence for something that's NOT <42V @ moderate currents, is only self-deception. It's a breeding ground for complacency!
I, personally, fear complacency (and complaceny-induced lax quality (on safety-critical components) standards) much more than a small appliance running off 230V, which had to withstand a 'both prongs floating @ 4kV' insulation test. But YMMV...
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No. In a PEOPLE contact comparison.

No, it isn't. The only factor in the subject you are begriming to expound on is CURRENT, not voltage.

I can touch 120. I would not touch 240. You have you analyses screwed up.

Since they aren't using teflon wire, I'd say that 4kV is a bit high. Also matters if it is AC or DC.
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On Fri, 23 Jun 2006 06:27:03 GMT, Roy L. Fuchs wrote:
< big snip >

Well, bare wire == people contact is highly likely. Probability of contact is a thing that _should_ be factored in, when talking about safety!

As a certain Georg Ohm discovered ages ago, voltage and current are correlated.
And 42 is not only the answer to life, the universe and everything, it's also generally regarded as THE voltage limit, where human contact won't result in a lethal current in ANY circumstance. With everything over 42V, _avoiding_ contact should be the #1 priority!

If that isn't 'complacency' spelled out in 400 point, all-caps, bold and double underlined...

You should ;-) From my experience, 230/240 feels like a much better 'wake-up call'
Remember: Electricity doesn't kill people, complacency does!

ditto
Uh, last time I've checked, this was an EE group. I find the lack of basic knowledge on insulation testing disturbing.
Designing an appliance to withstand a 4kV insulation test doen't require magic, nor exotic materials. Using at least two layers of insulation (which could be anything, including air) and ensuring sufficiently long current creep paths everywhere, does. But that's obvious to everyone who has read the EN60065 code for 230V appliances...
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As it relates to heart fibrillation, only current matters.
Regardless of what voltage someone has introduced into their body, all that matters is how much current passes through the heart.
That has to do with pathways, and the initial voltage IS a factor for any given skin resistance. So 120V WILL be safer than 240V for ANY given test circumstance.
So, yes, very much correlated.
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You got it wrong. It is 42 mA.
In a closed body, a 42mA current can fibrillate the heart.
In an open body, heart DE-fibrillation is done at 2mA levels with 2" paddles. It's all about the current.
AGAIN, current is the main factor. A 5000 volt power supply that is limited to 1uA current will not harm anyone, even those an arc from it might not feel the best to the person receiving it. That 5000 Volts got clamped to near zero at the onset of current flow in the completed Supply/Man circuit.
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You're an idiot.

I take it back... You're a retard.

A retard with a retarded slogan.

Fuck off, retard.
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What I would do:
Everything would be made to operate from 240V.
The 240V would be supplied from center tapped transformers, with the center tap grounded. In other words, the current American system. The center tap would be used for nothing but grounding. No 120V devices.
3 phase would be 240Y/139, with the Y center point grounded. Again, everything uses 240V either single phase or 3 phase, nothing gets connected to the center point except the ground.
This gives the best of both worlds. Devices draw less current thus more safety there. Touching any hot by a grounded person will only give you a 120V shock, unless touching 3 phase where you would get zapped with 139V. You'd need to manage to touch 2 hots at once to get zapped with 240V. GFCIs could be used everywhere. No 4 wire 240V circuits, 2 hots+ground everywhere. 3 phase has 3 hots+ground.
The big drawback is all light switches need to be double pole, and 3 way switch circuits get "interesting".
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snipped-for-privacy@world.std.spaamtrap.com (Michael Moroney) writes:

There are some wiring systems that somehow reseble your ideas:
230V between phases and no neutralin the supply (also called 230V delta). Houses are then fed two phase wires, neither of which is necessarily anywhere near earth potential. This is used in at least in Norway in some locations. Light switches are double pole here.
Some places in Belgium three phase 220 across the phases (= 127 phase to earth/neutral, 230V Y output on transformer) is used on older domestic dwellings (new installations are 400/230V 3 phase, neutral, earth). For this reason all Belgian fuseboards (whether actual fuses or circuit breakers) protect both current carrying wires irrespective of supply type.
--
Tomi Engdahl (http://www.iki.fi/then /)
Take a look at my electronics web links and documents at
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ELAL wrote:

Seriously flawed understanding. pi * r^2 * h is not the same as pi * 2 * r * h
You talked about half the copper in a wire - that's the volume (pi*r^2*h) of a cylinder
In your reply, you erroneously equate that to surface area which is pi*2*r*h for a cylinder.
Ed
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us:

Two 14Ga 1.25" long leads helically twisted together at 3 twists per inch will be far better "contacted". than two 1.25" 16Ga leads at 3 twists per inch. Anybody with a simple CAD package can draw that tangency up.
Also, his remark that the difference is nil, will ONLY apply to a working circuit. Since the safety concern revolves around circuit failure mode conditions, the current density would be much higher.
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Roy L. Fuchs wrote:

Maybe I'm wrong - but it seems his understanding is too thin for him to get it. Actually, I suspect he doesn't care. Ed
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Actually getting some large scale aggressive digging done in Alaska would make US the king in the world copper market!
Not to mention solve our perceived "problem".
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Will not happen for YEARS.
Like it or not, today most money is made in "clean" pursuits.
In Virginia, for example, there is pressure to shut down the commercial fishing industry (what's left of it) so that "sport fish" have more to eat. There is more money in tourists than "real" farming. There is more money in pandering to the "sport" fishermen than the folks who fish and process the fish to support their families.
It would take another "Great Depression" with folks jumping out of windows to change all of that.
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On Thu, 22 Jun 2006 11:29:25 -0400, "John Gilmer"

They amended the Florida constitution to give mullet rights and put commercial fishermen out of work
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On Thu, 22 Jun 2006 11:29:25 -0400, "John Gilmer"

Trust me... we'll be mining copper in Alaska. You may be right, it may take up to a decade, but it will happen.
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We will see.
I would have more confidence in your statement were "they" to permit more drilling "up there."
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

The price of copper has just about tripled during the last year according to infomine.com Copper has gone from about \$1.30 to \$3.15 a pound. Take a look at this chart. http://www.infomine.com/investment/metalschart.asp?c=Copper&u=oz&x=usd (According to copper.org it takes about 400 pounds of copper to wire a home.)
Additionally, the world's second largest deposit of copper, the Pebble deposit, has been discovered in Alaska but the owners cannot get a permit to develop this mine because the environmentalists and fishermen are worried about the effects on the fishing industry near Anchorage. (link: http://www.northerndynastyminerals.com/ndm/Home.asp Add to this the cost of doing business in the US. The environmental, safety, and labor laws triple the cost of production over many other countries.
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On 18 Jun 2006 13:52:57 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@electrician2.com wrote:

Here in Oregon, there have been several cases of Meth Addicts pulling all the romex out of partially unfinished houses to sell for scrap. The homeowner ( or the insurance company) is out for \$12,000 or so and the electrical system has to be rebuilt from scratch.
I'm told the power companies are nevous about idiots who get inside their substations and start hacking away at the ground system ( or worse, live copper conductors).
I had a friend once who used to install radio transmitters all around the world. He said he once worked in an African country where the natives kept tearing down the power lines to the transmitter site to make trinkets. It sounds like its getting that bad in the USA in certain areas.
Beachcomber
Beachcomber
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On Mon, 19 Jun 2006 16:42:15 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@notreal.none (Beachcomber) wrote:

There have already been cases of this. It works out OK for them until they cut the last bonding wire and find out why that stuff gets bonded in the first place.