Cleaning copper wire

Nick Hull wrote:


Nick,
For small wire, use emery cloth or sand paper. For larger wire or stranded wire, use a wire brush. They make a handle that holds 2 boar brushes in a V configuration, that we use in linework on large wire.
Don
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wrote:

I'd try a CO2 bottle, regulator and Paasche "air eraser" or LAC#3.
http://www.paascheairbrush.com/sprayers_and_guns.html
The latter is a gritblaster that looks like an air brush, shoots very fine but quite aggressive grit. It cleans copper bright about instantly, doesn't use much air (or CO2) in the process.
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| I need a good way to clean the oxides off copper electric wire. I run | and splice wire outdoors and occasionally need to make new splices when | lightning, animals or weather do bad things. It would be EZ if I could | being it to my bench but it all has to be done in the middle of a field, | maybe I can get an estension cord there. Is there some simple spray or | dip that will strip the old oxides off so I can make a decent twist or | solder splice? I don't have the luxury of cutting much off since most | of the wire is underground. | | Any help appreciated. | | -- | Free men own guns, slaves don't | www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/5357/
I'm really fond of red scotchbrite pads. You can get the green (not quite as aggressive and a courser grain) at grocery stores, but various electrical supplies sell it as well.
After the splice is done, and since you're underground, cover it liberally with silicone sealant, RTV is better. Even better, use a waterproof underground splice. I've also used dielectric filled wire nuts meant for wet environments, and I've seen underground wire nuts in the hardware store but never had reason to use them. Is this underground cable that's getting dug up by animals or otherwise damaged? I'd highly recommend environmental splices rather than wire nuts. No slack used in the process. They are basically butt splices with a shrinkable sleeve over the top, and a sealing ring at each end. I use the AMP kind that requires special tooling and all that, but you'll see the ones I'm talking about in better suppliers. Slipping a piece of PVC or steel pipe over the repair beforehand provides some degree of protection since animals tend to dig up the same place over and over.
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The cable is underground, the splices are above ground. Sometimes wires get chewed by animals, more often corrosion and lightning damage.

I've used that type in more extreme environments. Probably should have used it here where it would fit, but right now I'm just trying to fix bad connections without re-doing everything like I probably should.

--
Free men own guns, slaves don't
www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/5357/
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Try this as an experiment at home.
Heat a piece of your copper wire until dull red. Plunge it into an alcohol, like methanol, denatured ethanol, or even rubbing alcohol.
The hot wire exposed to the reducing environment will reduce the oxides back to the metalic state.
It has worked pretty good for me when I've needed to use this trick, but be aware that alcohol is flammable. Don't catch yourself on fire.
Dave
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Same trick works by plunging the red hot wire in water. I used to clean cast copper bars that way. It would be hard on insulation, though.
Harold
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