aluminum wire (not copper) in 220v outlet, okay for mig? (driving myself nuts!)

Just making sure everything is okay still. I failed to mention that my dryer receptacle that I replaced with a nema 6-50 receptacle is wired with
aluminum wire. I made sure all the connections were nice and tight in the new receptacle. Will aluminum wire work okay or should it be replaced with copper? Im not trying to be a paranoid duche bag, but I read online that aluminum sucks because it sometimes gets loose at the terminals. thanks in advance, I'll go pour a cold beer now.
walt
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dryer
There was a time when alum wire was real popular because of the cost difference. The problem with it is that it expands and contracts with the heat of the electricity running through it. This is what loosens the connections.
Now whether you should change it or not, I'll let others advise who have more first hand experience.
Lane
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lane wrote: (clip) The problem with it is that it expands and contracts with the heat of the electricity running through it. (clip) ^^^^^^^^^^^^^ I believe there is also a corrosion problem with aluminum. This would make the connections heat up more, adding to the expansion problem.
I used to drive a VW bug, and I learned to HATE those fuses. They consist of a ceramic torpedo shape with an aluminum link and end-caps. Whenever something electrical went wrong, I would reach down and spin the fuses in their holders. Nine times out of ten, this would solve the problem.
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A receptacle suitable for use with copper or aluminum will be clearly marked as such. Many are marked copper only and would be dangerous to wire with aluminum.
Make sure it is marked as suitable for use with Al.
If it is not, I would pull copper wires if you can.
A somewhat more half-assed solution is to buy the special (expensive & purple, IIRC) wire nuts that are rated for joining copper and aluminum wires together, and pigtail some short pieces of copper wire onto the ends of the aluminum wires. Then join the copper pigtails to the Co-only rated receptacle.
Jeff Dantzler
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Wouldn't it be cheaper and faster to just replace the receptacle with a dual rated one rather then put in new wire or the pigtail route? Seems like the Al wire in the larger sizes is quite common, and finding the dual rated receptacle would be painless for most common NEMA types.
William www.WacWorkshop.com
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You're right William--that would work, and is simpler.
JLD
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Sometimes even a paranoid person has real enemies! In this case, it is very important to check your nema 6-50 receptacle to make sure it is rated for use with aluminum. If it is rated for copper only, you may indeed get a loose connection, arcing, fire, disaster, death and mayhem!
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I opened up the service panel and noticed that the aluminum wire was old and dry, cracking, etc. (and there was an arc mark against the black lead!) so I tore the old aluminum wiring out and replaced it with 40' of 10/3 romax copper wire from the 30amp breaker to the 6-50 receptacle. (My new Miller 175 needs 230v @ 19.5a) Checked it all when I was done and my meter read 238volts, 119volts per side. Now I can sleep better tonight! walt I guess I wasn't so paranoid after all...

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Too late now but I would have popped for some bigger wire if you are pulling new stuff in. Seems to me I ALWAYS find something that takes more power in the future. Your MIG is pretty frugal with the amps, a stick welder is not.
Something else to second guess yourself to sleep with!!!
wallster wrote:

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Me too!

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Just taking apoke here. You can find outlets rated for use with coppper/alum. wire they will be marked CU/AL. Also there is a compound sold to coat the ends of ALum. wire to stop corrosion, its usually used in high voltage/amprage situations, but since you are paraniod like me it couldn't hurt.
good luck Neil
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Hopsaddict wrote:

Oh, yeah, now I remember! NoAlOx was the trade name when we used it wiring the dinosaur nurseries.
AKA:that-filthy-oily-stuff-you-can't-get-off-your-damn-hands!
Just put a thin coating of that or whatever it's called now on the stripped ends of the wires. Check the connectors every now and then to be sure they haven't loosened. It's always a good idea to use anti-corrosive on aluminum conductor connections.
Well, at least it's not "snot." :)
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