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  1. #1
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    Default Canadian Marrettes in Al branch circuits?

    Had two houses last week with Al branch wiring. The first was a no-brainer. Corrosion on the breaker conections and a burn mark under the main breaker in the panel. The panel was in the kitchen.
    I saw a few new switches and receptacles so made time to pull a switch, which is not SOP required here, BTW. They are "Cu only" from the big box store.

    The second two pics are from a house that has had all the receptacles and fixtures reworked with Cu pigtails. I am told that Marrette 63 wirenuts are allowed for this, joining Cu to Al, but only in Canada. Can anyone confirm this?
    These nuts have an Al core and come with antioxidant goop. Anyone have the Canadian documentation for this?

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    Default Re: Canadian Marrettes in Al branch circuits?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Had two houses last week with Al branch wiring. The first was a no-brainer. Corrosion on the breaker conections and a burn mark under the main breaker in the panel. The panel was in the kitchen.
    I saw a few new switches and receptacles so made time to pull a switch, which is not SOP required here, BTW. They are "Cu only" from the big box store.

    The second two pics are from a house that has had all the receptacles and fixtures reworked with Cu pigtails. I am told that Marrette 63 wirenuts are allowed for this, joining Cu to Al, but only in Canada. Can anyone confirm this?
    These nuts have an Al core and come with antioxidant goop. Anyone have the Canadian documentation for this?

    Are they MARKED AL-CU or CU-AL? What color are these - they look red to me in the picture (3rd), were they brown IRL?


    For example CSA has one listing which addresses approved Marrette 63s for this use in Canada (US company):

    http://directories.csa-international...sl/certrec.xsl

    Thomas & Betts Corporation Class No. 6223-02 File No. 006591_0_000

    ......

    TO THE REQUIREMENTS OF CSA STANDARD C22.2 NO 188-04:

    ......

    "MARRETTE", phenolic brown, Model Nos 63 and 65, copper to copper, copper to aluminum and aluminum to aluminum conductors, solid and/or stranded, rated 150C, 600V.

    ....
    Class No. 6223-02 Requirements:

    CSA Standard C22.2 No. 0 General Requirements - Canadian Electrical Code, Part II
    CSA Standard C22.2 No. 65 Wire Connectors
    CSA Standard C22.2 No. 188 Splicing Wire Connectors.
    Per Class:

    If they are unmarked they're for copper only, marked AL for aluminum only, marked AL-CU or CU-AL suitable with all copper, all aluminum, or mixture of copper and aluminum conductors.

    MARKING:


    On the product:
    • submittor's identification;
    • model designation;
    • conductor size or size range;
    • prominent marking if sizes for aluminum conductors are different from sizes for copper conductors;
    • "AL" if for use with aluminum conductors only;
    • "AL-CU" or "CU-AL" if for use with both aluminum and copper conductors;
    • purple or brown colouring for twist-on or set screw types if marked "AL-CU" or "CU-AL" (Standard 188 connectors only);
    • "SOL", "SOLID", "STR" or "STRANDED" as applicable to denote acceptability for use with either solid or stranded conductors;
    • number of strands (Standard 188 connectors only);
    • voltage rating for insulated connectors;
    • ampere rating where applicable (Standard 65 connectors only);
    • "75C", "7", "90C" or "9" where applicable (Standard 65 connectors only);
    • tightening torque in inch-pounds where applicable (Standard 65 connectors only);
    • other markings where applicable such as the letters "OEM" and the metirc "mm" conductor size and "r" (rigid) or "f" (flexible);
    • CSA Monogram.
    On or in the unit package or equivalent:
    • submittor's identification;
    • model designation or equivalent;
    • conductor size and combinations (Standard 188 connectors only);
    • date code or equivalent (Standard 188 connectors only);
    • detailed installation instructions including conductor preparation, specific tools and dies, crimping method, wire strip length, etc;
    • marking to indicate the use of an oxide inhibiting compound where required (Standard 188 connectors only);
    • "TO BE SOLD ONLY WITH INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS" (Standard 188 connectors only);
    • "AL" if for use with aluminum conductors only;
    • "AL-CU" or "CU-AL" (Standard 65 connectors only);
    • "AL-CU (DRY LOCATIONS)" or "CU-AL (DRY LOCATIONS)" if for use with both copper and aluminum conductors (Standard 188 connectors only);
    • voltage rating (Standard 65 connectors only);
    • ampere rating where applicable (Standard 65 connectors only);
    • temperature rating;
    • "SOL", "SOLID", "STR" or "STRANDED" as applicable to denote acceptability for use with either solid or stranded conductors (Standard 65 connectors only).
    (Bold, underline & color for emphasis are mine). Note Color requirement.

    You can look up yourself at CSA International CSA International - Certification Product Listings certified product listings FOR CANADA. You might also check UL-Canada, and other accepted (in Canada) listing services, and check provincial and/or local restrictions with your local electrical authority.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 02-14-2010 at 06:05 PM.

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    Default Re: Canadian Marrettes in Al branch circuits?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Had two houses last week with Al branch wiring. The first was a no-brainer. Corrosion on the breaker conections and a burn mark under the main breaker in the panel. The panel was in the kitchen.
    I saw a few new switches and receptacles so made time to pull a switch, which is not SOP required here, BTW. They are "Cu only" from the big box store.

    The second two pics are from a house that has had all the receptacles and fixtures reworked with Cu pigtails. I am told that Marrette 63 wirenuts are allowed for this, joining Cu to Al, but only in Canada. Can anyone confirm this?
    These nuts have an Al core and come with antioxidant goop. Anyone have the Canadian documentation for this?

    John, I don't know about which ones are allowed in Canada, but there have been a couple of good threads about how none of the wire nut type are any good for connecting AL to CU, approved or not. I think I can get the PDF of a good article if you need it. One other thing is that none of the wire nut mfg's allow re-use of the wire nuts. This may be problematic in pic's 3 & 4?


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    Default Re: Canadian Marrettes in Al branch circuits?

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    Are they MARKED AL-CU or CU-AL? What color are these - they look red to me in the picture (3rd), were they brown IRL?
    The red nuts were in the place that needs repair throughout. The Marrettes I'm asking about looked black to me, so phenolic brown seems right. Pics 3 and 4.

    Vern, good point about reuse of the nuts.
    Is adding Copper pigtails just asking for trouble? Why not stick with Al pigtails and use CO/ALR devices?

    HG, I gave up on the CSA website, thanks anyway. Here's a pdf of the nuts I saw, no other markings, just a "63". The inner spring is actually tinned copper.

    http://www.tnb-canada.com/en/catalogues/online/comresconstruction/pdf/c5/09_marrcat_e.pdf
    So they are CSA approved but not UL, wonder why?

    Last edited by John Kogel; 02-14-2010 at 08:24 PM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Canadian Marrettes in Al branch circuits?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    The red nuts were in the place that needs repair throughout. The Marrettes I'm asking about looked black to me, so phenolic brown seems right. Pics 3 and 4.

    Vern, good point about reuse of the nuts.
    Is adding Copper pigtails just asking for trouble? Why not stick with Al pigtails and use CO/ALR devices?

    HG, I gave up on the CSA website, thanks anyway. Here's a pdf of the nuts I saw, no other markings, just a "63". The inner spring is actually tinned copper.

    http://www.tnb-canada.com/en/catalogues/online/comresconstruction/pdf/c5/09_marrcat_e.pdf
    So they are CSA approved but not UL, wonder why?

    Hi John

    Your link did not give combinations of wire types allowed just number of awg allowed....not sure why they would do that as it is sorta misleading. Digging a little deeper into the combination's of cu and al allowed for the marrette #63 on page 28 of this link.

    http://www.tnb-canada.com/en/catalog..._marrcat_e.pdf

    Anyway it appears that in your picture 3 the listing for combinations of cu and al has been violated in that the brown #63 only allows 1 cu #14 with 1 al #12 ..or.. 2 cu #14 with 1 #12 al..or.. 1 #12 cu with 1 #12 al.

    See below attached list from page 28 for model #63 acs brown

    So the use as shown in picture # 3 is in violation of the listing as I see things. Notice that all combinations only allow 1 aluminum conductor in the wire nut. That makes the # 63 pretty useless for repairs IMO .. especially for al to cu pigtailing.

    The brown #65 marrette would be ok with your picture # 3.

    As for your question about UL....most likely wasn't desired to sell in the usa so ul testing wasn't submitted or needed for the canadian market....it is also possible ul failed the wirenut but I doubt that.

    In the USA (and maybe Jerry can verify) any wirenut that is rated for al and copper conductors is likely ul approved but in most jurisdictions I've been told in past training it is considered as a temporary repair and the only permanent fix is rewiring. I'm not sure about a method called the copalum crimp. I am unfamiliar with it.

    We have a lot of aluminum wired houses in Kansas from the late 60's to early 80's when the aluminum used was utility grade and not the new 8800 stuff. Best advice is when you see aluminum and there is no evidence of a poor connection (heat) or reaction between metals proceed to determine if the wire nut (marrette to you) is rated for combination connections (pretty easy in the usa since there are only 2 that I am aware of) then check for proper installation in accordance with the manufacturers listing. You will often find that the combinations allowed have been misapplied.

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    Last edited by Roger Frazee; 02-15-2010 at 01:54 AM.

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    Default Re: Canadian Marrettes in Al branch circuits?

    Thanks a bunch, Roger. You appear to be correct on the conductor count, wrong size nuts were used. I'll pass that on.


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    Default Re: Canadian Marrettes in Al branch circuits?

    Noticed you said you had some trouble with the links, trying again for you.

    For example CSA has one listing which addresses approved Marrette 63s & 65Sfor this use in Canada (US company):

    THIS LINK WILL TAKE YOU TO THE THOMAS & BETTS CERTIFICATION RECORD (at csa-international.org) FOR CANADA:

    http://directories.csa-international...sl/certrec.xsl

    That link above will take you DIRECTLY to the LISTING for the wire connectors from that company. As you review/scroll through it you will see the portions I quoted (near the end last section above the last portion of notes, etc.). At the top of that page listing you will note the Class Number is a link, which will take you to the requirements for the Class (which I also quoted).

    The last link I provided was to the general certification product listings page for Canada (of CSA-INTERNATIONAL.org - not to be confused with the Canadian Standards Association - which is csa.cn)- you'd have to plug something in or select a different "tab" to search for others. I used "marrette" to find the FIRST LINK I provided above.

    CSA-International.org is not the only safety/testing/listing entity recognized in Canada or by B.C. Your local authority, UL (specifically listing for Canada) and others are accepted depending on province. Your best resource is your local electrical authority, since unlike here in the US they have that "power" to determine what equipment may and may not be connected/utilized by the "energy" supplied.


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    Default Re: Canadian Marrettes in Al branch circuits?

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    Noticed you said you had some trouble with the links, trying again for you.

    Your best resource is your local electrical authority, since unlike here in the US they have that "power" to determine what equipment may and may not be connected/utilized by the "energy" supplied.
    Thanks HG. You are correct. I recommended the client check with the local electrical inspector re: the use of those nuts.

    BTW, we call them "marr nuts". "Marrettes" is for gringos.


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    Default Re: Canadian Marrettes in Al branch circuits?

    .

    BTW, we call them "marr nuts". "Marrettes" is for gringos.

    ... A Gringo LHAO


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    Default Re: Canadian Marrettes in Al branch circuits?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Thanks HG. You are correct. I recommended the client check with the local electrical inspector re: the use of those nuts.

    BTW, we call them "marr nuts". "Marrettes" is for gringos.
    Well you called them "Marrettes" first!

    We call them "wire nuts" usually. I've only had Canadians call 'em Marrettes. Kind of like "Robertsons", generally only hear that from "North of the Boarder".

    Glad the links worked for you.


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    Default Re: Canadian Marrettes in Al branch circuits?

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    Well you called them "Marrettes" first!

    We call them "wire nuts" usually. I've only had Canadians call 'em Marrettes. Kind of like "Robertsons", generally only hear that from "North of the Boarder".

    Glad the links worked for you.
    Yes thanks and don't be putting down the Canadian Robertson screw head.
    Show me a Phillips that will jam onto the end of the screwdriver so you can drive it in from any angle, where you can drive in a 4 " deck screw with one hand, or a Torx where 3 bits will fit all the screws they make.
    In fact, for panel screws I carry two bits, a standard Robertson and a slot, what you'd call a flat. You can jam a screw onto the Robertson bit and hold the panel up with the other hand, zip, it's in.

    HG, you like research, check out the story of Henry Ford and Mr. Robertson, who died in poverty because he wouldn't give up the patent.


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    Default Re: Canadian Marrettes in Al branch circuits?

    In the US no wire nuts are allowed any longer. The only "approved" method is the copalum connector. There's a bunch of info on the consumer product safety website CPSC Home Page

    Also, this site has a lot of useful info:

    The Aluminum Wiring Information Website - How to Identify and Repair Aluminum Wiring in Buildings


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    Default Re: Canadian Marrettes in Al branch circuits?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    In the US no wire nuts are allowed any longer. The only "approved" method is the copalum connector. There's a bunch of info on the consumer product safety website CPSC Home Page

    Also, this site has a lot of useful info:

    The Aluminum Wiring Information Website - How to Identify and Repair Aluminum Wiring in Buildings
    That second website also uses an improper usage of a CO/ALR device to disqualify using that type of device as a solution. Kind of like using a car as a parachute when driving off the bridge and faulting the car.


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    Default Re: Canadian Marrettes in Al branch circuits?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    In the US no wire nuts are allowed any longer. The only "approved" method is the copalum connector. There's a bunch of info on the consumer product safety website CPSC Home Page

    SO NOT True. What written evidence do you have to support that wirenuts are not allowed to be used in the US?

    Copalum - "approved" . It's only approved by the CPSC. That does not make it the only "approved" method.
    Copalum is an expensive method, and there a limited number of companies approved by the makers of the copalum to do the installs. This alone will keep many from utilizing this method. The system is only as good as the installer as there are many ways to do this incorrectly. Yes I've seen the system demostrated first hand and have samples of good splices and bad splices on my desk.

    For the record Ideal Industries Purple 65 wire connector still carries the UL listing.

    Another more cost effective method is the use of Alumiconn purple 95103 by King Innovations http://www.kinginnovation.com/pdfs/5...-alumiconn.pdf They carry the UL listing for al/cu connections

    I am not advocating for one method over the other, just pointing out that there are more then one.


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    Default Re: Canadian Marrettes in Al branch circuits?

    Good point... my use of the word "allowed" was incorrect as it infers some authority when, in reality, there is none. People are free to do as they choose.

    IMO everything with aluminum wiring is a bandaid and there are undoubtedly many doctors and nurses that think they have the best way to put the bandaid on.

    The CPSC just seems to be the closest thing to an authority that exists.


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    Default Re: Canadian Marrettes in Al branch circuits?

    I've used some of the CU/AL rated w-nuts with mixed results.
    Seems that they work OK so long as heat does not build up.
    Pig-tailed an entire house once, when about a year lated just one of the connections failed. The AL literally transfered to the copper till it separated from the AL conductor. I still have this w-nut for posterity.
    I've come to the opinion that, regardless of the w-nut used, if there is contact between the two elements, it's subject to failure.

    The only method I will use in addition to cu/AL devices; cu/AL rated butt splices and tape em up good.
    Bob Smit, County EI


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    Default Re: Canadian Marrettes in Al branch circuits?

    Quote Originally Posted by bob smit View Post
    The only method I will use in addition to cu/AL devices; cu/AL rated butt splices and tape em up good.
    Bob Smit, County EI
    Would those be crimped butt splice connectors. Bob?


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    Default Re: Canadian Marrettes in Al branch circuits?

    JK, you asked why not UL approved. UL isn't the ONLY "game in town". If a company has paid another entity to "list" (certify, etc.) their product why pay UL to do the same thing for a particular market?

    Basically its quite different in US than Canada, your electrical authority has authority for approval for what may and may not be attached, connected and used by your electirical system having such authority as the provider. Here our electric power is supplied by a miriad of privatized for profits, muni owned, co-ops, etc. our electic power suppliers have no authority to dictate what we connect to and "juice up" with the power we purchase - only how we may connect to their metering device up to that point. That's up to our "authority having jurisdiction", and if we have an insurance policy - language that dictates their "limits of liability" which determines when and if they will pay for a loss which may or may not "dictate" to the end user what they will and will not do. Occasionally our local or federal government will manage to get involved and cause a voluntary recall - and most rarely an involuntary recall (which kinda sorta absolves the unfortunate end user from the "insurance company's 'out'" for non-payment if a loss attributed to the 'recalled' item".

    Back to the whole UL thiing - UL is not the end all and only private testing lab entity. When they approve for Canada - it is because some manufacturer has submitted and paid for their device to be tested and certified to meet which ever specific Canadaian requirements - then UL runs the tests and if it passes they (further pay) for a listing, then there is the option to pay for continuing followup service. Something certified for Canada isn't necessarily certified or listed for US and vice versa. Different standards, different testing requirements often in the past although much has been "harmonized" in recent years but not 100 percent. Either way its more mulah for each and every test, certification, etc.

    Back to CSA-International (NOT CSA Canada), vs. UL, vs. ETL, vs. AGA, vs. FM, vs. whoeverelse is out there these days - there are a whole litany of independant testing entities/certifiying entities. They may often refer to a UL/ANSI standard being MET, but the listing/certification is can be by an organization OTHER THAN UL.

    What matters is that the item is in fact approved, tested, certified and listed by whomever to meet whichever standard is required for the particular application, AND that the certifying entity/listing entity is one that is ACCEPTABLE to the authority having jurisdiction AND the INSTALLER, AND the END USER (property owner) AND the INSURANCE UNDERWRITER that is looking for proper materials and will refuse to pay if something was done amiss in the event of a loss.

    Thats the short version. I felt no need to give a multitude of other "marrette" approved examples by other testing labs for use in Canada for AL/CU connections.

    For your particular examples - neither seems correct. Which is WHY I QUOTED THE CANADIAN STANDARDS (item certified/listed by anyone).

    As has already been pointed out 63s are insufficient due to number of connectors/size/type. If the "marrettes" themselves are NOT MARKED AL/Cu or CU/AL they are BY DEFAULT for all CU connections ONLY. If they are marked AL they are for AL only. If they are approved (63s or 65s) for AL-CU or CU-AL they must be so marked, must be purple or brown, etc., etc. as previously quoted the Canadian Standards. which would have to be met for such a device - not just the color, but the markings, size for the number of connectors/size (gauge), strands, etc.

    It has already been pointed out the "issues" with both installations.

    "First generation" aluminum wiring has its own issues and cannot be remediated with copper pigtails, irrespective of the wire connectors. The later wiring alloys "might" be "partially" remediated - but there are still many "issues", and they don't "go away indefinately" requires vigilant follow-up and awareness. It should be an educted "eyes open" awareness not a "hear no evil see no evil, speak no evil" situation so the homeowner doesn't make classic (dangerous) mistakes, him/herself or via contractors, etc.

    Getting back to your own situaiton, your authority can ALSO limit and list what may and may not be used.

    Hope that helps a bit to answer your "why not UL" question. UL, CSA-International, and others may or may not be "accepted" by your electrical authority, local or provincial.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 02-18-2010 at 09:14 PM.

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    Default Re: Canadian Marrettes in Al branch circuits?

    Crystal clear, thanks, HG.


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    Default Re: Canadian Marrettes in Al branch circuits?

    John: I found these little round guys w/set screws that are smooth and don't take up more space than a w-nut.
    I would be accept crimp spices if they were rated for the voltage and solid wire, cu/al. Looking for the least of the evils here.
    Bob Smit, County EI


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Canadian Marrettes in Al branch circuits?

    Time to remember just who is the "AHJ." It's not UL, or the NFPA, or the HI ... it's the local building official. Ultimately, this is his call.

    It was never the intent of the NEC to deny folks the ability to make things them selves, or to find their own safe ways of doing things. Remember the disclaimer in the introduction that the code is not an instruction manual?

    Now, as for the Marrettes ....

    Thomas & Betts makes them, they are balck, and they are CSA approved for use with aluminum, copper, or both in combination. Our Northern neighbors have been using them for decates with fine results - just like they've somehow failed to find any fault with breakers that follow the FPE design. Go figure.

    T&B simply states that they never felt any desire to submit these particular nuts for approval to any US-oriented organization.

    Reading between the lines, I suppose they simply wished to steer clear of the BS and controversy that once embroiled the whole aluminum wiring issue. Regardless, T&B will gladly supply them to the US market, if only you ask for them.

    We can pretty much forget about the copalum fittings as a solution. The vendor simply does not want to sell them anymore. Again, I suspect the decision has more to so with the American legal climate than any technical issues.

    This leaves us with the purple wire nuts, King Innovations connectors, and Marrettes as our options.

    IMO, we're back to the same point we're at with fuse boxes and K&T wiring: I maintain that the presence of aluminum wiring is not, by itself, a major cause for concern. Of greater concern to me are changes that may have been made over the decades since the installation, damages to the undersized ground wire when devices were replaced, and whatever wear and tear there has been.

    Is short, I see the presence of aluminum wiring as an indication that the electrical needs a more thorough examination.

    This can be a real problem. Simply removing a device from the box to check things is very likely to break the ground connection at the crimp ring. When used in mobile homes, the boxes simply do not have room, nor have you the wire, to make any repairs. You really do NOT want to open things up if you can avoid it.


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    Default Re: Canadian Marrettes in Al branch circuits?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Steinke View Post
    This can be a real problem. Simply removing a device from the box to check things is very likely to break the ground connection at the crimp ring. When used in mobile homes, the boxes simply do not have room, nor have you the wire, to make any repairs. You really do NOT want to open things up if you can avoid it.

    Something I have pointed out on MANY occasions - one of the problems is the aluminum wires inability to be bent and re-bent without fatiguing/breaking the conductors ...

    ... and removing those devices from the wall to check does just that.

    As John said:
    Quote Originally Posted by John Steinke
    You really do NOT want to open things up if you can avoid it.


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