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  1. #1
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    Default BREAKER INSULATION ON WIRES

    GUYS--i know this has come up before but can't find any info on it. is there a code on how far back breaker insulation can be from breaker??? and yes wrote up all other crap in this breaker.thankscvf

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: BREAKER INSULATION ON WIRES

    Quote Originally Posted by CHARLIE VAN FLEET View Post
    GUYS--i know this has come up before but can't find any info on it. is there a code on how far back breaker insulation can be from breaker??? and yes wrote up all other crap in this breaker.thankscvf
    Hi Charlie,

    Yes/no. If I remember correctly, the manufacturer provides a strip gauge on the breaker.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: BREAKER INSULATION ON WIRES

    The insulation should go up to the edge of the terminal, the only bare conductor should be that part which is in the terminal.

    Added the code: (bold is mine)
    - From the 2008 NEC (easy copy and paste)
    - - 310.2 Conductors. - - - (A) Insulated. Conductors shall be insulated.
    - - - - Exception: Where covered or bare conductors are specifically permitted elsewhere in this Code.
    - - - - - FPN: See 250.184 for insulation of neutral conductors of a solidly grounded high-voltage system.
    - - - (B) Conductor Material. Conductors in this article shall be of aluminum, copper-clad aluminum, or copper unless otherwise specified.

    Those extra long stripped back areas are no longer insulated.

    Plus the reference Gunnar gave from the manufacturer, which is NEC 110.3(B):
    - 110.3 Examination, Identification, Installation, and Use of Equipment.
    - - (B) Installation and Use. Listed or labeled equipment shall be installed and used in accordance with any instructions included in the listing or labeling.

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 06-21-2014 at 08:55 PM. Reason: added code sections and comments
    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: BREAKER INSULATION ON WIRES

    you will not find anything in the NEC to directly address what your picture shows. The best you could push is the 110.3(B) code section. That would also depend on the manufacture of that particular breaker having a written or drawn strip gauge to go with that product. (Not all overcurrent devices have them)

    The section from the 2008 NEC (2 code cycles ago) is not written to address this issue, but rather to say unless allowed else where in the NEC all conductors used for electrical installs shall be insulated.


    The NEC assumes a certain level of knowledge and professionalism when it comes to the install. The NEC is not an install guide.

    In my opinion it is wrong and should be corrected


  5. #5
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    Default Re: BREAKER INSULATION ON WIRES

    How about for a repair, could those stripped ends be taped? Or do we insist on heat shink? I'm not joking, here, honest.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

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    Default Re: BREAKER INSULATION ON WIRES

    Quote Originally Posted by jack davenport View Post
    you will not find anything in the NEC to directly address what your picture shows. The best you could push is the 110.3(B) code section. That would also depend on the manufacture of that particular breaker having a written or drawn strip gauge to go with that product. (Not all overcurrent devices have them)

    The section from the 2008 NEC (2 code cycles ago) is not written to address this issue, but rather to say unless allowed else where in the NEC all conductors used for electrical installs shall be insulated.
    Jack,

    The code reference I provide does address that issue as all conductors, and all parts of conductors are required to be insulated ... unless otherwise states in the NEC, and the "otherwise stated in the NEC" means that there is a specific section which states otherwise, and those sections which state otherwise for all the general statements are specific in nature and apply only as stated and only to what is stated.

    110.3(B) also addresses that stripping back as the conductors were not stripped back as stated by the manufacturer's strip gage.

    The NEC assumes a certain level of knowledge and professionalism when it comes to the install. The NEC is not an install guide.
    The NEC is not a design guide, however, to some extent, the NEC definitely is an install guide - the NEC specifically states the maximum installation of supports and securing for cables, raceways, etc., the NEC specifically states that boxes shall be attached to the structure, the NEC, through 110.3(B) specifically addresses installation of electrical equipment (look up the definition of electrical "equipment").

    In my opinion it is wrong and should be corrected
    I suspect that is the opinion of everyone here.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: BREAKER INSULATION ON WIRES

    Pretty easy job to pull the wire, trim it, then put it back in. Might be a good idea with aluminum wires to check tightness of screws anyway.


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    Default Re: BREAKER INSULATION ON WIRES

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    Pretty easy job to pull the wire, trim it, then put it back in. Might be a good idea with aluminum wires to check tightness of screws anyway.
    Simply stated: Does not provide any safety hazards or inefficiency's but recommend electrician attend to when on premises.


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    Default Re: BREAKER INSULATION ON WIRES

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    Might be a good idea with aluminum wires to check tightness of screws anyway.
    Caution is urged when re-torquing aluminum conductors as aluminum does "creep" some under torque and repeated re-torquing can cut through the conductors, can even reduce the conductor to effectively smaller sizes by squeezing the conductor thinner and thinner even before the conductor is cut through.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil brody View Post
    Simply stated: Does not provide any safety hazards or inefficiency's but recommend electrician attend to when on premises.
    Inefficiency, no, does not create any.

    Safety hazards, yes, it does create a safety hazard by having that uninsulated length of hot conductor sticking out beyond the protection provided by the breaker terminal.

    Remember the discussion about working in the panel while energized? That creates an additional, and unexpected, hazard in that energized panel.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: BREAKER INSULATION ON WIRES

    Quote Originally Posted by CHARLIE VAN FLEET View Post
    GUYS--i know this has come up before but can't find any info on it. is there a code on how far back breaker insulation can be from breaker??? and yes wrote up all other crap in this breaker.thankscvf
    All aluminum wire! Oh my! It's not your place to demand it, however, that fire hazard needs to be replaced.


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    Default Re: BREAKER INSULATION ON WIRES

    Quote Originally Posted by CHARLIE VAN FLEET View Post
    GUYS--i know this has come up before but can't find any info on it. is there a code on how far back breaker insulation can be from breaker??? and yes wrote up all other crap in this breaker.thankscvf


    You can always fall back on 110.12 in the NEC:

    "Mechanical Execution of Work. Electrical equip­ment shall be installed in a neat and workmanlike manner."

    Those wire tails protruding beyond the terminals are neither "neat" nor "workmanlike".


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    Default Re: BREAKER INSULATION ON WIRES

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Caution is urged when re-torquing aluminum conductors as aluminum does "creep" some under torque and repeated re-torquing can cut through the conductors, can even reduce the conductor to effectively smaller sizes by squeezing the conductor thinner and thinner even before the conductor is cut through.



    Inefficiency, no, does not create any.

    Safety hazards, yes, it does create a safety hazard by having that uninsulated length of hot conductor sticking out beyond the protection provided by the breaker terminal.

    Remember the discussion about working in the panel while energized? That creates an additional, and unexpected, hazard in that energized panel.
    Anyone working on in an energized panel that doesn't see an obvious danger as that either needs to not be doing that type of work or get zapped so they won't attempt future work.
    Just think the info needs be conveyed to the HO and a countermeasure is not indicated at this time but certainly next time an electrician is in there.


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    Default Re: BREAKER INSULATION ON WIRES

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil brody View Post
    Simply stated: Does not provide any safety hazards ...
    Quote Originally Posted by Phil brody View Post
    Anyone working on in an energized panel that doesn't see an obvious danger as that either needs to not be doing that type of work or get zapped so they won't attempt future work.

    Phil,

    You have confused me (which is easy to do at times).

    "Simply stated: Does not present any safety hazards."

    " an obvious danger .... "

    Those two statements do not go together.

    Just think the info needs be conveyed to the HO and a countermeasure is not indicated at this time but certainly next time an electrician is in there.
    I disagree - if it is worth conveying that to the HO, then a countermeasure is indicated at this time.

    You, as a home inspector, cannot make anyone do or correct anything, but to put it off until later could be the buyer's decision, but should not be your recommendation.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: BREAKER INSULATION ON WIRES

    Quote Originally Posted by jack davenport View Post
    you will not find anything in the NEC to directly address what your picture shows. The best you could push is the 110.3(B) code section. That would also depend on the manufacture of that particular breaker having a written or drawn strip gauge to go with that product. (Not all overcurrent devices have them)

    The section from the 2008 NEC (2 code cycles ago) is not written to address this issue, but rather to say unless allowed else where in the NEC all conductors used for electrical installs shall be insulated.


    The NEC assumes a certain level of knowledge and professionalism when it comes to the install. The NEC is not an install guide.

    In my opinion it is wrong and should be corrected
    Jack, I agree compleatly that the NEC does not address stripped length specifically. Some might even argue reasonably that the lack of insulation would help in keeping the termination cooler, which is a valid point I suppose.

    One can if heshe so chooses, to cite 110-3b. I hate 110-3b because of it's ease of abuse. I know of two top-notch inspectors who have never written 110-3b and are proud of it. I have only resorted to the hammer twice in my career.
    In the Michigan Residential Code, there is not a reference to 'workmanlike' or any of the like, and I was told by the State that is omission is and was intentional.

    Having said such, I (again) believe a common sense approach is applicable here. As long as the exposed portion of the conductor does not extend past (what I believe) is the intended safety zone of the terminal area, then it is good and safe.

    As an AHJ this is what I look for and the recessed termination area is to keep stray grounding conductors and/or intermittent service appendages from contact.
    There is of course, only so much one can do to protect from stupid.... I for one have never burned a screwdriver changing out a push-crapit breaker


  15. #15
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    Default Re: BREAKER INSULATION ON WIRES

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    Pretty easy job to pull the wire, trim it, then put it back in.
    Yep! No big deal. I have an "FYI" classification in my report for just such stuff.
    In fact, depending upon my mood, the day I was having and if the house was vacant I might do it myself and be done with it.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    Pretty easy job to pull the wire, trim it, then put it back in.
    Yep! No big deal. I have an "FYI" classification in my report for just such stuff.
    In fact, depending upon my mood, the day I was having and if the house was vacant I might do it myself and be done with it.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

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    Default Re: BREAKER INSULATION ON WIRES

    Quote Originally Posted by CHARLIE VAN FLEET View Post
    GUYS--i know this has come up before but can't find any info on it. is there a code on how far back breaker insulation can be from breaker??? and yes wrote up all other crap in this breaker.thankscvf
    My comment is WAS THIS INSPECTED? I don't see how any inspector would pass this.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: BREAKER INSULATION ON WIRES

    Quote Originally Posted by CHARLIE VAN FLEET View Post
    GUYS--i know this has come up before but can't find any info on it. is there a code on how far back breaker insulation can be from breaker??? and yes wrote up all other crap in this breaker.thankscvf
    Are all the breakers rated for aluminum wire? doesnt look that way.

    If an electrician comes to repair this I would suggest Noalox on all connections even the breakers. This may help reduce the need for re-tightening the lugs as well (I usually trim the ends before tightening, many times the aluminum has been over worked already and is weak and less conductive). I have done a lot of work in TX with 1970's aluminum wire. Any weak ends must be trimmed, all oxidation removed with emery cloth (I use Noalox as a lubricant when doing this).

    Most of the houses I have worked on had aluminum ends trimmed and copper wire connected to the aluminum with Noalox and connectors filled with Noalox. We then changed out all receptacles and switches to copper rated.

    THis is probably not a permanent fix but will last for many more years than with aluminum rated fixtures (most likely) and is generally the same cost as the aluminum device alone. Some day the aluminum will need to be pulled and replaced I think no matter what.

    I have seen too many sparked, weak, and broken or burned aluminum connections at devices.


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    Default Re: BREAKER INSULATION ON WIRES

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk Jeanis View Post
    Are all the breakers rated for aluminum wire? doesnt look that way.
    I don't think I can remember a breaker not rated for AL.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk Jeanis View Post
    Most of the houses I have worked on had aluminum ends trimmed and copper wire connected to the aluminum with Noalox and connectors filled with Noalox. We then changed out all receptacles and switches to copper rated.

    THis is probably not a permanent fix but will last for many more years than with aluminum rated fixtures (most likely) and is generally the same cost as the aluminum device alone. Some day the aluminum will need to be pulled and replaced I think no matter what.

    I have seen too many sparked, weak, and broken or burned aluminum connections at devices.
    This so-called fix created a code violation unless the connectors were listed for use with CU-AL. It does not sound like you were using those since you said you were adding No-Alox to the wire nuts.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: BREAKER INSULATION ON WIRES

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    I don't think I can remember a breaker not rated for AL.




    This so-called fix created a code violation unless the connectors were listed for use with CU-AL. It does not sound like you were using those since you said you were adding No-Alox to the wire nuts.
    JIM, A quick look at ANY dissimilar metals chart will show that galvanized and aluminum are not an issue. We can also see that copper and galvanized are a problem. The worst problem is copper to aluminum!rated connectors?.jpg

    As we see in this picture the "rated" connectors are not necessarily acceptable either, depending upon installation . I used galvanized "internal spring" wire nuts and filled them to capacity with Noalox. Wrapped with electrical tape when finished. Notice that the galvanized finish is compatible with both metals, it is CU to AL that is the BIG problem. The Noalox does stop oxidation and sparking both as oxygen is not available and the connctions are held securely as possible given differing rates of expansion.

    BTW I also used Noalox on all my lugs in my main as I am within 1 mile of the intercoastal in Florida and do not want isssues with CU wiring and salt air. I had two lugs that used to loosen themselves and that has stopped since adding Noalox. I believe that the Noalox helps with heat dissipation as part of its function.

    Even the "rated" connectors are considered "temporary fixes" by most (or should be). On another blog someone mentioned that there is no aluminum rated wire nut at all, I am unsure of that in itself. As wire nuts are generally galvanized metal they should be acceptable for CU and Al wires individually. I know of no code that states that Cu and Al may not be joined. Please let me know if there is!


  20. #20
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    Default Re: BREAKER INSULATION ON WIRES

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk Jeanis View Post
    JIM, A quick look at ANY dissimilar metals chart will show that galvanized and aluminum are not an issue. We can also see that copper and galvanized are a problem. The worst problem is copper to aluminum!rated connectors?.jpg

    As we see in this picture the "rated" connectors are not necessarily acceptable either, depending upon installation . I used galvanized "internal spring" wire nuts and filled them to capacity with Noalox. Wrapped with electrical tape when finished. Notice that the galvanized finish is compatible with both metals, it is CU to AL that is the BIG problem. The Noalox does stop oxidation and sparking both as oxygen is not available and the connctions are held securely as possible given differing rates of expansion.

    BTW I also used Noalox on all my lugs in my main as I am within 1 mile of the intercoastal in Florida and do not want isssues with CU wiring and salt air. I had two lugs that used to loosen themselves and that has stopped since adding Noalox. I believe that the Noalox helps with heat dissipation as part of its function.

    Even the "rated" connectors are considered "temporary fixes" by most (or should be). On another blog someone mentioned that there is no aluminum rated wire nut at all, I am unsure of that in itself. As wire nuts are generally galvanized metal they should be acceptable for CU and Al wires individually. I know of no code that states that Cu and Al may not be joined. Please let me know if there is!
    Nothing in the NEC says aluminum and copper can't be joined. The NEC DOES however say that things are to be installed according to the manufacturer's instructions. And, nobody but the folks that make the "purple wire nuts" (in the US anyway) say that their wire nuts can be used for an aluminum wire connection. That makes what you do a code violation.

    Alumicons are listed for AL to AL type connections and for any combo of 3 AL and/or CU connections, which the purples aren't unless a copper conductor is included.

    As far as what's a problem, take apart a connection of AL and CU after 10 or 15 years and notice the issues with both conductors, but especially the aluminum. If the circuit experiences high currents there will be issues eventually - I wouldn't want to be you explaining to a trade insurance provider why you blatantly ignored installation instructions and now they're paying for a house and possibly loss of life.

    Occam's eraser: The philosophical principle that even the simplest solution is bound to have something wrong with it.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: BREAKER INSULATION ON WIRES

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Kriegh View Post
    Nothing in the NEC says aluminum and copper can't be joined.
    In fact, the NEC addresses copper clad aluminum conductors ... that is joining them just about as much as can be joined and not melting them down into an alloy.

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    Default Re: BREAKER INSULATION ON WIRES

    To DJ, while the compatibility chart may say there might not be an issue the electrical code does not agree.

    Also No-Alox is not for use on copper. There are products made for use on copper conductors. If the NO-Alox got in the threads of the connector it may have thrown off the torque values.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

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    Default Re: BREAKER INSULATION ON WIRES

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    To DJ, while the compatibility chart may say there might not be an issue the electrical code does not agree.

    Also No-Alox is not for use on copper. There are products made for use on copper conductors. If the NO-Alox got in the threads of the connector it may have thrown off the torque values.
    Affect the torque value?? Waaay to many variables to bring that up.
    Speaking of cu/al connected wire: I did a small job many years ago and filled some scotchies with no-lox. This was before the issue was being addressed but seemed logical to me.
    The result? About a year later I was back making splices with set-screw butts and taping them.
    I saved one of the scotchies just for show & tell.
    Don't ask, I can't tell what I was thinking or even remember where the h... I put it for safe keeping.


  24. #24
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    Default Re: BREAKER INSULATION ON WIRES

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    To DJ, while the compatibility chart may say there might not be an issue the electrical code does not agree.

    Also No-Alox is not for use on copper. There are products made for use on copper conductors. If the NO-Alox got in the threads of the connector it may have thrown off the torque values.
    Breakers are many times lubricated with dielectic grease from the factory. Remember that torque values need to be tested by testing the torque instrument not the fastener. Once tight it can take excessive force to turn a fastener tighter and much less force to remove it. When testing the fastener one can only test for minimum and maximum, but even if the fastener does not turn at maximum it can not be rejected! The overcoming of friction at highest torque would almost always fail that test. As a manufacturing enginner I had to resolve the inspeciton issues involved with installing tens of millions of fasteners and verifying torque. We certified the tool not the fastener, that is the ONLY WAY IT CAN BE DONE PROPERLY. Certify your tools for break away torque and forget it. Torque the fastener using ONLY the designed torque location of the instrument, (usually the knurled area of the handle or other designated location, sometimes marked by a line etc). Our tester to certify torque tools cost tens of thousands of dollars and was certified itself twice annually.

    I have reviewed the info on noalox, it does not specifically state for use on copper alone, however, it does say copper to alum, therefore it by definition MUST be rated for copper to begin with or it could not be used there.

    Noalox is NOT required on ANY installation unless otherwise stated by the manufacturer of the wire or connector (good luck with finding that). But I would never install ANY alum wire without it in any circumstance or at any device or receptacle.

    Noalox is an anti-oxidant "grease" with suspended zinc particles for conductivity. It does have a slightly lower rating for temp than some other anti oxidants, but it is designed to created a more conductive connection and stop corrosion, which in Aluminum is actually "anodizing the wire", remember that anodic coatings on aluminum are NON-Conductive. Therefore the WORST that can happen is oxidation of aluminum under current. It will cause a burn similar to a weld spark every time!.

    Neither the Noalox grease nor the zinc particles will harm ANY CU or Alum conection at all ever. If you think you had a problem with a CU connnection look to another root cause, period.

    As I said, I had problems with at least two circuits at the breaker, they were always "loosening" and causing problems, the use of Noalox has ended that issue on CU wire. That being the case and knowing that it is by definition rated for copper or it could not be used with copper at all, I will continue to use it or any other applicable similar product available to stop oxidation and conmectivity issues, even though not required on ANY circuit by codes unless by manufacturer requirement.

    Remember that a code that does not prohibit must allow where the purpose and design of a commercially tested product for purpose exists. Noalox is NOT required in any circmstance, but I have had inspectors require it! Go Figure.


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    Default Re: BREAKER INSULATION ON WIRES

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk Jeanis View Post
    Noalox is NOT required on ANY installation unless otherwise stated by the manufacturer of the wire or connector (good luck with finding that). But I would never install ANY alum wire without it in any circumstance or at any device or receptacle.
    .
    .
    Remember that a code that does not prohibit must allow where the purpose and design of a commercially tested product for purpose exists. Noalox is NOT required in any circmstance, but I have had inspectors require it! Go Figure.
    Absolutely correct on all ... anti-oxidant is not required by the code, not unless a particular manufacturer requires it on their terminals or conductors (I have not found one yet which requires its use) ... and ... I know some inspectors who insist that it be used (even though that is outside their authority) ... and ... I would not install aluminum without it either.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: BREAKER INSULATION ON WIRES

    NO-Alox, Deox, Penatrox - all the same thing.
    I would like to meet the electrician that actually applies it the correct way! I mean doing it as per the manufactures instructions. Not just smearing on the bare end of the conductor or shooting some into the lug.( we all know that is the incorrect method - right ?)

    I know everyone "says" they do, BUT I have yet to see anyone do it correctly.


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    Default Re: BREAKER INSULATION ON WIRES

    Quote Originally Posted by jack davenport View Post
    NO-Alox, Deox, Penatrox - all the same thing.
    I would like to meet the electrician that actually applies it the correct way! I mean doing it as per the manufactures instructions. Not just smearing on the bare end of the conductor or shooting some into the lug.( we all know that is the incorrect method - right ?)

    I know everyone "says" they do, BUT I have yet to see anyone do it correctly.
    On aluminum yes I use it as per mfg instructions, on Copper, not usually, I am generally more concerned with the fact that it lubricates and also stops contact with air.

    Glad we are all on the same page.


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