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Thread: Al to Cu Cooktop Connections

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member TubeGuru's Avatar
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    Default Al to Cu Cooktop Connections

    I just replaced my 120V cooktop, and now its time to hook it up. The 50A service is fed through #8 stranded Al Type SE cable, and the cooktop has #12 stranded Cu. Its pretty clear to me from researching the topic that Al-Cu connections have to be done right, if they can't be avoided altogether.

    The original connection (done in 1983) was a wire nut and de-ox grease, and there was no sign of oxidation or overheating. I'd go that route but I can't seem to find anything other than copper-to-copper wire nuts. Are those acceptable to use, even with Ox-Gard?

    The other options would be ILSCO aluminum split bolt connectors or ILSCO crimp connectors, installed in a junction box. I'm leaning towards having a pro install a junction box and use crimp connectors. That seems to be the most permanent, reliable and safest method, short of pulling new copper.

    I'd be interested in what the pros think.

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    Licensed Electrical Contractor Speedy Petey's Avatar
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    First off, the #8al is not good for a 50A circuit. What is the kW rating of the new cooktop. With #12 leads I would think it is around 4.5 - 5 kW.
    Be sure to replace the breaker with the appropriate one.

    I would use NSI IT-4 Insul-Taps for the conncetions. Super simple. Super safe. Super easy. The only thing is they are not super cheap.
    Answers based on the 2008 & 2011 NEC. If you're on the '14 already I feel sorry for you.

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    DIY Junior Member TubeGuru's Avatar
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    It's a Jenn-Air JED8230, rated at 4.3 - 8.0 kW @ 120/240. It's also a 3-wire (red, black, white) whereas the old Jenn-Air was 2-wire.

    The built-in GE oven/microwave are on the same circuit as the cooktop, which is perhaps why it has a 50A breaker.

    Update: it may be #6 Al. The ink is smudged and blurry but it looks more like a 6 than an 8.

    Thanks for taking the time to reply!
    Last edited by TubeGuru; 09-06-2010 at 03:33 PM.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    8kw is MUCH too great a load for # 12 wires. Even 4.3 kw would call for #10.

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    Licensed Electrical Contractor Speedy Petey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    8kw is MUCH too great a load for # 12 wires. Even 4.3 kw would call for #10.
    The #12 is the factory whip that comes on the unit.
    Answers based on the 2008 & 2011 NEC. If you're on the '14 already I feel sorry for you.

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    DIY Junior Member TubeGuru's Avatar
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    I talked to an electrician today, who raised a couple of questions in my mind. First is that he said it should be on its own 30A breaker. This makes sense, since the cooktop and separate oven/microwave combo are on the same 50A circuit, and that's no protection against a fault in the microwave. There is only one SE cable going into the load center, so it must be split somewhere in the attic or crawlspace. So, continue to share the 50A, or establish a new circuit?

    The other thing he said is that he doesn't think the cooktop would need 4-wire feeder. The white neutral on the cooktop would be connected to the bare ground wire on the feeder. This doesn't "feel" right, if you know what I mean.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    You only need neutral if there are any circuits that use 120vac in the cooktop (clock, lamps, timer, etc). It will say whether it needs it or not. Often, the installation instructions say to run separate circuits for the appliance. It's always safest if you do that, and is required if that is in the instructions as mandatory.
    Jim DeBruycker
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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    Electrical Contractor Jim Port's Avatar
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    You said the original wring was 2 conductor. This would olny be suitable for a straight 240 cooktop. you saidthe new unit is 120/240. You need to run a new cable and install the proper size breaker.

    The microwave should be on a completely different circuit, preferably its own dedicated circuit.

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    Licensed Electrical Contractor Speedy Petey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TubeGuru View Post
    I talked to an electrician today, who raised a couple of questions in my mind. First is that he said it should be on its own 30A breaker. This makes sense, since the cooktop and separate oven/microwave combo are on the same 50A circuit, and that's no protection against a fault in the microwave. There is only one SE cable going into the load center, so it must be split somewhere in the attic or crawlspace. So, continue to share the 50A, or establish a new circuit?
    A dedicated circuit certainly would be best, but it is not mandatory.
    Also, his comment about no protection against a fault in the micro? The breaker does NOT protect the appliance, it protects the circuit conductors.
    The setup the way you have it now is expressly allowed in the NEC.

    Quote Originally Posted by TubeGuru View Post
    The other thing he said is that he doesn't think the cooktop would need 4-wire feeder. The white neutral on the cooktop would be connected to the bare ground wire on the feeder. This doesn't "feel" right, if you know what I mean.
    The cook top does not "need" a 4-wire feeder because the feeder cable is SE cable. The bare wire in that cable is a neutral, NOT a ground. THis is the only time a bare wire can be a neutral. This is also grandfathered in, you could not a new circuit like this.
    Again, a new 4-wire feeder would be better, but not mandatory.
    Answers based on the 2008 & 2011 NEC. If you're on the '14 already I feel sorry for you.

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    DIY Junior Member TubeGuru's Avatar
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    Jim in VT: The fan is 120V and the burners are 240V, which I assume is why the rating plate says "120/240 or 120/208". The instructions say "three-wire, single-phase, 120/240VAC..."

    Jim in MD: The service feeder, as Petey pointed out, is 3-wire. The old cooktop had the feeder neutral (bare wire) connected to the cooktop ground (chassis). That is why I called it 2-wire.... to me it had black, red and ground. But it's all 3-wire.

    Petey in NY: Well there you go! I'd never have guessed that the bare wire was neutral.

    A table for the cooktop indicates that for 7.0-9.0 kW, a 40A breaker and #8 wire be used.

    Can anyone tell me why the rating plate has a range of 4.3 - 8.0 kW ?
    Last edited by TubeGuru; 09-08-2010 at 09:17 PM. Reason: Clariification

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    The burners have a 'low' setting. Voltage could be higher or lower than normal, so the overall current can go up or down, plus, the tolerance on the controls and heating elements may not be exact per spec, but still work fine (i.e., they may have a range where they are acceptable). So, while there may be one 'perfect' load, given the nature of things, the actual use will vary.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    The amperage range is probably from the minimum at the lowest setting, to the maximum, possibly with all the burners in use. Some burners use 110/120v for the lower settings.

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