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Dual Rated Wire Connectors, Lugs
Dual Rated connectors and lugs are so called because they are designed to handle both copper and aluminum wire in the same connector. Without having to change to a different connector, Dual Rated connectors and lugs enable the choice to be made at any time.
Dual Rating is a major feature of tin plated high tensile aluminum lugs and connectors, since all copper connectors are rarely Dual Rated.
After many decades of reliable history and billions of dual rated wire connections in use today, it is safe to say that aluminum Dual Rated connectors and lugs are an North American success story in that nowhere else in the world is there a more economical and flexible way to conduct current than with Dual Rated aluminum lugs.
Dual Rating has been vetted by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and Canadian Standards Association (CSA) using the UL486 and C22.2 no. 65 test standards. The most rigorous test known is used for adding the use of aluminum wire to the standard copper wire. By requiring every Dual Rated connector to undergo a 500 cycle overcurrent stress test, any weakness of design will be discovered.
Dual Rated connectors may be identified with the markings: CU7AL (AL7CU) and CU9AL (AL9CU). The CU and AL signify that either copper or aluminum wire may be used and the 7 or 9 signifies the temperature rating of the wire that may be used with the connector or lug.
7 = 75C and 9 = 90C. This code enables the user to use the NEC table 310-16 to determine the current allowed to be carried in the wire and connector. Dual Rated lugs allow aluminum wire to be used in the connector but it should be noted that a lower maximum current is specified for aluminum wire due to its lower conductivity than copper. Despite that the lowest cost per amp is achieved using aluminum wire and aluminum Dual Rated connectors.
Increasingly the cost gap favoring aluminum is widening as copper becomes a scarcer metal and demand outstrips supply for applications which have to be copper.
Fortunately, Dual Rated aluminum connector and lugs with 50 years of development behind them, are the leading technology for larger currents in both distribution of power and its use in panels and electrical equipment.
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