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Thread: Old RHW wire

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Old RHW wire

    I'm looking for info on wire by General Cable type RHW #3. It was used on a service around 1959-60. The panel is manufactured in March 1959. The wire is appears to be aluminum(?) coated copper. I told the homeowner it's good for 100 amps residential. He's OK with that but the buyer is balking. Any help is appreciated. (Sent email to General Cable) Thanks!

    The panel is a Cutler-Hammer split bus manufactured in March 1959. Also looking for info on the panel.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Feeling brain dead today. It's tin coated copper wire.

  3. #3
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    I think I read that rubber insulated conductors back then usually had tinned copper within because something in the rubber didn't get along with the copper.
    I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwired View Post
    I think I read that rubber insulated conductors back then usually had tinned copper within because something in the rubber didn't get along with the copper.
    Also the tin coating greatly helped when soldering the wire. Tin made bonding the solder easier than trying to directly solder the copper.

  5. #5
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    Nothing wrong with tin coated copper in this application other than it's very old.
    Rob

    Moderator

    All responses based on the 2014 NEC unless otherwise noted

  6. #6
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    When was aluminum conductor introduced? Nothing that old around here is aluminum - guessing it wasn't even an option at that time.

    Buyer doesn't have much to balk at and is only trying to get a lower purchase agreement.
    I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by tshea View Post
    I told the homeowner it's good for 100 amps residential. He's OK with that but the buyer is balking.
    Do you still have a copy of the 2011 NEC? Show them Table 310.15(B)(7). #3 RHW for a 240/120 Volt single phase residential service is good for 110 Amps.
    Another Al in Minnesota

  8. #8
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    I would be more concerned about the breakers in a 1959 panel than the wire feeding it.

  9. #9
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    Cable insulation prior to 1980 was designed around an expected 40 year lifespan. That's not to say it ONLY lasts that long, it just means that was the DESIGN criteria. In 1980 there was a shift to mover to an 80 year design lifespan (for other than nuke plants).

    And no, I can't remember where I learned that. I know I had to find that info for a Corps of Engineers project I was working on at a dam on the Columbia River 30+ years ago and I dug that up in a library somewhere, but the details have been lost due to being stored in brain cells that I have killed off. The COE wanted me to re-use cables that had been installed when the dam was built in the late 50s, I was advocating for replacing them since I was working there anyway.
    Last edited by Jraef; 05-16-18 at 05:22 PM.
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