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To tin or not


Jim Corey

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Needed to replace the 30 amp plug on our power cord. Cable was pulling out of molded plug. The replacement plug made no mention of tinning the leads. In time past, I would have, but got good contact with twisted wire on the plug blade clamp. Since I have another to do on the extension cord, what's best?

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Gotta agree with Mark.....I tinned mine on a 50A a while back and didn't like the results. With that said, a little dielectric grease on the wires at the clamp area wouldn't hurt. My Camco 50A male end didn't mention any thing about tinning. I found a great You Tube video on how to do the job later. Check it out. rockin'

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The problem with tinning is if the connection does start getting hot due to load, the tin will soften and allow the connection to get lose, making things worse. Most, if not all electrical connectors are designed to have the copper strands clean and bare under the screw connections. If the connection is exposed to a corrosive environment, it wouldn't hurt to use a little conductive grease, such as NO OX ID, on the connection.

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At our huge Naval facility where I designed and we had several different in house or contractor electricians over the years, I never specified nor did the electricians tin stranded copper wire leads for use in such fixtures. There were instances where we might use a crimp on connector followed up by soldering and then heat shrink tubing to cover it all up, but that's obviously different then placing bare stranded copper wire under a screw. Deep down buried in some or our spec sheets it may have called for torque values even, but that's something I didn't call out on my drawings. Not sure what, if anything, UL or NEC has to say, its been too long and my code book is DUSTY lol

 

FWIW in our shop our electricians DID NOT tin leads for use in those type of fixtures. Yall do as you please if you think one way is best over another.

 

John T Too long retired EE

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. Deep down buried in some or our spec sheets it may have called for torque values even, but that's something I didn't call out on my drawings. Not sure what, if anything, UL or NEC has to say, its been too long and my code book is DUSTY lol

 

 

Per Camco, 25 in/pounds. Or, as I did it, good and tight. A.ll strands under the clamp.

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I tinned the wires when hooking up a Progressive Industries EMS on our last trailer. One evening I smelled that hot electrical smell, opened up the EMS unit, and found scorched connections. When I called Progressive Industries the very first question they asked me was if I had tinned the wires. They told me that a large stranded conductor like that shouldn't be tinned, as it interferes with the wire conforming to the clamped connection in the EMS unit.

 

Lesson learned!!

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Unless the installation instructions indicate that the wires should be tinned, (which is very unusual these days), it's best to just leave them be. The compression plates that are used inside the connector help to spread the pressure out over the strands and will work fine if the conductors are clean and the proper torque is applied.

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