How to connect aluminium to copper wire

Written by billy brainard
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How to connect aluminium to copper wire
Soldering iron and spool of solder. (soldering image by Bube from Fotolia.com)

A couple of methods of connecting aluminium wire to copper wire exist, but one of the safest and more durable methods is soldering the two wires together. Soldering is the process of heating and melting solder over a connection to bond the two wires together to form a secure electrical connection. In addition to copper and aluminium wires, you can use soldering to connect various other types of metal wires to form electrical connections.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Wire cutters/strippers
  • Rosin or flux
  • Small brush
  • Soldering gun
  • Solder
  • Cloth rag
  • Vice (if needed)

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Cut the aluminium and copper wires to the length needed for the project, using the wire cutters.

  2. 2

    Strip about 5 to 7.5 cm (1 to 2 inches) of insulation off each end of the aluminium and copper wires.

  3. 3

    Hold the stripped end of the wires together side by side, and line up the ends of the wires. Twist the ends of the two wires together in a clockwise direction. Cut the tip of the wires off at the very end, to ensure the twisted end is even.

  4. 4

    Plug in the soldering iron and turn it on to allow it to heat up to operating temperature. Brush a small amount of flux or rosin onto the twisted aluminium and copper wires, giving them a thin coating.

  5. 5

    Touch the end of the soldering iron to the twisted wires, while at the same time touching the end of the solder to the tip of the iron. Move the solder and soldering iron up and down the twisted wires to melt a thin coat of solder over the wires and bond them together. Coat the wires with enough solder that it is thick enough to cover them, but thin enough so you can still see the strands of the wires. Blow on the end of the wire to help the solder cool over the wire connection.

  6. 6

    Wipe the wires clean of any residual rosin or flux, using the cloth rag, to prevent any possible corrosion.

  7. 7

    Turn off and unplug the soldering iron, and allow it to cool to room temperature before storing it.

Tips and warnings

  • Secure the wires in a vice to help hold it steady as you apply the solder and soldering iron to the wire.
  • Use caution when operating the soldering iron as the tip is several hundred degrees in temperature and can burn the skin.
  • Avoid over heating the wire to the point where the insulation on the wire begins to melt.
  • Use caution when wiping away the rosin or flux with the rag as the end of the wire may still be hot.

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