Bare copper vs tinned copper for battery lugs?

softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,383 ✭✭✭✭
I know a solar guy who will only use bare copper. He says that is all that AT&T allows on their equipment.

Yet tinned copper is more popular and says it is more corrosion resistant. Yet it seems to costs a little less. This is counter-intuitive.

Why should one buy tinned copper lugs? Or bare copper lugs?
First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
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Comments

  • jonrjonr Solar Expert Posts: 1,296 ✭✭✭✭
    My understanding is that copper that isn't bright and shiny isn't a good conductor.  

    I am available for custom hardware/firmware development

  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,383 ✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2016 #3
    Probably oxidation that makes copper turn dark. I wonder how one could keep bare copper lugs bright and shiny?
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,370 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Coat with vasoline after crimp and heat shrink.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,383 ✭✭✭✭
    They ought to make a spray for this. Heat shrinking is mandatory. You don't really need red cables when red shrink wrap is available.

    I did not buy a batch of bare copper lugs...fearing they would turn dark before use. BigR sells bare copper 4/0 lugs pretty reasonably.

    Still don't understand why bare copper costs more than tinned copper.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • Mountain DonMountain Don Solar Expert Posts: 494 ✭✭✭
    Maybe the bare lugs are better made than the tinned ones?  More copper?

    There is a red lacquer spray available at auto parts stores.  I also got a can with a dauber once.  It works very well but eventually you need to dismantle and wire brush the green crud off. Then spray again. Lasts more than a year for me. I have one terminal that need attention right now. The others still look good.
    Northern NM, 624 watts PV, The Kid CC, GC-2 batteries @ 24 VDC, Outback VFX3524M
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,662 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The cable systems I use are the same that the store here sells. I can't make them for less with the same quality.  I have been using them for decades. They show no wear.
    They are tin plated for corrosion resistance and the tin is of a special compound that has Indium added to lower contact resistance if needed. There is plenty on-line about this and on the forum here as this is pretty standard industry knowledge.

    Indium-tin binary anodes for rechargeable magnesium-ion batteries ...

    www.technology-x.net/H01M/201380022723.html
    In some examples, the anode and cathode carrier may also be a battery terminal. You can use In and Sn, such as sputtering or any other suitable deposition ...
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,383 ✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2016 #8
    So the quality of the tin has a bearing....likely explaining some of the variances in pricing. Much like buying electronics, we mostly look to brand names and product reputations....and....most of all....luck.

    Adding tin plating should not lower cost of the product in any world. Perhaps tin plating represents 95% of the demand...thus lowering the price. Perhaps the demands for bare copper also demands a copper of higher purity.

    The bare copper lugs 4/0 lugs at BigR ($7.99 for package of two) weigh less than my tin plated copper lugs. They do not necessarily have more copper in them.

    I bought pretty cheap tin plated lugs...thinking they were all the same. They will corrode under the right/wrong conditions. I tend to think batteries and their connections will corrode almost anything. This time I am trying lugs from a large, well known company. They should not be selling crap... I would hope.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,383 ✭✭✭✭
    I recently bought some 1/0 welding cable and 1/0 lugs from a company. The 1/0 cable is .40" across. Their lugs allow for .37". I asked to return $14 worth of lugs. They wanted $11.79 for a return shipping label. Ugh.

    I can see why lugs might be undersized for welding cable....this cable is larger than comparable coarse stranded cable. But when you sell welding cable, I think your lugs ought to fit your welding cable. Now I buy from sellers who show the inside diameter of their lugs. Lugs that are slightly undersized for welding cable has happened to me before.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • jonrjonr Solar Expert Posts: 1,296 ✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2016 #10
    Why not just trim the end of the cable down by .03"?

    I am available for custom hardware/firmware development

  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,662 ✭✭✭✭✭
    softdown said:
    So the quality of the tin has a bearing....likely explaining some of the variances in pricing. Much like buying electronics, we mostly look to brand names and product reputations....and....most of all....luck.

    Adding tin plating should not lower cost of the product in any world. Perhaps tin plating represents 95% of the demand...thus lowering the price. Perhaps the demands for bare copper also demands a copper of higher purity.

    The bare copper lugs 4/0 lugs at BigR ($7.99 for package of two) weigh less than my tin plated copper lugs. They do not necessarily have more copper in them.

    I bought pretty cheap tin plated lugs...thinking they were all the same. They will corrode under the right/wrong conditions. I tend to think batteries and their connections will corrode almost anything. This time I am trying lugs from a large, well known company. They should not be selling crap... I would hope.
    Right the quality is driver.  I don't rely on luck I just use the best and it is extremely rare that I or my clients have the problems I read about here.
    These systems are for 20 years + and I get it that most of the users here are not concerned with that kind of time frame or cost.
    Buy from the store here and you will not go wrong. They know the quality!  Good Luck!
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,383 ✭✭✭✭
    That makes it ~1 AWG rather than 1/0 AWG. Doesn't seem like much but it is significant. I don't like chopping off maybe 50 or more wires. Would really have to chop closer to .04" with strands that fine. Been down this road before.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,383 ✭✭✭✭
    Yes.....our host has an excellent reputation. I bought my MATE from them years ago.

    I happen to be an Ebay seller and they give me "incentive" to "experiment" with their sellers. Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose. All I have is time these days...

    A normal person would likely be well advised to try to deal with the host...Arizona Solar. Was going to buy my panels from them before deciding to drive to the west coast. Man alive...gas and lodging in lollipoplandfornia is high. Life is an adventure for the adventurous.

    Dave Angelini said:
    Right the quality is driver.  I don't rely on luck I just use the best and it is extremely rare that I or my clients have the problems I read about here.
    These systems are for 20 years + and I get it that most of the users here are not concerned with that kind of time frame or cost.
    Buy from the store here and you will not go wrong. They know the quality!  Good Luck!

    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • JohannJohann Solar Expert Posts: 240 ✭✭✭
    softdown said:
    So the quality of the tin has a bearing....likely explaining some of the variances in pricing. Much like buying electronics, we mostly look to brand names and product reputations....and....most of all....luck.

    Adding tin plating should not lower cost of the product in any world. Perhaps tin plating represents 95% of the demand...thus lowering the price. Perhaps the demands for bare copper also demands a copper of higher purity.

    The bare copper lugs 4/0 lugs at BigR ($7.99 for package of two) weigh less than my tin plated copper lugs. They do not necessarily have more copper in them.

    I bought pretty cheap tin plated lugs...thinking they were all the same. They will corrode under the right/wrong conditions. I tend to think batteries and their connections will corrode almost anything. This time I am trying lugs from a large, well known company. They should not be selling crap... I would hope.


    Years back, i had a corrosion problem with a car battery that caused the car not to crank every 2 or 3 days apart. Back then, after using Vaseline the problem disappeared.
    The red spray is junk and did not help back then and is not working these days.
    Vaseline or grease is the best thing to use for corrosion and so far after 5 years, did not corrode the terminals on a inside application. I have batteries sitting outside under a overhang and my greased connections are only 2 years old and so far there is no sign of corrosion. 
    I used grease on my car-battery and battery-wire-ends and clamps 5 years ago and there is no problem so far.
  • Marc KurthMarc Kurth Solar Expert Posts: 476 ✭✭✭✭
    Good maintenance is critical to success with FLA batteries.

    I'm not a metallurgist kind of guy, but I do see better performance with quality tinned cable and lugs in water coastal off grid and marine applications.

    I always have more questions than answers. That's the nature of life.
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,383 ✭✭✭✭
    Good maintenance is critical to success with FLA batteries.

    I'm not a metallurgist kind of guy, but I do see better performance with quality tinned cable and lugs in water coastal off grid and marine applications.

    I suspect that tin is good against salt. Batteries would seem to present a tougher environment. I think silver might work. Then low lifes would break in and steal them.

    I used a bunch of Vaseline with last months battery rejuvenation. So far, so good. I just like some things to look neat and tidy. Gobbing Vaseline has not achieved that look. That is why I inquired about a spray.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • Marc KurthMarc Kurth Solar Expert Posts: 476 ✭✭✭✭
    I'm an AGM guy, so I am used to seeing terminals and cables that stay completely clean for their entire 10 year lifespan  :) Neat and tidy indeed!
    I always have more questions than answers. That's the nature of life.
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,383 ✭✭✭✭
    10 year lifespan? You saying that cables last ten years?
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • Marc KurthMarc Kurth Solar Expert Posts: 476 ✭✭✭✭
    No, I was talking about AGM batteries.
    I always have more questions than answers. That's the nature of life.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,662 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I'm an AGM guy, so I am used to seeing terminals and cables that stay completely clean for their entire 10 year lifespan  :) Neat and tidy indeed!
    Me too but I hardly use AGM :)  They are better priced now but still quite a bit more than flooded for slight efficiency improvement that really is not noticed offgrid.
    Many batteries will last 10 years if the owner is trained and the design is sound! 
    You are right it does take 15 minutes a month to wipe down a battery system with a wet towel and check the water.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • Marc KurthMarc Kurth Solar Expert Posts: 476 ✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2016 #21
    Dave, I wasn't making a case for AGM's being the best for all things, because they are not. There is no single battery type that is best for all applications. I was only joking about the inherent cleanliness without touching them. Battery efficiency is not why AGM's are chosen on the projects that I get involved with - never even think of it.

    My prior "Good maintenance is critical to success with FLA batteries" comment was primarily referring to maintaining water levels.

    I have said before that a good quality flooded battery bank can outlast an AGM battery bank if both systems use high quality batteries, are properly designed, installed correctly and receive proper maintenance.

    Marc

    I always have more questions than answers. That's the nature of life.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,662 ✭✭✭✭✭
    There might be one coming soon that is the best  :)   They will be expensive at first but there is not a reason like the weight of the batteries we both use now for the price to be high. May not be best for all things but there should be news next month.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • Mountain DonMountain Don Solar Expert Posts: 494 ✭✭✭
    There might be one coming .....................   should be news next month.
    Can't wait!!!!!!
    Northern NM, 624 watts PV, The Kid CC, GC-2 batteries @ 24 VDC, Outback VFX3524M
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,383 ✭✭✭✭
    I am holding my breath.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • Marc KurthMarc Kurth Solar Expert Posts: 476 ✭✭✭✭
    Not my first rodeo. As soon as somebody proves the hype in real world field operations, I'm onboard at 2-3 times conventional costs.
    But I won't put my customers on the bleeding edge again...........

    I always have more questions than answers. That's the nature of life.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,662 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Ya know, it will be slow to filter down to small systems.  It really is going to be aimed at 48V and up, just a hint. Testing will not be complete until well into next year.
    I agree with you Marc about rodeos, and will say that until Outback and Schneider have new Tek solutions I am quite happy with an 1,100 AH 2V flooded or AGM cell from US battery, Surrette, or even a Trojan.  All made in California except Surrette and they really compete price wise here for the large systems I do in offgrid homes.
    Has anyone looked at the Outback large system batteries out a few years now? Talk about series parrallel to the max. Really pricey and very little new tek in those.  I am hoping they do something much better next month.  
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • Marc KurthMarc Kurth Solar Expert Posts: 476 ✭✭✭✭
    I hear you loud and clear. Most of what I do is 1-2 strings of (24) 2V L16 from Concorde and Fullriver.
    I always have more questions than answers. That's the nature of life.
  • JohannJohann Solar Expert Posts: 240 ✭✭✭
    edited August 2016 #28
    softdown said:
    Good maintenance is critical to success with FLA batteries.

    I'm not a metallurgist kind of guy, but I do see better performance with quality tinned cable and lugs in water coastal off grid and marine applications.

    I suspect that tin is good against salt. Batteries would seem to present a tougher environment. I think silver might work. Then low lifes would break in and steal them.

    I used a bunch of Vaseline with last months battery rejuvenation. So far, so good. I just like some things to look neat and tidy. Gobbing Vaseline has not achieved that look. That is why I inquired about a spray.
    i just coat the battery terminal connectors. No need to gobble ( I think you mean cover the whole terminal/connector) a bunch of Vaseline on it.
    I just take the nuts of the bolts and then put grease or Vaseline in my hand and then I just coat the nuts, bolts ,washers , posts, terminals with it etc etc.  No need to paste it on, one inch deep . .
    And it still looks good, you can not tell that grease is on it, unless you touch it or in the case of my car battery where dust accumulated the last 5 years.
    Done my car battery with grease 5 years ago and never touched it since....Well, the battery says 10-10 on it. I was going to take a picture, but the battery of the camera is bad.

     
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,662 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I do not use anything but rain water inside and outside of the battery. They have always looked near new for 24 years now.

    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • soloronesolorone Solar Expert Posts: 250 ✭✭✭
    Not  being flippant  here, but I sure have missed out on a lot, but then there was not much info out back then.  I have never had bright copper fittings except for the ones I make myself, the huge nuts I make up 500 MCM and 4/0 with have all been old.  I make connectors from tubing with tubing in gradated layers, a good hammer on an anvil with cross hatched impressions and soldered.  Been good 33 years, or at least all system normal as far as I am aware.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,662 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The test of time is always a good one Solorone!
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

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