Copper Clad Aluminum wire Vs. Pure Copper wire.

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I have my idea of what to use, but I'd like to hear from some others.

I will be using it for a Lionel Legacy Command Control layout with a 620 watt Lionel ZW-L transformer as my primary power source.


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The properties of how electricity work are what need to be considered.
Electricity flows around the outside of an object, not through it (hence why you're safe in a car in a thunder storm - the tires have nothing to do with it). Copper clad wire works as the Electricity is still flowing over copper which is a great conductor. The base metal really doesn't make much of a difference to the connectivity of the wire.
The real choice is solid vs. braided wire. At the same gauge, braided will conduct more power as there is more "surface area" for the electricity to flow over.
In you particular situation, I would say, "Whichever is cheaper." Granted, I'm frugal, but the difference is really negligible.


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Thank you, all good and valid points. I appreciate you taking the time to reply,

I familiar with the principals of electronics, I studied communication electronics back in the 70s, but a lot can change in nearly 40 years.

The price difference for me is negligible. So far I found 14AWG pure copper for about $20/100ft and 14AWG CCA wire for about $9.50/100ft. when buying 500ft rolls. I'm not going to sweat $100 or even $200 extra for my $1400 locomotives.

I have settled on stranded wire over solid wire. My choice is due to the power a big Lionel Legacy locomotive can draw, 10+ amps. I have all but dismissed the chance of stranded wire interfering with the Legacy Command signal. Time and hands on experience will let me know if I am correct in that assumption. I willing to take the risk of having to redo my wiring for Command Control problems. For me, solid wire is a PITA to work with.

I know of the problems with aluminum wire used in the 70s. My real concern is are there any known problems with CCA wire. The problems I knew of are when you put different conductors together. I worry about pushing the CCA wire to it's maximum capacity. Will I bring out the old demons? I am not willing to redo my wiring for overheating problems.

Using ACC for speakers is one thing. The RMS power is usually far below the peak power for speakers, but for Lionel trains the flow of current is more constant.

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