Connect Aluminum to Copper Wire for PicoPSU?

bm_00

n00b
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Jul 14, 2020
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I Have a 80 Watt PicoPSU with a 60 Watt 12v Power Adapter(Purchased as kit from Mini-box). Setup has been working just fine but I decided to extend the 2 wires for the 12v Input barrel jack as they were not quite long enough(stressed) and further made cable management a pain. The wires are soldered to the Pico and Barrel jack and the jacket reads 18 AWG and after stripping they appear to be Aluminum. I am looking to extend these wires using an old 18 AWG Copper Appliance Cord. I was wondering if its safe to just use a typical copper wire nut to connect the two sets of wire? I am familiar with connecting Copper and Aluminum for mains service AC where special connectors and/or anti-oxidant paste must be used. I just am unsure if the same precautions should be used in this scenario. I am aware I could just remove the Aluminum Wire and solder the copper directly to the Pico and Barrel Jack but my soldering skills are not so good with things so small(but hey practice is always good)
 

N4CR

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If in doubt solder it out. And if in doubt of soldering, solder it out more often.
 

GiGaBiTe

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Computer PSUs almost always use aluminum strand wire, or copper coated aluminum because it's cheap. Power supplies would be a lot more expensive if they used pure copper wire for all of the cable runs.

I'd recommend removing the aluminum crap and use copper wire. Wire nutting them together is a bad idea, and it's really not possible to solder them without using nasty fluxes and lots of heat.
 

N4CR

Supreme [H]ardness
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Soldering aluminium is possible but yes you need different solder and what gigabite said basically. But most of those wires shoul dbe solderable as they are soldered to the board originally.... cheers
 

BrainEater

Gawd
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Jul 21, 2004
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Haha !
Any of you guys ever actually tried those special (acid) fluxes ?
I have, I've been soldering for 40 years and never once succeeded in soldering aluminum properly...that's what TIG welders are for. :D
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I've seen the copper plated aluminum, but more often I believe they are nickel plated steel.
As mentioned , if it's been previously soldered or tinned, it'll be easy to solder.
 

bm_00

n00b
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Jul 14, 2020
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yep, try soldering...if it works, you are good.
Aluminum won't solder.

(y)
Yes I know Aluminum isn't the well easiest to solder but Iv seen it done before and somewhat achieved it with some tiny wires on battery powered toys but would never attempt for something like this as way above my skill and patients level. Thank You
 

bm_00

n00b
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Jul 14, 2020
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Maybe its tinned copper
It could be which was my first assumption but it really does not appear to be copper after playing around with it some and judging by the gauge thickness. I will definitely take another look though once I take the computer back apart. Thank You
 

bm_00

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Jul 14, 2020
Messages
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Computer PSUs almost always use aluminum strand wire, or copper coated aluminum because it's cheap. Power supplies would be a lot more expensive if they used pure copper wire for all of the cable runs.

I'd recommend removing the aluminum crap and use copper wire. Wire nutting them together is a bad idea, and it's really not possible to solder them without using nasty fluxes and lots of heat.
In the few PSU's iv disassembled and worked with I have found that yes indeed some do use some alternatives to pure copper wire. I am leaning towards removing the aluminum and running pure copper once I improve my soldering skills. Thank You
 

bm_00

n00b
Joined
Jul 14, 2020
Messages
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Soldering aluminium is possible but yes you need different solder and what gigabite said basically. But most of those wires shoul dbe solderable as they are soldered to the board originally.... cheers
Yes, that does make sense. The ability just may be beyond my skill and equipment as it may require the special flux and heat if it indeed is pure aluminum. Thank You
 

bm_00

n00b
Joined
Jul 14, 2020
Messages
6
Haha !
Any of you guys ever actually tried those special (acid) fluxes ?
I have, I've been soldering for 40 years and never once succeeded in soldering aluminum properly...that's what TIG welders are for. :D
------
I've seen the copper plated aluminum, but more often I believe they are nickel plated steel.
As mentioned , if it's been previously soldered or tinned, it'll be easy to solder.

This very well could be nickel plated steel, or plain steel. I should try a magnet test and see next time I have the computer apart. Thank You
 
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