Copper has been recognized as an electricity conductor throughout industrial history. In fact, copper was the conductor in classic inventions like the telegraph, telephone, and electric motor. While aluminum is not as reliable in conducting electricity—aluminum has 61 percent the conductivity of copper—it does have some distinct advantages, such as being 30 percent the weight of copper, that make it useful for industrial product use. Standard tests and specifications for connector systems for conductors composed of these two metals are found in ANSI C119.6-2018: Electric Connectors – Non-Sealed, Multiport Connector Systems Rated 600 Volts Or Less For Aluminum And Copper Conductors.
Specifically, the ANSI C119.6-2018 standard covers “non-sealed, multiport distribution connectors rated 600 volts or less used for making electrical connections between aluminum-to-aluminum, aluminum-to-copper, or copper-to-copper conductors for above grade, electric utility applications.”
ANSI C119.6-2018 establishes various electrical and mechanical test guidelines—those for pullout strength, rated conductor strength, torque strength, run conductor damage test (tap connector), rod torque test, current cycle test (CCT), and current cycle submersion test (CCST)—for connectors. It does not apply to connectors that exceed 90°C (194°F), and it is not intended to recommend any other operating conditions.
The tests found in ANSI C119.6-2018 exist to give reasonable assurance to the user that connectors meeting the standard will perform satisfactorily. This assurance is, of course, provided that the connectors have been properly selected for the intended application and are installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. The service operating conditions and the selection of the connector are the responsibility of the user.
ANSI C119.6-2018 revises the 2011 edition of the same American National Standard. As noted in the Foreword of the document, ANSI C119.6-2018 has undergone some substantive changes that directly and materially affect the performance of a product and necessitate testing or retesting to meet the current edition of the standard. These changes include:
- The standard now calls for retesting the performance of a product if there have been substantive changes made to the product.
- The current edition now includes spreadsheet files in informative Annex D, “Heat Cycle Data Sheet.” These spreadsheets can be used to collect current cycle test data, calculate connector stability, generate graphs of the data, and print the data to include test results with the test report. The spreadsheets give test laboratories a standardized method to collect, calculate, and report test data and prepare test reports.
- ANSI C119.6-2018 now incorporates an alternate, accelerated current cycle test method—the current cycle submersion test (CCST). This method differs from the traditional current cycle test (CCT), since the test conductors in the CCST method are rapidly cooled by immersion in chilled water at the beginning of the current-OFF cycle, and it needs fewer total current-ON and current-OFF cycles. While comparative testing has indicated that the CCST method provides essentially the same performance test results as the CCT method in fewer test cycles, the CCT remains the preferred test method recommended for qualification of a connector.
ANSI C119.6-2018 is not the only American National Standard dedicated to electric connectors. In fact, the ANSI C119 series in general confronts this topic. Other standards in this series include:
ANSI C119.4-2016: Electric Connectors – Connectors For Use Between Aluminum-To-Aluminum And Aluminum-To Copper Conductors Designed For Normal Operation At Or Below 93C And Copper-To-Copper Conductors Designed For Normal Operation At Or Below 100C
ANSI C119.6-2018: Electric Connectors – Non-Sealed, Multiport Connector Systems Rated 600 Volts Or Less For Aluminum And Copper Conductors is available on the ANSI Webstore.