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NEMA 6-50 outlets: Leviton versus Bryant

Buy the better, heavy-duty models, always.

I bought Bryant instead of the cheaper Leviton models I found at Home Depot. Glad I did. Charging with it since 2019.

You want the heavy-duty characteristics of the design like larger size, hex tightening screws, etc. More than worth it to order online the better quality receptacle. (I understand that Hubbell also has a high-quality well-manufactured part.)
 
Leviton 240V outlets seem to all have contacts smaller than the blades on the plug.
Yep exactly. I took one apart that was overheating, and the plug prongs are only covered half way. The $10 Utilitech outlets from Lowes are industrial grade and solve the heat problem entirely. Alternatively most people just jump to an $80 Hubble instead.
 
I see some discussion about aluminum wiring. I have a bit of experience here. In car audio installations, it's common to use 4AWG and even 1AWG in higher power systems. When the price of copper went up to $10K a metric ton, several companies started selling CCA or Copper Clad Aluminum wire. CCA wire is aluminum with a thin layer of copper on it. It looks like copper wire but it's much lighter and if you look at the cut cross section you see mostly silver. I was involved with evaluating and testing these wires and we found that there was a 30% difference in resistance and current handling. This means you need to upsize your wire by over 30% for the same performance as OFC copper. Of course virtually all of the companies selling CCA wire were selling them in the same gauge as the pure OFC copper gauges and they weren't mentioning the performance drop.

Anyway, the research I did was for DC voltage and those wires had an amount of copper in them. I've seen numbers for AC wiring being closer to a 40% drop in current capacity and a need for around 50% more cross sectional area. If I was adding a 240v receptacle, I would definitely use copper, regardless of code and supply wire material.

This has some interesting info:

Aluminum vs. Copper Conductors | TES Engineering

"For uses below 200 amps –

Copper is the better choice because there is minor cost saving (if any) by using the alternative: aluminum conductors. Additionally, breakers, fuse blocks, and receptacles are listed to only terminate with copper and will not accept aluminum connections.

Between 200 and 800 amps –

Complete case-by-case study and evaluate the building characteristics such as voltage, distance, load variations and type of load. Within installations of this size, aluminum can often be used from the utility transformer to the building distribution, then from the

building distribution to the house distribution panel. Significant savings can be achieved based on the distances involved.

Aluminum conductors often offer larger cost savings above 800 amps. For example, in one large multi-building lifestyle center project, the estimated savings to use aluminum instead of copper building service conductor was $100,000."
 

Rocky_H

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2015
8,781
11,459
Boise, ID
When the price of copper went up to $10K a metric ton
You're quoting how the price of copper went up drastically recently, causing people to make different decisions based on cost.
Copper is the better choice because there is minor cost saving (if any) by using the alternative: aluminum conductors.
But then quoting an old web page as a source saying there may not be any cost savings (which is now outdated). It's not both.

This tends to be a decision based on where the cost crossover point is. If someone is only doing a 10 foot run, yes, there isn't going to be significant cost savings to make the aluminum hassle worthwhile. But in some cases, people are having to go over 100 feet from around the other end of a house, or out to a detached garage, and then the cost savings becomes really substantial.
 
You're quoting how the price of copper went up drastically recently, causing people to make different decisions based on cost.

But then quoting an old web page as a source saying there may not be any cost savings (which is now outdated). It's not both.

This tends to be a decision based on where the cost crossover point is. If someone is only doing a 10 foot run, yes, there isn't going to be significant cost savings to make the aluminum hassle worthwhile. But in some cases, people are having to go over 100 feet from around the other end of a house, or out to a detached garage, and then the cost savings becomes really substantial.

Just keep in mind that the wire AWG needs to be increased appropriately. If the run calls for 8AWG, you would probably need 6AWG or 4AWG depending on availability if using Aluminum.

https://www.usawire-cable.com/pdfs/nec ampacities.pdf

FYI, the second quote you quoted was not me saying it. It was quoted from the link I posted.

For the copper pricing I was quoting, it wasn't exactly recently. As you can see the price was up 2006/2008 and then dropped. When it went up again in 2010, many companies started to change their wire to CCA. The companies that changed, mostly did it as a blind change to the consumers. They didn't explain the current capacity drop or upsize their wire gauges, they simply changed the material. This wasn't in the much more stringent home or commercial market where gauges are dictated by code.

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Here are some Leviton vs Hubble 6-50r pics.

Leviton $11.73 Home Depot
Leviton claims brass double wipe contacts. If they are brass they are tinned since as you can see they are silver. The contacts themselves are smaller than the Hubble.
Operating Temperature: -40°C to 60°C (the plate says 75C but their specs say 60C)
https://www.leviton.com/en/products/5374


Hubble $49.95
Much nicer tooling and build quality.
Larger brass double wipe contacts. The screw down contacts themselves have a smaller diameter but the terminal has more brass where the wire contacts.
Operating Temperatures - Maximum continuous 75°C, minimum -40°C (w/o impact)
https://www.hubbell.com/hubbell/en/Products/Electrical-Electronic/Wiring-Devices/Straight-Blade-Devices/ConstructionCommercial-Receptacles/Straight-Blade-Devices-Receptacles-RTP-Industrial-Grade-2-Pole-3-Wire-Grounding-50A-250V-6-50R-Black-Single-Pack-/p/1636620

The Hubble is 4x the cost but is definitely on a different level as far as build quality and overall quality.

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