The question is valid, but also obscure enough to start a verbal war.
David, I'm referring to the electrical panel bus bar. In my Square D Homeline electrical panel, both the bus bar and grounding bus bar(s) are aluminum. I have ask a few manufactures and I get a somewhat mixed response. One says it's huge and the other manufacture says it's a slight improvement. I am asking the question because I was quoted $1850 for this and I estimate there is $600 in material. I'd rather evaluate the inputs before I take the plunge.
david_tenThe neutral bar as well as the ground bar in the Square D QO panel and Homeline panel are made from an aluminum alloy, not plated copper.
If I had to guess, I'd guess they went to aluminum when the price of copper went through the roof. IIRC, copper (price) is back down again, so they may have gone back to using copper.
I'm surprised they managed to get approval for an aluminum bus bar, all things considered:
But what do I know, I've not paid much attention to this area of panel tech, other than noting that copper is the way to go - the end.
Where exactly does this end, and what exactly are you training your neural paths to do for you?
I mean, if this is all that, you need to go fully off grid, and design some audiophile grade inverters. Maybe just go full battery powered listening room. But come on!
Even if you could hear differences, and the ear/brain might, this is something you are training your ear to do for you. You are choosing to attempt to listen to things no one else can. Is that really your goal?
I used to be a projectionist and I learned to listen and view each frame critically for noise and dust and scratches, making it very difficult to watch a movie anymore. Don't do that.
It's a basic question. Yes there are probably better ways to improve your system. I'm interest if anybody went this far to do it and what the results was. The Audio Bacon guys did this but haven't responded to this question on their website in one of the review responses.
Since posting this, I have seen that the incoming utility power line is heavy aluminium and the conduit from the meter to my electrical box is heavy aluminum so I think it's not worth pursuing even if I do it myself.
There is a tremendous amount of electrical noise generated by the electrical panel. I think the best beginning step to improve the situation is to reduce noise generated by the tens of suboptimal connections in the panel. I used the Total Contact product on the approximately 80 connections within my panel and have had a major improvement in sound. There is a discussion about Total Contact on the members review forum.
Please call me if you would like to discuss the topic further.
What’s interesting is, when my contractor went to source subpanels here in Austin for a "from scratch" install, the supply houses claimed they had Square D with copper buss bars, and upon examination, all were aluminum. When I was in NY metro, it wasn’t a special order and readily available at local suppliers.
I think I wound up w/ Cutler Hammer w/ copper bar.
I never compared aluminum v. copper, just followed what i understood to be good practices. (I know, the way of sheep). But, the electrical subsystem I had the contractors install in the past year is great; ironically, even the ’dirty’ power here (without the big iso transformer that got installed in the backyard) was pretty quiet, even though I’m essentially "in town" in a residential neighborhood. I think there are a lot of variables, starting with the quality of the power coming in from the pole, and then following good practices--I am a big fan of @jea48 ’s input on this board, b/c he isn’t proposing ultra expensive audiophile solutions, just basic above code quality and practice.
112 posts 04-23-2018 7:45am
"The neutral bar as well as the ground bar in the Square D QO panel and Homeline panel are made from an aluminum alloy, not plated copper".
My search on the internet shows the Square D QO panel as having a copper bus bar.
That is correct. The two hot bus bars, and breaker connecting ties, are made of tinned copper.
I'm coming to the conclusion that if the incoming utility power lines to the meter is aluminum and the main power lines from the meter outside to the panel is aluminum, then changing the panel from an aluminum bus bar to copper would have minimal effect. I've already treated my entire panel including breakers, bus bar, grounds, incoming utility, and panel mains with TC from PerfectPathTechnologies. I already mentioned what is in my system besides cyrotreated Virtual Dynamics romex feeding two 20 amp dedicated lines. A new panel will require four Arc Fault GFI breakers which I'm told degrades the sound quality.