Cheap copper from scrapyards


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harrisonpatm

Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2022
Messages
106
It feels weird as the new guy to be offering advice and suggestions, but: is anyone else using scrapyards for their powerwall builds? I'm finding that people on the forum are frequently discussing copper wire, where to get it, what size to use. Mainly that while thicker gauge for busbars and wire runs is better, its more expensive.

I know everyone's situation is different, as well as scrapyard availability, but I was able to get 150-200ft of 10awg for wire runs from panel to house for 20 bucks. When i start making individual pack busbars, there's giant pallets full of scrap copper cutoffs to choose from, all priced by weight. Flat bars, thin sheets, twisted bare wire of whatever gauge you want... My whole thing is getting as much for free and cheap as possible (while still being safe), so this is a huge help. I'll be able to find gauges way larger than any amps I'm planning on running, for like 1/5th the price of new product. Sure, it won't be the perfect size or shape, and you may have to spend some time digging around and untangling loose wire, but I don't mind. Anyone else want to share their scrapyard scores?

(as I finish typing I realize that this goes right along with the secondlifestorage theme anyway)
 

OffGridInTheCity

Active member
Joined
Dec 15, 2018
Messages
2,073
Your comments are very welcome!

In my youth, I frequented junk yards for car parts but I'm not familiar with 'scrap yards'. Interesting.....
 

harrisonpatm

Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2022
Messages
106
Your comments are very welcome!

In my youth, I frequented junk yards for car parts but I'm not familiar with 'scrap yards'. Interesting.....
More specifically, metal recycling facilities. I harvest a ton of parts from ewaste, save all my metal, and take a pickup load to get $25-50 bucks back from it. Then I shop around while I'm there, they sell me anything I want incredibly fairly. I've found it makes their job easier, even if on a small scale, to not have to further process some of what they've collected. Helps to be friendly and polite...
 

floydR

Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2017
Messages
1,466
Another source of scrap wire are construction sites/demolition sites (always get permission first) In the waste bins sometimes you find damaged copper pipe, 6ga -16ga end pieces, Not so much anymore with the copper prices being so high. Small demolition job sites may hold copper wiring, copper pipe. Always get permission before digging though the site.
later floyd
 

hbpowerwall

Administrator
Joined
Oct 7, 2016
Messages
2,068
Junk yards used to be a playground till someone got hurt and blamed the junkyard not the shit kid - ruined for all.. even tips used to be a adventure
 

Korishan

Moderator
Joined
Jan 7, 2017
Messages
6,880
Around here there's a restriction. No one under the age of 16 allowed. Plus most places you pay an admission fee. It's been a number of years, but used to be $5. Altho, the main yard had a free day where you could go in w/o the admission fee.

I usually fill my pockets with the various fuses, relays, and screws when I visit. I should go back and check it out and see what kinds of standard wires are available. The main wire that run to the starter is usually larger than 2awg. Beefy
 

harrisonpatm

Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2022
Messages
106
Around here there's a restriction. No one under the age of 16 allowed. Plus most places you pay an admission fee. It's been a number of years, but used to be $5. Altho, the main yard had a free day where you could go in w/o the admission fee.

I usually fill my pockets with the various fuses, relays, and screws when I visit. I should go back and check it out and see what kinds of standard wires are available. The main wire that run to the starter is usually larger than 2awg. Beefy
Oh man, admission fee? Now I feel lucky with the one by me.
 

floydR

Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2017
Messages
1,466
Around here there's a restriction. No one under the age of 16 allowed. Plus most places you pay an admission fee. It's been a number of years, but used to be $5. Altho, the main yard had a free day where you could go in w/o the admission fee.

I usually fill my pockets with the various fuses, relays, and screws when I visit. I should go back and check it out and see what kinds of standard wires are available. The main wire that run to the starter is usually larger than 2awg. Beefy
There is a difference between a scapyard ( metal recycling facilities) and auto dismantlers self serve (Pick-n-Pull, u-pull yards) Most metal recycling facilities won't let you roam the yard unsupervised. If you establish a relationship with the yards they may be less strict. as harrisonpatm does.
I harvest a ton of parts from ewaste, save all my metal, and take a pickup load to get $25-50 bucks back from it. Then I shop around while I'm there, they sell me anything I want incredibly fairly. I've found it makes their job easier, even if on a small scale, to not have to further process some of what they've collected. Helps to be friendly and polite...
Later floyd
 

paddy72

Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2021
Messages
74
I got some decent thick copper cables (around 70 and 120 mm2) for my diy spot welder i build from an old welding transformer from a regular scrap yard. Even the 120mm2 cable get hot very quickly when spot welding thicker metal plates around 1mm. Probably there are lot of good sources of rests of PV cables as well if you know a bigger construction site. My dad was working for Siemens on some big construction sites (among others atomic power plants and nucelear parts accellerators) and could grab as much stuff as was available. I took some boxes with fixing materials, ring clamps for really thick wires, lots of screws and nuts all V2A/V4A stainless material! It was probably more than 20 kg. But unfortunatly this was a one time in life chance...
 
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