View Full Version : Ampact Connections

01-30-2009, 11:39 PM
That is all we use for primary & secondary connections , but have not seen this new gun you are talking about, still use the same type of gun we used 20 years ago.

01-31-2009, 01:03 AM
Worked on properties where ampact connectors were used exclusively. They're great connectors, the C-body is springy, and keeps good pressure, thus good connection, between the conductors and the wedge. Expansion and contraction of the conductor from temperature change doesn't loosen up the connection like it does with smoosh-ons and bolted connectors. I've never seen the new guns either, just the Ampact and Burndy guns using shells.

01-31-2009, 08:47 AM
squeeze on when I came here. Then Ampact, then Entergy took over and Burndy must have out bid ampact cause they changed everything to Burndy. Then back to squeeze on for up to 4/0. Any thing over that its now back to ampact. I liked the old guns better.


01-31-2009, 09:57 AM
Gulf States utilities ( Pre Entergy) used ampacts exclusivley Primary, secondary, Transmission , Front lot rear lot everwhere. At one point prior to my gig they had used parrallel grove connectors AKA Squeeze ons, Those proved unreliable and I spent an awful lot of time replacing em with ampacts.Split bolts are outdated and have been replaced with Fargo's AKA Kearneys. much easier to use with gloves on and one wrench fits em all.I havent seen the new improved Ampact tool But I beleive it to be a breech loader, similar to the burndy tool. From my point of view The Ampact connnections cannot be beat when used properly. I didnt care for Burndys gun as the shells were unreliable .

02-01-2009, 12:31 AM
My Personal opinion is Ampacts SUCK, What a-hole came up with the bright idea of putting gunpower on a line truck to make electrical connections? To cover the range of wire sizes I need to deal with I need three different size shells, two tools, three c bodies and 7 different size wedges. Hate Em,,,,:mad:

In the end It's a Ford vs, Chevy argument. Jew vs. Muslim, North vs. South just thought you apes would might like to see my decision process on which one I prefer

The focus of this report is on the selection of standard splice and tap connections for 500V thru 35 kV distribution facilities. The specific use of these connections varies to include full tension primary line wire, taps, primary tapwire jumpers, equipment taps to secondary splice and transformer service connection. Overhead line conductors must be joined together with full tension splices, if the conductors are or in the case of messenger supported assemblies may become under tension. Partial tension compression splices or bolted connectors can be used to join electric conductors at locations where the conductors are slack, such as between conductors dead-ends on taps or terminating secondary connections at transformation. Connectors should meet the requirements of ANSI C119.4 for aluminum lines or for connecting copper to aluminum lines.

Electric Utility Transmission & Distribution operating companies naturally use many different tap and splice connections. The components of the systems across the Northeast are not identical but in general all applications work successfully and reliably as proved by many years of experience. In the interest of standardization, this report summarizes the different connecting techniques focusing on safety, reliability, cost, standardization, flexibility, tooling, stocking, supply chain and storm restoration with the intent developing overall connection systems into a standard that meets the companies needs. The source of the data for this report includes discussions with field personnel, supervisors, engineers, Standards engineers from several utilities across the US, technical reports, manufacturer’s recommendations, personal observations and overall experience acquired through 20+ years in the trade.

The selection of a standard splice or tap connector takes into account several issues. The following is a list of the issues that were considered in making a connector recommendation.

a. Safety
The safe installation of any connection is dependent upon installations being made with both energized and de-energized conductors. A safe installation is dependent upon the correct use of protective equipment and tools. Because of the variety of options commercially available, connectors and splices can use a multitude of different tools and installation techniques. Being that all the connectors are tested to ANSI NEMA standards and in some cases approved by independent laboratories {UL} essentially all connection method can be considered safe to use. It goes without saying the introduction on any new connector within a system must also include training to maintain a safe installation practice. Many utilities throughout the country have not seen a major change in work practice or material specification for decades while M&A activity has driven change toward standardization within combined service areas of combined organizations.

b. Reliability
A reliable connection is paramount to a reliable distribution system. Both a reliable connector and correct installation technique dictate the reliability of the connection. From the data available throughout the system, there are no serious reliability problems with any of these connectors. Considering the number of connectors used throughout the System over a 40 year period, the reliability of primary tap connectors has not been identified as a problem of concern. Ampact is likely the best reliability performance wit bolted second and compressed H-tap 3rd.

c. Cost
The cost of the connectors evaluated in this report is a major contributing factor in the selection of a standardized connector. The H-Tap connector is generaly ruled out of the analysis due to the tooling issues. Ergodanmic injuries MD6 crimping. Development of a lower cost battery operated crimper would improve the working installation of these connectors. Future consideration of the H-Tap connector may be re-visited as lighter, smaller, compact tooling without battery charging issues is developed. Therefore, a close examination of the cost of the PG connector and the fired-on wedge connector is important to a final decision. PG bolted least cost viable option at this time

The prices show that by standardizing on the PG connectors, there would be no cost impact. However, by standardizing on the fired-on wedge connector, there would be an cost increase. This higher cost would have a has a major impact where larger conductors sizes are used, and several larger fired-on wedge connectors are necessary. This cost increase would be incurred with minimal reliability improvement as indicated by historical records on connector failures. Because there is no strong difference in reliability between the fired-on wedge and the PG connector within the cost difference favors the PG connector.

d. Removable Connector
Removing connectors on the primary conductors is frequently required. H-Tap connectors are not easily removable. They must be cut off to remove. PG connectors are the easiest to remove with a wrench. The fired-on wedge is also easily removable using the installation tool.

e. Availability
The H-Tap connectors are available from many vendors. The PG connector is available from four vendors but preperred least cost supplier for this connector is from Alcoa. The fired-on wedge connector is available from three vendors Tyco/AMP/burndy without preferance. Suppliers will provide their tools at no charge but if the company switches vendors, the company would have to switch all its tools to the manufacturer supplying the connector.

f. Tool Maintenance
Compression tools and fired-on wedge connector tools require regular maintenance. This maintiance is critical to ensure connector reliability. H-Tap manufacturers do not supply compression tools. Therefore, the company absorbs the entire cost of tool purchases and maintenance. Fired-on wedge manufacturers do supply tools and provide maintenance as long as the company uses that manufacturer’s connectors. Cost for expendable power charges are ongoing and the gunpowder is a liability. PG volted connectors require only a wrench or socket, therefore, tool maintenance is minimal. Torque of the bolted connection is a concern because crews do not teighten to a specified value. In general tight is right and this is not a problem.

g. Storm Restoration
Connectors play a major roll during the restoration of the system. Major storms typically require outside utility/contractor crews to assist in restoration. Among the three connectors being evaluated, the PG connector has the least impact in stocking up, tooling up and training crews. The fired-on wedge connectors and the H-Tap connectors each require supplying many connectors and providing special tools, dies and/or explosive charges.

h. Reusability
The reuse of connectors is not a desirable practice. However, both the PG connector and the fired-on wedge connector are reusable. The H-Tap connector is not reusable because it must be cut off to reuse. However, from a reliability standpoint, connectors should not be reused except in an emergency situation where it will be replaced with a new connector.

There are partisan opinions in the final analysis. In general crews do not like the fired-on wedge connectors. H-tap compression are simply unacceptable. Parellel grove bolted connectors are a preferance.
KISS keep it simple stupid go w/the bolted

Be safe CPOPE

02-01-2009, 10:52 AM
The wedge design is the proven best connection, as it is able to expand and contract as wire will under different weather conditios and amperage load conditions.

When installing them "hot" with sticks the easiest, quickiest way is to use a pair of hot channel locks for your C and wedge, I was shown that when I worked at Hood River, eliminates a bunch of sticks and BS. Shell's, keep your powder dry, and your gun clean.

Bolted T bodies are best for Transmission Switches, easy to remove and install for Switch maintenance purpuses if you cannot loop the transmission and work it cold.

Bolted connections ( Fargo Paralal Grooves, PG's) are the easiest for sencondary work, cutters, knife, wrench, and channel locks, pretty easy to use, and easy to take apart and put back together. No need for different press's and die's, alot easier to pick up load with.

Bolted dead end shoes for primary work are also best, Auto's suck, and the newer hot shoe design , well it's like a sore dick.

Boomer gone soft
02-02-2009, 11:04 AM
I've never worked on an "ampac only" property. I've also never heard of any issues with squeeze-ons. I would have guessed squeez-ons were about as good as you can get (6 ton press on aluminum pretty much makes the wire and press one in the same).

I've seen cross-cuts of squeeze-ons and the press even goes between the strands.

Obviously, many utilities no longer use one-bolt or kearney connections. Mechanical connectors fail all of the time.

Are there any links to actual studies dissecting squeeze-on vs. ampac? I would like to see them.

02-02-2009, 06:06 PM
Not everyone uses a hydraulic prees on squeezeons. There are a lot of em put on with compression tools like an MD6. These are the ones that fail.I bleve climate has sumpin to do wif it also. They are also bad when joining alum to copper with the copper on the top side. Me I dont like em not even a lil.

02-04-2009, 12:46 AM
Is a connection that can be removed, the pressed connection cannot, as far as barrel sleeves, moisture collects in them they freeze, expand, contract, it's science, and bi metal connections, bad, it's science.

Cost vs reliability, is a company gonna switch and get rid of all their inventory, tools, dies, replacemant parts , no, it's science, I'm sorry, my bad, it's economics.

I don't have any studies, and I am full of shit, It's science.

02-04-2009, 02:16 AM
I've made quite a bit of money replacing jumpers and squeeze-on H-tap connectors (squish-ons) that couldn't cut the mustard on heavily loaded feeders. Bolted connectors fail as well, due to thermal expansion. Low load systems, and areas without a big temperature change aren't as susceptible to thermal failures, but when you have the four seasons and heavy cycling system loads, wedge connectors are the best way to go. If you made up a bolted connection, ie. a paddle to a switch, would you use two flat washers with a nut and a bolt, or would you add a belleville washer to keep the connection tight? A connection with a spring component keeps things tight and reliable.

02-05-2009, 01:00 AM
Property here uses amps all around. Some still use linkits, it's our call but most shoot amps primary and secondary. Good reliable connection and never had a partial power from them unlike linkits.

Fiberglass Cowboy
02-06-2009, 06:12 PM
Swamp... If he's referring to the battery operated gun made by Burndy, well it is only for use with Burndy wedge connectors, not Ampac. We just recently had a representative from Ampac come to our shop, to change out our breeches on all of our guns to the newer version. The older breeches were not firing the newer Ampac shells, as they changed their design of the primer on the shell slightly. The representative from Ampac SPECIFICALLY TOLD ME WHEN I ASKED HIM ABOUT THE BATTERY GUN, THAT IT WILL NOT WORK WITH AMPAC CONNECTORS. The gun will ONLY work properly on Burndy's version of the Ampac (wedge connector). He said the battery operated gun will not properly install Ampac's wedge connectors. He also told us that Burndy fails to mention that to alot of the "buyers" of their new "hotshot" battery gun. I suppose it is an effort by Burndy to try and get company's to also buy and use their wedge connectors, and not Ampac's, once the company's find out the truth. Anyways, just FYI. We use bolt-ons and squeeze-ons (crimp connectors) here at my work. Pick your poison. :rolleyes:

02-07-2009, 01:09 AM
Hey, Swamp! I knew you aren't ALWAYS a cranky ol' f*ck*r, in spite of what everyone else on here thinks of you!:D It is a good feeling, having the young'uns calling in now and then, isn't it!;)

02-07-2009, 02:37 PM
I work for a power company in Wisconsin, since 1984 I was brought up on ampacts but as of 2 years ago The company decided to go to Fargo. Fargo's are great on de energized lines but I like ampacts on Hot taps.