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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Smile Circuit Breaker Types

    Could someone please clarify a question about circuit breaker types? I am going to be replacing all of the circuit breakers in our panel with AFCI breakers. The problem is our panel is made by Square D, and Square D makes the worst AFCI breaker (lots of complaints about nuisance tripping). I was told by someone that I need to buy the same brand of breaker as the panel manufacture, like if you have a Ford you need to use Ford parts on it. Is this true, or could I use GE or Eaton Cutler-Hammer breakers in it? I tried to go to the Square D website to download the manual for our panel but could not find it, even though it was just installed around 5 years ago. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Default Re: Circuit Breaker Types

    In Cuba they use Chevy parts for ford. And vise versa. They just modify them to fit.

    A breaker is like a switch. If you find a breaker the same size as Square D, I can't see why you can't use it. BUT, it must be the same size to fit snuggly.

    Go to an electrical supply house and ask them.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    203

    Question Re: Circuit Breaker Types

    I was just reading something about "classified" circuit breakers which are supposed to work as a direct replacement, but the Square D web site says to stay away from them. Not sure if Square D is just trying to scare people away so you buy their brand instead, but the classified breakers are UL listed, so I don't understand why they wouldn't be just as safe as the Square D breakers.

    According to the Eaton web site their classified CL115CAF is the same as a Square D (combination AFCI) HOM115AFIC. The Square D breaker cost around 45 bucks. The Eaton is 24 bucks, so around half the cost.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Circuit Breaker Types

    Run an experiment: buy the cheaper Eaton and see if it fits and works.

    I've used 'compatible' or 'after market' breakers before and had no problems. The thing with same brand breakers is that you know for sure that they fit snuggly in the panel.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Columbiana, Alabama
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    623

    Default Re: Circuit Breaker Types

    Milan, the Eaton breakers will fit the Sq D Homeline panels (not QO" and are "Classified" not "Listed", which is just as good.

    Before you go to buy them record your Sq D panel number so you can verify it's legal to use it before you buy them.

    The only other thing you need to verify is that your panel is not rated more than 10Kaic, which is it's short circuit current rating.
    Somewhere on the panel or the main breaker it will say if it's more than 10Kaic. If you can't find a rating label it's the standard 10Kaic, and you're good!

    Other manufacturers are mad as heck about the "Classified" breakers but they sure come in handy on a service truck by reducing the need to carry hundreds of breakers. Wish they were available in sizes over 50A.
    Good Luck from Columbiana, Alabama
    Maurice Turgeon, Hidden Content

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    203

    Lightbulb Re: Circuit Breaker Types

    Quote Originally Posted by The Semi-Retired Electric View Post
    Before you go to buy them record your Sq D panel number so you can verify it's legal to use it before you buy them.

    I'm not sure if we're talking about the same thing here. I was on the Eaton website and they have a chart for their classified breakers. I looked up what the Square D breaker model number would be, and then looked on the Eaton chart and they (Eaton) had a corresponding classified breaker listed. Is that not all I need to do?

    How else would I need to verify if it's a legal breaker? Thanks.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Circuit Breaker Types

    Yes, that's all you have to do: cross check, to find an Eaton that's right for you.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Pacific Northwet
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    1,359

    Default Re: Circuit Breaker Types

    On the label on the door of the panel, it will list the "types" of breakers that are allowed (QO, QD, etc.). As long as the breaker you install is also labeled with one of the same type designations as is listed on the panel -- even if they are different brands -- everything will be OK and the inspector should be happy.

    That said, there are several different brands of breakers that are more or less interchangeable, being of the same physical size and shape (Siemens, Eaton, Square D Homeline, Cutler Hammer, ITE, etc.). Practically, there should be no problem mixing brands. However, each manufacturer seems to use their own type codes, and very few inspectors will approve an installation where the type codes on the breaker don't match what's listed on the panel, even if the breakers are identical.

    Note that there have been some mergers and buyouts over the past several years, so most new Eaton breakers will match Cutler Hammer panels, Siemens will match ITE, etc.

    I pity the poor person who has an old Zinsco or Pushmatic load center. Replacement breakers are only available from a third-party manufacturer, and they are hideously expensive: a single breaker can cost as much as a whole new load center.

    Note that for the common "interchangeable" breakers, there are two types of bus contacts in the panels: solid, and ones with a notch. In new installation, "duplex" breakers (that is, two 1/2" wide breakers in a single case) can only be installed on the notched buses. Duplex breakers to fit un-notched buses can be purchased, but they are labeled "for replacement use only."
    Last edited by Fencepost; 10-04-2012 at 01:17 AM.
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
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    5,557

    Default Re: Circuit Breaker Types

    Why are you changing all your breakers? Unless you are rewiring their is no requirement that you do that.

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Columbiana, Alabama
    Posts
    623

    Default Re: Circuit Breaker Types

    Quote Originally Posted by JLMCDANIEL View Post
    Why are you changing all your breakers? Unless you are rewiring their is no requirement that you do that.

    Jack
    The NEC requires any circuits being extended be Combination AFCI protected. AFCI's are designed to offer superior fire safety and some shock safety. All brands use different methods to achieve this goal, some are better than others.
    Good Luck from Columbiana, Alabama
    Maurice Turgeon, Hidden Content

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