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Wrong Breaker in Panel

Posted by ohmmm (My Page) on
Sat, Apr 2, 11 at 12:04

Finally got around to swapping out the other oddball 60amp Cutler Hammer breaker that was installed in a Square D panel for the correct brand/type breaker.

I am guessing this was done by a subcontractor who was too lazy or too cheap to go and get the right circuit breaker at Ace Hardware in town here.

At first glance, I thought it was broken when it was rammed into place, but upon closer inspection, it was clearly cut with a saw or moto tool to get it to fit. NIIIICEEEE.

Got to love that. Oh, and the "home inspector" made no mention of the oddball breakers in the panel.
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Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Wrong Breaker in Panel

The "ingenuity" of incompetents knows no bounds. That's quite an amazing photo! Glad you got to that before the fire started!


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RE: Wrong Breaker in Panel

Once again proving that just because you touch two wires together and the light comes on, does NOT mean you did it right.


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RE: Wrong Breaker in Panel

"Glad you got to that before the fire started!"

You tell me HOW in the world this is going to cause a fire.
Your statement is simply scare tactics.

I'm NOT saying it's right, but come on.


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RE: Wrong Breaker in Panel

How is it going to start a fire? Let's see, he modified the part of the breaker that engages with the bus bar on the UNPROTECTED SIDE OF THE BREAKER. This means that this thing could heat up or arc to the point of whatever the main breaker would protect. Now being inside a panel and properly installed away from other combustibles wouldn't end up with any structural involvement hopefully, but it could have certainly made a mess of the wiring and the panel itself.


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RE: Wrong Breaker in Panel

Just because a device is modified does not automatically mean it will fail. The breaker appears to have been in service for some time. It looks like crap, but shows no evidence of overheating.

If Square D should have made their panel either completely compatible with BR series breakers, or substantially different. I suppose they were afraid they could not compete making panels/breakers that were BR compatible.


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RE: Wrong Breaker in Panel

SAD... even in my lame-o state (FL), where the home inspectors' total liability is limited to the fee he was paid (yeah, I know, right!), most would've caught that. That's seriously (and inexcusably) FUBAR'd. Would love to know licensure status of the guilty party... but they never sign their work, LOL.

I've even seen a Murray panel "busted" for having non-Murray--but identical-physical-format Type BRs from Bryant, GE, Siemens, etc.--breakers in there, i.e. drop-in fit, NO GRINDING! Still, if the "BR" in question is not specifically Listed for use in Murray panels (some are), no-go.


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RE: Wrong Breaker in Panel

Why should square D make their panels compatible with the piece of junk Bryant panel? Square D QO has been in continuous production for 50 years while the poor BR panel line has bounced like a unwanted step-son from Bryant to Westinghouse and finally subsumed into Eaton.

The answer is maybe it worked, but barring an actual listed solution, you never know. I've seen kludges like that burn up the last 8" of wires connected to the breakers.

Just because you can jam a breaker in there doesn't mean it's legal or safe.


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RE: Wrong Breaker in Panel

There is no way that breaker worked at all in a QO panel. It is a good bet that the Square D panel is a Homeline,i.e. a near copy of the BR stuff.

As far as "an actual listed solution", I know why lawyers and electrical inspectors frown on mixing otherrwise physically compatible brands, but electrons don't know the difference. It would be interesting to know how long the subject breaker has been in service, presumably without calamity.


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RE: Wrong Breaker in Panel

I hadn't even noticed the two oddball breakers myself until I decided to work on running electric to the new shed.

After I got the panels off the two load centers and went to put them back on, they wouldn't quite sit down all the way like they should. I thought maybe one of the breakers was not pushed in all the way. But then I saw the Cutler Hammer breakers in there, I immediately thought, hmmmmmm....something is not right in electrical land here.

I looked more carefully at how things are supposed to go together and clearly the Cutler Hammer breakers were not designed to fit the Square D panel face or base.

Neither of them that I replaced appeared to be arcing or showing burn marks anywhere. But when I saw what was done to the bottom of the breakers, I was like, oh nice. Make a square peg fit a round hole electrical Inc.

Now I sit here and think what other shortcuts were made at all the other connections around the house.


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RE: Wrong Breaker in Panel

"As far as "an actual listed solution", I know why lawyers and electrical inspectors frown on mixing otherrwise physically compatible brands, but electrons don't know the difference."

The issue is the long term reliability of the connection between the breaker and the bus bars.

Every manufacturer tests over many thermal cycles and ambient conditions to ensure that the connections stay gas tight and have long term reliability.

Even things like the tolerance on parts affects the long term reliability.

We expect breakers to work for many, many years without issue.


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RE: Wrong Breaker in Panel

Actually Cutler-Hammer breakers (provided they are type BR) are legitimate in the type BR panel. Cutler-Hammer (i.e., Eaton) is the current owner of that line.


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RE: Wrong Breaker in Panel

Now I sit here and think what other shortcuts were made at all the other connections around the house.

Good man, forward thinking. Odds are high you WILL find more jury-rigs, ranging from bad-practice-but-not-imminently-dangerous, to the hair-raising, OMG-look-at-the-CHARRING! =:O

The things some peeps do to "save money" on ELECTRICAL WIRING calls into question whether the "missing link" in evolution is really all that missing. ;')


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