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Square D Innovations

Posted by bus_driver (My Page) on
Tue, Dec 17, 13 at 20:03

As a long-time observer and participant in the electrical trades. there is no doubt that SqD has been one of the leading innovators. They made the first receptacle GFCI and the first receptacle GFCI that did not require a surface face.extender. And the first single space breaker type GFCI. Whatever your opinion of the AFCI, SqD was in the lead in developing it and then (the part I did not like) embarked on getting it required in the NEC as a way of creating a mandatory market. It was not selling otherwise.
It was sad for me when they were acquired by a foreign company. But it has not been as bad as I feared.
A new panel, QO Plug-On Neutral Load Center, has a neutral strip that mates with the panel-specific CAFI breakers when the breaker is plugged into place. No pigtail to the neutral bar, no screws to tighten for that connection. Neat and easy.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Square D Innovations

I was under the impression Eaton developed the first arc faults

RE: Square D Innovations

The roles attributed to SqD above regarding the GFCI are those of decreasing the size of GFCI protection equipment. In 1978 when the NEC required GFCI protection of receptacles in bathrooms, garages and outdoor receptacles, GFCI units were so bulky that they were separate panels installed beside the regular main panel. The cost was well over $100.00 per circuit and installers typically put all of these on just one circuit. Dedicated circuits for bathrooms came later.
The first breaker type GFCI for residential panels required two breaker spaces for a single pole breaker. It connected with just one pole but needed two spaces due to the size of the breaker.
One story has it that the first USA installation of a GFCI was at the swimming pool at the original Holiday Inn location in Memphis TN. It was custom built, one-of-a-kind and was larger than a suitcase.
The earliest patents for GFCI, according to one source, were in South Africa. I do not know what role Eaton may have played in the development in the USA or elsewhere.

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