different breakers in same panel


Old 06-01-05, 09:54 AM
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different breakers in same panel

Can you use different breakers in an electrical panel? For example use a GE breaker in a Cuttle-Hammer Panel?
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Old 06-01-05, 12:57 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Oregon
Posts: 1,219
You can use breakers that are _specified_ for the panel. These are breakers that the panel manufacturer had tested and that the testing lab approved for use in the panels. These will be listed on the panel label. Sometimes panel brands list breakers from other brands. You have to use both the correct brand _and_ the correct type. You must also be sure to meet any fault current requirements set by the installation.

You can also use breakers that are _classified_ for the panel. Classified breakers are 'replacement' breakers that the _breaker_ manufacturer had tested to go into a competitors panel, and the testing lab approved them for use. Classified breakers will be classified for _particular_ panels, rather than entire lines. The list of panels that a breaker can be used in will be on the label, packaging, or datasheet for the breakers.

Basically: the breaker _may_ fit, but it has to actually be tested by a lab to confirm that it is safe for use. If it has not been tested, then the installation violates code, and you run the risk of something that _almost_ fits, but which has poor contact which will cause heating and damage. If brand 'C' breakers fit in both brand 'C' panels and brand 'G' panels, then one would think that brand 'G' breakers would have to fit both types of panel as well. But this is not necessarily the case, and you don't know without the testing. Better to have that testing done in a lab than in your home.

See, for example http://www.eatonelectrical.com/unsec...A00304001E.PDF

Old 06-01-05, 01:13 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Keep in mind that although Cutler-Hammer says that it's fine to use Cutler-Hammer breakers in SquareD panels, SquareD does not approve of such usage. This is typical. Panel manufacturers rarely approve the use of other manufacturers' breakers in their panels, but breaker manufacturers routinely approve the use of their breakers in other manufacturers' panels.

There's a lot of marketing-speak out there. It's always best to match the manufacturer and model of the breaker and panel, and only resort to using classified breakers if you have no other option.

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