which new breakers for old GE service panel?


Old 11-13-05, 10:42 AM
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which new breakers for old GE service panel?

I am trying to determine which currently available circuit breakers are compatible with a 40-year old General Electric service panel. I want to replace one original unused 2-pole breaker ("CAT. NO. TQL2130") with two new 1-pole breakers so that I can add two new circuits. And some breakers I would like to replace with GFCI and AFCI breakers.

The house was built in the mid-1960s. The label in the service panel identifies the panel as GE cat.no. TM1815E model 3. The main breaker is 150 amps and there are 18 spaces for breakers. The label also says "Use with class NI GE type TR, TRP, TQL, TQL-AC, TQAL, or TQAL-AC breakers." All original breakers in the panel have the prefix TQL.

I searched online for anyone selling new TQL breakers but found nothing (although some sellers have used/salvaged TQL breakers). I checked GE on the web and they do not list TQL breakers in their product line-up.

I have found GE THQL breakers but I can find nothing that indicates that these are interchangeable with old TQL breakers (although a close examination at Home Depot looked like they could be interchangeable). I searched for anything that would explicitly indicate compatibility between this old service panel and new THQL breakers--found nothing.

Question: What, if any, currently available circuit breakers are compatible with this old panel? (Or is my only option replacing the whole panel with a new one?)

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Old 11-13-05, 05:44 PM
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Have you purchased a $4 BR-style single pole breaker to take home and try?
I would start there as cheap insurance, make sure the breaker fits snugly, making solid contact with the buss in the center of the panel and is supported at the outer edge opposite the buss.
Exactly how many circuits are you comptemplating changing the breakers on?
If you are considering significant changes, changing the panel does become a consideration.
If the panel has susstained water/moisture damage, or the buss has been damaged in any way due to loose breakers arcing, just replace it.
Old 11-14-05, 05:58 AM
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I tried to find out what is meant by a BR-style breaker but no luck.

But, as suggested, I bought a new GE THQL1120 (1 pole 20 amp) from Home Depot and brought it home to test the fit as a possible alternate for the original type TQL. Well, it seems to fit OK. The outer end of the breaker is retained by a hook and the inner end seats on a stub that stands up from the buss--seems to pretty much match the original breaker that way. Although, when fully seated it appears as just slightly out of alignment in comparison to the rest of the breakers installed in the panel. It sure seems to fit but I still haven't seen anything that confirms that this is a compatible substitute.

Besides substituting 2 single 20 amp circuits (1 GFCI, 1 not GFCI) for 1 unused 30 amp water heater circuit, I only intend to replace two other 20 amp circuit breakers with AFCI breakers.

The panel itself is not damaged.
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