Can I put twin breakers in my load center?

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Old 07-20-10, 06:35 AM
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Can I put twin breakers in my load center?

Can someone help me identify my load center so I can determine if it will properly accept twin breakers? Unfortunately, I cannot find enough information from the manufacturer's website to make this determination.

The load center is a Eaton Cutler-Hammer with CHJ77 stamped into the metal case. The main breaker is a CC2200 which is a 200A two pole unit issue LP-4504. There are 30 spaces for breakers. There are no other identifying marks on the case.

I found this page at Eaton which looks right: CH Style 3/4-inch Loadcenters And on that page there are some technical specifications. But nowhere can I find a number or model on the panel that matches any documentation so I can be sure I have the right information.

The label on the back of the door only has a generic sticker with manufacturer name and lines for labeling the breakers. Could there be anything written or stamped inside the loadcenter to help identify it?
 
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Old 07-20-10, 08:42 AM
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I don't have specifics for you but the article below says to look for the 'Class CTL' statement on the UL listing mark.

The breakers I think you're talking about are commonly called Tandem Breakers.

Circuit Total Limitation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
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Old 07-20-10, 10:04 AM
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Check the label on the inside of the panel. Sometimes it is also possible to reverse lookup the panel from the door part number.

Be careful in the panel. Even with the main breaker off there can be live parts inside.
 
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Old 07-20-10, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by ArgMeMatey View Post
I don't have specifics for you but the article below says to look for the 'Class CTL' statement on the UL listing mark.

The breakers I think you're talking about are commonly called Tandem Breakers.

Circuit Total Limitation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sorry, but that's a completely bogus article. Tandem breakers are NOT sold only as 'cheater' breakers only designed for pre-1965 panels. They are listed and sold for today's panels. Correct me if I'm wrong, but there was no Square D HOM line in 1965, but there are tandem breakers for it.

The panel's circuit limit is dictated by the number of neutral bus terminals. If it has twice the number of neutral terminals as breaker spaces (DO NOT count any grounds that may be attached to the neutral - you are supposed to install a separate busbar for the grounds, but that is usually skipped by the installer if the panel is bonded) you can be almost positive that the panel is listed for use with tandems.

The door sticker is supposed to have the manufacturer name, model number, UL listing number, and the list of breakers that are listed for use with that panel. Have you taken the dead front off yet? If there is no other identifying information on the front, there has to be a sticker with, at the very least a model number inside. It may be on the backplane underneath the breakers. So if you don't see it, you're going to have to open the main breaker and remove the breakers to see it.
 
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Old 07-20-10, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by JerseyMatt View Post
The panel's circuit limit is dictated by the number of neutral bus terminals. If it has twice the number of neutral terminals as breaker spaces (DO NOT count any grounds that may be attached to the neutral - you are supposed to install a separate busbar for the grounds, but that is usually skipped by the installer if the panel is bonded) you can be almost positive that the panel is listed for use with tandems.
I am going to disagree with the bolded above. Most of the panels I see are not listed for use with tandems. Like JM said, you need to check the label. For example, if the panel number has something like QOM200M3040 it could use 30 full size or a mix of full size and up to ten tandems.
 

Last edited by pcboss; 07-20-10 at 12:03 PM. Reason: forgot bolded quote
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Old 07-20-10, 11:38 AM
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...because it has a total of 40 neutral terminals. That's the only thing limiting you from stuffing that particular panel with tandems. A 2040 panel is 20 space/40 circuit and can have all tandem. It all depends on how many neutral terminals there are.
 
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Old 07-20-10, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by JerseyMatt View Post
Sorry, but that's a completely bogus article. Tandem breakers are NOT sold only as 'cheater' breakers only designed for pre-1965 panels. They are listed and sold for today's panels. Correct me if I'm wrong, but there was no Square D HOM line in 1965, but there are tandem breakers for it.
The article reads like it was written by a sales engineer for a load center manufacturer, doesn't it? You may want to add your info.

I am not sure specifically what statements from the article you are referencing, but the way I read it, the non-CTL "cheater" breakers are the tandems that you can put in any slot. Whereas CTL tandems can only be placed in the slots designated and built for tandem breakers. The author seems to be saying that people are buying non-CTL tandems intended for old load centers, and then putting them in newer CTL panels in order to exceed the manufacturer's rating and circumvent the CTL limitation.
 
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Old 07-20-10, 11:59 AM
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Non-CTL breakers have a sticker on them that states "For Replacement Use Only" . The newer panels all use the CTL type when listed for use with tandems.
 
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Old 07-20-10, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by JerseyMatt View Post
Sorry, but that's a completely bogus article. Tandem breakers are NOT sold only as 'cheater' breakers only designed for pre-1965 panels. They are listed and sold for today's panels. Correct me if I'm wrong, but there was no Square D HOM line in 1965, but there are tandem breakers for it.
JM, I scanned that article quickly. I believe they were talking about using non-CTL where they are not listed for use.

The newer panels all have the rejection feature to limit the use of tandems.
 
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Old 07-20-10, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by ArgMeMatey View Post
The article reads like it was written by a sales engineer for a load center manufacturer, doesn't it? You may want to add your info.

I am not sure specifically what statements from the article you are referencing, but the way I read it, the non-CTL "cheater" breakers are the tandems that you can put in any slot. Whereas CTL tandems can only be placed in the slots designated and built for tandem breakers. The author seems to be saying that people are buying non-CTL tandems intended for old load centers, and then putting them in newer CTL panels in order to exceed the manufacturer's rating and circumvent the CTL limitation.
Haha truly! Or someone with some sort of agenda or axe to grind..

I took offense to the fact that the article puts it in a way that implies ALL tandems are cheaters. Notice in the photos at the bottom, there only CTL single and double pole breakers, and the tandems only show the non CTL cheaters. No mention whatsoever of a CTL/listed tandem breaker. I especially like the fact that they use a photo of a split bus FPE panel with FPE breakers as an example (like CTL is the biggest hazard there ), and a Siemens panel with Siemens CTL tandems installed.

They also fail to mention though that non-CTL breakers cost an arm and a leg (most likely purposely to deter such activity).
 
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Old 07-20-10, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by ArgMeMatey View Post
I am not sure specifically what statements from the article you are referencing, but the way I read it, the non-CTL "cheater" breakers are the tandems that you can put in any slot. Whereas CTL tandems can only be placed in the slots designated and built for tandem breakers. The author seems to be saying that people are buying non-CTL tandems intended for old load centers, and then putting them in newer CTL panels in order to exceed the manufacturer's rating and circumvent the CTL limitation.
I agree. While it would be possible to install Non-CTLs in all postions it would not be a Compliant installation.
 
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Old 07-20-10, 12:34 PM
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So I took the cover off the panel. There still isn't a model number that I can see. There was a yellow UL sticker "UL Cabinet Box issue no V-63" and there was a black UL sticker "Class CTL Panel Board issue no B-7465". There was also a sticker about acceptable grounding bars to put inside.

One thing that concerns me is I had an electrician install three general purpose 20A circuits several years ago. I just noticed that the ground and neutral conductors are under the same screw on the grounding bar. Isn't that against code?

With that said, there are only 4 empty spots left in the grounding bar. Even if the panel supports tandem breakers, how many more circuits can I put in without needing a sub-panel... or at least an additional grounding bar? I need to add 3 and maybe it will end up being 4 circuits before this is all over. I only have two empty breaker spots left. This is why I'm interested in the tandem ones.
 
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Old 07-20-10, 12:47 PM
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Try looking on the inside of the panel on the side for the label.

The terminals being shared was against the way the instructions told you how to use the panel and would have been a violation of Article 110.3(B) that tells us to follow the instructions. To clarify this that requirement was added to the NEC as a direct requirement. Neutrals need to be one per hole. Typically grounds can be doubled in the unused holes within a certain size range. Additional ground bars can be added.
 
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Old 07-20-10, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by jbmdharris View Post
So I took the cover off the panel. There still isn't a model number that I can see. There was a yellow UL sticker "UL Cabinet Box issue no V-63" and there was a black UL sticker "Class CTL Panel Board issue no B-7465". There was also a sticker about acceptable grounding bars to put inside.

One thing that concerns me is I had an electrician install three general purpose 20A circuits several years ago. I just noticed that the ground and neutral conductors are under the same screw on the grounding bar. Isn't that against code?

With that said, there are only 4 empty spots left in the grounding bar. Even if the panel supports tandem breakers, how many more circuits can I put in without needing a sub-panel... or at least an additional grounding bar? I need to add 3 and maybe it will end up being 4 circuits before this is all over. I only have two empty breaker spots left. This is why I'm interested in the tandem ones.
Yes, it is against code to double lug a neutral with a ground. One wire per screw on the neutrals. Like I said, the grounds in the neutral bar wouldn't count against the total number of neutrals you can have, because they should to be in their own busbar, not in the neutral. But it is not uncommon for electricians to do that when the panel is not initially filled to capacity. You can free up space on the neutral bus by installing a separate ground busbar and moving the grounds to it.
 
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Old 07-20-10, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by jbmdharris View Post
there was a black UL sticker "Class CTL Panel Board issue no B-7465".
That would seem to indicate that your panel will accept type CTL tandem breakers such as the CHT2020. Typically the bottom n slots on both the left and the right will accept the tandem breakers.

Sometimes this is indicated on the door label, like old QO showing "R" handles, but I don't know if CH notes this. Physically, you can look at the copper bus and the rail that the breaker pivots on. Spaces that have a solid rail or bus will not accept tandems, but spaces that have a punched out tab or slot will accept tandems.

Take a look at the backs of the CTL tandem and the single breakers for your panel. Compare the two and that should show you the mechanism used to prevent the tandem from locking into a regular slot.
 
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Old 07-20-10, 01:35 PM
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OK, I took the cover off again... this time to take pictures and I found the label. It was behind so many wires it was hard to see. My load center is a CH30JJM200.
 
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Old 07-20-10, 11:14 PM
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Originally Posted by jbmdharris View Post
OK, I took the cover off again... this time to take pictures and I found the label. It was behind so many wires it was hard to see. My load center is a CH30JJM200.

Ok that number mean you have 30 full size space load centre and no twinner or duplex breakers allowed with this one.

Merci.
Marc
 
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