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Older GE Load Center. Swapping Full-Height Breakers to Half-Height THQP

Older GE Load Center. Swapping Full-Height Breakers to Half-Height THQP

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  #1  
Old 07-17-18, 06:51 PM
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Older GE Load Center. Swapping Full-Height Breakers to Half-Height THQP

I'm trying to clean up my parent's older breaker box a bit. Their mid-60's 16-space GE TM1610 has all full-height breakers and is currently full.

I'd like to replace the full-height breakers with THQP's to free up at least a few spaces for more circuits. I'm just not sure if the new THQP is compatible with this older panel. I'm only looking to replace the 120V breakers. The two full-height 240V, 30A breakers can stay.

I'm mainly trying to free up some space to break up a couple of circuits which have been tied onto over the years, and either belong on their own circuit for convenience or just because it's what's correct. There's no issue with service capacity. They have quite a few under-utilized circuits (many with under a few amps at peak) taking up precious space.

I also have plans to add a mini-split AC for them, and will need to run a new circuit for that.

Any idea if the THQP breakers will fit this older panel?
 

Last edited by NTL1991; 07-17-18 at 08:35 PM.
  #2  
Old 07-17-18, 06:56 PM
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Do you already have sixteen circuits? If so that is probably the limit of your panel.
 
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Old 07-17-18, 07:23 PM
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First - What breakers does the label show? Sometimes label is inside the panel.

Otherwise you would need to pull breakers and look at the bus stabs. Ones with extra side sprouts are for the TQP/THQP style. See leftmost stabs in this pic: https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon....L._SL1024_.jpg

Some old GEs had zig-zag copper bus stabs so would only take regular breakers. They also had type TR for a while which were real tandem breakers.
 
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Old 07-17-18, 07:56 PM
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I'll have to take a look at the label next time I'm there. It's covered up with my breaker diagram showing the circuits.

I see one 20A breaker labeled as a GE type THQL, a 30A 240V breaker labeled as a GE type RT-664 and an old Gould I-T-E 15A breaker.

I'm seeing a stamp of "0871" and "P-0147" on the UL portion of the label, top right. The catalog number of the load center is TM1610S, Mod. 2. This is a Class CTL panelboard.

I'll have to see what that label shows and also see how what the bus stabs look like.

If I can't use half-height or tandem breakers, I think my next option would be to replace the existing small 3-circuit sub-panel adjacent to the GE panel with a quality Square-D full-size 200A-rated main lug sub-panel that could be converted down the road to Main Breaker with a 200A service upgrade.

 

Last edited by NTL1991; 07-17-18 at 08:54 PM.
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Old 07-18-18, 01:02 PM
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Okay, so the panel label shows the bottom two circuits on each side allow for tandem breakers, "20 poles maximum. 70A max branch breakers."

"Use only with GE Type TQP, TQL, TQL-AC, TQAL-AC, THQL-AC, THQAL-AC, TXQL breakers." Would a THQP fit in place of the obsolete TQP?

That would allow for either two or four additional circuits to be added to the panel.

I'm thinking I'm better off getting two tandem breakers, and leaving two spare spaces, and upgrading the existing 30A subpanel. A 60A feed would be my practical limit seeing that the GE panel states "70A max branch breaker,"correct?

Thanks,
Nick
 
  #6  
Old 07-18-18, 04:56 PM
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Yes you can use THQP in place of TQP. The difference is THQP is HACR rated.
 
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Old 07-18-18, 05:55 PM
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Excellent, thank you! That'll make finding them much easier.
 
  #8  
Old 07-18-18, 07:24 PM
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That vintage GE loadcenter undoubtedly has aluminum busbars and I wouldn't recommend trying to use the THQP breakers in it. There are documented cases of THQP breakers catching fire when installed with the old GE aluminum busbars. I had a friend who had this happen in 2011 in a 1979 vintage 225 amp GE loadcenter. He tried to notify GE about the problem after the panel had been replaced and was totally ignored by GE till the US Consumer Product Safety Commission published pictures of the panel and burned out breakers on their website and officially notified GE that they had a problem to be addressed. I can look up the pictures and furnish them if you'd like to see them. I would recommend you replace that old dog with either a new 100 amp 30 circuit main breaker panel or a complete new 200 amp service if the load requires it.
 
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Old 07-19-18, 10:07 AM
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Okay so scratch THQP off the list

For the short term, I'm going to find some original TQP's to allow for two free openings in the GE panel and I'm going to leave it like that.

Down the road, I think it would be wise to upgrade to a 200A service, but at this point in time, they just don't have the money to do it... The load does not require a 200A service. They have no central A/C, and only an electric clothes dryer. Everything else is propane or oil-fired. No additions or anything like that coming, I'm just trying to clean things up and make sure they're safe and have some measure of expandability as I clean up circuits for them.

I'm pretty certain that I'll be taking the route of replacing this small 4-circuit GE subpanel with a full-size 200A QO Main Lug Convertible 40-circuit panel. I'd upgrade the subpanel feed from 30A to 60A.



That'll mean that down the road the 200A panel could receive a new 200A service and be converted to Main Breaker, while also giving me room to clean up circuits right now without having to deal with the cluttered original panel.

I'd prefer a nice fat 1-1/4" (depending on fill calculations) conduit between the boxes with Copper THHN between (I'm thinking #4 or 6). Is there any reason not to do it this way?

Thanks for the help,
Nick
 
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Old 07-19-18, 06:57 PM
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If the temporary plan is a 200 amp panel as a subpanel, go ahead and install a 200 amp main breaker panel. If the wire you will be feeding this with as a subpanel is too small for the breaker's lugs, just install a 60A 2P backfed breaker on the bus till you decide to upgrade the entire service to 200 amps. Yes, many main lug panels are convertible and can have a main breaker added later, but economically it makes no sense at all.
 
  #11  
Old 07-20-18, 04:59 AM
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Thanks for that info. That'll be the way I go, then.

You make a good point about wire size. I was going with a 60A breaker to feed the new panel as the maximum branch breaker in the old GE panel is 70A.

The QOM2200VH main breaker in the 200 QO panel I'm looking at accepts #4 wire. GE's 60A THQL accepts #8-#3 wire. The 70A version accepts #6-1/0. So I'm good with either.

Should I feed the new panel with a 60A or 70A feed? I'll be using #4 either way to avoid back-feeding the bus. The panels will be directly adjacent, so the price of wire is minuscule.
 
  #12  
Old 07-20-18, 06:51 PM
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Should I feed the new panel with a 60A or 70A feed?

A 60 amp breaker should be plenty, but it would be no problem to use a 70 amp breaker since you will use #4 wire. You can probably get a 60 amp breaker from any big box store, but a 70 amp breaker would probably have to be purchased from a supply house.
 
 

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