Stripped screw inside breaker box


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Old 09-03-22, 03:29 PM
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Stripped screw inside breaker box

Hello all, I pretty much know nothing about electrical work. I had an electrician wire my cabin up last year. I don't have electricity to my cabin but I figured I'd use a generator. The electrician wired up a cord with a plug on it for my generator. A porcupine or something chewed my generator wire. I tried to pull the wire from the lugs (?) In the box. When I tried to back out the aluminum screw it stripped. I will try to add a picture to show what I'm referring to . I saw where I can buy a replacement lug. When I looked at my breaker box, I can't seem to see how it comes off? I already used an easy out and got the screw out, but now of course the threads on the lug are also stripped. Any ideas? Thanks!



It's the big set screw on the left where the black wires go.
 
  #2  
Old 09-03-22, 03:44 PM
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Those hardly ever strip unless great torque is put on them.
With a single #14/ #12 wire.... it should not have stripped.

Unfortunately.... that is not a replaceable lug.
You'd need to buy another panel and exchange that buss.
There are only two screws holding the bar in place.
100A Square D Homeline 6 space panel.
100A Square D Homeline 6 space panel.
 
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Old 09-03-22, 03:53 PM
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Pete, can he use a tap & die set & re-thread the lug, then buy a new (probably bigger size) lug or just stick a regular bolt in there?
 
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Old 09-03-22, 04:01 PM
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That's aluminum. Not much chance of tapping and then finding something to fit.
It would have to be a large bolt.
 
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Old 09-03-22, 04:35 PM
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One problem is that the lugs are not rated for that small of a wire. Set screws have to be screwed in too far to tighten on the wire.
 

Last edited by pattenp; 09-03-22 at 07:00 PM.
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Old 09-03-22, 06:00 PM
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The quick and dirty fix would be to simply add a breaker. Would be less confusing to use a 2 pole, but only a 1 pole is strictly required.

I think around 8awg is the minimum wire size for those lugs.
 
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Old 09-03-22, 06:02 PM
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Thanks all! I actually did attempt to try to tap the hole. It didn't work out. And as PJ said, I figured aluminum would be a pain, but I figured I pretty much had nothing to lose. So, if I'm understanding you correctly I can just buy the exact panel box and switch the guts? Sorry, I don't know anything. Thanks as always!
 
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Old 09-03-22, 06:40 PM
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Some of the experts here can correct me if needed but, you have Square D Homeline breakers. I am assuming you have a Square D Homeline panel.
I'd buy the same to replace it with so everything will be the same & fit.
Brands usually dont interchange with other brands & styles of panels etc.

Again, wait for conformation from some of the other guys. I'm a DIY... not an expert like some of the guys here.
 
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Old 09-03-22, 06:43 PM
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If I have to replace the entire panel and not just the guts, I'm screwed as I would have to remove paneling off my wall .
 
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Old 09-03-22, 10:03 PM
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If exact same load center is still available (which probably is) you can replace just guts inside and that will be the easiest way.

Looking at the picture, wire in the lug appears to be just a jumper between 2 bus bars. Is it?
Is your generator hooked up as 120V 15A (basically using just 120V extension cord).
If that is the case, one of those 3 15A breakers will be generator feed. You could just add one more 15A breaker and use a breaker to feed each bus. You can make a splice to feed 2 breakers from a single wire.

If possible, it might be worth it to upgrade to 120V/240V hookup depending on what generator you have.

Another fix would be just moving all breakers to single bus bar. You only have 3 breakers and you have 3 spaces per bus, which is perfect.
 
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Old 09-04-22, 05:15 AM
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That does seem to be a jumper from the both hot legs. Can't tell for sure. If so then you have 120v at the panel only as I believe your panel is being back fed by one of the single pole breakers. If you trace the neutral going to the neutral bar back to where it comes into the panel and get the matching black wire which is the hot (should be) then the breaker that is connected to is what is back feeding the panel.

I see a bonding green screw but no ground wire for the panel that I can tell. The photos do not show the entire panel clearly enough to tell.
 
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Old 09-04-22, 07:13 AM
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Someone mentioned that the wire is too small for that set screw . Which makes sense since I had to bottom out that set screw and that is probably what helped to strip it. If I buy the exact same box and just changed the guts wouldn't I still have the same problem? Thanks all. I honestly can't answer most of your questions as I pretty much know nothing about electrical work. I just thought since whatever animal it was that chewed my cord to my generator that I would just unhook it and wire it up exactly like he had it. I may just end up hiring an electrician. It's just everyone is always so busy and they charge like $80 just to show up. Thanks again!!!
 
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Old 09-04-22, 07:57 AM
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Replacement of the guts will not cure the issue of the too small conductor. You could splice a larger conductor to what is there with a wire nut to avoid a repeat.

Is the generator the only feed to this panel?
 
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Old 09-04-22, 12:00 PM
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UncleJack if you must use a much smaller conductor than what that lug space is rated for besides splicing on a larger AWG wire you could strip much more of the end of the insulation, maybe 3" and then make bends of the stripped area and overlap/fold the bends onto each other to make the diameter larger. However this is a temp resolution. If you do this be sure not to bend the wire back and forth too many times to cause a break in the wire. This may hold you out until what PCBoss suggested in splicing a larger conductor to it. You may not have a larger conductor available at this moment.

Also, since it seems this is only a 120v setup (jumper between the two hot lugs) you can do the fold over lap as I suggested on the one hot wire into the lug that is not stripped, not use the lug that is stripped and then space your breakers out so they only use the lug that is hot. This again is only a temp resolution.
 
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Old 09-04-22, 12:19 PM
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I left you the panel links. It's a common panel available just about anywhere.
That bus is held in with two screws.
No need to replace the entire panel or guts.... just replace the problem bus bar.

The threads didn't get stripped from too small a wire.
The lug got damaged by too large a screwdriver.
 
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Old 09-04-22, 03:42 PM
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You can fix the threads in the panel by at least 2 methods. One is to use a helicoil. Usually the helicoil comes as a kit containing the SS thread insert, tap drill, tap and insert tool. Choose the helicoil whose tap drill that is equivalent to the current ID of the stripped hole or next size larger. Second method is to drill and tap the hole with damaged threads with the next size larger. If the removed screw is 1/4 go to a 5/16 screw, if removed screw is 5/16 go to a 3/8 screw, if removed screw is 3/8 go to a 7/16 screw. Taps for sizes listed come in coarse of fine thread. I would use the fine. Most taps are starting taps so you can't get threads to the bottom of the hole. If you don't have a bottoming tap, grind some of the threads off the end of screw so inserted wire is held tight before screw reaches end of thread in hole. You can also add some copper shims in the hole with the wire to minimize screw insertion. You can also grind tip off starting tap after bottoming out but this compromises the tap. Use oil on tap with either method. Use anti seizing paste on the screw when installing.
 
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Old 09-04-22, 07:48 PM
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If this wire is in fact a jumper wire connected between to bus bars and you choose to replace bus bar, you can just get a short length of larger wire.

A picture showing entire panel will be helpful to determine what would be best way to fix this.

Considering how cheap new load center is, helicoil repair is not recommended. It is much easier and safer to just replace bus bar. It will be also cheaper this way, unless you have required tools for helicoil repair already.
 
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Old 09-06-22, 06:01 AM
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Are parts for a breaker panel readily available since there can't be a large demand for them as there is nothing to wear out? Are panels identified with sufficient information so revisions don't become an issue when replacing parts?
 
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Old 09-06-22, 07:06 AM
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Are parts for a breaker panel readily available since there can't be a large demand for them as there is nothing to wear out?
Just parts are harder to get, but whole new load center is easy to get and very cheap.
Load center with same internal has been identified by PJmax.
 
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  #20  
Old 09-10-22, 10:08 PM
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Breaker Question

Hello, just so you know I have an electrician coming Wednesday to check things out. I went to Lowes yesterday and got what I thought was the exact same breaker box that I already have. It's a Square D 100 amp 6 space breaker box. The breaker box I already have the breakers just push on. I cannot see any way the breakers I have would push on to the new breaker box . Their is no plug to plug then on to. Do I need to buy something else or do I need different style breakers or ? 😆 Sorry I know nothing about electrical. I can't even buy the right parts for the electrician that's coming to help me, Thanks in advance!
 
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Old 09-10-22, 10:42 PM
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You can't just ask a question like that on its own. It needs a lot of background info.
Since you already had all the info needed here.... I moved your post.

You posted a picture of your panel here.
There are metal tangs (buses) where the breakers just push on. It's not really a plug.
Your new panel should look the same.

The part you need is outlined in yellow. The red arrows are pointing to the breaker tabs.

 
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Old 09-11-22, 02:37 AM
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Just thinking back. There is a real reason why I did not like when customers bought their own parts. I would say that 75% of the time they bought the wrong part/s, 20% of the time it was a part they insisted was correct but was not and I had to overexplain why it was not the correct part and 5% of the time it was the correct part. Most times all of these scenarios caused me lengthily explanations as to the reasons why they were the incorrect parts etc. They called me for my expertise but then challenged me over the reasons why a part/s were incorrect. Go figure.

I always gave the customer an education though, so they felt confident with my work and reasoning.
 
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Old 09-11-22, 08:41 AM
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I would give my money to a local store if we had such a thing. I used to drive 45 minutes to buy my automotive paint and supplies as the guy had ran his own body shop for 30 years and knew a lot about autobody. . He was a really helpful and friendly guy. Never regretted going there.
 
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Old 09-11-22, 09:10 AM
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I see no breaker tabs sticking out like on my other Square D box. I'll try to upload a picture.
 
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Old 09-11-22, 10:22 AM
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Square D has two major lines..... QO and Homeline.
You have a Homeline panel. I left you a Homeline link.
The panel in the last picture is a QO panel. Different style of breaker.

 
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Old 09-11-22, 11:37 AM
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Thank you! Now that makes sense.
 
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Old 09-22-22, 03:03 PM
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All done and all is well. I bought another box and switched the guts. Wired it up and everything worked. Thanks all! I love these forums!
 
 

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