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Old 05-11-2016, 12:46 AM   #1
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Default Non-U.L.-Certified Breakers in obsolete Panels?

I'm running into more and more residential service panels whose makers are long-gone, and there are no U.L.-certified replacement breakers available.

Cutler-Hammer/Eaton has a good line of certified breakers, but only for about half a dozen discontinued panel brands.

I currently have a T&B panel that needs several breakers, and Eaton's 2014 cross-reference chart shows their "Type TB" as being certified. But they apparently jumped the gun, and never actually made these TB breakers, according to three Eaton distributors I spoke with.

Connecticut Electric was my go-to-place for things like this, but they have recently discontinued certified breakers for discontinued panels, and have almost no inventory left in stock.

For this T&B panel, an Eaton Type BR fits, and works, but is not certified for the panel.

What to do? Will I go straight to hell if I use a non-certified breaker, will I be sued if the house has an electrical fire, will it flunk underwriter's inspections (nearly standard here in NYS)?

All my competition does this substitution, and talking a homeowner into a new panel complete with AFCIs is nearly impossible, when they just need a few $7 breakers.

My first visit and post here, and I don't know the forum culture yet, so please be gentle....thanks in advance.
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Old 05-11-2016, 02:07 AM   #2
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Default T&B Panel ???

Karl, greetings & welcome!

In my opinion, CB substitution is a "hornet's nest"...

I always say, "Stick with the same brand on the panel"...

FYI there may not be many electricians here 24/7...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karl in NY View Post
I currently have a T&B panel...
Bro, I have never seen a "T&B" panel...

(I'm in Indiana for 30 years, and I thought T&B only did fittings...)

Also, when you say "Eaton's 2014 cross-reference chart", do you have an online web page we can all browse?

(Not to be snippy, but it will be asked...)

Karl, you asked a serious question:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karl in NY View Post
What to do? Will I go straight to hell if I use a non-certified breaker, will I be sued if the house has an electrical fire, will it flunk underwriter's inspections...?
I have my 30-year certified / licensed Indiana "opinion" -- but the NY tradesfolk will cut me a new one if I post it.

In any case: this is a serious question, and it will be answered -- if you will allow a 48-hour window.

I suggest you please refer back to this page in about 6 hours or so -- and then you will certainly get legitimate responses from highly qualified / licensed NY electricians.

And please simply take with a grain of salt any "nasty" comments -- they are from the ones who had a defecation difficulty when they got out of bed...

IGNORE ME !!!

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Old 05-11-2016, 03:15 AM   #3
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I appreciate the comments...didn't expect immediate replies considering when I posted, but it's 3AM locally, and I'm still up...have a colonoscopy scheduled for tomorrow, and am still doing prep., and don't care to sh*t the bed...plus I'm starving. Clear fluids only, and Molson Ice looked pretty clear, so....

The Cutler-Hammer/Eaton certified cross-reference is located here:

http://www.eaton.com/ecm/groups/publ...a00304001e.pdf

A little awkward to read, as it was intended to be printed on over-sized paper and folded into a brochure. It's the latest revision I could locate (March, 2014), and it appears that the "Type TB" breakers listed (last column of the orange chart) was speculative as no Eaton distributor ever saw the product materialize. I did an email to Eaton support, but so far, they are ignoring me.

BTW, I learned early in life to avoid "hornet's nests", but sometimes can't be avoided.

-Karl
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Old 05-11-2016, 04:02 AM   #4
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In terms of being compliant a breaker that is not the same manufacturer as the panel is technically not compliant. Some inspectors would allow, in the past, the connecticut breakers but I believe they lost there listing.

I can only say that I have used ge breakers in and Seimens panels and vice versa. I have never had an issue with it nor have I ever, in my recollection, had to replace a breaker in a panel that was not the manufacturers brand.

I don't think you will go to hell for crossing brands....
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Old 05-11-2016, 07:15 AM   #5
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The listing for C-H CL-Series "classified" breakers is huge. I would not hesitate to use a CL breaker in almost any 1" panel, especially an older obsolete one like a T&B.

Like they say, they are classified to fit virtually any panel, even HOM.
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Old 05-11-2016, 07:22 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
The listing for C-H CL-Series "classified" breakers is huge. I would not hesitate to use a CL breaker in almost any 1" panel, especially an older obsolete one like a T&B.

Like they say, they are classified to fit virtually any panel, even HOM.
They may be classified but this issue has been attacked by many. The panel is listed by, let's say GE, for GE breakers only and then UL let's CH classify breakers for GE panels.

Well technically they still cannot be installed in the GE panel and inspectors have been turning them down in some areas
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Old 05-11-2016, 07:30 AM   #7
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I did ran into simuair sistuation as well and generally i can use the classifed breaker in the nonstandard panels ..

But i know many inspectors are getting stricter on this ..

They almost turn me down on this one but luckly i did have paperwork to prove what it can be used on other panels..

Ge breakers are slightly shorter than CH BR or SqD HOM breakers.
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Old 05-11-2016, 10:10 AM   #8
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Another option would be to replace panel guts. There is another thread on the subject including listing or lack thereof. You can use the search tool to find it. If the panel is really old, what does the wire look like?
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Old 05-11-2016, 10:37 AM   #9
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I have no propblen installing a different brand in a panel. If I can I use the right breaker but like Dennis said, I have never seen a problem caused by the wrong brand of breaker.
The UL is just a money grabbing piece of **** corporation.
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Old 05-11-2016, 10:43 AM   #10
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My take...

If the guts are that ancient the OP's premiss is wrong.

They need far more than a $7 breaker.

There is such a thing as "end of life."

Cutler-Hammer manufactures custom guts for ancient panels -- if the panel has enough volume to meet current code// UL standards.

&&&&

Plan B

Belt and Suspenders.

Put an Edison fuse in series ( in-line) with the relevant circuit... if you are that concerned.

&&&&

Why did the customer call you out ?

Just how many times has this puppy been tripped -- the old one, I mean ?

%%%%

The OP is just too sparse to weigh in.

Did the home look like it suffered from DIY blues ?

Can we suspect that load growth over the years has reached the limits of the original build ?
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Old 05-11-2016, 12:16 PM   #11
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Here's the scoop. T&B got into the load center business by buying a small company that made meter sockets called Anchor Electric. They had already bought part of what had been Challenger Electric, but only the part that made Classified breakers to fit in other brands of panels. The parts of Challenger brands that they got were the Zinsco and Bryant /Westinghouse replacement breaker lines. So after buying a facility capable of making the boxes and busses with Anchor, they got into the load center game in 1994 using the Bryant breaker lines they got from Challenger. They didn't really ship anything until around 1996, but it never took off in the kind of volume to be sustainable and competitive, so T&B dumped the concept altogether in 2002, meaning they only made load centers for about 6 years.

Since the breakers they used were the old Bryant replacement breakers, it was a no-brainer for C-H to re-market their own pre-existing BR line breakers as Classified for the T&B load centers. But in the mean time, UL changed their requirements for classifying breakers for replacement by requiring that the breakers be specifically listed in each individual load center design from the original mfr, and since the T&B breakers had been reborn for the Anchor panels, they had never been tested in the old Westinghouse panels, meaning C-H would have to buy one of every load center made by T&B and pay about $25k each for the testing of their BR breakers in them. I'm sure that someone at C-H holding the checkbook took a look at the lack of success of the T&B venture into load centers and deteined that there would be no way to get enough return on that investment to be worth doing. Bottom line, T&B (now ABB) never sold enough of those to be worth it for ANYONE to bother going through the hoops to list a Classified breaker for them.

If it were me, I would suggest to the HO that they bite the bullet and swap out the guts now to something readily available rather than kick the can down the road. But if they can't, your only option is to find surplus T&B breakers at Breaker Brokers around the country. They exist.
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Old 05-11-2016, 01:26 PM   #12
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OK, some background, and some new info., and thanks for the comments.

The home with the T&B panel was built 16 years ago, so I would not describe it as ancient. T&B apparently got into the panel business, then rather quickly dropped the line, and shortly later dropped all listed breakers. The house is on Cape Cod, and the T&B panels were used there extensively while they were still available. None of my suppliers here in NYS have ever seen a T&B panel, so sales (or use) may have been just regional.

The panel is a 40-space, with no tandems installed, and currently has 8 unused 1" spaces left. 200 amp service. No CB failures, merely adding two additional branches for a master bath remodel which requires a dedicated CB for new whirlpool tub, and one for the radiant-heat ceiling panel being added.

Eaton responded to my email this morning, and I quote "I would recommend replacing them with the UL Classified breaker line. CL120 and CL220, as these are classified for T&B panels."

So, I guess that is the only practical option. Eaton should rescind that 2014 publication showing their "Type TB" breakers, which apparently never were even produced. I'm hoping to avoid inspector confrontations, but if Eaton went to the expense of getting replacements U.L. certified for a particular panel, I don't see the inspector's logic.

There are dozens of service panels, many not "ancient" either, that have simply ceased business. Typically, they produced listed breakers for a year or two later, then dropped them as well.

BTW, I did try the used market for T&B-manufactured type A and TB listed on the panel cover, and there is almost nothing left out there.

For new work, or replacement panels, I'll be sticking with Square-D 100%.
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Old 05-11-2016, 01:41 PM   #13
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I'd hang on to that email to cover myself.
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Old 05-11-2016, 02:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by telsa View Post
My take...

If the guts are that ancient the OP's premiss is wrong.

They need far more than a $7 breaker.

There is such a thing as "end of life."...


&&&&

Plan B

Belt and Suspenders.

Put an Edison fuse in series ( in-line) with the relevant circuit...



My Cabin will have fused everything .

Fuse , Agreed the very best .

Wonder what the end of service is for a Fuse ?



Don
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Old 05-11-2016, 04:29 PM   #15
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I know it is a hard sell but the more I have thought about this issue and I have given it serious thought.

1. Most of the panels are in basements, outside or laundry rooms usually not the greatest environment.
2. Most of the panels are 35 plus years old
3. Many of the residential panels are Zinsco and FPE
4. Most of these circuit breakers have not been operated since they were installed.
5. And in many cases a viable CB is not available for a replacement


All viable reasons for a panel replacement and when grouped together (1-5) a definite reason for a panel upgrade. No reason to upsell a 100 to 200 amp panel but same for same panel replacement with a few extra spaces.
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Old 05-11-2016, 06:48 PM   #16
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I think almost every panel change I've ever done, other than Federal Pacific & Zinsco panels, has had a few Homeline breakers jammed in there. And there were zero issues with it working!
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Old 05-11-2016, 06:52 PM   #17
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Quote:
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I think almost every panel change I've ever done, other than Federal Pacific & Zinsco panels, has had a few Homeline breakers jammed in there. And there were zero issues with it working!
In reality the only issue I see is the bus connection, other than that it is a inexpensive molded case circuit breaker, that may or may not work.
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Old 05-11-2016, 07:07 PM   #18
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Just to clear up my last post -

There were several Homeline breakers in the existing panels before I tore them out.
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Old 05-11-2016, 07:46 PM   #19
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Non-U.L.-Certified Breakers in obsolete Panels?-image-1851870468.jpg

Eaton type CL LISTED for most panels that's Ali keep in truck
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Old 05-11-2016, 08:03 PM   #20
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Just out of curiosity, how much do those CL listed breakers cost?
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