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Old 06-11-2012, 12:17 AM   #1
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6 opening square d panel


Hello all, I have a small cabin (600 sq ft) that was obviously wired a few years ago. It has a square d panel model # QO-6M with a 70 amp service breaker. Ive never seen anything like it with only 6 breaker openings. Obviously my question is how can i add a couple circuits? It already has a couple tandem breakers in it but i'm not sure they are ok. I cant imagine why they wouldn't be allowed though, how could you ever overload this panel? So i see that tandem breakers are made for some square d panels but i cant find any info on this panel whatsoever.
Any advice on this issue would be greatly appreciated.

PS could this be an early non ctl panel in which i can add a few more with no issues


Last edited by felix1; 06-11-2012 at 12:37 AM. Reason: more thoughts on the subject
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Old 06-11-2012, 06:13 AM   #2
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6 opening square d panel


Electrical loads for a small cabin could mean only a couple small appliances and some lights or it could mean an electric range, oven, hot water heater, well pump, air conditioning...

What loads are on the panel now? What loads do you want to add or subtract? Do you want to remove the tandem breakers? Do you want to replace the 6 breaker panel with a larger panel? Are you trying to being your electric up to code?

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Old 06-11-2012, 06:16 AM   #3
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What size SE cable feeds the panel?? What are you adding?? Consider replacing the panel, or go ahead and add more tandem breakers. I am assuming you are not adding hi-power changes?????
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Old 06-11-2012, 05:00 PM   #4
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6 opening square d panel


Thanks for the replies. I do just want to add a gas range and hood fan with a plug in. Later a gas furnace. It has some unnapproved propane thing in there now. I would like to bring it up to code as i contacted the manuf (square d) and they told me tandem breakers were not allowed in this panel. Seems like a pretty useless panel to me. The problem with upgrading the panel is there is only about 11 inches there between the studs where its mounted. Its in a corner and and the wall is on one side and the entrance door is on the other side. Do they make a new panel this narrow?
They are not high power things i am adding but i dont think it will pass inspection will it with these tandem breakers.

Thanks
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Old 06-11-2012, 06:31 PM   #5
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6 opening square d panel


There are two styles of Square D panels. The QO uses "Slimline" type Tandem breakers, and the Homeline does not have that capability. From the sounds of it, sounds like you have a Homeline panel. You can change it out to a larger panel, or the QO, but you will need to get all new breakers, due to they are not interchangeable between the panels.

I have a 4 slot Homeline in my garage, but my house has the QO, but they both have a purpose, why they are different types of panels. Of course, in your case, you can add a sub-panel, but as for the space between the studs, there would be no problem in making a change out. Can you post pictures of the panel from a distance, so it shows height, and what is around it in terms of workspace.
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Old 06-11-2012, 07:13 PM   #6
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Thanks, so you are saying there are panels that will fit in that space? I have also recently been reading that main panel cant be installed in an exterior wall mounted flush but must be on top of the wall because of condensation issues. This one is. This would be ugly, how would i run the wires in, can they come in from the back or the top or bottom. I've seen basement installs where they come in the sides but how can you do this on an interior wall of a single storey house?
I am not too concerned with the cost of the new panel and beakers if necessary i just am not sure that just swapping it out will to be code. I don't know if what was there initially was right.
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Old 06-11-2012, 07:40 PM   #7
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Only code issue, would be what your local states about the current install, and what needs to be done if you replace it with another panel. You could always use the existing as a junction box, but if the main power comes into it, it would have to be replaced, so that the main can go to the new panel. As for basements, they just place a wood panel behind it, so that the panel can be mounted to it.

Still need pic's though, to see what the cur. install looks like.
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Old 06-11-2012, 07:43 PM   #8
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K thanks. I'll try to get pics this weekend
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Old 06-11-2012, 07:50 PM   #9
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that is a QO type.if you look at label,should say 6/12.which means you can put 6 tandems in.for a total of 12 ckts.
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Old 06-11-2012, 09:26 PM   #10
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Label just says qo-6m and has the little schamatic drawing of just 6 breakers. What does qo mean. I hope youre right as it would sure save a lot of work. It already has two tandem breakers but i know that doesnt mean its right.
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Old 06-11-2012, 09:54 PM   #11
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6 opening square d panel


Some of the older QO panels would only accept two Tandems, and the other four slots would be regular breakers. Depending on the age, and from the sounds on it, I trust you more than others, since you have it right in front of you.
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:25 PM   #12
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qo means quick open.
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Old 06-12-2012, 12:01 AM   #13
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6 opening square d panel


Thanks for all the input everyone, but im still trying to find out as well if i can upgrade that panel to a newer one and still fit it into that width? i havent seen anywhere that sells a 100 amp panel that will fit between these studs approx 10-11 inches. If it was just a matter of moving the studs no problem but the building entrance door is direclty beside the panel on one side and a wall partition to the bathroom is on the other side perpendicular coming out from the exterior wall that the panel is in.l
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Old 06-12-2012, 05:01 AM   #14
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6 opening square d panel


Install a new panel in another location and use the existing panel as a junction box to extend the branch circuits to the new. Your service entrance will need to be replaced for a new panel or reuse of the old panel.
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Old 06-12-2012, 07:34 AM   #15
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6 opening square d panel


You will find most panels are 14 1/2" wide. The same size as a standard stud bay.

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Answers based on the National Electrical Code. Local amendments may apply. Check with your local building officials.
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