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Old 08-05-2008, 07:46 PM   #1
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cannot find the right breaker


Hi,
I need some help in figuring out what kind of breaker can be connected to this box. All I have in there is one 100A main disconnect which feeds an old fuse box on the other side of the house. I am in the process of installing a dedicated circuit (20A) for a whirlpool located on the other side of the wall where this box is placed. I already bought 2 different types of breaker but cannot connect any of them. Any help would be very much appreciated. Thanks
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Old 08-05-2008, 07:56 PM   #2
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cannot find the right breaker


You need a Square D QO type breaker.

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Old 08-05-2008, 08:20 PM   #3
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cannot find the right breaker


Um, looks like your going to have more of an issue with the fact that the neutral wire doesn't stop in that panel, looks like it goes straight on through to your fuse box. In order to add any circuits in this box you will need to make that neutral wire stop at that bus bar in the panel. Also, this being the main service disconnect for your main fuse box it really should have a separate neutral and ground pass through to your main fuse box. Though technically its covered under the old code and should not need to be changed. But since your going to need to splice that neutral in at the bus bar in the panel to get your neutral/grounded connection for the new circuit, you may be required to fix the neutral/ground connection to the main fuse box.

Is this a 120 volt circuit your adding or a 220 volt circuit? I see the new wire you have in the bottom of the panel.....
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Old 08-05-2008, 08:40 PM   #4
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cannot find the right breaker


Quote:
You need a Square D QO type breaker.
do you think I can this in a Home Depot or Lowes?

Quote:
Is this a 120 volt circuit your adding or a 220 volt circuit?

It is a 120V circuit.

theatretch85, you got a good point there. I didn't even notice that the Neutral was just passing through. Not good! ! I guess it's game over for me unless you guys know a way of splicing that neutral. I don't think that the neutral bus bar itself can allow me to splice a wire of that size. What do you think?
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Old 08-05-2008, 08:51 PM   #5
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cannot find the right breaker


Yes you can find a Square D QO type breaker at any home improvement center, its a very common breaker!

As for your situation with the neutral, it appears you only have one lug capable of handling this size of wire. You should be able to find a additional lug that attaches to that bus bar in order to get another wire of that size attached to the bus bar. It usually takes up 3 screw holes on the bus, but that shouldn't be a problem in your case as it looks like you have plenty of screws to attach additional wires to. The only thing you may have issues with is if there is enough slack in that neutral wire to tap it into that bus.

If you don't feel comfortable doing this work yourself this would maybe be the time to call a pro. Since dealing with tapping the neutral means cutting the power before doing so and ensuring a tight and secure connection at both connection points. If this was simply adding a breaker and connecting the ground a neutral, this would be no big deal.
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Old 08-05-2008, 09:50 PM   #6
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cannot find the right breaker


The Neutral lug screw is at the bottom of the bus bar so I should have enough slack if I connect a neutral lug kit higher up on the bar from which the neutral wire will resume its route towards the fuse box.

Also, correct me if Iím wrong, once the main disconnect is switched OFF, the neutral wire will not be under load so I can safely cut it and connect both ends to the neutral bus bar.

Finally,the two different type breakers I recently bought at Home Depot (which are the most common ones) didnít fit. I donít remember seeing another type but Iíll check tomorrow maybe I can find the square D QO type breaker.

THanks for the help so far
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Old 08-05-2008, 10:10 PM   #7
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cannot find the right breaker


Some of the most common breakers I am sure you will find are the Square D QO, Square D Homeline (which is pretty similar to the GE blade type breakers), and also the Culter Hammer breakers. With the main breaker off, this SHOULD cut all power and there should not be any load on the neutral. Always treat a "dead" circuit as live even if it isn't. Where does the power come in and where does it leave the panel? There is a possibility that those terminals in the panel would still be live when you turn off the main breaker. Ideally that 100 amp main breaker is backfed and cuts power to the bus and ultimately the fuse box in the house (which significantly reduces the amount of live parts in the panel).
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Old 08-06-2008, 06:09 AM   #8
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cannot find the right breaker


Another thought

In some places an old school fuse (with wire that blows) is required to be installed before the breakers for the sub circuits. This is done in order to protect the system in case the breaker fails to trip

Maybe you should connect this thing in the other box after the fuse. Check it. In this case you have nothing to do in this box at all
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Old 08-06-2008, 04:43 PM   #9
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cannot find the right breaker


I deleted my previous post as it was not clear IMO. Plus I had an oversite that was not easily edited.

So to repeat this is a Square d NQOB mlo panel with a Q1B breaker installed. these panels will not accept Qo breakers and you won't find replacements at the big boxes. Google images and then search Square d Q1 circuit breaker.

I've decided this could be a subpanel or it could be service equipment. OP says it is a 'main' so i assume this is the service equipment.If this panel is fed from the meter base then I suspect that it is the service equipment for the dwelling. The metal conduit needs a bonding bushing either at the meter end or at the panel if it is terminated to the meter base at one end.

As Theatretech said you need to terminate the neutral to this panels neutral bar in order to supply 120 volt loads. There might possibly be a neutral lug kit that would allow you cut and terminate the ends to the neutral bar of this panel. If this panel is being used as the service equipment then that neutral must be terminated in the panel to the neutral bar and the main bonding jumper installed. I don't see it. The existing Q1 2P breaker is acting as a main disconnect. Under 2005 it would require a hold down kit and it should be backfed. In the current configuration if it is a Main service disconnect it is not code compliant. And I don't believe it would have been at the time of its original installation.

Just a few thoughts
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Old 08-06-2008, 06:13 PM   #10
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cannot find the right breaker


I am fairly certain a QO type breaker will work in this panel. I believe the panel is possibly an NQO panelboard and that main breaker in there is simply a 2 pole Q1 breaker (not a QOB). The Q1B has screws that attach the breaker to the bus, the Q1 and the QO snap onto the bus terminals. Take a look at the following picture, it shows the standard QO, the QOB, and the Q1. The following link has a table showing the different panel boards (see table 1), the obsolete breakers, and the equivalent replacement to these breakers. With an NQO or NQOD panel, QO breakers are a suitable replacement for these panel boards. The picture the op posted do not show this as being a NQOB panel as the breakers would be screwed in place.

Btw, this comes straight from Square D's E-Catalog....

http://ecatalog.squared.com/catalog/...%2011-05.html#
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Old 08-06-2008, 11:08 PM   #11
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cannot find the right breaker


Well it's a little hard to argue with that...so looks like my memory has failed me again, I rely on field experience and my memory is not alway perfect... should have googled images..... But at least he now has his answer.... might find one on e-bay. Manufacturers have their agenda and you might be surprised how many have replacement breakers but have not had them a approved by the testing laboratories due to cost.

Op says he tried a couple breakers from home depot. The rail attachment for a Square d Qo or Q1 is rather unique so my guess is he likely tried a qo since it really is the only single toggle double breaker that would be even close to that Q1.

Now let me add that though I slipped a little on getting my breakers types mixed up, now that the light has been shined, the op is going to find that even though Square d says this panel will accept a QO he isn't going to like the lousy connection the QO makes with the bus stabs in this old obsolete panel. Modern QO's have sort of a rounded bus stab and these panels have more square edged bus stabs. I wouldn't be surprised if one of those common breakers he tried was a Qo and he could not get it to seat correctly so assumed it did not fit the panel.

IMO that Q1 breaker is not backfed assuming the correct application and wiring so the main lugs and bus are going to remain hot. Also If this is the service equipment he has a few issues he must resolve. If it is backfed and the load is off those main lugs then that would be somewhat better in my opinion though a little backwards, usually the main lugs are not used as any feeder connected to them would be protected by the main breaker and would need to be sized correctly or it could be possible someone may be running a tap rule.
Anyhow the main lugs are being used in this panel so I assume here that the breaker is not backfed.

Last edited by Stubbie; 08-07-2008 at 10:20 AM.
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Old 08-08-2008, 01:26 AM   #12
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cannot find the right breaker


Well the only two breakers I tried so far are the GE blade type breaker and the Culter Hammer. I went back to Home Depot and the guy working there (electrician I hope) told me that he would need to see a picture to figure this one out. I'll bring my camera to him as soon as I get a chance so he can take a close look and tell me if they carry this type of breaker.
By the way that Q1 breaker is definitely not backfed as the panel bus bars are hard wired straight from the meter (always hot).

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