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Old 06-08-2012, 08:11 PM   #1
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What's the difference between a Main Breaker, Main Lug, and Load Center? I see boxes at Lowe's with these titles and they kind of sort of look the same. I'm wondering what the difference between them is.

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Old 06-09-2012, 10:02 AM   #2
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Main lug- no main breaker the power feed connect to lugs in the panel.
Main breaker - there is a main breaker in the panel.
load center - not 100% sure but I think that is a main breaker panel with a bunch of the most common needed breakers included.

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Old 06-09-2012, 10:53 AM   #3
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There is also a "meter main" which includes a slot for the electric meter.

And these will be rated in "amperage" which is *very* important.

Note: If you can't tell by looking what each different type is for, then you would be best to not buy anything or attempt any DIY project installing or replacing one of these. Rather read some books on electrical wiring cover to cover first. Or hire an electrician.

Doing so will help you to have a longer life expectancy!
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Old 06-09-2012, 12:49 PM   #4
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> If you can't tell by looking what each different type is for

I can't because they look like cardboard on the outside.
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Old 06-10-2012, 10:28 AM   #5
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Other stores have them out of the box and on display.

Or you can ask to take them out of the box.

Or write down the manufacturers and model numbers and look them up on each manufacturer's web site. There you should be able to find a specification sheet or data sheet with pictures or diagrams and all the specifications.

One local retail store near me (not national) has a display board of every single panel they sell and some of these partly wired up to show how it is done. And there will usually be one older guy there who knows all about electrical wiring and the different panels. The other sales people don't know much.

Specialty electrical stores where electricians shop will mostly have everything in the back in boxes. But will have catalogs to show you, which have pictures and specifications.

There are a wide variety of panels available including new "smart" electronic panels for back-up generators, rural panels which will always supply power to a well for firefighting water, yet can turn off all other power to a house, and panels which have an optional "whole house surge protector" which snaps into a double breaker slot.

I prefer to buy panels for which surge protectors, AFCI breakers, GFCI breakers, and the whole range of regular breakers are available at a local store. Then if I need to add a circuit, the breakers and other parts like optional ground bars are at the store and I don't have to special order them.

Some stores like hardware stores may sell a couple of electric panels, but only sell a couple of regular breakers for that panel and nothing else.

Here are the specs for a panel on the Home Depot web site...
http://www.homedepot.com/Electrical-...0053&langId=-1

Then I searched google for Eaton and the model number, then found the following spec sheet...
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...yl29wfiEXq_QOA
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