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Old 06-02-2012, 09:28 PM   #1
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Panel buying advice - I'm down to GE vs Eaton CH


I am replacing my home's main panel because the current one is those red sticker'ed federal pacific breakers. (150amp svc, all 16 breakers used) It was flagged during my home inspection but since it did not violate local codes (central Illinois) there was no way to make the seller fix it unless I walked away.

Breaker brands is probably a religious thing to ask about, but I am looking at 200 Amp 40ish space models hoping to do it right once for the rest of my years here.

I have narrowed my picks down to:
Eaton #CH42B200V - 200amp 42 space CH type
GE Powermark gold #TM4020CCUG2K - 200amp 40 space THQP (kit includes THQL breakers)

Both have copper bus, similar spaces, similar prices. I ruled out SQUARED-QO only because of its price, lack of kits bundling breakers, etc.

My questions are:
-With the Eaton the single pol breakers ("CH" type) are 3/4" thick, but the comparable GE THQL breakers included in the GE value pack are only 1/2" thick? I'm inclined to think thinner leaves more open room elsewhere in the box.. Am I understanding that info right?
-Are both these breaker styles likely to be available 20 years from now?
-Any other things I consider? Stores don't put these things on display so you can look at the guts and I didn't find the manufacturer's websites to be much better.

I have a licensed electrician doing the work, but he was very agnostic brand wise when I asked, and is leaving it to me. I'm just an over analyzing consumer trying to pick what I live with.

Thank you!

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Old 06-02-2012, 09:39 PM   #2
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Panel buying advice - I'm down to GE vs Eaton CH


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrdippy View Post
I am replacing my home's main panel because the current one is those red sticker'ed federal pacific breakers. (150amp svc, all 16 breakers used) It was flagged during my home inspection but since it did not violate local codes (central Illinois) there was no way to make the seller fix it unless I walked away.
IMO this is proper. It's not any kind of a violation, but HI's LOVE to use this as a tool to get sellers to either give the buyers free work or a lower selling price. BOTH unfair to the seller.



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Originally Posted by Mrdippy View Post
-With the Eaton the single pol breakers ("CH" type) are 3/4" thick, but the comparable GE THQL breakers included in the GE value pack are only 1/2" thick? I'm inclined to think thinner leaves more open room elsewhere in the box.. Am I understanding that info right?
Not really. The onyl time GE uses 1/2" breakers is in what I call non-full sized panels, like a 30/40 or 20/40. A GE 40/40 can only accept 1" breakers.
C-H CH breakers are only 3/4", with twins available for non-full size panels as well.



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Originally Posted by Mrdippy View Post
-Are both these breaker styles likely to be available 20 years from now?
Absolutely.



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Originally Posted by Mrdippy View Post
-Any other things I consider? Stores don't put these things on display so you can look at the guts and I didn't find the manufacturer's websites to be much better.
I like C-H CH, and I also really like the layout of GE, although I hardly ever use either.



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I have a licensed electrician doing the work, but he was very agnostic brand wise when I asked, and is leaving it to me. I'm just an over analyzing consumer trying to pick what I live with.
You are lucky to have found someone to work with you that way. I'd supply any panel you wanted, but I would get it. I don't allow customers to supply materials with than decorative fixtures or specialty items where it's just as easy for them to order directly.
I know you probably know this, but "over analyzing" customers are VERY difficult to work with.

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Old 06-02-2012, 09:40 PM   #3
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Panel buying advice - I'm down to GE vs Eaton CH


I prefer CH-CH, if i have a choice.

GE THQL breakers are 1" thick, GE THQP are 1/2" Thick.

Those are both very common breaker types. GE is probably a bit more popular, CH is usually more expensive.


The GE# you quoted is a 20 space 40 circuit panel, which will require all 1/2" breakers to get 40 circuits, you'll only have 20 '1"' spaces. AFCI and GFCI breakers ARE NOT made in 1/2" size.


Between those two specific choices i would use the CH-CH every time

Last edited by Techy; 06-02-2012 at 09:47 PM.
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Old 06-02-2012, 10:12 PM   #4
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Panel buying advice - I'm down to GE vs Eaton CH


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IMO this is proper. It's not any kind of a violation, but HI's LOVE to use this as a tool to get sellers to either give the buyers free work or a lower selling price. BOTH unfair to the seller.
I left out the that they are "Stab-Lok" red edge breakers.(important?) I'm guessing this panel is 1950s or 1960s.. The house has many electric appliances (stove, drier, A/C) and hasn't burned down yet, but googling the brand/breaker type I find is a lot of sentiment of risks or reasons to replace, so the home inspector did good by flagging it. I didn't even mention it to the seller tho since it wasn't against code...
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Old 06-02-2012, 10:15 PM   #5
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Panel buying advice - I'm down to GE vs Eaton CH


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I left out the that they are "Stab-Lok" red edge breakers.(important?) I'm guessing this panel is 1950s or 1960s.. The house has many electric appliances (stove, drier, A/C) and hasn't burned down yet, but googling the brand/breaker type I find is a lot of sentiment of risks or reasons to replace, so the home inspector did good by flagging it. I didn't even mention it to the seller tho since it wasn't against code...
Then I genuinely compliment you. You did the honorable thing instead of trying to get something for nothing.

Like you my home had an FPE panel when I bought it. Within a week of buying I changed it, but also like you, that was MY decision. I didn't feel the sellers were doing anything wrong by trying to sell me a house with a panel that had been there for years, and was perfectly legal when originally installed.
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Old 06-02-2012, 10:37 PM   #6
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Panel buying advice - I'm down to GE vs Eaton CH


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I prefer CH-CH, if i have a choice.

GE THQL breakers are 1" thick, GE THQP are 1/2" Thick.

Those are both very common breaker types. GE is probably a bit more popular, CH is usually more expensive.


The GE# you quoted is a 20 space 40 circuit panel, which will require all 1/2" breakers to get 40 circuits, you'll only have 20 '1"' spaces. AFCI and GFCI breakers ARE NOT made in 1/2" size.


Between those two specific choices i would use the CH-CH every time
You've helped straighten my understanding a bit - I'm shopping at big box stores or their websites. The GE description stated it was compatible with THQP, but it comes with a dozen THQL1120 in the box. The product description was 40 circuits / 40 spaces but it sounds like I couldn't put 40 breakers in it using the THQL style they include, but the marketing people got involved to brand it as 40 capacity. I have made a couple trips to actual stores to physically look at this stuff and learn up! These panels are the toughest thing yet I've encountered for a layperson to research/select!
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Old 06-02-2012, 10:39 PM   #7
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Panel buying advice - I'm down to GE vs Eaton CH


I like to use murray panels and milbank meter mains. But will use just about any panel.
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Old 06-02-2012, 10:44 PM   #8
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Panel buying advice - I'm down to GE vs Eaton CH


I perfer breakers that have an actual trip position. Not just on/off. CH breakers used to only have an on/off and I didn't use them very often, but now they sell breakers that have visi-trip...the little window that appears red when the breaker has tripped.

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