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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Trying to finish up an EV charging port. 230V 50 amp double pole breaker (serving 6AWG conductors).

I can't seem to get both the left side and right side breakers (both double 50A) to fit.

This is a panel that has been in place for about 20 years (to my knowledge) and I'm working with a mixture of breaker types.

Can anyone give any guidance on the appropriate breaker type/brand to use in this sub panel?
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(ignore this picture -- this shows the feed to the sub-panel -- any guests on wire gauge?)


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This site isn't allowing me to post any more pictures, so I am going to post a reply immediately with a couple more pictures showing the breaker that "seems" to fit, but doesn't quite....
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Ok, here is the breaker that I thought looked right:

The pictures below show the breaker that "almost" work. They look right, and when installed on their own the metal 'clamp-conductor' (sorry, no idea on the term) just barely makes contact. When the opposing breaker (i.e. the right side) is installed, the new breaker gets pushed laterally (towards the left) and loses connection to the buses.
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Thanks for any/all guidance.
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Look at the label inside the panel for the brand and list of acceptable breakers.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well, poop: I think I may have found my problem:

It appears this very-bizarre box actually only has 6 spaces. (Perhaps the "6" in "612"). The bottom left two slots might not actually be able to take breakers. I wonder why the $&*! they would do that?? Especially considering there is a live bus-bar that could easily be contacted while working on the panel (without the cover on).

I think my only option here is to free up space by using a bunch of tandem/'cheater' breakers. Crap. I hate those things. Especially when dealing with larger wire gauges (which most of the breakers are feeding -- 6 or 8 gauge).

Or an entirely new panel, which obviously I'd like to try to avoid.
 

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True, that panel does not take nrealer on the bottom left. That is a GE panel. Strange, but I do remember that configuration. Why are there 2 different panels shown? 1 with and others without a main.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Why are there 2 different panels shown? 1 with and others without a main.
Oops -- good catch. One of those photos (the one with my finger in it) shows the main panel, highlighting the wire feed to the sub panel that I'm referring to. My mistake. I was taking that photo to see if anyone wanted to hazard a guess as to the wire gauge (I'm thinking 4?).

Such a bummer this panel can only take 6 full size breakers. Ah well. At least now I know whats going on.
 

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I think my only option here is to free up space by using a bunch of tandem/'cheater' breakers. Crap. I hate those things. Especially when dealing with larger wire gauges (which most of the breakers are feeding -- 6 or 8 gauge).
You can usually get the quad style cheaters with a 2-pole 40A or 50A in them. Be warned, some panels reject these compact breakers.
 

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This is a GE panel. ONLY GE Breakers are permitted. The two non-GE breakers (That Siemens QP is one and I suspect under the tape labels on the one opposite is another) that are in there need to be replaced. What the devil happened to the feeder wire on the left side? Looks like it has serious damage.

You might be able to use the GE slimline breakers. They do make a two pole 50A version.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Good question on the damaged feeder wire. I don't know what happened -- it was like that when I bought it. I have since shortened the wire (removed the damaged section).

Good to know that GE breakers are the only style that should be used. I'm going to be doing some rearranging and while I'm at it, will replace the Siemens QP.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The left wire is a connection issue such as lug was loose. It is now permantly causing resistance and overheating.
Do not ignore.
Thank you. I am not ignoring. I cut the wire back to beyond the damaged section and re-attached it. Perhaps I should replace the lug as well.
There is currently very little power use in this structure, though I do appreciate the concern and am working to remedy it. There is a strong likelihood that this entire structure going to be demo'd within a year anyway.
 

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It may not be possible to replace the lug. If it is installed via a removeable screw or nut, it looks fried on and you might tear it up beyond repair. If after removing the wire, did it look rough and corroded inside? You might clean it with Emory cloth, a wire brush if one that tiny exists, or get a can of contact cleaner. You might put any constant load on the other phase.
 

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It appears this very-bizarre box actually only has 6 spaces. (Perhaps the "6" in "612"). The bottom left two slots might not actually be able to take breakers. I wonder why the $&*! they would do that??
Yes, no doubt of it, it's a 6-space. The bottom left spaces do not have the classic GE double-crossbar, they have only 1 crossbar because the lugs are not full width.

Because the installer refused to pay for 8 spaces. He didn't want 2 more spaces as much as he wanted a latté.

Consider the time you have wasted on this. That's why some of us say "Get a HUGE panel". Spaces are cheap. Scrimping on spaces is expensive.



However TLM612 is the box size, and has nothing to do with the rating of the particular panel. The box is the outer enclosure that all your cables are fitted into. Seems like the "612" means it is used in a variety of panels ranging from 6 to 12 spaces, which is typical of panel marketing. Maybe you can find a legacy 12-space panel that has the same box size, and swap in its bus assembly and lid in about 5 minutes (i.e. everything but the box)... assuming you can de-energize the feed wires.





You can usually get the quad style cheaters with a 2-pole 40A or 50A in them. Be warned, some panels reject these compact breakers.
Not on GE. GE panels work a different way.

You might be able to use the GE slimline breakers. They do make a two pole 50A version.
You can definitely use the slimline breakers, but it will require replacing most of the breakers, but they need to be replaced anyway. The GE 60 can go to the left side, and the right side can be three 2-pole breakers with singles on top and bottom.

This is a GE panel. ONLY GE Breakers are permitted. The two non-GE breakers (That Siemens QP is one and I suspect under the tape labels on the one opposite is another) that are in there need to be replaced.
Correct. Eaton CL type is UL-Classified for this panel, but they don't make tandems in Eaton CL.

Thank you. I am not ignoring. I cut the wire back to beyond the damaged section and re-attached it. Perhaps I should replace the lug as well.
Well it happened because the lug was not torqued down correctly. Most likely. Possibly weather action + failure to use the no-alox anti-oxidant. Note that it's normal for lugs to be aluminum; due to thermal expansion aluminum lugs are the "universal donor" and work well with both Cu and Al wires.

Cu lugs can't say the same (and keep pulling that string and you'll have an epiphany about what really happened in the 70's aluminum wire fiasco.)

Anyway, get a torque wrench. Note that "beam-type" torque wrenches are sensibly priced and never need calibrating, but you'll need a bit holder and flat blade bit to talk to that lug.
 

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Imo, you need to change out that panel. You may be able to find a lug but that change in color is caused by excessive heat due to that loose connection. I would do this sooner than later. I am actually surprised that you were able to loosen the screw. Most of the time those lugs get seized tight and the screw cannot be turned.
 

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Imo, you need to change out that panel. You may be able to find a lug but that change in color is caused by excessive heat due to that loose connection. I would do this sooner than later. I am actually surprised that you were able to loosen the screw. Most of the time those lugs get seized tight and the screw cannot be turned.
Over tightening probably caused the failure. That or imbalanced over overload

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Interesting. I'd like to know more about how over-tightening causes this type of failure. I'd have thought you'd want it as tight as possible...wouldn't that give the most surface area in contact (aka best conductivity)?

The aluminum stripping out seems, to a layman, like the only thing you'd want to stop torquing for.

One last thing: If just the lug melted, why does the entire panel need to be changed?
 

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An overly tight connection can reduce the conductor cross sectional area. It can create a hot spot the same as a too loose connection.
 
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