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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm installing a new 240V breaker and I want to be sure I'm getting the right type. I've read that the circuit breaker panel should have some label somewhere that says what kind it is, but I'm having trouble finding any such label inside, or outside the panel. The only label I see is one on the main power switch which is shown below.
Motor vehicle Font Gas Cable Auto part


That says "Type QFP", but is that the panel type, or just this particular main breaker?

Here are some of the first breakers in there which I would assume are probably the original ones installed when the house was built in 1991. It's a little hard to see unless you zoom in, but they say "Type A"
Tire Wheel Automotive tire Synthetic rubber Tread


And here's some other ones in there. There's a type QPH Siemens, a Square D Type HOM1, a Type MP-T:
Wheel Tire Automotive tire Tread Wood


And finally, some of the rest:
Grey Gas Font Composite material Fixture
Gas Fixture Rectangle Font Typesetting


Seems like a real mix of breaker types. Can anyone help me figure out what type I should be putting in? I'd like to do it right from now on, even if in the past some people didn't adhere to the rules.
 

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If you take a picture from farther back with the cover off like in pics 2 and 3, the electricians here will recognize it.

You've got a bit of a problem there with all the different breakers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If you take a picture from farther back with the cover off like in pics 2 and 3, the electricians here will recognize it.

You've got a bit of a problem there with all the different breakers.
Luckily, I took one like that earlier today. Here it is:
Gas Machine Auto part Cable Wire
 

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You have a Challenger panel and it has been subject to recall for various safety issues. It looks as if someone just threw breakers at this panel in hopes it would work. Challenger breakers are obsolete, but Eaton makes a BR breaker that will fit provided the correct part number is listed.

This is just a random article that may help you make decisions. Issues With Challenger Panels & Insurance - Waypoint
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You have a Challenger panel and it has been subject to recall for various safety issues. It looks as if someone just threw breakers at this panel in hopes it would work. Challenger breakers are obsolete, but Eaton makes a BR breaker that will fit provided the correct part number is listed.

This is just a random article that may help you make decisions. Issues With Challenger Panels & Insurance - Waypoint
Thanks, and good to know. I think while I'm at this, I'll just replace most of the breakers with Eaton BR types that haven't been changed already. From what I've read so far, it might not be necessary to replace the whole panel, but the breakers seem to be the things that caused fires. I would rather be safe than sorry and also, I'd hate for the inspector to say my new EV circuit is fine, but then ding me on the bad breakers. I already see a circuit that was added by the previous homeowner that doesn't look like it's to code. Not sure if they just had a handyman do it, but it doesn't look like the work of a qualified electrician.
 

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It is the breakers that are the problem swapping them with modern type BR breakers will help provided they've not already damaged the bus bars they're plugged in on.

As for your other question, it's one thing that if something was up to code when it was done and is no longer due to code changes (i.e., they're not going to ding you for lack of Arc Faults if the changes you are doing aren't involving circuits that require them now), but it's another to have never-done-properly stuff that the inspector can see. He can rightfully ask that this be corrected.

What is it that you think is wrong with this other circuit?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It is the breakers that are the problem swapping them with modern type BR breakers will help provided they've not already damaged the bus bars they're plugged in on.

As for your other question, it's one thing that if something was up to code when it was done and is no longer due to code changes (i.e., they're not going to ding you for lack of Arc Faults if the changes you are doing aren't involving circuits that require them now), but it's another to have never-done-properly stuff that the inspector can see. He can rightfully ask that this be corrected.

What is it that you think is wrong with this other circuit?
What's wrong with that circuit is that the knockout plug wasn't even punched completely out. It seems to be partially opened and the wire run through. I'm pretty sure it has no clamp on the NM-B based on that.
Automotive tire Motor vehicle Bumper Automotive exterior Automotive lighting
 

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Ick. It's only a matter of time before the cable sheath gets cut by the sharp edge of that knockout hole. Fortunately, this is an easy enough fix.

1. First take a screw driver, pliers, or whatever and see if you can get the knockout disk knocked out the rest of the way.

2. Get a plastic NM bushing sized for that hole.

3. Turn off the breaker and carefully disconnect all the wires from that cable from where they go.

4. Slide the plastic bushing down over the wires and the sheath and snap it in the hole.

5. Put the wires back where they were.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm getting a little confused with the breakers. I'm looking at Lowes for Eaton Type BR circuit breakers. I see only this one that mentions the following in the description:
  • For use in Eaton Type BR load centers and meter breaker panels
  • UL approved replacement for Bryant, Westinghouse and Challenger panels

Now they have some other Type BR that I need, like tandem 20/15, 20/20, and 15/15, but those only say things like:
  • To be used in Cutler-Hammer series, Type BR loadcenters made after 1968
One example of the above is model #BD1515.

On another site, the Eaton Cutler-Hammer Model #BR1515 is listed as also being ok for Bryant, Westinghouse, Cutler-Hammer, and Challenger panels.

Would the BD1515 at Lowes maybe not be compatible with my Challenger panel?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ick. It's only a matter of time before the cable sheath gets cut by the sharp edge of that knockout hole. Fortunately, this is an easy enough fix.
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Maybe that was done by the homeowner himself. I think even a handyman would know better than that. That wire just runs down in the wall to an outlet on the other side in the garage. Most likely, they just knocked out the plug partially, fed the wire down into the wall, and fished it out in the outlet box. Probably didn't realize they could use the plastic bushing and didn't want to cut into the drywall on the other side to put a proper clamp on it from below. I'll fix that too while I'm replacing the breakers.
 

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BR and BD are physically compatible, but I don't think the BD breaker on BR panel combo is legal (something to do with UL listing, I think). I think you need BR breakers, which cost more than the BDs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
BR and BD are physically compatible, but I don't think the BD breaker on BR panel combo is legal (something to do with UL listing, I think). I think you need BR breakers, which cost more than the BDs.
Alright, good. It's little nuances like that I'm here to learn. Thanks for all the help. I'll scour the interweb looking for the best price on the BR breakers. So far, simplybreakers.com seems to be not that much more than Lowes and the BD versions.
 

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You have a Challenger panel and it has been subject to recall for various safety issues. It looks as if someone just threw breakers at this panel in hopes it would work. Challenger breakers are obsolete, but Eaton makes a BR breaker that will fit provided the correct part number is listed.

This is just a random article that may help you make decisions. Issues With Challenger Panels & Insurance - Waypoint
There's absolutely nothing wrong with Challenger panels, don't believe the lies of people aiming to sell you a panel replacement job. In fact Bryant took the Challenger design and renamed it BR.

The problem is with Challenger breakers. Apparently manufacturer's own labs used to be a lot more involved in UL testing, and UL largely went in and said "that checks out". Apparently Challenger pulled a Volkswagen and cheated the tests. However, unlike FPE and Zinsco which also had faulty bus designs, Challenger buses are fine, and same as BR.

The only reason Bryant changed the bus name to "BR" is so they could ban the defective Type C breakers. It is the exact same bus.

Eaton BR breakers are all cross-listed "Type C", meaning they are full and proper UL Listed for Challenger panels. That means UL considers Bryant the full and proper descendant of Challenger. This is a step up from the "UL Classified" status that Eaton CL breakers have for say, HOM or GE panels.


What's wrong with that circuit is that the knockout plug wasn't even punched completely out. It seems to be partially opened and the wire run through. I'm pretty sure it has no clamp on the NM-B based on that.
There's an easy fix for that. They make an "oops clamp" or "jackass clamp" which is designed to be retrofit after the cable has been installed. It looks like a round plastic plug of the appopriate size with a notch so it can be put over the cable. I would never use one in new work, but they're perfect for when you need the clamp but don't have access to the other side.

BR and BD are physically compatible, but I don't think the BD breaker on BR panel combo is legal (something to do with UL listing, I think). I think you need BR breakers, which cost more than the BDs.
BR is a standard full-width breaker.

You know there are tandem (2 breakers 1 space) "double-stuff" breakers. Prior to ~1966 you could double-stuff any space. Then they imposed "Circuit Total Limitation" or CTL to prevent more than 42 circuits in a panel. Certain bus stabs have notches where tandems are allowed. And breakers are required to have a tang to reject spaces without notches.

BD is Eaton's tandem breaker with the CTL reject feature.

The Challenger panel is listed for Type C and possibly Type A breakers. Type A is Challenger's "double-stuff" breaker line, and some Eaton double-stuffs are cross-listed Type C.

If your Challenger panel is not listed for Challenger Type A, then your ability to use double-stuffs is a murky question at best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
There's absolutely nothing wrong with Challenger panels, don't believe the lies of people aiming to sell you a panel replacement job. In fact Bryant took the Challenger design and renamed it BR.

The problem is with Challenger breakers. Apparently manufacturer's own labs used to be a lot more involved in UL testing, and UL largely went in and said "that checks out". Apparently Challenger pulled a Volkswagen and cheated the tests. However, unlike FPE and Zinsco which also had faulty bus designs, Challenger buses are fine, and same as BR.

...
If your Challenger panel is not listed for Challenger Type A, then your ability to use double-stuffs is a murky question at best.
A lot of the breakers in my panel are the tandem type (and most appear very old like they were the original breakers). Between Home Depot and Lowes, I was able to get all the Eaton BR breakers to replace everything and I'll be replacing them tomorrow. For anyone reading this later who might have a challenger panel, for tandem 20/20A, and 15/15A, look for the models #BR2020 and #BR1515 respectfully. For the tandem 20/15A, it's BR2015. Single pole 1" 15A is the BR115, and 1" 20A is the BR120. Double pole (240V) 2" 50A is the BR250. You can probably see the emerging pattern to fill in the blanks if you require other capacities/sizes.
 
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