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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
On the tag in the box it says. square D class n1 type QC . Its a older sticker from the looks of it. And this is surely not a new panel. I have worked with the newer panels where you can clearly see the load center bars. However just after a quick glance i am not 100% sure.



I had someone ask me about this and I told them I have no idea as I have not worked with these.


What they are looking to do is install a arc fault breaker that has no pig tail. I didn't grab a picture of the box. It does sort of look like this. They said they already had a pigtail less. No pig tail arch fault breaker hooked up, and they told me it was running everything fine. I told them I am not sure I will have to do some research / ask a professional. I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts.. Is that even possible if the neutral load center isn't hooked up would it still work? or is there another way to tell if that is even possible or is this a fire hazard?



Any help or thoughts is appreciated.








I think it was the qo30m150 series d1 if I remember correctly.
 

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A load center is another name for a breaker panel. The AFCI breakers without the pigtail are intended for another panel called a "plug on neutral". They will not work in your panel.

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Plug on neutral panels are much newer than that panel. An afci breaker can be installed if it has a pigtail.
 

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Your panel is a good solid QO panel. Industrial tier design, excellent support, no reason to ever stop using it.

There are 2 kinds of AFCI breaker that don't have pigtails. Most AFCI breakers have pigtails because they cable up the way GFCIs do: both hot and neutral must go *through* them so they can a) power themselves and b) monitor hot and neutral current the way a GFCI does, because they use a GFCI-like method to detect faults. That's why the breaker needs a pigtail. All circuit power (plus tiny GFCI/AFCI power) come through that pigtail.

The pigtail-less breaker types are:

- Plug-on-neutral breakers: These are designed for the most modern service panels, that have a feature called "plug-on neutral". As you know, a normal breaker gets its hot from a "bus stab" that it clips (plugs) on to. Modern "plug-on neutral" panels have a second "bus" with its own bus stabs, which provides neutral to the breaker as well. These "Plug-on-neutral" breakers are designed to take neutral from the second bus. That bus is not present in your older panel, so no joy.

- Don't-need-neutral AFCIs. A few AFCI breakers do not do the "GFCI-like" thing, because they don't need to. They have a more sophisticated way of detecting hot-ground and neutral-ground parallel arc faults. They power themselves inline, the way old-school dimmers do.

However GE is the only manufacturer of these that I'm familiar with. You can't use brand X breakers in brand Y panels unless UL approves that breaker for that panel. Every manufacturer has UL-approved breakers for QO except GE, wouldn't you know it.

How are they getting away with it?

Square D QO breakers have a lucky design: the "heel" of most breakers is just a plastic hook. But the "heel" of the QO breaker is another metal clip exactly like a bus stab clip, that clips onto a plastic rail. So when the idea of "plug on neutral" came along, QO just changed the rail to metal. Wow, that was easy... That means PON QO breakers will cheerfully install in non-PON QO panels.

I recently discovered if you don't hook up an AFCI pigtail, they still "seem to work", except the TEST button will not work. So one guess what these chowderheads are doing. They probably have some mealy-mouthed excuse for why the TEST button doesn't work. But it certainly won't detect arc faults that way!
 

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Square D QO breakers have a lucky design: the "heel" of most breakers is just a plastic hook. But the "heel" of the QO breaker is another metal clip exactly like a bus stab clip, that clips onto a plastic rail. So when the idea of "plug on neutral" came along, QO just changed the rail to metal. Wow, that was easy... That means PON QO breakers will cheerfully install in non-PON QO panels.
Did you ever consider they had to attach that metal "heel" to the inner workings of the breaker?
 

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The plug on neutral needs the connection to the neutral bus in order to work the way it was designed and listed. Simply because it fits does not mean it is correct or functional.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Plug on neutral panels are much newer than that panel. An afci breaker can be installed if it has a pigtail.

the guy told me he had no pig tale but the breaker still worked. Is that possible? Or is there some other sort build up going on that could eventually cause a fire if he says it works and it does work? The guy also told me he did have a electronic.. some type of cheap phone plug that started to melt and the breaker kicked off too.


Thanks again I am just trying to understand all this.

https://www.diychatroom.com/editpost.php?do=editpost&p=6274753
https://www.diychatroom.com/editpost.php?do=editpost&p=6274753
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I mean using the wrong way I assume it just wouldn't detect sparks or arch right? so if your using it the wrong way it would still power stuff but not detect sparks our archs?
 

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I mean using the wrong way I assume it just wouldn't detect sparks or arch right? so if your using it the wrong way it would still power stuff but not detect sparks our archs?
I suspect you are right but as an electrician that installs breakers correctly I can't say how an incorrect installation would work with certainty.

BTW, it's arc not arch.:smile:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I suspect you are right but as an electrician that installs breakers correctly I can't say how an incorrect installation would work with certainty.

BTW, it's arc not arch.:smile:



thank you for the spelling correction and the info. well the guy has always been 110% honest with me. I know in the past there has been miscommunication. But he said is 100% sure it works. And I just really didn't know so I wanted to find out for myself in case I was missing something. I think I am gonna do some testing to find out for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
So I went back pressed the test button, Test button worked. We had a old heater that would practically melt right away once you plugged it in. It seemed to catch the melting and trip. Then as final test we arched 2 wires together and it seemed to catch it.


I have attached images of the breaker box itself.





 

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One thing to keep in mind: if there is ever an issue to where an insurance company might get involved, you won't have a leg to stand on when you install something contrary to the manufacturer's instructions, whether it appears to work of not.

Just saying.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
One thing to keep in mind: if there is ever an issue to where an insurance company might get involved, you won't have a leg to stand on when you install something contrary to the manufacturer's instructions, whether it appears to work of not.

Just saying.



I completely understand what your saying I truly appreciate. We are going to get the pig tails. I was just trying to understand why they would develop something like that. I am even more shocked something like that would work even though its horribly wrong. haha The last thing I want to do is be involved with a fire or anything like that. If you look closely at the picture and you see the arc fault breaker with no pig tail there is barely any room on the side of it and even a black wire going under it. Sooo in other words your smashing wires and that itself could be a fire hazard. Again I only know the newer stuff and not the older stuff. So this was a nice understanding. I just like to know why stuff works or doesn't work. A crystal clear understanding.
 

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I mean using the wrong way I assume it just wouldn't detect sparks or arch right? so if your using it the wrong way it would still power stuff but not detect sparks our archs?
It means you just spent $40 on a breaker that's only doing the job of a $5 breaker. And you'll flunk inspection, and have to fix it in the end.



Did you ever consider they had to attach that metal "heel" to the inner workings of the breaker?
O M G you mean they have to change the insides of the breaker too?

You mean a AFCI is NOT just a standard $5 breaker with a button glued on? WOW I HAD NO IDEA OF THAT. Goshy wow, that explains why AFCI breakers cost eight times more than a plain breaker! I always wondered how they got that Test button to actually do stuff.
 

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I completely understand what your saying I truly appreciate. We are going to get the pig tails. I was just trying to understand why they would develop something like that. I am even more shocked something like that would work even though its horribly wrong. haha The last thing I want to do is be involved with a fire or anything like that. If you look closely at the picture and you see the arc fault breaker with no pig tail there is barely any room on the side of it and even a black wire going under it. Sooo in other words your smashing wires and that itself could be a fire hazard. Again I only know the newer stuff and not the older stuff. So this was a nice understanding. I just like to know why stuff works or doesn't work. A crystal clear understanding.
When you get your pigtailed breaker you will have to attach the pigtail to the neutral bar. Now imagine you have a whole panel full of these breakers with a pigtail for each one. The curly pigtails take up a lot of room. The plug-on-neutral is meant to keep the panel less cluttered. New code will mandate almost all breakers installed in residences be either GFCI (also with a pigtail, older version), arc-fault or both (AFCI/GFCI). I suspect Square D will not be the last panel manufacturer to incorporate a feature such as this.

No harm in asking questions.
 

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If you know so much why did you post this?

Square D QO breakers have a lucky design: the "heel" of most breakers is just a plastic hook. But the "heel" of the QO breaker is another metal clip exactly like a bus stab clip, that clips onto a plastic rail. So when the idea of "plug on neutral" came along, QO just changed the rail to metal. Wow, that was easy... That means PON QO breakers will cheerfully install in non-PON QO panels.

I recently discovered if you don't hook up an AFCI pigtail, they still "seem to work", except the TEST button will not work. So one guess what these chowderheads are doing. They probably have some mealy-mouthed excuse for why the TEST button doesn't work. But it certainly won't detect arc faults that way!
Beside the obvious fact that you seem to like listening to yourself.....
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
It means you just spent $40 on a breaker that's only doing the job of a $5 breaker. And you'll flunk inspection, and have to fix it in the end.





O M G you mean they have to change the insides of the breaker too?

You mean a AFCI is NOT just a standard $5 breaker with a button glued on? WOW I HAD NO IDEA OF THAT. Goshy wow, that explains why AFCI breakers cost eight times more than a plain breaker! I always wondered how they got that Test button to actually do stuff.



Yea if its getting inspected. haha however the guy that asked me doesn't like to get stuff inspected haha but its cool now since he is convinced to use a pig tail. I just never heard of anything like that. I'm just glad I have a better understanding thanks though.


As for detecting the arc with it being hooked up wrong after the tests it still detected the arc. Not unless we are arcing it wrong. Either way he is going with the pig tails its was more of a experiment.



oh yea they cost a lot more than $5.00, not unless you find a super good deal on ebay. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
When you get your pigtailed breaker you will have to attach the pigtail to the neutral bar. Now imagine you have a whole panel full of these breakers with a pigtail for each one. The curly pigtails take up a lot of room. The plug-on-neutral is meant to keep the panel less cluttered. New code will mandate almost all breakers installed in residences be either GFCI (also with a pigtail, older version), arc-fault or both (AFCI/GFCI). I suspect Square D will not be the last panel manufacturer to incorporate a feature such as this.

No harm in asking questions.



Oh I completely understand on how to attach the pig tail, I was trying to focus more on the question of how something like that could possibly work, just trying to understand was my overall idea but thank you.


And good point on square d as I am learning more about the older systems especially on a old system and how something like that could fit but still be so wrong, which is sort so of freaky.
 

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One last thing, the arcs you created by touching the two wires together are not the arcs a AFCI breaker are meant to detect. Touching the wires together creates a short: the $5 breakers are designed to trip detecting that. AFCI are designed to trip when detecting small arcs from say; a frayed cord or a defective device, that is not creating a 15A fault, but still creating a dangerous situation. Your tests did not replicate that type of fault so don't really mean anything.:smile:
 

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Discussion Starter #20
One last thing, the arcs you created by touching the two wires together are not the arcs a AFCI breaker are meant to detect. Touching the wires together creates a short: the $5 breakers are designed to trip detecting that. AFCI are designed to trip when detecting small arcs from say; a frayed cord or a defective device, that is not creating a 15A fault, but still creating a dangerous situation. Your tests did not replicate that type of fault so don't really mean anything.:smile:

ahhh ha! well that would make even more sense haha darn. thank you thats more of a better answer and explains so much more. I am very curious person even if the information is worthless today. Thank you again.
 
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