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Discussion Starter #1
When I replace my old Murray panel, I planned to put the old breakers in the new panel provided they fit. There are only a few different brand panels I would be looking at: Siemens, Murray, Cutler-Hammer, maybe SquareD. What kind of compatibility is there between different brand breakers?
 

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A "Handy Husband"
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When I replace my old Murray panel, I planned to put the old breakers in the new panel provided they fit. There are only a few different brand panels I would be looking at: Siemens, Murray, Cutler-Hammer, maybe SquareD. What kind of compatibility is there between different brand breakers?
Why reuse breakers, the cost of new breakers is minimal. (single pole $5, double pole $10) (Admittedly AFCI and GFCI breakers are more but seldom found in old panel) I would want the protection that a new breaker offers instead of trusting a breaker that has been in use for who knows how long.
 

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Assuming you are not required to upgrade your breakers to AFCIs, I would say that you might as well use new standard breakers. For one, as has already been pointed out, they don't cost that much, and there is no compatibility between brands. They may fit, but they aren't listed for such use. The Murray and the Siemens are the exception. They are identical in every respect except the name. I'm pretty sure they are made on the same assembly line.
 

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Are you upgrading from like 100a to 200a?
I stick with the same Mfg for an upgrade so I can re-use breakers (if newer)

If the reason for the panel replacement is water intrusion verify the breakers have not been damaged
One panel I saw some breakers were rusted so bad they would not trip
So better to trash them if any doubt
 

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I always reuse breakers. Unless I have to buy new ones. And only if the new panel and the old panel use the exact same breakers. Exact.
 

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Use'em! You should find one brand that will work, only one will remember! Don't mind the electricians telling ya to waste your money on "NEW" breakers! Heck they sure as heck don't test and reset the breakers in their own homes on a monthly basis and I'm positive they don't run to the store buying new breakers every time they're wiring their own house! Sorry "Sparkles"!!! The man just asked a simple electrical question ......
 

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Use'em! You should find one brand that will work, only one will remember! Don't mind the electricians telling ya to waste your money on "NEW" breakers! Heck they sure as heck don't test and reset the breakers in their own homes on a monthly basis and I'm positive they don't run to the store buying new breakers every time they're wiring their own house! Sorry "Sparkles"!!! The man just asked a simple electrical question ......
While some of that is true, when I give advice I give the best I can that covers my butt. Will an old breaker work? Probably. But if it doesn't, and it fails in a way that causes someone to lose their home or their life, I don't want that on my head.

In my opinion, if you are already spending the money on a new service and load center, what's $80-$100 more for a little peace of mind?
 

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Breakers are under 4 bucks a pole.

Seems like cheap insurance to me.




Murray/Siemans are the same thing but a hard nosed inspector may have a different opinion.
 

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looking at it from another angle

How much would you pay to avoid going to court as a defendant and having to justify reusing breakers which conditions are indeterminate and that caused the loss of property or life?

I'd pay $100, or $1000, and maybe even $10k. There are lawyers who live just to crucify people like you. :eek:

Even if you somehow tested the breakers, I wouldn't reuse them unless it is only your own life and your own property at risk, and you can't really know this in advance.
 

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I wouldnt reuse them unless I knew they were only a few years old and were not damaged by water or extreme heat. If I was to re-use them, I would use the same manufacture for the new panel.

If I had no idea how old they were or if they were older than five years, I personally would drop kick them and buy new.

Like was said before, I'd rather spend $100 or even $500 to insure I had gone the extra mile for the safety of my house.

For example, it was not required of me to put AFCI breakers in when I did my service upgrade, but I went ahead and did it anyways as I felt it was cheap insurance.
 

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New breaker vs. reusing existing breakers

The new breaker is a known quantity. A used breaker, particularly if it has either tripped often nin the past year or is loaded past 80% of rated amperage, simply isn't. If reliability is of any concern whatsoever to you, use new breakers.
 

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Use'em! You should find one brand that will work, only one will remember! Don't mind the electricians telling ya to waste your money on "NEW" breakers! Heck they sure as heck don't test and reset the breakers in their own homes on a monthly basis and I'm positive they don't run to the store buying new breakers every time they're wiring their own house! Sorry "Sparkles"!!! The man just asked a simple electrical question ......

Maybe so but it depending on the condtion and brand name of the breakers.

Really for me I just get new one and be done with it unless it was a major mistake by have wrong load centre then can change with same brand name and series then yeah I can do that but that word "reused" I used very loosely.

The cost of single and double pole are not very much about 5 $/€ for single pole breaker while double poles useally run about 10 $/€ unless you got GFCI or AFCI then it will go up depending on size and requirement. ( that will cover most common brand name but the old loadcentre that is out of question )

Merci,Marc
 

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Maybe so but it depending on the condtion and brand name of the breakers.

Really for me I just get new one and be done with it unless it was a major mistake by have wrong load centre then can change with same brand name and series then yeah I can do that but that word "reused" I used very loosely.

The cost of single and double pole are not very much about 5 $/€ for single pole breaker while double poles useally run about 10 $/€ unless you got GFCI or AFCI then it will go up depending on size and requirement. ( that will cover most common brand name but the old loadcentre that is out of question )

Merci,Marc
Right on! Being new to this site I've noticed tons of common sense and great advice from everyone that responds to questions being asked. I'm almost tempted to throw out a few gristle ladened questions for everyone to chew on! I just talked myself into it........
 

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Discussion Starter #18
The reason I am replacing the panel is I just put in the underground conduit and the old panel is designed for overhead only. Sure, there is a punch-out on the bottom, but there would be no partition between the line side and the load side of the box, which I believe is required.

I had the old panel put in less than 5 years ago, and maybe one or two of them have tripped a few times because of obvious overloading (bathroom heater plus hairdryer). I had never heard of a breaker actually failing before, but then I don't work in the trade. I did see the SquareD article about counterfeit breakers being sold.

I eventually want to bring the whole house up to code, so I'll look into AFCI style breakers.
 

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That's a new one on me!

The reason I am replacing the panel is I just put in the underground conduit and the old panel is designed for overhead only. Sure, there is a punch-out on the bottom, but there would be no partition between the line side and the load side of the box, which I believe is required.

I had the old panel put in less than 5 years ago, and maybe one or two of them have tripped a few times because of obvious overloading (bathroom heater plus hairdryer). I had never heard of a breaker actually failing before, but then I don't work in the trade. I did see the SquareD article about counterfeit breakers being sold.

I eventually want to bring the whole house up to code, so I'll look into AFCI style breakers.
Perhaps I am missing something. It is impossible to isolate the line side from the load side aside from the use of a main breaker or main fuse block.

If the panel is located indoors in a typical residential setting, NEMA 1 panels (indoor only use) are used and they are capable of top, side or bottom line feed. Knock out seals are used to close the opening. Two styles are available - snap-in or bolt-in.

Panels located outdoors will be at least a NEMA 3R. If it is fed from an overhead drop, a separate hub that bolts to the top of the panel enclosure receives the mast. If bottom feed is desired, the opening on the top can be capped with seal designed for that enclosures hub opening.

Breakers fail for a number of reasons. Among the most common are repeated tripping, the amp surge caused by a dead short, the heat that results from loading a breaker to its rated ampacity and the excessive heat generated by adjacent breakers. One sign of breaker failure is tripping while carrying a fraction of the breakers listed ampacity. Another is a breaker that is loose on its buss finger. SquareD QO style and Cutler hammer BR style literally clip onto the buss finger. The clip that snaps onto the buss finger will spread with age and heat resulting is arcing when under load. Similar failure symptoms apply Murray and the 'interchangable' breakers as well as bolt-on breakers.

Anything device that carries electrical load is subject to failure eventually.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
The combo panels I have been looking at either say "overhead only" or "overhead or underground service entry". The ones that are intended for both seem to be either side-by-side design with completely separate compartments, or over-under design with a metal partition keeping line side wiring physically separate from load side wiring. Yes, they are electrically connected at the bus, but the intent seems to be to separate the line and load everywhere else. Even the breakers force a 2" or so physical separation between bus finger and load terminal.

If I were to punch out the bottom of my shallow "overhead only" box and run the feed up the inside to the meter at the top, those line wires would have to cross a bunch of hot,neutral and ground connections very close to the exposed screw terminals. Heck, the line wires would probably be laying right on top of those load wires, even bare grounds. Code or not, this sounds like a bad idea.
 
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