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Wire Chewer
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm going to be adding two sub panels at some point, hopefully soon if funds permit, and also upgrading my main.

I'm thinking Square D, but their breakers seem very expensive compared to the other brands. Cutter Hammer seems nice as well, and Siemens seems to be fairly popular too. Stab Lok's are the cheapest, but probably for a reason. My current panel is a Stab Lok and I find the way the breakers fit is a bit flimsy, they don't feel strong. Maybe the newer panels are better? I only noticed the new breakers I bought feel this way so maybe they are slightly different and fit better in new panels.

Also anyone familiar with AFCI code in Ontario? Currently I have none, but if I'm adding panels I probably have to comply. From my understanding in the states it's pretty much everywhere except for where GFCI are required. So basically everything but kitchen, bathroom, garage and outside.
 

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I just installed a Square D QO that went faily smoothly, haven't used any other brands to compare it to but I would buy it again.
As for Stab Lok, I didn't think they acturally made them anymore, the reason for my new panel was to get the Federal Pacific Stab Lok panel out of there, my insurance company was going to drop me if I didn't.

http://www.inspectapedia.com/fpe/fpepanel.htm

I don't really know about requirements for AFCI/GFCI breakers, I had the understanding that if you were adding new circuits you had to use them but not if you were chaning out the panel or a breaker without changing the circuit. If anyone would like to correct me on this feel free.

Bill
 

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Also anyone familiar with AFCI code in Ontario? Currently I have none, but if I'm adding panels I probably have to comply. From my understanding in the states it's pretty much everywhere except for where GFCI are required. So basically everything but kitchen, bathroom, garage and outside.
Red,

Might I suggest you pick up a copy of the Electrical Code Simplified, http://www.psknight.com/book1.html?

It's pretty good at explaining what needs to be done for most residential situations. I used when I got my electrical endorsement in my final year for my plumbing ticket. I got it at HD for ~$18-20.
 

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Electrical Contractor
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....As for Stab Lok, I didn't think they acturally made them anymore, the reason for my new panel was to get the Federal Pacific Stab Lok panel out of there, my insurance company was going to drop me if I didn't....
The OP is in Canada, and up there you can still get so-called Stab-Lok breakers. They are marketed under the name Federal Pioneer, and are readily available at Lowe's and Home Depot. I'm not sure how insurance companies in Canada deal with them.

Personally, I would not consider anything other than Square D type QO panels and breakers.
 

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STAY AWAY from stab-locks...they're nicknamed firestarters for a reason, they tend not to trip and cause arcing a lot. I know your in canada but they're illegal in most of the us states form what I know.

In my opinion, I've worked with a lot of brands throughout the years. I like ITE/Siemens the best....the quads can be a bit spendy but they offer plenty of room for wire makeup and are just overall sturdily built panels.

GE's are nice, price wise as well, but I hate the breaker slop(when the breakers all seem to weigh downward and your deadfront pushes them all back up) you get when using the "slim" breakers, looks tacky, plus they don't offer much wire makeup room anymore.

I've never been a big fan of squareD, they seem to make nice panels, and every DIY where I'm from gets them. But I think its because it's what the local big box stores carry and monopolize on. The QO panels are the only squareD panel I would consider...reason why, because they're the only panel legally listed for AC and DC if your ever going to do solar

so....ITE/Siemens for the win i say
 

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Lic Elect/Inspector/CPO
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I mainly use Eaton products, Cuttler Hammer. Breakers line up easy,
Ten year warranty on all breakers and loadcenters.
 

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Wire Chewer
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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
The OP is in Canada, and up there you can still get so-called Stab-Lok breakers. They are marketed under the name Federal Pioneer, and are readily available at Lowe's and Home Depot. I'm not sure how insurance companies in Canada deal with them.

Personally, I would not consider anything other than Square D type QO panels and breakers.
Yeah I think they don't have the same issues, but still probably wont go with them. They are owned by schneider electric which is reputable though.
 

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The OP is in Canada, and up there you can still get so-called Stab-Lok breakers. They are marketed under the name Federal Pioneer, and are readily available at Lowe's and Home Depot. I'm not sure how insurance companies in Canada deal with them.

Personally, I would not consider anything other than Square D type QO panels and breakers.
Why do you prefer only Square D QO panels?
 

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Idiot Emeritus
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Square D QO would be my first choice, Siemens is a close second.

This is based mainly on my years of commercial/industrial experience, a lot of it service. Square D seems to hold up better than anything else, especially in abusive conditions.

Also, the square D QO115s and QO120s have one of the lowest instantaneous trips. This will result in the quickest detection of a fault and thus, a smaller BANG. If high inrush loads are encountered, the QO115HM and QO120HM have one of the highest instant trips.

The breakers are 3/4" while others are 1". This results in a shorter box.

The 15, 20 and 30 amp breakers are listed for two wires under the terminal.
 

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Square D QO would be my first choice, Siemens is a close second.

This is based mainly on my years of commercial/industrial experience, a lot of it service. Square D seems to hold up better than anything else, especially in abusive conditions.

Also, the square D QO115s and QO120s have one of the lowest instantaneous trips. This will result in the quickest detection of a fault and thus, a smaller BANG. If high inrush loads are encountered, the QO115HM and QO120HM have one of the highest instant trips.

The breakers are 3/4" while others are 1". This results in a shorter box.

The 15, 20 and 30 amp breakers are listed for two wires under the terminal.
Square D hands down, to add to your post they have made the QO circuit breaker since before I started in the trade in 1970
 

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Idiot Emeritus
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Just a sort of side note here, over the years I've found that in nearly every instance, with electrical equipment, you get what you pay for.

For example, Allen Bradley motor starters are the most expensive ones you can buy. But if you're going to burn one of them up, you'll need to work at it. GE is usually the least expensive. I've seen new ones operated in clean environments and well within their ratings that failed within a couple of years.

I don't know about resi panels and breakers, but the most expensive comm'l/industrial ones seem to take more abuse and last the longest.
 

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You have any data to back that statement up?
K-A-L, I believe he's referring to the old Federal Pacific "stab lok" breakers. Plenty of data to back up that. AFAIK Fed Pac went teets up because of the problems (especially 2 pole breakers) with their breakers not tripping when they should (if at all). Connecticut Electric makes replacement breakers for the old Fed Pac panels (and those old "Bulldog Pushmatic" breakers too). I doubt the insurance companies have too much of a problem with the new breakers.
The only panels I have problems with (and their name escapes me now...) is the one where the neutral bus is right next to the breakers.
 

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Petey, nothing that you said is proof that Stabloks are illegal.
That is what Know-a-little is asking for.
Show him something where some law makes it illegal to have them in a home.
 

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K-A-L, I believe he's referring to the old Federal Pacific "stab lok" breakers. Plenty of data to back up that. AFAIK Fed Pac went teets up because of the problems (especially 2 pole breakers) with their breakers not tripping when they should (if at all). Connecticut Electric makes replacement breakers for the old Fed Pac panels (and those old "Bulldog Pushmatic" breakers too). I doubt the insurance companies have too much of a problem with the new breakers.
The only panels I have problems with (and their name escapes me now...) is the one where the neutral bus is right next to the breakers.
I was involved with the original Federal Pacific recall, up until they shut their doors. While I know the history behind FPE and their issues, and it is not possible to buy new FPE in the states, I also know electricians and homeowners regularly replace circuit breakers with FPE equipment, I was curious what if any states had outlawed this product as I have heard this before.

I have also high current tested FPE Stab-Loc's and we saw no higher failure rate thatnwith comparable brands. A major issue was the CB's (I no longer have the FPE LIST) was they did not meet the AIC rating as listed.

The Stab-Loc was a poor design from day one any CB that pulled out just by removing the panel cover has issues.
 

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Petey, nothing that you said is proof that Stabloks are illegal.
That is what Know-a-little is asking for.
Show him something where some law makes it illegal to have them in a home.
Oso, I should have been more specific. I wasn't trying to say FedPac breakers were illegal (at least not here). I was just trying to point out that the original breakers had some potential issues. I got a call last year from a HO who saw a news story about how they were dangerous breakers and he had me change them to new replacements.
 
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