High price of 600 amp circuit breakers?

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I've seen those. Ouch!
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It\'s not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
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On Mon, 24 Oct 2005 19:04:38 -0000, snipped-for-privacy@nortelnetworks.com (Chris Lewis) wrote:

You should look at this site. Talk about high powered breakers, and this one failed. The movie is totally awesome.
Click on the MPEG video movie titled "NEW MPEG of a 500 kV disconnect switch, one phase opens hot!"
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Bigger frame breakers have always cost a lot more. Larger frame breakers are can be made to withstand larger fault currents. Interrupt larger current at higher voltages. I used to work for an OEM and we had some circuit breakers that were well over $25000.00 (SPB series) "rebuilt". New more like $40k.
I have installed some medium voltage vacuum breakers that were well over $100k each.
Unfortunately they are just so much boat anchor material unless you have a need for one of them. They are not interchangeable. There is a thriving market in rebuilding, testing and installing such equipment.
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I would understand that, for vacuum units.

I am not sure about interchangeability. My 400-600 A breakers (Siemens, ITE, Westinghouse etc) simply take 3 wires in and 3 wires going out. They do not mount on special connector panels, like residential breakers.
i
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Those sound like the "universal or OEM" mounts. Almost everyone makes those in some form.
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Yes, that's right. I could screw them to any metal sheet, it seems. I will double check tonight, they are still in my pickup.
i
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over
those
Please check the mounts before mounting on a grounded surface. Some of these breakers have to be put on glastic so the terminals will not arc.
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My experience in refining precious metals taught me that high amperage contacts are usually made from a compound of silver and some other element, often tungsten. You can expect the breakers to contain silver, but that hardly explains the high cost, particularly when a contact is generally well under a troy ounce in size. Cost is likely attributed to a high degree of engineering and limited production.
That's my story, and I'm stickin' too it! <g>
Harold
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wrote:

I see. That makes sense....
i
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| I came into possession of a few used 400-600A circuit breakers. Each | is the size of a milk jug. While researching prices on them and such | (they sell for $150-200 on ebay), I learned that some cost many | thousands of dollars new. I saw numbers from $2,500 and higher. | | I am curious just what makes them so expensive. Do they have any | precious materials inside? Or what? | | i
There's a new kind out there now, which is wiping out the demand for the older style. All amperages of the same body size of breaker are all the same breaker, with a small module plugged in to control the trip point. Folks love the low parts count. I've never priced them, but I was impressed when I first saw 'em. In that range, there's so few people that need them the economy of scale keeps the price up, but I imagine that the used prices are really good. Industrial customers usually don't tend to buy stuff like that used.
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The new ones are the one with a little thing in the middle with tyhe amp number, that is separate from the case, right? Like a little depressed button.

They could easily sell for $150-200, it seems, at least a half of wat I have if not more. Gotta look at them more closely.
i
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the
impressed
scale
Industrial customer do purchase used, sometimes that is the only place they will get what they need. There is a huge difference in large frame breakers. Most are rebuildable. There are lots of aftermarket companies that offer springs and contact kits for a lot of the popular old breakers. As long as you have the personnel and equipment to do the testing after the rebuild there is nothing wrong with a 15 year old breaker that is tested after a rebuild. Most larger cities have several companies that specialize in just this function. I just sold a bunch of GE Magnablasts and cells to a factory in the east. Each breaker was produced circa 1977. The are of the 15kv varity and 1200-1600 amp frame. Each breaker weights in at a svelte 2350 pounds. They wanted to do an expansion and did not want to change breaker types. They will refurbish these and add new trip units. Installation of the cells will be over their Christmas shutdown. Sure glad it is outside my service area.
Higher amperage breakers especially the medium voltage types can have lead times of 20 plus weeks.
We will also be removing ~22 GE 2000kva transformers soon. 12.47kv to 480 or 208 3 phase 4 wire. Can I put you down for a few? Got 3 utility transformers coming up. 69kv to 12.47kv any one interested? Oil samples were taken, I do not have the results yet.
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Yeppers, that stuff has a cottage industry around it. Better to pay $1000 to a rebuilder, than to pay $6,000 for a new one with a MSRP of $11,000.
If I can sell mine to a rebuilder for $200, I will be happy as a clam.
i
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for
the
they
that
the
specialize
to a

the
glad
lead
480 or

samples
The bigger the breaker the less of a muliplyer there is. All depends on the volume your doing with the supplier.

What part of the country are you in? Maybe I can give you some numbers or names that will help in the money mission. You will need to be VERY specific with these folks. Model, manufacture, frame size, trip unit/size, mounting, voltage, poles just to get started. Detailed pictures help as well.
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Agreed.
I am in Northern Illinois. I am going to unload and clean these breakers and will ptake photos. Some are 600A, some are 400A, some are motor breakers, etc.
i
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You don't mention a lot of details, but in addition to all the other comments, I would add that you have to remember not all 600A breakers are the same.
The phase-phase voltage can be different, and more importantly, the interrupting rating. Depending on the service, it may have to be able to interrupt short circuit currents in the 10kA range, or as high as 500kA. Some old units used to have sand-fuses built into them. The breaker would open for modest faults, but if the fault current was *really* high, the breaker would just arc/weld until the sand fuses blew. They had a much higher interrupt rating.
Point is, once you get larger than the average residential service panel, there is more to a breaker than just the full-load current rating. Inverse time tripping curves, Very Inverse times, high interruption ratings, even whether it's meant for AC or DC.
daestrom
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