On Mon, 24 Oct 2005 19:04:38 -0000, email@example.com (Chris
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!"
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
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
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
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
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>
| 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?
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.
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.
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
If I can sell mine to a rebuilder for $200, I will be happy as a clam.
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.
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 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.
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