Which Brand Electrical Panel?

Page 1 of 2  
I went to the Borg today to look at Load Centers, it seems they carry three brands: SquareD HomeLine, SquareD QO, and Murray. In 125A 12/24 Indoor Main Breaker panels, they have a Murray at $30 and a SquareD QO at $50. Is the SquareD QO better? Is Murray better than Homeline? I've seen some posts in the archives that indicate a preference for SquareD QO, but only in passing, without much explanation.
Thanks, Wayne
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Wayne, I don't trust the SquareD Homeline only because they came out with it to sell to the likes of homecenters. How is it a company can put out a line of circuit breakers and panels which beat the cost of the regular stuff they've been selling for years by more than 50% is beyond me.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
A guy in the electrical dept. of a HD store where we used to live told me that SquareD should be ashamed to put their name on the HomeLine series.
MB
On 02/25/04 05:27 pm HA HA Budys Here put fingers to keyboard and launched the following message into cyberspace:<br>

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Wayne Whitney wrote:

I like GE panels; they can take either 1 inch or 1/2 inch breakers, and the 1/2" are available up to about 40A. But they gotten hard to find lately, so I might use a QO panel now because they've been around a long time and also use 1/2" breakers.
I have a Homeline panel in my garage and have had no problems with it, but I don't really like the terminals on the 15A and 20A one-inch breakers (designed to take 2 wires instead of just one, but don't take them very well.)
Cuttler Hammer breakers (or GE 1" breakers) should fit in a Homeline box, but I doubt either is UL/CSA listed for that.
Best regards, Bob
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

This is Turtle.
I have watched breaker for 40 something years being changed out because of these things -- burnt up / trouble with / trashy brand wars and came up with this thought as of the year 2004 , but tomorrow morning the thought might change.
The original Square D QO are the best breaker for duriability for the long haul and if I wanted quality in a breaker to maybe go 40 years before it burning up or have trouble with it. it would be the Square D QO brand and not Square D Home. Square D just started making breaker to compete with the cheap-o Trash brands out there. In my thoughts and what i use to replace hvac system power supply service with is : If you don't want to come back 5 or 10 years from now and start working on it or replacing breaker. Buy the Square D -- QO boxes and breakers. if you don't mine having a few breakers changed out or a buss bar burn off in 10 to 15 years from now. Buy you any brand that you listed here for they are all just about in the same boat on in cheap-o area. If i was going to have to pick out of the Cheap-o brands, i might pick Siemen's brand for they might be a little bit better than the whole cheap-o pack now days.
Now draw backs of the brands.
Square D -- QO is a very good breaker but they are about 50% higher than the rest of the brands. The 50% high just seem a good bit to accept for Quality if you only wanted something to go 10 or 15 years before you move out of a house. If you want it to work good till your dead & gone, bite the bullet and go Square D -- QO.
I changed out my electric service completely to 200 amp service this last years and the cost of using Square D -- QO would be $518.00 and with Siemen's brand it was $291.00. Yes , i took the cheap-o rought because I will probley sell this house in the near furture and just give that extra $200.00 buck to my Kids. If i was going to keep this house till I die. I would have use Square D - QO. The real cost of the Square D comes in the breaker cost and not the box cost. Oh, Yea the cost of the complete change out might look kind of cheap but i have a Electrician who works for me in my HVAC business and he gives me a break on stuff done privately, but i buy the equipment at Commercially Warehouses. I changed out 200 Amp Switch box , All Power Main service wire , Pecker Head , Meter pan , Pecker Head Conduit, and added 3 new circuits to be used in the furture for the things I forgot about having power for.
So Use Square D QO if cost is not a factor. If Cost is a factor use the other Brands out there for it will be a long time before you see the trouble.
TURTLE
--
Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com ).
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

It's truly amazing watching the various breaker brands come and go over the years, isn't it?

Square D Q0 has the best reputation, and perhaps the greatest brand longevity (tho Cutler Hammer is probably also in the running).
Ironically, the only breaker I've ever had fail on me was a Square D Q0.
[Which is doubly ironic, because there's only 6 of them in the house - cooktop/wall oven distribution panel. The fully stuffed 200A main, small 100A subpanel are Sylvania/GTE/Commander, and a quite stuffed 100A subpanel in the garage is Siemens.]

Turtle's point is worth emphasizing more (and why I'm following up here).
The "other brands" may well be many times worse than Square D, but the vast majority of homeowners would still go a lifetime without seeing any trouble with any brand.
My own experience shows that Square D Q0 doesn't guarantee you freedom from problems either.
That being said, avoid Federal. Unlike any other breaker I've ever heard of, the US version of these appeared to have a significant number of "failure to trip" (hence the nickname "Federal No blows"), which apparently has resulted in a significant number of house fires.
I believe Federal is out of business in the States (most breaker types are quite expensive due to rarity), but you never know what might pop up. [My father in law is partial to picking up breaker panels from auctions and flea markets.]
The Canadian Federal Pioneer breaker brand is still very available, but as I understand it, there's not been any trouble with them. These panels are "wierd" (the one I stuffed doesn't alternate legs, hence 240V circuits require you to pay careful attention to buss bar stud layout). I'll never install one of those again. FPE GFCIs are a truly frightful cost.
I'm partial to Siemens now. They seem to be in for the long haul, they're easy to find, and have a lot of different combinations. Generally a more modern device than some of the others.
Sylvania/GTE/Commander breakers/panels are still available, but some of the less common combinations (eg: larger dual breakers) are hard to find and very expensive (a 100A dual is well over $100 CDN, fortunately, my electrician friend happened to have a spare he gave me for free when we installed the garage subpanel). I'd not install a new one of these either.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It's not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 25 Feb 2004 22:18:32 GMT, Wayne Whitney

FWIW, all 4 off the air conditioning contractors I had bid on installing air in my house recommended Square D QO when I told them I would be replacing my old Pushmatic load center before having the air put in.
They claimed the main buss bars that distribute the power to the breakers is heavier duty and is plated to resist corrosion, and that the clamps on the breakers that engage the bus are stronger and make and keep a better connection. One explained that they see less blinking of lights when the air conditioning compressors kick in because of the heavier buss.
Having installed the QO load center now, I believe I got good advice. With the old panel, I could tell anywhere in the house when the well pump kicked in because the lights would blink. This despite having moved the well breaker to the closest slot to the main, and torquing everything to spec, including the main feed. With the new QO panel, no more blinking lights.
YMMV,
Paul
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

This is Turtle.
You can make that 5 Air conditioning Contractors that toll you Square QO was the better of all breakers , but i did not bid on your job. The Square D QO does have heavier clips on the breaker and the buss bar is really made of good metal. You have to pay a little more these days for something that will hold up Better under bad conditions. Now you can have trouble out of anything these days but i would have to say i would bet on Square D -- QO but a lot of other brands will hold up fairly , too.
TURTLE
--
Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com ).
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped

they are absolutely wrong... There is not a manufacture that puts in a micron more metal than they have to according to their UL listing. All of the 100-200 amp panels have exactly the same amount of conducting metal. The arrangement of the bussing is slightly different. According to the spacing of the breakers. In all reality the only difference is the color of the gray paint and the way the breakers look.
I was in Hawaii and was told by a contractor that they used C-H exclusively. Only because the cans did not rust as bad because of the salt air. C-H has an all in one with 42 circuit capability with out using twins.
The difference is in the guy that does the job. No where else. If the lights are blinking then there is either a loose connection,, see the guy that installed it. Or there is a voltage drop, again see the guy that installed it first. Rarely will the voltage drop come from the Utility.
Buy the one that you can get the best deal on. I have installed Murry, Crouse-Hinds, Square D, GE, and C-H. There ain't spit difference in any of them.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

this is turtle.
He He he he , That was a good one. What you need to do is get a Square D QO breaker and turn it over and look at the clips that grab the buss bar. then turn a G/E over and look at the clips that grab the buss bar. The G/E has mickey Mouse clips and Square D - QO has heavy metal clips. Post back after you have looked at them.
TURTLE
--
Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com ).
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote in message

While what you says is true (and the Cutler-Hammer CH types are good too), this will not affect blinking lights unless the lights and the heavy load are both connected to the same breaker. Think about it -- a poor breaker connection to the bus only lowers voltage to that breaker. The bus voltage doesn't drop at all. Different circuits get the full bus voltage applied to each of their breakers.
You get dimming lights from items on different circuits because the transformer can't keep up, your service wires are poorly terminated, or the service wires are undersized (too long). A little light dimming is perfectly normal in many cases.
-- Mark Kent, WA
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

True. And regardless of transformer output, service drop cable length or size, and panel brand or style, everyone will experience a voltage "dip" to some degree when larger motor loads are switched on.
It's not a perfect world but it's certianly adequate...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@aol.com says...

Why is that true, though? I experience this right now with a 400-amp service (two 200-amp panels), even though my A/C's LRA rating is 150. The power company even put me on my own secondary and that didn't help.
--
Jay Levitt |
Wellesley, MA | Hi!
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Because perfection costs ten times more than adequate.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
says...

This is Turtle.
Check you Buss Bar connection for a Burnt or burning clip where they tie on to the breaker.
TURTLE
--
Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com ).
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
says...

My old 200A service with #2-2-4 Al triplex on a 10 KVA transformer did this, and I replaced it all. I now have my own 50 KVA transformer, 400A service (two 200A panels like you), and 1/0 Al triplex about 110' long. And my lights still dim (although for a much shorter time)!
I think the answer is the huge startup requirements of motors is going to cause a voltage drop no matter what size cable you use. This will blink the lights. I notice this most with 120V motors. I blame the 1/0 triplex for my dimming, but I think I'd still see it with 4/0 triplex. I was hoping for a larger service cable, as the voltage drop in 1/0 can be substantial when you have 300A going through it. But there are reasons the power company won't give you larger wire:
weight of the cable cost of the cable the AIC rating of your service could be exceeded
-- Mark Kent, WA
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
says...

But I thought that the whole meaning of "locked rotor amps" is the maximum current requirements of the thing at startup. So if my A/C is rated at 150 LRA, and I have a 400 amp service, unless I'm using 250 amps of current elsewhere - and I'm not - I should be fine. No?
--
Jay Levitt |
Wellesley, MA | Hi!
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

This is Turtle.
You can have 1,000 Amp service panel and if you draw 20 amps with "" too small of wire"" . the lights will blink, The wire becomes a load and the L.R.A. will go to the moon when it starts. All wire has to match the service panel and the load of each piece of equipment.
TURTLE
--
Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com ).
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@worldnetla.net says...

Ah hah! Let me repeat that back to you and make sure I am understanding: even if the service itself has proper wire gauge for 400A, if the *line to the compressor* isn't big enough for 150A, the wire essentially becomes part of the load, and that whole circuit draws far more than 150A, thus propagating a voltage drop back to the main service and making everything dim. Yes?
--
Jay Levitt |
Wellesley, MA | Hi!
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I don't think a motor-only circuit can exceed LRA. LRA is worst case, even from undervoltage due to undersized wire. A motor can certainly (greatly) exceed rated current due to undervoltage however.
The fact of the matter is that lights dim whenever _anything_ turns on. Simple V=IR. The question is to degree. You can reduce it, hopefully below noticability by proper design (ie: wire sizing and circuit distribution) and workmanship. But sometimes that may be at a prohibitive cost.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It's not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.