Best and Worst brands of Circuit Breakers

I have heard repeatedly that Federal Pacific (FPE) breaker panels are dangerous and they should be replaced. There was also a Zinsco or GTE-Sylvania, both of which were dangerous and are no longer made. (I've never seen these two brands) But what about other brands? Are any others considered to be poor or bad? Is there a "best" brand, or are all the other brands about the same?
This is probably not a complete list of brands, but I regularly see Square D (QO series) Homeline (made by Square D) General Electric Cutler Hammer Westinghouse
Others I dont regularly see are Siemens Eaton
What I see most are Square D, Homeline, GE, and Cutler Hammer, but that might just be a regional thing.
What else is there? Are all of these common brands equal, or are some better or worse?
I'm asking this because I have numerous panels on my farm in different buildings. I have Square D, Homeline, and Cutler Hammer. Unfortunately I also have a FPE panel, which has never been a problem, but based on poor reports, I intend to replace it soon. (I'm considering keeping the metal enclosure and just replacing the innards, if I can make them fit, to eliminate the hassle of ripping out walls, making the steel service entrance conduit fit, and so on.....). But that may or may not be possible, since the cover needs to fit the breakers!
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On Mon, 14 Nov 2016 15:19:31 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@unlisted.moo wrote:

Cuttler Hammer (Challenger) makes retro fit kits listed for a number of existing enclosures. The breaker with the worst reputation is the FPE stab locks. I know CPSC was all over them but I am not sure U/L ever tried to pull the listing. The same situation exists with the Ideal 65 wire nut.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com says...

Had to look up the Ideal 65 wire nut. See why it should not be used. That aluminum wiring for circuits in the house has burnt down many of them.
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On Mon, 14 Nov 2016 16:55:58 -0500, Ralph Mowery

There was a lot of bad workmanship when they were installing aluminum. The houses that were going to burn down already have for the most part. There are still millions running just fine. The Ideal 65 was caught up in that hysteria. The thing that shocks people is that aluminum wire is still legal and could be installed today if you used AA-8000 alloy wire and CU/AL identified devices (CO-AL/r)
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com says...

better to prevent movement during transport. As I recall, copper clad aluminum Romex hit the market during those days and I remember encountering my first roll of copper clad aluminum thermostat wire. I picked it up and it almost flew out of my hands because it was so light. The last Ethernet installation I was involved with was where me and the guys were using copper clad aluminum Cat5e cable. Me and Penguin had no problem with the wire but Stinky kept breaking it because he was too vigorous with his use of the punch down tool. ?(?)?

A few months back I ordered some # 10 and # 14 wire off ebay. It was twin wire one red and one black for low voltage. That stuff was copper coated aluminum wire. Not sure why they would make wire like that unless it was less expensive. Looking back if you read the fine print it tells that.
I know they make some coax cable wiring with copper coated aluminum. As mose of the radio waves tend to travel on the outside of the conductor this is fine electriclly. Infact some of the very large cables use a hollow tube for the center conductor.
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On Tue, 15 Nov 2016 08:39:24 -0500, Ralph Mowery

Yea, a lot of the trailer homes in the 70s had alum wiring, later replaced by copper clad aluminum, which was supposed to be a lot safer. (I always wondered how that did not corrode from dialectric corrosion). I agree that the movement from transporting those homes added to poor connections.
A few years ago, I helped a guy demolish a trailer. Besides getting paid, the guy told em I could have the wiring as a bonus, (to sell for scrap copper). But I was sure it was alum wire, because the outer coating was black, and rather than a white and black wire, it had white and a light brown (or tan). I looked at the printing on the cable and it's a Phelps Dodge type NM 14-2 W ground. Type PD-X. I cut it and it is solid copper. I googled it and never found that exact type listed, but it appears to be some sort of fireproof insulation (I think). Most if it was in good shape, so I saved the longer pieces to reuse in my sheds or whatever. But it really looks goofy without a black wire.... I can only guess they did that because of the black outer coating, so it's easier to see the inner wires when stripping it.
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On Mon, 14 Nov 2016 16:40:00 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Is there some place to locate these Cutler Hammer retro-fit kits? (as in website, or by phone). It would be a lot easier to just change the innards. The box itself dont matter, it's just a metal box.
What is wrong with Ideal 65 wirenuts? I never heard anything about that. Can you shed more light on this. I've always used whatever wirenut came my way, thinking they were all the same on the inside, just looked a little different on the outside....
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snipped-for-privacy@unlisted.moo says...

From what I get out of them it is they are rated to be used with aluminum wiring and contain a substance that is flamable.
Look here:
http://www.alwirerepair.com/photo-gallery/burned-purples
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On Mon, 14 Nov 2016 17:25:13 -0500, Ralph Mowery

If you do not install them right, the yellow ones burn up too ... on copper wire.
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On Mon, 14 Nov 2016 17:25:13 -0500, Ralph Mowery

Aluminum wiring a total garbage and should have never been allowed. Putting a flammable material in the wirenuts is worse yet. I have never seen the purple ones though.
Back in the 70's I was doing handyman work, which meant almost anything and everything. A guy lived in a trailer house with Alum wire and he plugged in an electric space heater. Luckily he was home watching tv in his living room, when that outlet started on fire right next to his couch. He said he smelled smoke, then the tv went off. Moments later he saw flames coming from the wood panelling around that outlet next to the couch. (where heater was plugged in). He shut off the power and threw water on the flames, and made out the fire. He called me to fix the damage, which meant rewiring that outlet, and repairing the wall.
To rewire would have meant ripping the whole trailer apart, so we decided to just run EMT conduit on the wall surface above the baseboard from the breaker box to that outlet, and the next one on that circuit. That just fixed that outlet and I warned the guy about the other outlets having their alum wire. Rewiring was not an option because the entire trailer would need to be torn apart. Thats when I found that they made special outlets and switches for alum wire, that were safe. They cost around $8 each, which in the 70s was pretty expensive. But another fire was not an option either, so he paid close to $200 just for these materials, and I changed every outlet and switch in the whole trailer, and inspected every light fixture and other stuff. He never had another problem with his wiring.
I cant believe they still allow alum wiring. It's just not safe!!!!
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On Mon, 14 Nov 2016 20:40:26 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@unlisted.moo wrote:

Perhaps you should actually listen to engineers who have investigated the problems and what was done to fix it. It is not likely we will see 15 and 20a circuits run in aluminum any time soon but 8ga and larger is very common. You also are served by aluminum from the utility.
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