If you mean are all circuit breakers interchangeable, the answer is
"no", even all amongst the same vendor.
If you mean are there at least some non-OEM-manufactured breakers to fit
at least some panels, the answer is "yes".
The panel will list the series of breaker(s) approved for it; look for
one that is on that list.
Cuttler Hammer makes classified breakers for SqD QO or Homeline
SqD says they are illegal, U/L says they are OK. Inspectors are split
Best to buy the breaker from the manufacturer that goes in that panel.
They are available.
I agree that it is best to stay with the same company.
Almost any comapny is going to say to stay with their type as a liability
I was in a sells pitch on some industrial square D equipment and the
salesman was saying one thing, but the manual said something else. You have
to stay with the printed word for the lawyers.
If they're UL rated for the application, they're UL rated whoever is the
Of course any manufacturer is going to want to sell their product over
the competitor's. Whether there's any advantage to the consumer is
another issue entirely... :)
So we mark you down as being OK with a classified breaker (made by one
company but "classified" by U/L to go in another manufacturer's
The guy on the other side would say the manufacturer's installation
instructions say you have to use their breakers so it is a 110.3(B)
violation (not following the Mfg instructions)
*I was in the supply house last week when a guy came in looking for Murray
circuit breakers. They don't sell Murray, but they carry Siemens which
makes Murray and the breakers are identical down to the type and listing.
The guy asked me where he could get Murray and I told him that Home Depot
carried them. I also told him that Siemens was approved for Murray panels.
He said that he put Siemens breakers in, but the inspector insisted on
Murray and would not approve the job unless they were changed. The guy
wasn't an electrician so I suspect that there were other issues going on and
the inspector was driving home a point.
I've never seen a QO breaker made by Cutler-Hammer. The Homeline panel
labels that I have read have only had approval for Homeline breakers.
On Tuesday, 9 October 2012 09:27:31 UTC-4, John G wrote:
Likewise, my local electrical supply place offered me an in-stock alternative to
a Siemens Q-series breaker but asked me if it was going to be inspected. They
say they're identical but some inspectors won't pass them if they notice.
It's the "per manufacturer's instructions" catch.
The QO panels will only have approval for SquareD QO breakers. SquareD
takes great exception to using classified breakers in its panels. No
manufacturer will have classified breakers on their panel labels because
that manufacturer has not tested the classified breakers.
CH product info for CH classified breakers (625kB pdf):
On Tue, 9 Oct 2012 09:27:22 -0400, "John Grabowski"
Look at the CHQ series
Like I said, you can find inspectors on both sides of this issue. Some
say that if it is OK with U/L:it is OK with them. Others say the
manufacturer's label rules.
CH went so far as to come out with a label of their own that you put
in the panel when you use their breaker with the U/L approval number.
*Thanks for the info Gfretwell. I wonder how many supply houses stock them?
On Tue, 9 Oct 2012 13:43:14 -0400, "John Grabowski"
I bet that depends on whether your AHJ agrees with U/L or SqD.
It is really fun to be in an inspector meeting with a SqD rep and a
C/H or U/L rep when someone asks about classified breakers.
The room usually divides about equally.
*Square D and Cutler-Hammer each have two styles of panels for the
Square D QO panels will only physically accept type QO breakers (1/2"
Square D Homeline panels are only approved for Homeline breakers (1" width).
Cutler-Hammer CH panels will only physically accept type CH breakers (Tan
Cutler-Hammer BR panels are approved for type BR breakers which are also
made by Siemens.
As someone else said, it is best to read the label on the panel cover or
inside of the panel to see what the panel is approved for.
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