I am looking for any feedback on a subpanel that you have found to be
(A) Easy to wire. It is easy to get wires into the box
(B) I can put a main breaker (I want to breaker the subpanel for 40 amp)
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Your best, easiest and cheapest bet would be ANY typical standard 100a panel
with main. Remove the included 100a main and replace with a 2-pole 40a breaker.
Also purchase the isolated ground bar, unless the panel you choose has a
"double" neutral buss bar which can be split into 2, (a seperate neutral bar
and a ground bar) by removing a metal "bridge" factory installed to connect the
If you use the proper listed clips you can "backfeed" a breaker in virtually
any panel, creating a main. You might have a problem finding a 40a replacement
for the larger "service rated" main in a 100a panel.
How many circuits do you need? If it's six of less (and a 2-pole
breaker counts as one circuit), you don't need a main.
If you want or need a main breaker, get a 100A main-breaker load center
and just leave the 100A main installed and use a 40A breaker at the
service panel to limit the current to 40A. You be using the subpanel's
main breaker just as a disconnect; it won't ever trip unless there's a
dead short, but the 40A breaker in the service panel will give you your
40A overcurrent protection. It'll probably cost about $60
You might want to check out Square D's QO main lug panel with 8 spaces.
About $30 at Home Depot. You can bolt your 40A breaker in the first 2
spaces and label it for a main disconnect. That would give you 6 spaces
remaining, in a nice compact box.
I have one of those feeding our cooktop.
Over the 10 years we've lived there, two of the four breakers have
died for no apparent reason. They're the ONLY breakers I've ever
seen fail (and for a DIY, I've worked with/installed/repaired a LOT of
wiring and a lot of different breaker brands).
One element on the cooktop would be on and working normally,
there'd be a click, and it'd be impossible to get the breaker
to reset. Even after removal.[+]
I very much doubt that they tripped on an overload.
It's as if the "armed" detent simply decided to fall off under
conditions of moderate load - it wouldn't latch in place.
The location it's installed in is clean and dry - no rust,
condensation or other gunk, doesn't get hot. The only
"environmental" is the vibration from the down vent.
The breakers have never actuated at any other time, so it's not
as if they're worn out. At "best" they're acting as one-time
If a third one dies, I'm replacing the panel.
[+] I took the dead breaker in to the local HD to make sure I got
exactly the right replacement. The master electrician we have at
our local HD didn't believe it either, and tried to reset the dead
one too. He had just as much luck as I had - none. Yeah, we both
read the reset instructions ;-)
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It's not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
I doubt the problem is that innoccolous. (sp)
Since the manufacturing was all shipped down to Mexico, the quality control is
out the window. In addition, their "homeowner special" line is, IMHO, crap. I
can't and won't trust breakers left out on a shelf and handled (possibly
dropped) by the uncaring public and employees with little or no hope of a
There should be no such thing as "grade B" fittings, breakers or panels. Iv'e
even noticed sometimes their NM cable is an off-color for something that's
supposed to be solid copper, and know quite a few people who refuse to buy
their wire there.
That's interesting... I though all breakers were about the same, and
the main difference was the mechanical and electrical connection they
make to the panel. I like QO's because they snap very securely to the
copper bus -- and I assumed the breakers were as good as any.
I've had no problems with my GE panel, which is mostly populated with
1/2" breakers. I've also had no problems with a SqD Homeline panel (but
I don't think I'd install another because I didn't know when I bought it
that they have aluminum bus bars.) Both panels and most of the breakers
are over 10 years old. A few of them have tripped once or twice when I
shorted out or overloaded the circuits.
If any of the Homeline breakers go out, I'll probably replace them with
Siemens, even if SqD doesn't like it.
Does SqD make QO breakers with a 22KVA rating instead of the usual
10KVA? (You certainly won't find them at Home Depot or Lowes.) That
might be better than replacing the whole panel.
Murray (by Siemens)
buy a Murray small main panel, they are designed to be converted to a
Isolated bars which can be relocated to different locations within the box.
more knock-outs on back,sides,top & bottom
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