Best residential load center

ptonsparky

Senior Member
Location
NE (9.06 miles @5.9 Degrees from Winged Horses)
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
We’ve replaced QO loadcenters similar to the damage shown. Ours were on grain bins and I suspect the vibrations of the fans complimented the failures along with the moisture and dirt.

CH then QO would be my preferred followed by the CH BR and Homeline for dollar conscious projects. CH has been consistently available in the area throughout my business years.
 

peter d

Senior Member
Location
New England
I can't stand Square D QO for several reasons. The bus/breaker connection is not good because the metal clip on the breaker loosens up over time and makes a poor connection. It's very common to be able to pull a QO breaker off the buss with barely any force, and sometimes if you're working in a panel you can accidentally dislodge an adjacent breaker because it's so loose. I hate the stacked neutral bar. The size of the AFCI's is ridiculous (this applies to Homeline as well.) Also, the terminals on the AFCI's are a joke. Square D needs to seriously look into redesigning their AFCI breakers to catch up to their competitors with normal sized breakers. I would still use a Homeline as long as no AFCI's are required for the aforementioned reason but these days I steer clear of Square D. I would not ever recommend a QO panel to anyone, for any reason.

My new personal favorite is Eaton Cutler Hammer BR (and sometimes CH). Now that Eaton has a plug on neutal with a normal sized AFCI breaker, they are the clear winner. I don't use GE but would be fine with them, since their regular AFCI's do not include GFPE.
 

norcal

Senior Member
I still consider the BR line Zinsco II, when Westinghouse bought Challenger, their loadcenters became the BR panels, and the BR breakers were listed and branded for Challenger, plus used Zinsco mains in 150A plus main breaker panels, so Challenger, and Westinghouse BR, were the same, when Eaton took over the Zinsco mains went away, but being advertised as "Engineered Value" is just newspeak for cheap. I prefer CH loadcenters, they are the last quality residential/light commercial panel, 2nd choice is Siemens, 3rd would be QO, after that, anything but a Zinsco II. After the end of Zinsco/Sylvania/Challenger somebody has to be at the bottom, Eaton BR fits it well as the garbage line.
 

peter d

Senior Member
Location
New England
I still consider the BR line Zinsco II, when Westinghouse bought Challenger, their loadcenters became the BR panels, and the BR breakers were listed and branded for Challenger, plus used Zinsco mains in 150A plus main breaker panels, so Challenger, and Westinghouse BR, were the same, when Eaton took over the Zinsco mains went away, but being advertised as "Engineered Value" is just newspeak for cheap. I prefer CH loadcenters, they are the last quality residential/light commercial panel, 2nd choice is Siemens, 3rd would be QO, after that, anything but a Zinsco II. After the end of Zinsco/Sylvania/Challenger somebody has to be at the bottom, Eaton BR fits it well as the garbage line.
:roll::roll:

There are literally billions of 1" plug on loadcenters in this country, none of them I would consider true garbage. They serve the purpose for the residential market, which is huge. Any trace of Zinsco influence is long gone with the Cutler Hammer products now.
 

peter d

Senior Member
Location
New England
But Pete the GFPE function of the Arc Fault breaker is probably going to be the only part of the whole system that may actually work.
I certainly understand that. But what is worse - lack of GFPE, or losing untold money from callbacks? The contractor I worked for certainly lost a lot of money over the years from nuisance tripping AFCI's. And besides, the GE AFCI is still UL listed. :roll:
 

growler

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,GA
:roll::roll:

There are literally billions of 1" plug on loadcenters in this country, none of them I would consider true garbage. They serve the purpose for the residential market, which is huge.
How many panels have you ever changed out that are not at least 30 years old and more likely over 40 ?

For many years a lot of jurisdictions didn't even require a permit to change out a panel because it was considered normal maintenance . With a new panel and all new breakers you could be pretty darn sure it would work as designed. All the connection are now tight and probably good for another 30 to 40 years.
 

peter d

Senior Member
Location
New England
How many panels have you ever changed out that are not at least 30 years old and more likely over 40 ?

For many years a lot of jurisdictions didn't even require a permit to change out a panel because it was considered normal maintenance . With a new panel and all new breakers you could be pretty darn sure it would work as designed. All the connection are now tight and probably good for another 30 to 40 years.
I'm not sure I get your point. I'm all for changing out old panels. I'm simply saying other than truly bad designs like Zinsco and FPE, the regular 1" plug on loadcenter is a good, reliable product that is time tested and proven, even if it's considered a "cheap" brand.
 

curt swartz

Electrical Contractor - San Jose, CA
Location
San Jose, CA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
IEM using GE, or Eaton/ C-H guts? Seen them with both.
IEM manufactures their own guts. Much more robust than anything Eaton/SquareD/Siemens/GE.
They do use GE breakers as a standard but you can specify Eaton. For a short while they were using Siemens.

A few years back I walked though a major school remodel near my house. All new panelboards were IEM with GE breakers but all the switchgear had SquareD breakers.
 

mbrooke

Batteries Not Included
Location
United States
Occupation
*
:roll::roll:

There are literally billions of 1" plug on loadcenters in this country, none of them I would consider true garbage. They serve the purpose for the residential market, which is huge. Any trace of Zinsco influence is long gone with the Cutler Hammer products now.
Have you seen Millbank meter mains along with certain Siemens meter mains?
 

peter d

Senior Member
Location
New England
I have not seen any failures due to the Zinsco-ness of the Milbank main breaker. Do you suppose they worked the bugs out of it by now, 50 years or more later?
I'd say so, Milbank makes excellent equipment and there's no way they would put a substandard breaker in their meter main products. IIRC Milbank actually bought Unicorn which had some relation to Zinsco, and that's where Milbank got their main breaker line.
 
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