Homeline breaker box - breakers

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djw2112

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Anyone know anything about square D Homeline breaker box's and inserting the breakers.    I was over at my new lot today to put in a outside receptical.  I got everything done but i could not get the new breaker in, no matter what i tried it would not go in.  I matched it to the 30amp that i took out and it is exactly the same.  I tried to put the old one back in but it would not go either. 

I called the hardware store that i bought it from and they said that some of them are really hard to insert and to just push hard on it.  So i did so and i pushed so hard that i broke the lower plastic resting cup/cradle where the breaker sits into on the bottom, and the back of the breaker, and sliced my hand badly.  I have never had a breaker be so hard to put back in.

I am not worried about the cradle that broke because there are two other spaces i can use.  I saw my new neighbor and ask him and he came over and tried himself.  He said he worked as a commerical electrician for 30 years, and he tried all he could and he could not get it to go in either.  He suggested i get some electical grease and try that.

The hardware store agreed to exchange the breaker i broke. 

Does anyone know why these things are so hard to get to go in. 

Here is the 15amp one just fyi   

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Square-D-Homeline-15-Amp-1-Pole-Standard-Trip-Circuit-Breaker/1111791

We even tried to push down alittle bit and then push in, and still wont go.  I even tried turning the breaker on first just in case, nope..


I found a pic that shows the plastic resting cradle that i broke.  The bottom of the breaker just sits inside this plastic piece and the top of the breaker should just slide right in, but it does not.  I broke this little plastic cradle off the bottom of the panel, if i ever need the slot ill have to do something to that slot so the breaker wont fall out of the slot i guess, but right now i dont need that slot, there are others.

I also found a picture of a panel just like mine on google pics.  The arrows point to those little plastic cradles that the breaker sits in.  Also i ask my neighbor if i had to get a ground bar for the panel since there was not one, he said no because neutral and ground are the same.  I like to have a seperate ground bar myself but i guess we dont need one.  In this picture also you can see that they dont use a separate ground bar, they just put the neutral and ground on same bar.

I think this is my panel here, it looks exactly the same on the outside with same clip on the front of the door and everything.

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Square-D-12-Circuit-6-Space-100-Amp-Main-Lug-Load-Center/3129229


The bottom one (the first one he addresses - homeline - is my breaker style exactly)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BI9OYwxQIIY


Any ideas how to get these breakers to pop in, im gonna also try to find something on youtube?  I did find a video and on the video it slid right in, maybe it being 30 degrees outside matters, i dont know.



 

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djw2112

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I got it i think, im trying to install a normal homeline breaker into a homeline tandem breaker slot.  Tomorrow ill have to confirm which busbar connector i have, i think mine has the two jaws.


See pic..

 

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kdbgoat

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You're not trying to put a Square D QO breaker in a Homeline panel are you? Or vice versa?
 

djw2112

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kdbgoat said:
You're not trying to put a Square D QO breaker in a Homeline panel are you? Or vice versa?

No i dont think so, the QO breakers have stabs on the back i believe and the panel nor the breakers im using are not set up for that.  Its cold and rainy today but asap ill go back over there and check out the bar connection to verify what it looks like.  With regards to the broken plasic rest that broke, I could just get a new panel they are only $38 and it wont take 30-40 min to replace and rewire (there is no power yet over there, no meter installed yet).  But for the breakers i want to verify if i have mixed normal and tandem bar connections.
 

Jim18655

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There should be a label in the panel listing the breaker types that will fit.
 

regval

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djw2112 said:
Also i ask my neighbor if i had to get a ground bar for the panel since there was not one, he said no because neutral and ground are the same.  I like to have a seperate ground bar myself but i guess we dont need one.  In this picture also you can see that they dont use a separate ground bar, they just put the neutral and ground on same bar.
https://www.lowes.com/pd/Square-D-12-Circuit-6-Space-100-Amp-Main-Lug-Load-Center/3129229
Just my 2 cents on the load center panel and the comments quoted above:
Observation of the photo of the internal wiring of panel shows it is wired with 240vac. There are 2 hot leads (black and red?), a black wire with a white stripe (neutral wire) and a twisted braided wire (ground) that enter the panel. The twisted braided wire is attached to a lug that is bonded to the panel metal at the rear.  The bar you refer to is a neutral bar and only neutral wires (white) should the attached. This bar is not normally electrically attached to the metal of the panel unless a bonding screw is inserted in the bar. Contrary to what your friend told you, ground and neutral are NOT the same. A separate ground bar should be installed and all of your bare copper wires should attach to this bar and the ground bar should be electrically bonded to the metal of the panel.
Also, your branch circuits appear to be wired with 12/2 wire (3 conductors-white, black, bare copper). Normally this wire type should only be used for 120vac to avoid confusion when wiring the distant outlet, however I see that on the first tandem breaker 15A/15A you have a white wire and a black wire attached, thus this will provide 240vac to the branch circuit. The same applies to the other tandem breaker. If this is what you want, I suggest you mark the white wire's outer insulation with a red permanent marker at the breaker and also at the opposite end where the white wire is attached to the outlet or plug. This will denote that the white wire is NOT being used as a neutral and is in fact a "hot" wire. Wire safely so that you protect those that may have to work on your installation. Stay safe.
 

djw2112

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Excellent info thanks regval :)  That pic of the panel internals is set up at the core just like mine, however that picture is a panel i found on google pics.  Mine has the main from the bottom and then two other circuts only (one from top left and one from bottom right knockouts).  It was rainy today but as soon as the rain lets up in a day or so ill go get a pic of my actual panel internals (sorry about that).

I have decided to go ahead and replace the panel with a new one since it is only $38.  I figured even though now i can just use another slot since the one plastic breaker foot is broken on 1 slot, what if i need that slot later and have to replace the panel down the road.  When that happens ill need to have the elect co remove my meter to shut off the power and that is a huge pain.  So its better to replace the panel now when there is no meter and no power installed yet.

While i am there picking up the panel i will take my current breakers with me and make sure they fit and have someone show me why if they dont.  Should be pretty simple to switch out out the box. While i am there i need to pick up any supplies i may need.

Question:  Is there a special metal wire crimp-on that i can use on the stranded wire so that it does not flatten out?  I know there are stranded lugs you can get and put the stranded wire in a lug first and then attach it to the bar.  But it would be nice to just have some kind of little crimp on metal thing-a-bob to put on the wire and then tighten the bar screw on that.  The best example i can think of is like a lead weight for a fishing line, just squeeze it on with plyers (of course i would never use that). 

Is there anything like that specifically for stranded wire and panel applications?  If so i dont know the technical name.

Also when i get my grounding bar i believe it just gets mounted on the left side of the panel using the holes provided in the panel?

 

Lou Schneider

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Neutral and ground are bonded together at the Main Service panel.  This may be the only panel in a house, in a campground it's the first panel after the main electric meter.  You can use a panel with a combined ground and neutral buss here, and the buss will be bonded to the case.

Any panel downstream from the Main Panel is a subpanel, and Neutral and Ground must be kept seperate.  This includes the panel in an RV, since when it's plugged into park power it's downstream of the park's Main Panel.

If you install a ground buss in your panel, make sure the neutral buss is isolated from the metal case.  It should be on insulated standoffs and any bonding screw connecting it to the case must be removed.
 

regval

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As Lou pointed out, bonding the neutral and ground is required on a main entrance panel which is usually the first panel downstream from the power company's meter. Any additional panels fed from the main panel are sub-panels.
I assumed the photo of the panel you attached was a sub-panel and thus the reasons for my comment regarding not bonding the ground wires and neutrals together.
If you're installing a "main" panel, then you can attach your neutral wires to the ground bus bar.
Regarding your question on the braided ground wire, just twist it tightly so it appears to be one solid wire and insert it into the lug, no additional clamp is needed. Also, if your large entrance conductors are aluminum wire, including the ground braid, be sure to apply some noalox paste to the wire before inserting into the attachment lugs. Noalox will prevent oxidation of the dissimilar metals (steel and aluminum).
 

djw2112

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Awesome that explains why it is the way it is guys.  Now i understand and i will certainly do that.  Ill put some Noalox on the list just in case, it cant be that much and i might need it someday.  And yes this is the first panel after the meter.  The meter sits on meter combo mounting bar with the other meters of my little section.  Looks like there is room for 4 meters on the cross bar. 

I did call for the dig locator service just in case i did my fence early, but the electric company did nothing,  I suspect the reason is is because there is no power yet, and again i suspect when i get the power turned on then i can ask them to do the location markings at the same time.  The meter is about 100 ft away from the main panel.

This is really great thank all of you so much :)

 

djw2112

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I got my new panel today at lowes, looks like the issue with the breakers was not my or the hardware stores fault.  Spoke with an electrician at lowes and he said the issue is that the person that put the old 30amp breaker in rigged the wrong breaker to work by making a slot in the back of the GE breaker with a screwdriver.  See pics..  He said this is common practice for those that are not picky about being professional and especially in an rural area with little to no code enforcement.  So the reason that the breaker that was sold to me did not fit is because it did not have a slot in the back.  It should have been a square D breaker with the square D logo on the breaker.  Again see pic.

Question: Right now on the original panel installed,  the main breaker (double pole)  is in the next to last slot 4&5.  When i replace the panel today does it matter where the main breaker is?  Can i put it in slot 1&2 instead of 4&5  Its just i always like to have the main breaker either on the far left or right (or top ) of a panel.

I have included a pic of the panel i bought today.  I was also wondering which is a better screw for mounting the panel, a strong coated screw or one with a gasket on it? I also wonder if they had the main breaker in the wrong place in 4&5 slots.

Thanks



 

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SeilerBird

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djw2112 said:
Question: Right now on the original panel installed,  the main breaker (double pole)  is in the next to last slot 4&5.  When i replace the panel today does it matter where the main breaker is?  Can i put it in slot 1&2 instead of 4&5  Its just i always like to have the main breaker either on the far left or right (or top ) of a panel.

I have included a pic of the panel i bought today.  I was also wondering which is a better screw for mounting the panel, a strong coated screw or one with a gasket on it? I also wonder if they had the main breaker in the wrong place in 4&5 slots.

Thanks
You can install the main breaker in any two spots in the panel. I am a retired union electrician and you have gotten some excellent advice above. I don't think the screw choice makes a difference.
 

djw2112

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Thanks SeilerBird :)    I think the main in the old panel is a 100amp breaker,  should i only go with 70amp to stay within the 80 percent safe range.  It would be nice to use the whole 100a if needed but if i cant then i understand.  Also what about adding a weep hole in the bottom in case water does get into the box it will just drip out the bottom.  Can i use the anti oxidation product on both types of wire on the main lugs or just the non copper?
 

Bob T

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If you have purchased exactly the same panel that is installed in your rv, wondering why you would change whole thing and not just panel guts?
Would be much easier.
 

djw2112

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Bob T said:
If you have purchased exactly the same panel that is installed in your rv, wondering why you would change whole thing and not just panel guts?
Would be much easier.

Sorry for the confusion Bob, this is not in the RV this is an external panel on a lot i purchased.  :)
 

Bob T

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To me, that wouldn?t be any different, probably even make it easier.
When I was on the tools, I did many jobs where I just changed out the guts due to broken, corroded, burnt, damaged interriors.
Using the same tub (depending on it?s condition) makes the job much easier and faster.
Just a thought.  ?
Whichever you decide, good luck. ?
 

djw2112

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Bob T said:
To me, that wouldn?t be any different, probably even make it easier.
When I was on the tools, I did many jobs where I just changed out the guts due to broken, corroded, burnt, damaged interriors.
Using the same tub (depending on it?s condition) makes the job much easier and faster.
Just a thought.  ?
Whichever you decide, good luck. ?

Agreed but in this case i could not find a kit for the guts (all i needed was the little plastic foot that broke).  And with it being only $38, the guts would probably be as much if not more than the new panel.  If it was a large panel with tons of wiring, yeah it would make much better sense to get the guts if found.  But with only 3 circuts on this little box, it will be easy to change out. 

That is if i can manage to get my butt up early enough in the day to do it, i slept late again today lol  So ill try for tomorrow. 
 

djw2112

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I finally got the box in yesterday, ill share some pics sometime today or tomorrow. 

The lot has one of those inground sewer pumps and stupid me i thought the breaker said 30 only.  But when i looked closer yesterday it said 30 both poles (double pole breaker) i am finding it hard to believe that I can power my whole RV with 30amps but a sewer pump takes 60amps to work.  This really screws me because i was planning to use the other 30 amp for my shed. 

But now i am over by 5 amps  (30 RV, 60 Sewer pump, 15 outside receptacle)  105 amps total.  So now i have to trim some amps.

Question: can i get by on a 10 amp breaker for my outside receptable?  I am just going to be running a lawn blower or something small, all of my other hand tools are cordless.

That still screws me on the shed power.  Another question:  what would it take to go to 150 amps from the power company?  Right now there are 3 (4 guage might be 3) wires out of the ground,  two black and one black with yellow stripe.  Is it just a case of the power company using a 150 amp meter rather than a 100 amp meter?  I know i would prob have to change panesl but i am just curious.

 

SeilerBird

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You have nothing to worry about. If you have a 100 amp panel you don't have to limit it to 100 amps worth of breakers. You can go way over that amount. None of those items draw anywhere near their maximum current draw except occasionally, and never all at once. I live in a 50 amp fiver and my breakers total about 200 amps.
 

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