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#197886 - 12/26/10 11:01 AM Panelboard vs. Loadcenter
cgw Offline

Registered: 07/29/04
Posts: 133
Loc: Rochester NY
What do you think of using a load center in lieu of a regular panelboard? This may be a matter of opinion?
By loadcenter I mean a Square D QO or similar. By panelboard I mean a Square D NQOD or similar.
A specific situation - a 200 amp 42 space house panel in a small apartment building?

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#197888 - 12/26/10 12:48 PM Re: Panelboard vs. Loadcenter [Re: cgw]
gfretwell Offline


Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 9024
Loc: Estero,Fl,usa
Are you just talking about the difference between using an integral main breaker or a back fed main in the rails?
The biggest difference is how many slots you have available after you put in the breaker. It will usually take up 8 of you slots.
The other option you have with the Square D NQOD is bolt in breakers. It seems to be available either way.
Greg Fretwell

#197889 - 12/26/10 12:49 PM Re: Panelboard vs. Loadcenter [Re: cgw]
wa2ise Offline

Registered: 11/29/02
Posts: 769
Loc: Oradell NJ USA
That for the entire building? That would mean that the landlord will pay the power bill, I didn't think they did that anymore. Usually each tenant has their own meter and panel.

#197891 - 12/26/10 02:05 PM Re: Panelboard vs. Loadcenter [Re: wa2ise]
KJay Offline

Registered: 11/27/07
Posts: 763
Loc: MA, USA
A load center would be less money. If the NQOD panelboards and bolt-on QOB cbís arenít specified in the plans, why you couldnít use something else?

Edited by KJay (12/26/10 02:05 PM)

#197893 - 12/26/10 03:03 PM Re: Panelboard vs. Loadcenter [Re: KJay]
JBD Offline

Registered: 07/12/01
Posts: 599
Loc: WI, USA
As far as UL and the NEC care, this is no difference between a panelboard and a load center.

For your installation, the only major differences include:
Load centers are designed to fit inside of stud cavities so they are about 3-1/2" d and 14"w. Panelboards cabineets are usually 5-3/4"d and 20"w.

Loadcenters breakers are normally plug-in style while panelboards are more often, but not always (i.e. NQB), bolt-in style.

#197896 - 12/26/10 05:20 PM Re: Panelboard vs. Loadcenter [Re: JBD]
Steve Miller Offline

Registered: 08/30/01
Posts: 322
Loc: Loudoun Cty, VA
The NQOD gives you more space (in the form of depth) for the stuff they'll call you to add later. The real question is who's paying for it? NQOD is a lot more, especially if you use the bolt ins.

#197897 - 12/26/10 06:39 PM Re: Panelboard vs. Loadcenter [Re: Steve Miller]
Obsaleet Offline

Registered: 04/05/03
Posts: 361
Loc: Pa
I prefer the panelboard in this situation. Unless you have space considerations. If you have a contract w/sq D and they are on it, they can be quite cost effective. I usally use the qo snap in cb but you could use the bolt on its a nice option. More room is better in my opinion.

Choose your customers, don't let them choose you.

#197901 - 12/27/10 08:34 AM Re: Panelboard vs. Loadcenter [Re: Obsaleet]
cgw Offline

Registered: 07/29/04
Posts: 133
Loc: Rochester NY
I'm just looking for reasons to not use a load center.
Usually I would use a panelboard unless there were just a few circuits or I had to fit it in a 2X4 stud wall.
In this case though it is for the house loads in a very small (10 unit) senior apartment building and is single phase. On the other hand it is pretty full (about 37 circuits).


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