Hi, Anyone know where I can find listed classified arc-fault [AFCI] circuit breakers for Thomas & Betts panels? I can find actual T&B, TB series regular and GFCI breakers, but not AFCI. Does such an item exist? There are many of these panels out there and with the new NEC AFCI requirements coming I know I’m going to run into a situation were I will need these.
I see that Murray has an AFCI cb that’s also classified for Crouse Hinds and SQD has regular classified breakers for T&B, but haven’t seen a classified GFCI or AFCI cb from them.
TKX for any info.
Last edited by KJay; 12/15/0712:43 PM. Reason: spelling error
At this point the companies listed here are the only ones who have a listing for the combination type AFCI that is required starting 1/1/08. You might look at C-H(Eaton) as they have a large line of classified breakers for other panels. Don
Thanks for the reply and the link Don, It looks like there will be a lot of sub panels going in or maybe even more expensive panel change outs taking place until more of these cb’s are classified for use in older panels. I hope that some manufacturers will produce them ASAP.
My own Rant: Personally, I miss the days when an “interchangeable” cb was anything functionally comparable. I have never heard of an issue from using a Bryant cb in a Westinghouse panel or T&B in a Murray or Crouse Hinds panel, etc. This classified rating is really a load of crap to anyone but a manufacturer, a listing organization or an insurance company. Every one of the standard formerly “interchangeable” molded case cb’s I have ever seen has the exact same 120/240V voltage and 10,000A interrupting rating as a classified cb, and at about 1/3 less cost. Okay, I feel better now.
If the breaker is listed as a replacement breaker, then you might be able to use it. Why I say might because you will have to determine first if the breaker it listed as such and two, you have to determine that it will be a safe installation. The problem lies is it's listing. In order for a breaker to be listed to be used in someone elses panel, it has to be tested in that manner. If you read the find print, a listed replacement breaker has only be tested as a breaker. It was not tested in other manufacturer panels. I know for a fact there are breakers out there that may appear to fit but when you go install it there is something little that prevents it from being installed. It was designed that way so it would not be installed in another panel. When you install one brand of a breaker in another brand of panel, you assume the risk, not the manufacturer, the vendor who sold it to you, and the listing agency.
Don, You were right, Eaton/Cutler-Hammer has a UL classified AFCI circuit breaker for T&B as well as Siemens, SQD Homeline, Murray, Crouse Hinds, and GE.
Hi sparkyinak, Thanks for the reply. My little rant was based on the haze of nostalgia, These breakers at one time were all manufactured using an industry standard interchangeable design beginning decades ago. The listing for use requirements have been in the NEC for a long time, but it was “accepted” practice by many electricians to use another manufactures breaker in a comparable panel that was electrically/mechanically identical and had the same UL listing. Most electrical inspectors of the day would allow it without question because everyone knew these were identical except for the brand name or color of the switch handle. Many were even marketed as “interchangeable” not that long ago. It may have never been “up to code”, but I can’t recall ever hearing of any problems occurring because of this practice. I am sure though, that some insurance company would love to use this as an excuse not to pay a claim and hang the installing electrician out to dry so, we are in the situation we are in today, which is using only “classified” breakers listed for use in that manufactures panel.
KJay, No thank you. One of the beauties of a message board to air the issues. You brought up points others thought of but did not know where to even begin to look. Other really did not give it a whole lot of thought but now they are thinking about it. The use of differnt brand of breakers is a popular topic that many do not truly understand but want the right answers but do not want to be impicated for using the wrong breakers.
You brought up the term "classified". For those who do not what it means is that the item has been tested as sub-assembly that can be used as part of a larger assembly. In other words, there is more burden that comes down to the installation, and acceptance by the installer and the inspector. I, myself have both used and inspected others that used different brand breakers without looking up the listing. I have seen enough to know if the installation is safe or not.
If the unlikelyhood it came to an insurer bulking on a payment which likley lead someone going after the installer and it does happen, you must be able to explain and show why you did what you did. This is part of the responsibility we take when we put on our tool belts. It may sound that I am making a mole hole out of a ant hill. I am just pointing out the resposibilty we take rather we know it or not by using different brand breakers then the panel.
And here is Square D's response to that: http://ecatalog.squared.com:8080/TechLibWeb/download/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fecatalog%2Esquared%2Ecom%2Fpubs%2FElectrical%20Distribution%2FLoad%20Centers%2F0106BR0502%2Epdf
Please, let's not revisit that old chestnut. Sq. D is still PO'd that C-H has a far better quality record with their classified "Sq. D type" Arc-Fault breakers than Sq. D has.
In this dispute, I'll take the opinion of UL over any particular manufacturer any day. Not that it matters ... when a breaker is no linger manufactured, you have no choice but to look for a classified replacement.