I'm just in the middle of a service upgrade from an old 60 amp panel to a new 200 amp Siemens. The Home Owner initially wanted a Federal Pioneer (as it's known here in Canada) panel installed because his friends and someone at the big orange box store told him that getting breakers and parts for FPE is far easier and cheaper than anything else, and FPE would be very common for the distant future.
It took quite a bit of convincing with this fellow and about 30 phone calls back and forth to convince him that there were much better products (and safer in my mind) out there. I finally convinced him that at least he could use a Siemens panel because they are commomly available around here too.
Since I'm just getting back into the EC business and dusting off my old Journeyman's Certificate after a 30 year absence, it got me thinking that maybe I should get other opinions on what preferences any of you other younger folks would prefer to see installed in the way of panels.
I know I'm an old dinosaur but I am certainly open to new ideas.
I've found catalogs online for Square-D, Cutler-Hammer, and GE (not very impressive). I search around the Siemens web site, but I could not find their catalog at all, nor any web pages that would be equivalent to a catalog.
In my line of work, which includes designing data centers, I have specified the needed wiring, including the panels. I've gone with Square-D in the past, but today I would include consideration of Cutler-Hammer (and probably specify a choice in each). I wouldn't touch GE. I have no knowledge of the Siemens product line.
Ok , we used SQ D, and gave that up, when we had call backs, with defective main breakers, never had a problem with any other then Mains in SO D, other then having to chisel out the KO's, that were stamped, with a tired punch. We also tried Seimans, they wer ok except about every 10, or 12 loadcenters, you could not reset the main, seimans said they never had any complaints, talked to other EC's and they had athe same problem. We now use CH, and have not had one problem to date.
If Murray is Seimens bastard cousin, I don't like either family. CH makes a really good product for the money IMO. Sq-d too pricey, but good.
Now this: "FPE is far easier and cheaper than anything else, and FPE would be very common for the distant future" They were pretty common until they burned so many homes down in the past here in the US. You'll be hard pressed to see an EC not wince when they hear the name, or hang their heads at sight of one. AKA "Arc welders", and "Never trip" among other names. Close cousin to "Burnt Buss" AKA Zinsco. Both members of the "You need a new panel" family.
Mark Heller "Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason
Frank, I have had some issues with the type that accept thins...poor contact and burnt busses, breakers falling out. I haven't had any issues with the style that only accepts full size breakers that attach just like all the common ones. Of course theres the fact that only a GE breaker will fit in a GE panel, although if you are a homeowner or handyman you will be able to fit any kind in there.