I have a kinda dumb question, but keep in mind I'm still a student... and EE, not EC.
#1. What is the deal with siemens/murray? I've recently seen a siemens 100A main lug panel, and the same, but Murray. I thought they were the same company. Why use different names on the same panel? Is one better than the other? made different places? or do they draw it out of a hat?
#2. Which, in your opinion or experience, is a better brand of panels/breakers? GE, Siemens/Murray, or Square D? I am having my service redone (hopefully in a month or so), and I would like to specify the type of panel that I want, rather than someone throw in whatever's the cheapest... Although I'm sure anything would be beter than my Zinsco that I have now.
(p.s.) I apologize about my questions because they arent exactly vocational.... the second one might be remotely.
Not sure of an answer to your first question, as for the second, I will use Square D every time if its available for the purpose and I can afford it. The price difference is usually small . I'm sure you'll get arguments for other equipment but I don't know anyone who doesn't like Square D.
I like to replace Zinsco panels with either Federal Pacific or Wadsworth, that way there's no real adjustment peroid for the homeowner to get used to the idea of the panel not smoking and the lights staying on. While Suare-D is the Cadilac of the residential electrical panels, they have had some recalls of their arc fault breakers. I've always driven a Ford and put some hard miles on them. Suare-D seems to be the agreed upon choice but I have not any real problems with a quality install of either GE or Siemens. Think about it like this, a chain is only as strong as it's weakest link and most houses are full low quality electrical crap. 14/2 Romex , back stabed into residentail receptacles that cost 35 cents each. The people that do the install are just as important as the name on the panel.
Murray used to be a seperate company, but Siemens bought them and has continued with the name. They are the exact same breaker.
I know SQ D QO is suposed to be the best, but I personally wouldn't pay the diference. My main supply house carries Cutler Hammer and has us on a rebate price set up that makes Cutler Hammer CH the brand we use. It would cost me at least $150 more to use SQ D QO for a 200 amp panel and breakers. Cutler Hammer CH is a great line and better than most, so that's what I'd use.
For your service change, you might want to see what brand the EC wants to use. If he/she isn't set up for SQ D, you will pay a lot more. I would have to charge more for even GE or Siemens than I would for CH, because of special pricing.
The Sq D QO breakers are a fine product, but the panels are cheesy,IMO. I prefer plastic as an insulater and steel every where else,so prefer the Cutler-Hammer "C-H" panels,plus a limited use of twin breakers make it better yet.
For years we have used GE, not only for residential but also for large switchgear packages on contract jobs. Seems like to be the low bidder the suppliers can't quote us SQ D. I like the GE product, but any SQ D I ever used was really great stuff too, just pricier.