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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Southern Vancouver Island

    Default Cutler Hammer cross reference

    Finally found something that clears up one question - Can Cutler Hammer BR breakers be used in the older panels? These letters from the UL say YES!

    This one is a letter from UL:

    This one if a cross reference for larger breakers:

    This document is a cross reference chart:

    I know, I know, it can't be that simple. There's still questions like this one below - the Seimens breaker in this Cutler panel. This is new construction and was supposedly inspected and approved. The label says use only CH breakers. Go figure. They say warranty is void with that other breaker, but on their website, they say the AHJ has the final say. Does that mean there is a warranty after all?

    The last pic is of a panel that I think the UL says is OK, a 1958 Westinghouse panel with a new CH BR series breaker.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Default Re: Cutler Hammer cross reference

    Carful... those are the newer line of Cutler Hammer breakers. The older ones (can't remember the designation but they're light brown color handles) do not crossover.

    I didn't read the links and this info might be included. I just remember in the old days (before I was a picky HI) when I got breakers there were pretty much two kinds... Cutler Hammer and everything else. Of course there are others that don't fit either catagory but most were one of those two.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007

    Default Re: Cutler Hammer cross reference

    Cutler-Hammer has 2 residential/light commercial panel lines, the BR "Engineered Value" line (AKA "Cheap") which is a 1" per pole width, and the CH (sandalwood colored handle) & 3/4" per pole width, they do not interchange.The closest interchange is if someone hacked in a SQ D QO in a type CH loadcenter or tried the same w/ a CH in a QO panel, they clip on the bus the same but the mounting rails are different,BTW it has been done.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Colorado Front Range

    Default Re: Cutler Hammer cross reference

    For those who don't know, Cutler Hammer makes two lines of circuit breakers. The breakers with the light brown handles are the CH type, which they have made for years and still do. The BR series of breakers (often called a residential line) are the line that CH bought from Westinghouse back in the early 90s.

    Here again are direct contradictions in what a panel label calls for and what can supposedly be used in a panel. Westinghouse and Bryant breakers for the most part were completely interchangeable because Westinghouse owned Bryant from the early 1900s until the sale of both brands to Cutler Hammer. So now we have 4 brands (Eaton owns Cutler Hammer) of what is essentially the same breaker that the company says can be used in a panel, but the panel labeling doesn't agree.

    Up until a few years ago the linked letters and a good healthy assortment of other interchange information was available on the CH web-site. Most of the information disappeared in a site "upgrade" and is now hard to find.

    A similar issue occurs with ITE, Gould, and Siemens QT-QP series of breakers.

    One thing you can take to the bank is that the NEC and UL both need corrected/updated language concerning the labeling and listing issues concerning breakers and panels because even the manufacturers of the equipment encourage the use of their own breakers in panels not listed for them as indicated in the linked letter.

    Then there's the whole issue of classified breakers. Have fun out there!

  5. #5
    John Steinke's Avatar
    John Steinke Guest

    Default Re: Cutler Hammer cross reference

    I wouldn't get overly concerned as to the date of manufacture of a replacement breaker. Carry that to an extreme, and you can also assert that old Cutler-Hammer breakers were never exaluated for use in new Cutler-Hammer panels.

    In other words, I would apply "interchangeable" across all time.

    As for the discrepancy between the UL statement and the lable on the panel .... what did you expect? Again, though, I think you're reading too much into the panel statement - especially with a Cutler-Hammer panel.

    I say this because Cutler-Hammer has been extremely aggressive in marketing replacement breakers for other manufacturers' panels. They are quite aware of, and enthusiastically agree with, UL on this point.

    This is in contrast to Square-D, which continues to attempt to tell you differently; at least now their advertising focus has also begun to focus on their assertion that their breakers are better than 'classified' breakers, that theirs are tested to standards exceeding those of UL.

    Still, there's no denying the fact that C-H saved a lot of contractors a few years back, when Square-D manufactured a lot of bad AFCI breakers ... but that's another topic.

    Let's hop into the 'way back' machine for a few, so I can show you how this situation arose.

    UL has always tested things as a complete assembly, rather than as individual pieces, and this is reflected in their standards. This worked well, until the fluorescent light came along.

    With fluorescent lights, you have a ballast, and the ballasts are not made by the fixture maker. In evaluating the ballast, one of the tests involves operating temperatures - which can be influenced by the fixture design. UL found itself in the position of 'listing' a product that they were not able to test as part of a complete assembly.

    The fluorescent lamp ballast got it's listing .... but also set off a debate within UL, as the situation was far from unique. At the end of this debate, UL instituted their 'recognized component' program.

    The issue was slower to arise with circuit breakers. In part, this was because the manufacturers wanted to have their own unique breakers, and were not willing to write a NEMA standard for breaker cases. Since the breakers were made by the same firm that made the panel interiors, there was no issue of outside vendors.

    Now, it's just not possible to test a breaker without having a panel to put it in; so UL performed tests using panels and breakers supplied by the same party. For decades, no one ever imagined that there would be a submission of a "brand X' breaker with a 'brand Y' panel. Eventually, though, someone did just that.

    UL tested the assembly, the breakers were approved, and the fight was on. In this particular instance, the panels were made by Square-D, and Square-D was not happy having competition for the QO breaker line. Throwing a bone to Square-D, UL agreed to call these new breakers 'classified,' rather than 'listed.' Other than the spelling, there is absolutly no difference between the terms.

    With hindsight, it would have been nice has the panel manufacturers written a NEMA standard, rather than rely upon patent law to keep their products unique. Had they done that, then today all breakers would simply be 'recognized components,' and the IN board would have a lot fewer threads.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Manchester, Vermont

    Cool Re: Cutler Hammer cross reference

    Great Post John.


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