Modify circuit breaker to fit blade

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Irony58, Oct 2, 2010.

  1. Irony58

    Irony58 New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    NH
    I'm replacing a duplex circuit breaker. The one I got from Lowes looked like a perfect fit, but it turns out the blades or lugs (whatever they're called) in my panel are too long. The slot in the breaker is about 1/2-inch and the lugs are 3/4. Nobody around here has breakers that size.

    The breaker has a metal tab that stops the lug from traveling further. If I cut away the plastic breaker housing enough, could I remove the tab? Or is there some other way to disassemble a breaker to modify this?
  2. Thatguy

    Thatguy Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,459
    Location:
    MD
    All bets are off if you modify this circuit breaker.

    Even if you tested your modified arrangement, and this is not a trivial test, there is nothing to say how it would hold up over time.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2010
  3. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    We cannot say this strongly enough> We are throwing the RED FLAG at you on this one. Any attempt to disassemble or modify a circuit breaker violates so many laws, there aren't enough flags to cover that. Extremely dangerous, and after the fire, the fire investigators would discover the cause and your insurance company will deny your claim.

    You have the wrong breaker for your panel. Take one of your breakers to a good electrical supply house ( not HD or Lowes !) to get the right one. Please.




    [​IMG]
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,647
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    SOMEONE has a breaker for your panel. Get the right one. The tab is there to make sure you are using it in the right panel. If you modify it, you will probably cause arcing and that will damage the bus bar, which could require replacing the panel, or at the minimum, extensive repairs.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2010
  5. Thatguy

    Thatguy Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,459
    Location:
    MD
    If you modify it anyway
    and it catches fire while everyone is awake, consider yourself lucky,
    if you get my drift. . .

    Getting on the evening news for this reason is definitely a bad thing.

    You should also acquaint yourself with arc-flash. Residential arc-flash is not too bad but it does require some precautions.

    For further study
    http://www.google.com/search?client...urface area force&spell=1&fp=c6affe93747c32d0
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2010
  6. Irony58

    Irony58 New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    NH
    So, just to be sure - You guys think this is a bad idea, right? :)

    Thanks for the replies. Turns out I can get the correct breaker online.
  7. nukeman

    nukeman Nuclear Engineer

    Messages:
    711
    Location:
    VA
    Sounds like you have it under control, but I am curious as to what brand of panel/breaker you have. The most common ones (GE, Square D, Cuttler-Hammer, and Siemens) are available at Lowes/HD or pretty much any electrical supply house.
  8. Irony58

    Irony58 New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    NH
    My panel is an ITE EQ Load Center. The house is 35 years old, so that was before the big-box stores.

    And, for what it's worth, I really wasn't looking to cheat or do anything remotely dangerous. The plastic housing on Siemens breaker had indentations that looked like it might have been an option to modify it for longer lugs. And other makes I found at the local HW store just had the metal insert. It looked like an option, but I couldn't see how to change it. Chances are it is an option, but only for the manufacturer at assembly time.
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