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Old 09-24-2012, 09:30 AM   #1
mod600
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Default Cutler Hammer CH vs BR

Shortly I'm going to be working getting a service panel hooked up in my shop. I'm planning on running 100 amp service out there. In my house I have a Cutler Hammer CH service panel. My Dad recommended getting the same thing for the shop. It looks like the biggest 100 amp CH panel only comes with 20-22 spaces. Dad has the BR 100 amp box with 30-32 spaces in it. He went with that style box cause that's what his house had. He said the CH is a better box, the box and breakers are priced higher than the BR ones.

I think the standard 20-22 space CH box would be fine, I kinda was hoping for extra spaces for the future. But when that time comes I can always add another panel too I guess. But was curious as to what the difference was between the two styles...
Thanks in advance!
mod60
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Old 09-24-2012, 09:50 AM   #2
Charles (in GA)
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Default Re: Cutler Hammer CH vs BR

CH breakers and panels were originally designed by CH and are non-interchangable with other brands in any way shape or form. They are a propriety design in the way the breakers connect to the bus bar and mount. Many people consider them a superior design of breaker (the internals of them)

BR breakers and panels are a design that Eaton/Cutler-Hammer acquired with the purchase of the Bryant Electrical Company. The BR series is a quality product, but there is really nothing special about it.The breakers are physically interchangeable with Homeline, GE, Siemens, Westinghouse, and Murray (a Siemens division), and possibly others. Being physically interchangeable does not mean that it is legal or legitimate per code or UL listing to do so, however.

If you want more breaker spaces than the 100 amp CH panels provide, just go to a 150 or 200 amp CH panel with more breaker positions. It is not necessary to use a breaker panel rated the same as the feeder circuit is designed for, it can be a larger panel as long as the circuit is properly protected in your main panel.

Charles

Best deal going... Eaton/CH 200 amp main breaker panel with 42 spaces and includes branch breakers (starter pack) $149

Last edited by Charles (in GA); 09-24-2012 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 09-24-2012, 09:51 AM   #3
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Default Re: Cutler Hammer CH vs BR

The CH is just a better quality box and breaker than the BR. I have the CH in my home and added the CH in my attached garage because I moved some breakers from the main to the sub-panel in the garage, so that’s the reason I got a CH for the garage. I wouldn’t use the CH in your shop just because it’s what’s in the house if that’s the only reason. In my detached shop I used the Square-D Homeline because it was cheaper and more readily available.
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Old 09-24-2012, 10:13 AM   #4
Gary S
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Default Re: Cutler Hammer CH vs BR

Charles explained it perfectly. Both are UL approved and both work, but the CH is the higher line.
I have a CH main panel in my house, and a BR subpanel. In my garage I have a BR subpanel. All I can say about all 3 boxes is that they have never given me any issues of any kind.

I've worked with a lot of different brands and models of electrical panels in my years on the jobs I worked. The only box I would never consider using is the Westinghouse panels they made around 1980. They were pure junk in my opinion. The breakers flopped around loosely in the box.
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Old 09-24-2012, 11:51 AM   #5
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Default Re: Cutler Hammer CH vs BR

Another thing I thought of...

Could I get a 200 amp panel and only run 100 amp service to it? I can get a 200 amp CH box with 30 spaces in it, just not a 100 amp one. I have a sub panel on the pole that used to feed an old shed via over head wires, a tree fell down and took the wires with it, the panel is there doing nothing and wire are no longer there, that shed will be coming down next summer…If I put in a 100 amp breaker in the box on the pole and feed the 200 amp panel in the shop, it’d still be protected at 100 amps right? Would that be another option?
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Old 09-24-2012, 01:05 PM   #6
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Default Re: Cutler Hammer CH vs BR

Quote:
Originally Posted by mod600 View Post
Another thing I thought of...

Could I get a 200 amp panel and only run 100 amp service to it? I can get a 200 amp CH box with 30 spaces in it, just not a 100 amp one. I have a sub panel on the pole that used to feed an old shed via over head wires, a tree fell down and took the wires with it, the panel is there doing nothing and wire are no longer there, that shed will be coming down next summer…If I put in a 100 amp breaker in the box on the pole and feed the 200 amp panel in the shop, it’d still be protected at 100 amps right? Would that be another option?
That's correct. But be mindful of what amp feed is to that sub-panel on the pole.
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Old 09-24-2012, 07:03 PM   #7
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Default Re: Cutler Hammer CH vs BR

Eaton /Cutler-Hammer was advertising the BR line as "Engineered Value", translation: CHEAP. The BR line, SQ D homoline,& GE, are all bottom of the barrel makes but since Zinsco is gone, the trunk slammers have to have a choice of some crappy panels to use....
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Old 09-24-2012, 07:57 PM   #8
Charles (in GA)
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Default Re: Cutler Hammer CH vs BR

Quote:
Originally Posted by mod600 View Post
Another thing I thought of...

Could I get a 200 amp panel and only run 100 amp service to it? I can get a 200 amp CH box with 30 spaces in it, just not a 100 amp one. I have a sub panel on the pole that used to feed an old shed via over head wires, a tree fell down and took the wires with it, the panel is there doing nothing and wire are no longer there, that shed will be coming down next summer…If I put in a 100 amp breaker in the box on the pole and feed the 200 amp panel in the shop, it’d still be protected at 100 amps right? Would that be another option?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles (in GA) View Post
If you want more breaker spaces than the 100 amp CH panels provide, just go to a 150 or 200 amp CH panel with more breaker positions. It is not necessary to use a breaker panel rated the same as the feeder circuit is designed for, it can be a larger panel as long as the circuit is properly protected in your main panel.
As previously noted, yes.

Charles
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Old 09-24-2012, 08:00 PM   #9
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Default Re: Cutler Hammer CH vs BR

i just installed a BR panel. Its a piece of crap, but does the job and once installed its functioning perfectly. The construction is flimsy, both the sheet metal and the plastic. I do like being able to get the breakers for <4.00 a pole.....
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Old 09-24-2012, 09:32 PM   #10
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Default Re: Cutler Hammer CH vs BR

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary S View Post
....I've worked with a lot of different brands and models of electrical panels in my years on the jobs I worked. The only box I would never consider using is the Westinghouse panels they made around 1980. They were pure junk in my opinion. The breakers flopped around loosely in the box.
Yeah, those Westinghouse panels were crap. And IMO, Zinscos are junk, too! And don't forget about the FPE panels that had the fraudulent UL stickers on them and caused many house fires!
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Old 09-27-2012, 01:19 AM   #11
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Default Re: Cutler Hammer CH vs BR

I would go with the CH series panel. I am going to redo my home panels and will use the CH series panel. It is a bit more more money, but you get the copper backplane in it as well as a superior breaker.

The panel I am replacing is a CH panel from 1955. Still works just fine, but I just need to redistribute the loads to a more modern design.
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Old 09-27-2012, 06:20 AM   #12
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Default Re: Cutler Hammer CH vs BR

Same here, I put in a BR. At the time I didn't think there was a difference so I went with the cheaper option. Now, I probably would have gone with the CH. But, the BR works fine, breakers are very cheap and available anywhere. Anything beats the old FPE I had.
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Old 09-27-2012, 03:40 PM   #13
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Default Re: Cutler Hammer CH vs BR

You guys calling BR junk and crap don't know what you're talking about.
BR series is FINE! The panels are not as finished as the painted CH boxes, but the quality is just as good as GE, HOM, Siemens, or any other 1" BR style breaker panel.
These are typically less expensive lines but they are far from junk.

Personally I like Siemens, but my main supply house does not carry them and I'm not driving across town to get them.
CH is great, but much more expensive by the time you fill up a panel.
QO has a nice fit and finish but the small, staggered neutral/ground bar layout is a JOKE.
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