Have you blown another circuit breaker from your outdated Challenger electrical panel? At this point in time, it is not unusual for a veteran load center to gradually lose each of its breakers one by one. Since the company that made Challenger panels went out of business in 1994, finding a breaker replacement made by the same company is extremely difficult.
Now, because you are probably one of the few people who have fallen in love with the level of service that this panelboard provides, you are probably on the lookout for circuit breakers that are compatible with Challenger. Prior to making a purchase of a Cutler-Hammer product, it is important to familiarize yourself with the product’s precise specifications.
What Exactly Is Meant by The Term “Challenger Electric Panel”?
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, one of the most well-known manufacturers of electrical panels and other types of electrical goods was called Challenger. The Challenger brand of electrical panels was installed in thousands of homes before the public became aware that the panels melted under normal conditions, prompting the company to eventually discontinue production of the panels and bring the brand to an end.
The Circuit Breaker is Interchangeable with Challenger
Old manufacturers of circuit breakers, such as Zinsco/Sylvania, Federal Pacific, Wadsworth, and Challenger, Pushmatic, went out of business and were succeeded by new manufacturers of panelboards that were technologically advanced. This is something that we are all aware of. The problem lies with the circuit breakers, which are faulty.
In spite of the fact that the Challenger’s original circuit breakers have a history of failing, the bus bars are designed to be suitable for the long term, which makes it an excellent electrical panel. Despite that fact, the manufacturer was still successful in making this load center work for customers who purchased it.
Now, there are numerous circuit breaker brand recommendations for Challenger breaker compatibility scattered across the internet from homeowners who have used them and they worked.
Breakers manufactured by GE, Square D, Homeline, or Murray are included in this category. The Cutler-Hammer breakers are the only brand that you are permitted to use legally. Any other brand is illegal. After Challenger went out of business in the 1990s, the company was acquired by a number of different businesses up until the point where Eaton/Cutler-Hammer obtained ownership of it.
Bryant, a company that was formerly owned by Eaton and CH, developed interchangeable circuit breakers in order to address the danger-breaker problems caused by Challenger’s design, which included the inclusion of a bus bar that was ideal for backward compatibility. Therefore, as of right now, Cutler-Hammer Type BR/C breakers can be used as an acceptable replacement for Challenger Type C breakers in any application. You also have the option of purchasing circuit breakers from Connecticut Electric that are compatible with Challenger panels of the UBITBC and UBITBA varieties.
On the other hand, if you have a different collection of Challenger breakers, you can make use of this official cross-list that Eaton has provided. Please take note that the only types of circuit breakers that are permitted for use in your challenger panel are those that have been listed and classified by UL. You can’t just go out and buy any old breaker and assume that it will work the same as the ones you already have because the new and old ones are the same size.
It is not recommended to use alien breakers that are not similar to the brand manufacturer of the electrical panel, just like it is the case with any other panelboards that are currently available. Consequently, you should only replace your load center’s breakers with Challenger models that are authorized for use in that particular load center.
Which Breaker Is Capable of Replacing a Challenger Type A?
It can be difficult to find a suitable Challenger Type (A) circuit breaker for replacement purposes. This is due to the fact that it is nearly impossible to interchange, or that only a select few manufacturers of breakers are UL-listed or UL-classified for use. Thankfully, only a few well-known brands will have a good fit and perform adequately for the model of this panel.
Take, for instance, the case of Connecticut Electric. The Challenger Type A series is the only product line that CE manufactures, and the company is ETL-listed to meet UL requirements. This brand meets the legal requirements necessary to be compatible with Challenger Type A load centers, which means that there is a legal qualification for it.
They are able to be used with single-pole breakers (120V) and double-pole breakers (240V) and are compatible with the bus bars of a Challenger. You won’t be let down by any of the other challenger-compatible breakers, however, in the event that Connecticut Electric is unavailable in your region. Once more, the Cutler-Hammer/Eaton series is one of the available options to consider.
This company offers products that have been given the Underwriters Laboratories Incorporated seal of approval, just like other CH breaker/Eaton replacements for Challenger. Because it has received the UL classification, users are given the peace of mind that comes with knowing that the product has successfully completed all of the required fail-safe tests and is suitable for use.
CB manufacturers such as General Electric, Crouse-Hinds, Murray, Westinghouse Type BR, Sears, and American Switch have created breakers that are compatible with Challenger Type-A. On the other hand, they are not the same as the two brands that I described earlier in this paragraph.
These companies that make circuit breakers have alternatives that are suitable, but in order to ensure that they are suitable for your panel, you will need a referral from your retailer. Buying these breakers at random is not an option. You should only purchase these circuit breakers if you have no other options, but if CH/Eaton or Connecticut Electric is available, you should go with one of those two brands instead.
The Consequence of Using a Mismatched Breaker
Even though you are permitted to use a circuit breaker that is not manufactured by the same company as the panel on which it is mounted, this does not necessarily mean that this is the intended configuration for the system. Even if they are manufactured by the same company, individual circuit breakers are going to have their own unique characteristics. As a result of this, many people, including professionals, strongly advise against engaging in this behavior.
If you continue to use this method, you run the risk of voiding the warranty on your electrical system, losing your UL listing, or even having your home completely destroyed by fire. There are many mounting methods that are challenging to notice right away, such as individual breakers that are incorrectly seated on the bus bar, which causes it to build up heat.
● Buying a circuit breaker that is not compatible with the panel it is installed in is problematic for a number of reasons, including the fact that it can result in physical harm and expensive repairs.
● ·If you do not conduct adequate research or seek the advice of a professional, you could end up wasting ten to twenty dollars, and you won’t even have the opportunity to insert it because of their indifference in contact tension.
● Nevertheless, there are, as one would expect, exemptions for “classified” breakers that are included on the UL’s list. There will be no problem with the warranty regarding breakers from third-party manufacturers that are approved as alternatives. Because of this, your best bet in this instance is to look for breakers that belong in the classified list when you are trying to find a breaker for a discontinued model of Challenger panels.
Do you Need to Change your Original Circuit Breakers?
As we are discussing a non-compliant load center, it is essential that the load center’s original circuit breakers be replaced or the panel as a whole be replaced.
Even if you only plan to replace one or two breakers, you should still check the remaining originals for any signs of burning or wear and tear, even if you only plan to replace one or two breakers.
The service panel in homes constructed in the 1980s or 1990s may have had alien breakers installed by previous contractors who believed they were safe. It will therefore only be a matter of time before you burn your bus bars if you notice some breakers going by different names.
- Before the stabs are fried, breakers won’t let you know there’s an overload on the circuit. If only one or two spaces are affected, you should consider yourself fortunate; however, if your entire service panel is burned to a crisp, you should be prepared to cancel your homeowner’s insurance policy.
- If you currently use those pre-maintenance (alien breakers) together with the original old types, get UL-listed or classified breakers which are Challenger compatible and replace them. If you want that panelboard to last for a significantly longer amount of time than it was designed for, then this step is an absolute requirement.
Both the Cutler-Hammer Type C/BR and the Connecticut Electric breakers are reliable alternatives to the breakers that come standard on Challenger panels. Be sure that your local electrical code allows the installation of other reputable brands that are available, especially if you intend to use those brands. In that case, you should prepare for overcrowding and potential fire hazards along the bus bars.
As a homeowner, it is your responsibility, particularly when dealing with a sensitive electrical model, to be familiar with the circuit breakers that are compatible with Challenger. Circuit breakers of brand X should be avoided at all costs, vintage breakers should be removed, and the entire set should be updated at the earliest opportunity.
For more details on challenger compatible breaker or any other electrical components for quality electrical connectivity, contact us at ICRFQ. We manufacturer the best electrical components in China.
If you want to find more Electronic Components Distributors, please check out the following articles: