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General Electric Circuit Breakers

General Electric Circuit Breakers By
Summary: A guide to the commonly used General Electric circuit breakers and panels for homes.

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General Electric Circuit Breakers and Home Electrical Panels

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The General Electric brand circuit breakers and panels have been installed and used in several housing communities where spec-homes and neighborhood housing developments have been constructed. These GE panels and circuit breakers are still in use today and replacement circuit breakers are available from major hardware stores and electrical wholesale supply houses across the nation.

Type THQP General Electric Circuit Breakers

General Electric Circuit Breakers are found in several Home Electrical Panels

A Surface Mounted General Electric Circuit Breaker Panel

GE General Electric Circuit Breaker Panel

The general electric circuit breaker panels were one of several other brands of electrical panels that were commonly installed in spec-homes when large home developments were being built in many parts of the USA. This surface mounted 200 amp 240 volt panel was easily installed and fed with an underground conduit from the electrical utility company transformer.

The General Electric Circuit Breakers as Installed

Installed GE Circuit Breakers

General Electric circuit breakers have the same typical appearance as other circuit breakers except for the thin single pole circuit breaker which is half the thickness. These thin circuit breakers are the Type THQP. The type THQP is typically used for 15 and 20 amp circuits for lighting and outlets.

General Electric Circuit Breakers

Single Pole GE Circuit Breakers

The Type THQP General Electric circuit breakers are still available today from most electrical wholesale suppliers. The THQP breaker is listed and approved, although has a reputation for not tripping off when they should. I am sure that General Electric and the circuit breaker manufacturers have made every possible improvement so the new THQP breakers perform with greater reliability.

General Electric Circuit Breakers

Double Pole GE Circuit Breakers

These full size General Electric circuit breakers are very similar to other brands. This type is constructed with an Internal Common Trip device to ensure reliability and performance. Note the exposed panel buss bars which are visible above the top 2-pole circuit breaker. Extreme care must be taken when the electrician is working inside a circuit breaker panel where there are exposed energized panel components.

General Electric Circuit Breakers

120/240Volt GE Circuit Breakers

The neutral and ground terminal strip of this general electric circuit breaker panel is mounted on the back section of the enclosure which is convenient to access as long as the area is not buried with long lengths of electrical wires. In some situations it is necessary for the electrician to temporarily move the excess circuit wire out of the way to provide access to the neutral and ground terminal strip.

GE Circuit Breakers and Electrical Wiring

Please Note: This question and answer discussion is about a garage electrical project and the comments are specific to this project. Q&A Questions and Answers may be found within this text.

Although this garage panel will reflect loads depending on work being performed I can only speculate what your approximate load will end up being. Here are some of the Factors to consider as for the Garage:
Q: How far away from the panel will the garage sub-panel be. Distances over 200 feet will require conductors sized for voltage drop.
A: The distance is about 50 feet.
Q: What is the square footage of the shop?
A: It isn't final, yet, as I'm in the drawing stages. I'd say it will be about 1000 sq ft. or less.
Q: What Type of lighting will be used? This helps understand your probable Lighting Load. I'll have fluorescent fixtures. Q: Will you be working during the winter months? I see no provision for a heat source, so many times people may use 120 volt space heaters - a BIG power consumer. I'll put in a wood burning stove if I want heat in the winter. I'm not going to run an electric space heater.
Q: Will you be the only one working in the garage?
A: No - Both my wife and will be working in the garage, but primarily it will be me.
Q: How many power tools will be used, such as bench and portable grinders etc?
A: Yes a grinder, a parts cleaner battery chargers for portable tools, a drill press plus the usual small tools like a drill, etc. We have a separate wood working shop in the basement. I am looking at using the GE 2 pole 60 amp circuit for the garage.
Here is an observation I see right away: The A/C and Heat load at the house is not really a high demand, so I'm speculating that with minimal loads in the garage you may be fine using the GE 60 amp circuit, however this is contingent upon all other loads being minimal. The largest load factor so far is the air compressor.
If you were in my neighborhood and we were to go ahead with this project this is what I would propose: Start with the 60 amp service, but make all provisions for a larger service in the future, such as a 100 amp service. This would mean that if you will be installing a underground service to the garage then size up the conduit to accommodate 100 amps - I would install a 1-1/2 conduit for power, 1 for Tel Com, and water if needed, however water must be separated from the power conduits. Keep in mind that PVC is inexpensive, and while the ground is open take full advantage of it, you don't want to have to do it a second time. Install copper wire for the garage GE Sub Panel, not aluminum. If you discover that your loads exceed the 60 amp capacity then pull in another set of conductors to accommodate 100 amps - I like using #2 THHN Copper - sizing up just a bit is a great idea for handling the starting loads of motors, not to mention the welder loads .

Q: Would a 100 amp circuit work out using my current main box? I'd probably start with that if it wouldn't overload my main breaker panel. The wire would go through my basement then outside and underground to the garage. I would have to go under a deck, into the ground and out to the garage.
A: The Main Focus is to size your breaker to whatever wire size you are using with respect to the distance of the feed to the sub-panel. Make sure you purchase a sub-panel that is rated for 100 amps and has plenty of room for full size breakers. Bond your grounds well through out the service and distributed circuits. I would also recommend GFCI protected circuits inside the shop for your 120 volt receptacles.If you decide to go ahead with the 60 amp service use #6 THHN Copper wire when installing in conduit.If you are going overhead to the garage from the house you will need an outdoor rated Quad Service which would contain three insulated # 4 conductors and one bare which will be aluminum - sorry, but I have never seen copper overhead service wire, most likely because of the weight factor. Using this method will require at least on junction at the home, unless the new garage will be adjacent to the main GE Panel at the house. Then it will be possible to run your overhead wire, then attach it to a mast fitted with entrance heads which would be attached to conduits, one going down to the house panel, the other to the garage sub-panel. Again, size your conduit for a possible increase if needed.

As with any electrical project, obtain the necessary permits from your local building department so that the work will be done under the authority of your local building officials who will inspect the project to make sure everything is done according to local codes.

Note: This question is based on a specific project. Ask The Electrician provides help for your electrical project: Ask Electrical Questions

GE Breaker Type Prevents Dryer From Working – Part 2

Dryer Circuit and Circuit Breakers: This problem was due to a typical error of installing the breaker into a position of the panel which prevented the breaker from producing 240 volts.

GE Breaker Type Prevents Dryer From Working – Part 1

How to Fix a GE Breaker Problem: Dryer Circuit Requires Corrected 220 Volt Circuit, I recently attempted to install a new dryer using 240V – 4wire installation procedures.

See more about GE Circuit Breakers.

Blake in Georgia asks:
My Circuit Breaker will Not Turn On

I installed a 40A GE THQL breaker and Leviton 20A 250V 6-20R outlet. But the breaker will not flip on. I turn it off and it clicks to the off position but when I go to turn it on it only goes into the tripped position and will not turn on at all.

Dave’s Reply:
Fault with Circuit or Breaker

It is very possible that the circuit has a direct short which is preventing it from turning on. This is especially true if you hear a buzz or pop sound when you attempt to turn of the breaker.

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Electrical Tips to Help You Wire it Right

The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!

The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.

The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!

The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.

Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!

The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..

The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.


Robert asks:

Hi Dave,
I’m having issues with a 47 year-old GE box that uses the THQP breakers. I just replaced 10 of them because they were so old they fell out when I went to replace one. the dishwasher isn’t receiving enough amperage and won’t work. replaced the breaker a month ago, worked fine until today. the pool and other breakers sometimes need to be pushed in. I see sparks on the buss bar sometimes when pushing in a breaker.my question to you is do you think an electrician can take out all the breakers and clean up the break box buses, or should I replace the whole panel?
not sure if it’s still made and can’t see the catalog number on the panel. would you happen to know what it is?
Thank you very much!

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Robert.
This type of breaker does not have a lot of surface contact area, therefore the connection to the panel buss can get loose over time, especially with expansion and contraction due to heat from the circuit. If the buss in the panel becomes pitted from arcing then the panel will need to be replaced. However if the bus surface is not damaged then the buss contact area of the circuit breaker may be pinched together to tighten up the contact tension which will improve the connection. This may only be a temporary fix, especially since the panel is over 47 years old, so you may consider replacing the panel with a new one.

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