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Why can't I put one/two breakers to the left?!

I have no idea if the pictures are labeled with the description correctly so basically there are Before and After photos. The before is the original install with a cable that leaves the box at the top right to a “sub panel”. The after is the removal of this cable because I believe it’s not to code (not connected correctly in the box).

The top metal bus bar stub allows a breaker to snap into the bus bar stub on the right and one on the left. The metal bus bar stub connector is large enough.

However, the bottom metal bus bar stub only allows a breaker to connect on the right side. But it has a notch on the left so that means a left breaker can't connect. The bottom two metal pieces are like this, so effectively I have two empty spaces that are no use because the breakers can not connect.

Also, special note, the two little circles up top allow me to connect mini (1/2) breakers. The bottom two metal bus bar stub pieces don't have these either.

The two bottom metal bus bar stubs have one-way-turn screws. I could take these out and put a new bus bar stub? Why would a panel be designed to leave out two full sized breakers on the bottom left?

So one thing to note, there was a 40 and 30 amp connected to these. Could the power from a dryer and stove melt or burn these bus bar stubs so someone installed a new one that was only one side? hmmm?

[![Electrical Panel][1]][1]

[1]: https://i.stack.imgur.com/FxVGA.jpgOriginal SetupPanel doorLabel and after removing sub panel tie-inOriginal breaker removed because it can not be connectedNote the difference of the top stubs and bottom stubsModified to reomove the sub panel tie-in which heads out of the box at the top left

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No wonder this is such a troubled panel

The panel you have is a GE TLM612F, configured as a main lug panel. However, the original installer, in addition to improperly double-tapping the lugs for a subfeed, put a breaker in the bottom-left position, which never was intended to accept a breaker to begin with! (There are no "breaker" symbols for the two bottom left positions in the wiring diagram on the label.) So, it's no wonder that the bottom-left breaker made rather poor contact with the busbar and overheated/burned up, since there weren't supposed to be tabs there to begin with, just design-artifact runts.

Furthermore, even if there were proper busbar tabs there, the failure you saw there shouldn't be a surprise either, because the culprit breaker wasn't even the correct breaker for this panel to begin with, as it's a Square-D Homeline, while the panel's a GE that uses THQL breakers.

Given the combination of issues it's facing, a full panel replacement would be my recommendation, presumably with something that has more room in it. I would use a 24-space or 30-space, 100 or 125A, main lug panel as the replacement, with the extra feeder wire spliced in using either a set of mechanical lug splices in the panel enclosure, or a set of 125A subfeed lug blocks in one of the top spaces on the panel.

If keeping this sorry unit in service is the only option, then you'll have to take the THQL2130 in the bottom right out, move the THQP120 immediately above it to the very bottom right half-space in the panel, and install a THQP230 to replace the THQL2130 and a THQP240 to replace the HOM240 that the prior installer shoved in there without a care for such things as Code compliance, panel labeling, or really electrical safety in general.

  • Thanks for the quick response. Yeah, I took the double tap out (sub-panel). The "subpanel" ONLY powers the 40 amp stove. It's in a basement, for storage use. So I'll upgrade to a 100 AMP modern panel in the future. I'll probably just fiddle around with breakers I don't need (that are used to power up baseboard heaters). Just so I can get a stove (40 amp) and dryer (30 amp) to use. It's a 800 sq ft space that I can take my time fixing/updating. I'll look at the breakers you listed. – Andy Feb 24 at 3:50
  • The breakers you listed look good. Thanks. – Andy Feb 24 at 4:05

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