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I have an old Sylvania breaker panel. There is one slot left and I'd like to run a 20 Amp circuit for a few outlets. I don't know which breaker fits the panel. Can you suggest ? Thanks in advance.

breaker panel close up breaker panel label

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Your panel accepts Eaton BR circuit breakers

If you look in the third box down of the center column of your panel's labeling, it describes exactly what breakers you're allowed to put in it. The difficulty here is that all the companies mentioned are out of business -- but before they died, they sold their breaker lines to other companies, so while the original companies don't exist, the breaker lines still do. Your panel is listed as accepting Type C breakers (which originally were Challenger brand), and Type BR breakers (originally Bryant) if they're rated for switch duty (SWD), which all new ones are.

Today, Eaton makes breakers that are compatible with this panel, as they now own both the Challenger and Bryant panel lines. Eaton Type BR breakers are also listed as Type C, so they are completely compatible with your panel's labeling. It's also a modern, fully-supported breaker line, so you can easily get AFCI, GFCI, and other newer breaker types as needed.

A basic Type BR/Type C 20 A breaker looks like this (via Lowes):

Eaton BR120

Original Challenger Breakers Are A Problem

I notice your panel has some original Challenger brand breakers in it. These breakers have proven to be unsafe over the years, and have caused many fires. As such, it's highly recommended that you replace them with Bryant or Eaton breakers, which do not have that problem. See here for more information.

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    You might want to fill in the missing piece: SWD used to be a special rating only certain breakers had. But I believe UL has since required all modern breakers be made SWD. And there is is, line 4 of the small text. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jan 29 at 4:27
  • Thankyou for the detailed answer. I wanted to upgrade the service to 200 amps, but I was quoted about 5000 $ to upgrade to 150 amps which doesn't include digging the trench to the transformer which is about 20 feet from the breaker panel. So changed my mind on that. I could install the panel and breakers myself if service was upgraded for me. But I haven't looked in that and I am not sure how smooth that will be considering I'd be out of power for the duration. – ShaggyInjun Jan 29 at 15:16
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    @ShaggyInjun, one strategy that can work well for service upgrades is to install a new, larger panel upstream of this one, and then make your current panel a subpanel of it. That way, you only need to make one connection in the new panel, the feeder to the subpanel, before you can reenergize the system, so you're not out of power for very long. It may require separating neutrals and grounds in your current panel if they're not already, so if/when you go that route, ask another question here and include a picture of the wiring in your current panel and we can help further. – Nate S. Jan 30 at 1:24
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    @Harper-ReinstateMonica, Cool, I added something to that effect. I thought that might be the case, since I haven't seen any new non-SWD breakers for a while, but I wasn't completely sure so I didn't add that originally. – Nate S. Jan 30 at 1:32

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