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There seems to be a shortage of breakers around me. No one has the Eaton type BR breaker in a 20 tandem. Electrical supply house handed me a BRD type and I had heard about removing the metal plate in back but unsure how to do it and whether it's a good idea. Can't find any info on youtube...will a flat screwdriver take care of its removal?

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    Can you post photos of your panel, including the labeling on the inside of the door? Commented Apr 14, 2021 at 11:47
  • It is an old 1980s Eaton Cutler Hammer Crouse Hinds 24 space unit. Pictures on this site are hard for me. And I went to 3 electrical supply and distribution places near me. I am REPLACING an existing tandem.
    – DAS
    Commented Apr 14, 2021 at 22:54
  • Wait. Is the panel a Cutler Hammer, or a Crouse Hinds? Those are different things. It can't be both. Commented Apr 14, 2021 at 23:20
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    @DAS -- post your photos to imgur and then post a link to them here in the comments -- we need photos to sort this out, especially photos of the label on the inside of the door Commented Apr 14, 2021 at 23:56
  • Crouse Hinds. Will try to post pics tomorrow.
    – DAS
    Commented Apr 16, 2021 at 6:25

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First, make sure you are searching broadly. Many homeowners get stuck in the "big box store" rut and search only Lowes, Home Depot and Menards... failing to realize that family-owned lumber supplies, electrical supply houses, and hardware stores all sell breakers.

Look at your bus stab for notches. Or, Plug-on Neutral.

You cannot put tandem breakers anywhere except where it's allowed by the panel labeling. Fitting them where they aren't allowed generally means putting more breakers in the panel than it was designed, tested or approved for.

It is common for Eaton's label to not specify which spaces are allowed (some diagrams don't even correspond to the panel)... in those cases, they instruct you to look at the bus stab: a solid/square bus stab does not allow tandems/quadplexes, however, a notched bus stab does.

The reason is CTL, or Circuit Total Limiting. This was a NEC and UL requirement from 1966 to, I want to say, 2014 or 2017. CTL panels have notches in their bus stabs where tandems/quadplexes are allowed. CTL panels also have labeling indicating that you must use "CTL" breakers such as BD, BQ, or BQC.

Of course there were some pre-1966 BR panels still out in the field, which were entitled to use double-stuff breakers, but did not have stab notches. To support these panels only, Eaton continues to make the "BRD" breakers - however it is a Code violation to fit a BRD breaker in a CTL panel, because that would let you defeat the CTL limitations.

NEC recently dropped CTL as a requirement. That does NOT give you a free ride on any existing CTL panels; they have not been tested by UL for, and have not been approved for, double-stuffs in any space. Keep in mind that panel makers did not immediately change their designs and immediately get UL approval: so CTL still applies to older designs bought today.

However, if you buy a new design panel which has been UL-certified to be non-CTL, then you can (as always) use any breaker listed in the panel's labeling. ThreePhaseEel, who knows 10 times more about panels than I pretend to know, says that all Eaton "Plug-on Neutral" designs are post-CTL and are approved for double-stuffs in any space, including BRD type.

All that to say... if you have a CTL panel and the breaker space is allowed to use a BD breaker... I don't see a problem with temporarily using a BRD breaker. You'll need to correct it before next inspection (typically at house sale time). And make sure no maintainer moves it into a non-tandem space. It's a violation but a statutory one.

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    So, "temporary" could mean 25 years, eh?
    – FreeMan
    Commented Apr 14, 2021 at 11:23
  • Note that BR PoN panels do not have the notched CTL bus stabs, but do support tandem breakers in all positions using BRD (non-CTL) tandems Commented Apr 14, 2021 at 11:45
  • @ThreePhaseEel thanks. Interesting. So their PoN panels postdate CTL abolition? Commented Apr 14, 2021 at 22:52
  • Please refer to the above comments, plus: can you provide a picture showing the notches? On my panel there are no markings for tandems only in certain poles. The above doesn't help with adaptation of the BRD breaker to fit like a BR breaker (the idea of one CED employee) by removing the metal tab in the back so it can fit in the panel....i understand what you've written, will double check the panel and report back.
    – DAS
    Commented Apr 14, 2021 at 23:01
  • @Harper-ReinstateMonica -- PoN as a concept is basically post-2008 AIUI -- the first gen CH PoN panels are the only ones that might have predated the 2008 NEC, and even so, I KDI Commented Apr 14, 2021 at 23:55

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