I have and older GE Load Center sub panel (Box TM-1210. It had a 100 amp double pole breaker at top (Type TQAL-AC) that may have been forcibly inserted as now can't get it or other similar breakers re-inserted. There is a raised tab on each of the blades that block it from being able to seat. Other double pole and single pole breakers do not have this issue as they don't have those extra raised tabs. Any idea what I should be looking for or how to get the "original" back in there?

Also, Box specs can use TQP, TQL, TQL-AC, THQl AO, THQAL AC or TXQL. Hard to find and wondering if OK to use very common THQL series as seem to slot right in.

Appreciate your insights/ experience/ tips.

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    picture please, would help us to help you
    – Traveler
    Commented Jul 6, 2022 at 5:16
  • 2
    Can you post photos of the loadcenter, including the label on the inside of the door please? Commented Jul 6, 2022 at 11:41
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    I would suggest that the "tip" on getting the original main breaker back in there may be "DON'T!!!". However, clear, focused pics (as requested) of all the labels you can find in the panel will help provide an answer for you.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jul 6, 2022 at 12:42
  • Main breakers do not insert. They are bolted down. Any backfeed breaker must be bolted down. If that is how you are feeding the sub, you need a bolt-down kit. Commented Jul 6, 2022 at 20:13
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    Turns out main breaker was factory installed and locking tab is held on b a small bolt which when removed accepts replacements. Found an old webpage showing same. Two tabs keep breaker in place once seated (additional safety). Commented Jul 15, 2022 at 17:22

1 Answer 1


I take it you have a main-nothin' subpanel that has only branch circuit bus stabs, no main lugs, no main breaker... it is meant to have a breaker installed that is back-fed, correct?

Any back-fed breaker must be bolted down. Obviously this necessitates a breaker compatible with the bolt-down hardware.

Nothing says a back-fed breaker needs to be at the top. It can be in any space. It simply must be labeled "MAIN".

People with very old GE panels have had mixed success using modern THQL full-width breakers. Often, they do not fit easily, and either the person wisely gives up, or they unwisely use force. The force can damage the bus stabs on the panel, rendering that pair of breaker spaces unusable.

What is known to reliably work is Eaton's odd-duck line of UL-Classified breakers, Eaton CL.* However these are not made larger than 50A if I recall.

If your panel has been trashed, or significantly degraded by multiple bus stabs being bent from abuse, then it's time to face facts: this subpanel is both obsolete and critically damaged, and it is time to replace the entire subpanel with modern kit.

Modern subpanels are significantly larger due to wire bending space rules. It will probably also benefit you to get a subpanel with more breaker spaces than you have now - most older panels are desperately short of breaker spaces because panels were smaller back then. Nowadays we know we go through breaker spaces fast, and hey - spaces are dirt cheap. It's foolhardy to scrimp on panel spaces - GO BIG. Never run out of spaces again!

Since newer subpanels tend to be taller, there'll be no trouble getting the original cables to reach the panel.

If the legacy location does not comply with modern working-space rules (a 30x36 patch in front of the panel must be kept clear at all times), then talk to your AHJ (permit issuing authority) about a waiver to allow the new panel where the old one was. Most AHJs don't like to put impediments in front of panel upgrades, because some panels (FPE, Zinsco) are scary dangerous and need to go.

Brand-wise, crossing brands is not allowed (except for UL Classified breakers), so if you own any GFCI or AFCI to be used in the new panel, use that brand of panel.

There is no need to suffer a "Main-Nothin'" panel anymore. All (reasonably large) panels sold today are either Main-Lug, Main-Breaker, or Convertible. (main breaker retrofit possible). You don't need a main breaker unless this building is detached (stand-alone) from the building the main breaker is in. If you have any thought to a generator interlock, only consider panels for which one is available.

* Not to be confused with, and not compatible with, Eaton BR. Do not use BR in a GE panel, no matter how much easier they are to find.

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