The 15 amp thin GE series 2 pole breaker comes with a handle tie.
Can I remove this so that they can trip independently rather than shutting down 2 independent circuits?
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Half-size breakers are usually purchased in pairs. After all, you are usually getting them to put more stuff in your panel, and no one can
eat use just one. And you can't leave a blank space, even a half space.
However, they don't have to come in pairs. With some brands/types you may not have a choice. But there are some oddball situations. For example, what if you want to replace 2 full size breakers with 4 half size breakers? When you do that, you could have a bunch of different possibilities, including:
In addition, a pair of breakers can be a "pair" in two different ways:
Common shutoff does not require common trip. But there is very little downside in most circumstances. But if you do have common trip then you definitely also want common shutoff. Otherwise you could have a trip, manually reset one of the breakers in the pair and have a situation where you are working on fixing a problem and have other wires in the same box live. Not good.
So if you manufacture a breaker pair for use with an 240V/120V 15A or 20A MWBC or for a 30A 240V circuit or whatever, then you generally want to provide common trip (because some of those situations require it) and common shutoff (because all of those situations require it). You could just build a double-breaker that has a big handle going across. But that would hide the fact that it is truly two breakers in one, which is important to know. So instead you make it with two half-size breaker handles, which you already have a mold for from making single half-size breakers - the THQP115, and factory install a handle tie. That double half-size breaker is the THQP215.
Now where it gets really interesting is how you design and sell these things. Going back to the above examples:
and the key information that any 240V or 240V/120V circuit must be either the "inner" or "outer" pair, not "top" or "bottom" pair, you end up with the following possibilities.
You can do this basically with:
Doubles and quads - Example: Eaton BR
Singles and doubles - Example: GE