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I have an Eaton Plug-on-Neutral subpanel and I inadvertently purchased AFCI breakers with pigtails. I have plugged the neutrals wires from my circuit into the breakers but would like to remove the curly pigtails that are on the breakers.

Can I just cut them off?

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3 Answers 3

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Pigtail breakers don't have contacts for PON panels, so you have to use the pigtail to connect neutral. Or return them and get the correct PON breakers for your panel.

Always wire the neutral pigtail wire that is connected to the breaker directly to the panel’s neutral bar.

Quote source: https://www.eaton.com/ecm/groups/public/@pub/@electrical/documents/content/ct_206788.pdf

Our BR and CH breakers may come with a white wire hanging from them, commonly referred to as the pigtail. This pigtail serves the crucial purpose of connecting the breaker's internal components to the neutral bar, facilitating power-up. These specific breakers were designed for compatibility with our legacy panels (non-PON). However, in our plug-on-neutral (PON) panels, the design omits the pigtail and instead incorporates a metal contact that directly plugs onto the neutral bar.

It is essential to note that pigtail breakers can be used interchangeably in both legacy and PON style panels. However, PON breakers are specifically intended for use in PON panels and cannot be utilized in legacy panels.

Quote Source: https://knowledgehub.eaton.com/s/article/Can-I-use-the-pigtail-breaker-in-a-plug-on-neutral-panel

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NO! - it's very important to connect the pigtail to neutral bar where you removed the original neutral wire. The electricity needs a path back to neutral. If you only connected the white neutral wire to the breaker there is no complete path.

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The advice here is no different from

"I have a wire I don't think I need. Should I just cut it off?"

One would never cut off a wire in any case. Because first, you would need to terminate it correctly, not just leave a cut wire end that could be potentially hot. And second, there is no upside benefit to doing so - an intact but capped off wire can always be reused at some future point.

Preserve the wire, and you can use it later if you find it's important. Destroy it and you turn a $50 breaker into scrap.

So the very idea of cutting any wire is wrongheaded, and troubling.

The argument for cutting wires seems to be aesthetics. I generally see "concern for aesthetics" arise where skill is absent. If you can't do it right, make it pretty. Covers are not made of glass and backlit. Stop trying to make a hyper-neat panel out of r/cablepron and focus on doing correct work.

Which starts at the very second rule in the entire NEC, follow instructions and labelng.

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