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I have an old GE meter socket load center (see picture). I have no idea what the model number is because the paper label on the inside of the lid is unreadable, and I have been unable to find any other identification markers.

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  1. The main breaker is a THQL per the label on its side (not shown). I believe the other breakers must be 2-pole THQP (they aren't labeled) since they fit in a single 1" slot. I believe THQP breakers came out after this box was installed (1964). Are THQP breakers compatible with this older box (i.e. will the breakers trip when they are supposed to)?

  2. There is room in this box for six 1" breakers. So, Re nomenclature, is this a 6 place, 12 circuit panel?

  3. I'm assuming there is some reason why this box uses entirely 1" breakers?. I think probably this panel won't accept 1/2 inch breakers. Anybody know if that is true?

  • isn't the left one at the top right a single pole breaker? Many boxes will take single or tandem breakers, you use the tandem kind when you run out of slots and want to add more circuits. – Grant Oct 1 '14 at 21:35
  • Yes it is, and I editing my question to reflect that. But I just noticed, I did a poor job of that.... That is what I meant by saying I think the panel probably won't accept 1/2 inch breakers. But yeah, I left it as saying "entirely 1" 2-pole"... I should have said, entirely 1" and left it at that. – bobfandango Oct 1 '14 at 21:36
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    <bleeped> if I know; but I'd just replace the antique and move on if it was my house. Things have changed a bit in 50 years, and one of the things that has changed is how many circuits are comfortable to live with. If possible upgrade to 200 amps while you are at it. – Ecnerwal Oct 2 '14 at 2:15
  • Yuck. Whenever I look at old panels, it makes me wonder how every house hasn't burned down. – Tester101 Oct 2 '14 at 10:15
  • @Test101: Agreed. You may recall, this whole hairball project started because a breaker didn't trip when it was supposed to. – bobfandango Oct 2 '14 at 23:13
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Mike Holt's forum, discussing what breakers will fit in that box.


doityourself.com, CasualJoe:

If you remove one and inspect the bus, you'll see the attachment portion of the bus for the THQP breakers is perpendicular to the main stabs that the type THQL breakers attach to. THQP breakers snap around the bus where the full sized THQL breakers fit tightly over the bus. This is obvious if you inspect the breakers and bus carefully. If you remove enough breakers, you'll see the difference in the bus in the areas that the full size THQL breakers MUST be used and won't accept the thin breakers. At this point, you'll have to use your head to determine which spaces will accept the thin breakers. The only other recommendation I could make would be to go to a supply house that stocks GE load-centers and ask them to explain it to you and show you the difference.


The breakers with the green labels look the newest, take one of these to the store with you and make sure it matches the mounting. I'd call it an 8 slot panel, using tandem breakers to make 12 branch circuits (otherwise there'd be only be 6) and one (2 pole) main. In your panel, it would have been borderline acceptable to take the cover off, say "ewww" and put it back on, having TOUCHED NOTHING. Now that you have went in there and played with stuff, I'd be concerned that you have loosened the connections of the wires and/or the buss-bar contact clips of the 50yo breakers. If you're going to continue onwards with that panel, consider getting those leads away from the neutral bar, shortening them while you're at it. At least check ALL of the connections. Upgrade that panel, please (or KEEP OUT). I don't want to see this in your next post:

enter image description here

  • Somewhere in those links the possibility of THQP breakers having not been invented yet is discussed. Re, why yours are all 1". – Mazura Oct 2 '14 at 3:09
  • FYI, I haven't touched anything in the panel (yet). This picture was the result of, take cover off, WTF, take picture, put it back on. However, at least one of these breakers needs replacing (See diy.stackexchange.com/questions/49328/…). I'm guessing a panel replacement is on the order of thousands of $... which I don't have. ugh – bobfandango Oct 2 '14 at 23:19

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