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Connecticut Electric Recalls Counterfeit Breakers


AHI in AR
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Washington, D.C./October 30, 2007 - Release #08-0583

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Connecticut Electric & Switch Mfg. Co. (Connecticut Electric), of Puyallup, Wash., today announced a voluntary recall of approximately 64,000 circuit breakers that are counterfeit and could fail to trip when they are required to, posing a fire hazard to consumers.

20071030202457_SquareDrecall.jpgThe counterfeit circuit breakers are black, were made in china, and are marked as Square D products. They were sold through electrical Distributors and hardware stores nationwide from February 2005 through August 2006 for between about $6.50 and $15.50.

Connecticut Electric has identified the following breakers as possibly being counterfeit: QO115, QO120, QO140, QO2125, QO215, QO220, QO230, QO240, QO250, QO260, QO1515, QO2020, QO3100, QO320, QO330, QO340, QO360, QOB120, QOB130, QOB220, QOB230, QOB250, QOB330, and QOB360.

Actual Square D circuit breakers have (a) the amp rating written on the handle in white paint on the front of the breaker; (b) the Square D insignia molded onto the breaker side, and; © a yellow chromate mounting clip with half of the top of the clip visible. If your Square D breaker does not match this description, it could be counterfeit.

Inspectors finding these breakers should advise homeowners to contact Connecticut Electric to determine if the breaker they have is counterfeit and if necessary, to arrange for a free inspection and replacement or refund.

For more information, contact Connecticut Electric at (866) 264-3702 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the company’s Web site at www.connecticut-electric.com. Consumers also can obtain additional information by emailing Connecticut Electric at bdunham@connecticut-electric.com.

To see this recall on CPSC's web site, including pictures of the recalled products, please click here.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from more than 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $700 billion annually. The CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard or can injure children. The CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals - contributed significantly to the 30 percent decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.

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As long as there is no lead paint on them, I am OK. (damn kids licking the breakers).

I mean really, this is good to know but to put this crap on the inspector? I think we need to draw a firm line on recalls, counterfeits, etc. The way things are going, we could spend a week researching every device in the house. Now, if we were compensated for that, maybe.

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"Actual Square D circuit breakers have (a) the amp rating written on the handle in white paint on the front of the breaker; (b) the Square D insignia molded onto the breaker side, and; © a yellow chromate mounting clip with half of the top of the clip visible. If your Square D breaker does not match this description, it could be counterfeit.
I dunno,

It's your business decision to make, but I personally think that mentally filing that piece of information away is as simple as remembering how many grounded conductors are allowed under each terminal screw. It requires no effort and you're going to be staring right at the breakers. It's not like one has to dig under a bunch of crap to find them. Do you write a panel up if it has a chipped breaker or if it's double-lugged?

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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According to the verbal description of a real Square D breaker and the photo of the counterfeit, there's no way to tell them apart unless you find the Square D. insignia molded on to the side.

Am I comprehending this correctly?

So, unless I choose to pull each breaker, I won't be able to tell the counterfeit from the real one.

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I inferred (perhaps wrongly) from the announcement that the bogus breakers are all black and don't have the amperage rating on the face of the toggle like the one in the picture.

If I remember it, I'll call CPSC in the morning and see if I can get some more information.

OT - OF!!!

M.

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Hi,

I just got off the phone with Connecticut-Electric's POC on this issue. Spotting these isn't going to be easy because Square D only gave them the information to describe a legitimate Square D breaker and didn't share information about the tell tales on the counterfeit ones.

He says that, without taking the breakers out, one should look for:

1. Only QO model breakers and not any others such as the Homeline series, etc.

2. The amperate numbers are painted in white paint on the end of the toggle.

3. When the breaker is installed the UL sticker is supposed to be upside down when the toggle is above but on the counterfeits it is rightside up. (Looking at the picture, this one has me scratching my head.)

4. The yellow tinge on the top of the chromate mounting clip.

He explained that they'd contacted all of their dealers before these got out onto the market, but they have no way of knowing whether other distributors have released any counterfeit breakers.

You guys can take solace in the fact that the information being put out about the counterfeits is sufficiently ambiguous that it's probably doubtful that anyone in this business could ever be blamed for missing one of the counterfeit breakers.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Originally posted by Richard Moore

Mike,

Did he explain how these got into circulation? I'm having a hard time understanding how no one noticed they were writing checks to Shanghai Fake Breaker Company (or whatever) instead of Schneider.

No, he was very vague about the whole thing. the CPSC announcement showed up on the Mike Holt site today. It's no clearer. I guess Holt didn't have any additional information either. I should have tried to contact Square D directly.

OT - OF!!!

M.

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