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Square D double tap


John Dirks Jr
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Here is a picture of print on a Square D breaker. It shows the allowance for two conductors to be attached.

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tn_20102259938_P1020495.jpg

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Hey John. Another quiz. Can those conductors be different guages? Like a #12 and a #14 on a 15 amp breaker?

Thats another good question that I do not immediately know the answer to. I know you shouldn't have a #14 wire on a 20amp breaker.

Obviously, the printing on the breaker doesn't specify anything about mixing wire sizes. It does say 10-14, but I don't know if that means you can mix sizes.

Give it up John, please.

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Both Square D and Cutler hammer allow you to combine different size wires (though there are few situations where you'd want to). You can also combine stranded and solid.

If you're attaching only one wire, both manufacturers will allow you to use either copper or aluminum. However, if you're attaching two wires, they both must be copper.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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To be clear and if I'm not mistaken. . .

Not all Square D breakers are allowed to be double tapped.

That photo is a Square D Homeline breaker. The QO breakers from Square D do not allow double taps. It's easy tell the two apart (if for some reason the breakers were never id'd) because the Homeline have the metal saddle terminal that easily accepts two wires just like the diagram shows.

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To be clear and if I'm not mistaken. . .

Not all Square D breakers are allowed to be double tapped.

That photo is a Square D Homeline breaker. The QO breakers from Square D do not allow double taps. It's easy tell the two apart (if for some reason the breakers were never id'd) because the Homeline have the metal saddle terminal that easily accepts two wires just like the diagram shows.

Both the HOM and the QO breakers in the 1-, 2-, & 3-pole configuration in the 10amp-30amp range have the double saddle and will accept two wires. Just check the catalogue.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Both Square D and Cutler hammer allow you to combine different size wires (though there are few situations where you'd want to). You can also combine stranded and solid.

If you're attaching only one wire, both manufacturers will allow you to use either copper or aluminum. However, if you're attaching two wires, they both must be copper.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Some of the Cutler Hammer breakers are listed for more than one wire (15-30 amp). As stated above the Square D and Homeline are also listed for more than one wire. Of course the load on the circuit could be an issue. Here is a picture of a CH breaker (I had to highlight it to get it to show up - the printing is just embossed in black).

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tn_2010226132228_CH%20Breaker.jpg

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To be clear and if I'm not mistaken. . .

Not all Square D breakers are allowed to be double tapped.

That photo is a Square D Homeline breaker. The QO breakers from Square D do not allow double taps. It's easy tell the two apart (if for some reason the breakers were never id'd) because the Homeline have the metal saddle terminal that easily accepts two wires just like the diagram shows.

Both the HOM and the QO breakers in the 1-, 2-, & 3-pole configuration in the 10amp-30amp range have the double saddle and will accept two wires. Just check the catalogue.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Okey doke. I stand corrected. I don't remember, though, that the saddles/terminals look the same. I couldn't find a clear enough picture in the catalog.

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I think there is a difference. Now I'm splitting hairs 'cuz all the Square D breaks accept two wires anway.

On the QO breaker, all I see is that big fat screw head facing me as I look in the panel - the saddle is tucked underneath and sort of hidden by the plastic.

On the Homeline breaker, the saddle is actually visible from the front of the panel.

I could be wrong again. . . but I don't think so. I need to be right about something every now and then. . .

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Both Square D and Cutler hammer allow you to combine different size wires (though there are few situations where you'd want to). You can also combine stranded and solid.

If you're attaching only one wire, both manufacturers will allow you to use either copper or aluminum. However, if you're attaching two wires, they both must be copper.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Jim, if you use two different gauge wires wouldn't it torque more on the larger wire leaving the smaller wire loose?

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Both Square D and Cutler hammer allow you to combine different size wires (though there are few situations where you'd want to). You can also combine stranded and solid.

If you're attaching only one wire, both manufacturers will allow you to use either copper or aluminum. However, if you're attaching two wires, they both must be copper.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Jim, if you use two different gauge wires wouldn't it torque more on the larger wire leaving the smaller wire loose?

Look at the photo I posted a little earlier. The Square-D top plate "floats" and is pushed down by the rounded underside of the screw. It will rock a bit side to side to accomodate different sized conductors. That's the Square-D...the Cutler Hammer version (photo below) is different and, IMO, doesn't look as capable as the Square-D.

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Both Square D and Cutler hammer allow you to combine different size wires (though there are few situations where you'd want to). You can also combine stranded and solid.

If you're attaching only one wire, both manufacturers will allow you to use either copper or aluminum. However, if you're attaching two wires, they both must be copper.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Jim, if you use two different gauge wires wouldn't it torque more on the larger wire leaving the smaller wire loose?

Yes, it will probably apply more pressure on the larger wire, but the pressure plate will rock and apply enough pressure on the smaller wire as well. This is probably one of the reasons why you're supposed to tighten these lugs to 36 in-lbs.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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...the Cutler Hammer version (photo below) is different and, IMO, doesn't look as capable as the Square-D. . . .

Your photo doesn't clearly show the notch at the bottom of the clamp. Also the pressure plate has a dimple in it that locks the wires in place. Once you stick a couple of wires in there and tighten the lug to 30 in-lbs, those wires ain't going nowhere.

Frankly, the same could be said for most manufacturer's breakers. The big difference is that most manufacturers didn't pay to have UL list their breakers for 2 wires.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Here is a picture of print on a Square D breaker. It shows the allowance for two conductors to be attached.

Click to Enlarge
tn_20102259938_P1020495.jpg

45.88 KB

Hey John. Another quiz. Can those conductors be different guages? Like a #12 and a #14 on a 15 amp breaker?

Give it up John, please.

Sorry, John D, I forgot I asked it. And I admit I wasn't sure myself. [:)] We got an answer.
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