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How do I find out the manufacturer of an electrical panel?
Tuesday, July 16, 2019
The older the panel, the harder it will be to figure out the manufacturer. Major manufacturers like Square D are easy to recognize, but obscure and defunct brands of a bygone era can be problematic.
A few manufacturers emboss their name and logo right on the door of the panel, like the long-gone Pushmatic with their bulldog, or GE, or Federal Pacific's bright red circle; but most just affix a paper sticker on the inside of the panel door with their name somewhere in the listing of installation standards, like in the photo above. It is usually as obvious as on the ITE panel shown above, but not always.
Or the manufacturer’s name may be on the latch for the panel door, like Thomas & Betts or Eaton below.
Also, the identification sticker may be on the inside side wall of the panel box, so the dead front has to be removed to view it and it could be partially obscured by wires in front of it. We don’t recommend removing the dead front unless you are familiar with safety procedures at an open panel.
The color of the panel box can be another hint. For example, for many years the Cutler-Hammer panel boxes were tan.
And the manufacturer’s name on the individual breakers will be correct for the panel manufacturer too, most of the time; but multiple brands of breakers will snap into place in some panels—although not approved by the panel manufacturer in most cases. See our article Can you add circuit breakers by different manufacturers to an electric panel if they fit? for more on this. And go to How do I determine the age of an electrical panel? for finding the panel age.
So sometimes it’s difficult, like in the panel shown below. The dead front was missing, there was no sticker inside the box, and the breakers were a mix of Square D, Cutler-Hammer, ITE, GE, and Challenger. Because the main breaker, the one most likely to be original, was General Switch, plus the light gray color of the box matched the brand’s usual color, that was our best guess.
Also, see our blog post What is the maximum number of circuit breakers allowed in an electric panel?
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