Best circuit breaker?

I asked my electrician what kind of conducting material is used in his breakers and he needed to find out. I read somewhere that silver tungsten is the best material.

So… for those of you who have upgraded your circuits or breakers – what’s the best? Did you find one that improved your sound?

Here’s a list of interchangeable brands of UL Classified breakers – Cutler-Hammer, Square D, Crouse-Hinds, General Electric, Siemens, Murray, Thomas & Betts.

@vee - sorry to not anwer your question, but you might find this useful - just last week i have replaced standard 16A (230V) breaker for my audio with fuse holder (can’t recall the maker now) and Audiomagic’s top line fuse (6,3x32mm). The improvement was definitely work the money (450eur for material, installed by myself). On that line I am having P10 powering audio so i did not expected significant change, but it was quite noticeable: dynamics got even better, more speed/air/immediacy/transparency observable immediately on mid-bass, however goes thru whole spectrum. Not sure if using better breaker would bring the same benefits.

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Thanks for your insights @Maniac. Great to hear your results.

Unfortunately I don’t believe the US uses fuses in residential panels anymore. It may have to be some kind of special install, but will check with the electrician. Not likely I’ll find any audiophile fuses cleared for residential use here.

I was planning on buying a handful of breakers from the nearest HD and use my LCR meter to check the LCR values. The lowest resistance will likely be the best bet.

There are many choices in the US for fused panelboards. Type S fused panelboards are still used in Chicago for all kinds of “dumb Chicago Electrical Code” reasons. However, the best choices are made by Eaton utilizing Bussmann fuses. Available in all kinds of small fuse sizes (1-15A and 17.5-20A) See the link below:

BTW, I can’t imagine going through the bother but there’s some nuts on this board. Have at it.

Here’s an easy way to get a screw in fuse circuit (Type S).

You could literally tap the bus to feed this thing. The basic rules are 25’ max tap conductor (no overcurrent device) with the conductor size at least 1/3 the size of the line side conductor or panelboard. Or 10’ max tap with the tap conductor size at least 1/10 the size of the line side. The 10’ rule is the most practical in this case. Ex. if you have a 200A panelboard, you can tap it for 10’ with a 20A (#12awg copper) conductor.

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@amsco15 thanks for your suggestion on the tap. Unfortunately I have to run over 70’ lines to the room and don’t want to punch more holes to tap mid-way.

I wanted to share my direction on this.

After some reading, I’ve decided to go with the Siemens HQP 20A 65AIC circuit breakers. These are made to interrupt up to 65kA without blowing up; standard breakers go up to 10kA – my assumption here is the materials used is of greater quantity and durability to safely handle that much current which may mean lower resistance and higher current carrying ability. They accept the 6AWG wire that will be run and are also rated for the Siemens panel they’re being installed into. And Siemens seems to be the only company making 65kA breakers for a residential panel.

The way the tap works, you tap on the line side of the fused device within 10’ (max line side conductor length when applying the 10’ tap rule). The load side can be as long as you’d like (given physical limitations of things like voltage drop - the conductor is protected by an overcurrent protection device). Finally, the 65kaic is only if your utility is capable of providing that kind of fault current (for a very limited time) if a bolted fault occurs (dead, quick short). There is almost a 0% chance, in a residential situation, of this kind of fault current being available at the terminals of your panelboard under any kind of fault condition. Also, a bit of a dirty secret in the industry, at small breaker sizes, there is not likely much difference in manufactured circuit breakers other than one line was tested to the higher fault values. At bigger sizes, there are major difference. For example, a 2000A bolted pressure fused switch is made to handle 100kaic and applies pressure to the contacts to ensure its withstand rating.

Good luck to you. I’m sure your choices will work our great.

Thanks for the detail – I will talk to my electrician about this. Will a DIN fuse holder like this one from EATON paired with a DIN subpanel work?

The reason I’m looking at a sub-panel is I’m now considering adding the Environmental Potentials EP-2050 to attach to each circuit.

@amsco15, do you recommend any particular fuse brand or would fuses simply be a step up from breakers in all cases?

Maybe, don’t know. Given all my yapping about possibilities (guess I’m just showing off), I strongly recommend sticking with the tried and true: a standard circuit breaker panelboard, sub fed panelboard is great. Finally, there are lots of two pole surge arrestors made to fit whatever panelboard you purchase (I have a Square D QO device in space 2-4 in my panelboard). There are also lots of external ones that take a 2P circuit breaker to feed.

I have a subpanel with an EP-2000 (commercial version of the 2050). It attaches to any empty breaker and protects and filters all circuits in the panel. A picture with install instructions is here.

What is your auditory assessment of adding the EP-2050? Do you have a regenerator too?

Well, it’s been more than 10 years, but I think it was a decent improvement. Lower noise giving a more relaxed presentation.

I live in a rural area with less contamination on the AC lines so did not get a regenerator. Instead I opted for Oyaide outlets and matching plugs. This to my ears is a very good improvement and worth the cost.

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I had the two 6awg 20a circuits installed today with the 65aic 20a breakers. I can say that they are heavier and the switch has a harder, solid snap compared to the normal 10aic 20a breaker of the same brand. They also take 6awg wire, which the 10aic did not.

Here’s the main panel with the EP2050 and EP2750s installed.

Unfortunately, I can’t speak to how these sound yet because one of my BHK300s is in Boulder.

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All looks neat and tidy! Very professional.

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I purchased a set of four of the seimens 65 AIC breakers picked up from HD yesterday since my 4 dedicated line project is in midstream. Thanks for the link. They certainly make other thermal breakers seem like child’s play based on mass and overall construction quality. They were about four times the mass of the heaviest ones available off the shelf. Square D or Siemens residential quality . Interestingly I found this Shunyata Research article on power. It is the best read I found yet that assembles all points in one place.

They seems to recommend Hydraulic Electromagnetic circuit breakers. However I failed to find any that clip onto the bus bar like the Siemens does for my main panel design which takes QP style of breakers.

Wondering if anyone knows a source?

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I would check with your local electrical supply house(s). If one is made for your panel they’ll be able to order it.

I’ve had on my to do list to unwrap my ground rods connections, deox and treat and reseal so this morning I did just that. I use Caig spray deoxit followed by a bit of brush on Caig Progold. Then I do 2-3 coats of Plasti-dip spray coating, followed by a wrap of silicone tape. Last time I did this was 3 years ago and there was no corrosion or loss of conduction that I could detect. Gave the rods a good watering too for good measure. :wink:

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They don’t explain why. Those are different tripping mechanisms, but is there something generally better at the contact patch that closes the circuit in hydraulic electromagnetic breakers?

Hydraulic Electromagnetic have a much broader temp range they remain in spec. It’s not clear if they actually conduct any better. I suspect it’s unlikely they are made for typical residential brand panels but they might.

That is a good suggestion trying electrical supply. My internet searches turned up poorly. The hydraulic electromagnetic seems to be the same price range as TOTL thermal siemens. It would be worth buying at least two for a trial since I have four breakers. The trial cold involve just moving power cables at outlet after a quick breaker swap.

When i am in the main panel plan to deox all grounds to bus bar and treat them as well as retorque all of the fasteners I can find. The introduction of noise from other circuits is a concern. I will plan to use phase without the fridge compressors and furnace blower motors or consider swap some slots. I doubt with two furnaces and two fridges I will get that lucky. All of my breaker Legend is unreadable. Thus a bit of a snipe hunt.

Unfortunately my AC unit is tied to both phases. We didn’t try to track down which phase the refrigerator was on because it was hooked up to a two-phase subpanel in the house – I figure 50/50 chance.

I also received an UberBUSS that I connected to the dedicated audio circuit yesterday – initial impressions are positive – I’m still waiting for the BHK300 to come back from repair to hear the complete difference. The Sprout that’s subbing in has benefited from all these power changes… it is placing sounds and instruments more precisely than before, the soundstage has opened up and bass is ebbing and flowing from a larger space.

It will be interesting hearing how the BHK300 sounds in this new power configuration when I get it back next week.