Circuit Breaker Secrets of the Past.

May 8, 2019 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Uncategorized

Counterfeit Circuit Breakers can Kill

In approximately 1988, Square D Company, General Electric Company, Underwriters Laboratories Inc. and Westinghouse Electric Corporation sued several Circuit Breaker Re-sellers that were Selling Circuit Breakers, Reconditioning Circuit Breakers, Altering Circuit Breakers, Applying Counterfeit Manufactures Labels and Counterfeit UL Tags to their products.

Some of these Circuit Breakers were installed in critical applications including the Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant in Wintersburg Arizona.

We saw this happen first hand and this was our first experience of what unethical companies can do to an entire industry. We knew these companies, their owners and sold used products to most of them.

There were very few re-sellers of Circuit Breaker‘s at that time, very little over site (if any) and an industry that was extremely profitable.

Here are some really dirty secrets from those days

1.   Used circuit breakers were purchased and reconditioned

2.   Counterfeit Manufactures labels were made and affixed the circuit breakers

3.   UL tags were made and affixed to the circuit breakers

4.   Packaging identical to the Manufactures Boxes were made and used

5.   Labels for the boxes were made and affixed to the boxes

6.   These used Products were sold as new to distributors

Here is some crazy things I remember

1.   I can remember requesting to find price and availability for a circuit breaker that had to be New and was told, “We will make it new for you”.

2.   When negotiating the sale of a large quantity of  obsolete 480 volt 15 amp Circuit breakers “we will have to turn them all into 20’s

3.   We had a request for a 50 amp 480 volt Circuit breaker but offered a 40 amp. We were told “We cannot use a 40 but we can turn a 60 amp into a 50 amp”

4.   I remember arguments on how many turns of  the screw for the thermal setting to turn a 70 amp into a 100 amp

5.   Companies we sold tons of used products to  stating to their customers “We only sell New”

Please report any suspect Counterfeit Circuit Breakers to the manufactures anti-counterfeiting departments. Some will even give you a large reward.

Links to Report Counterfeits


Square D


If anyone has additional or updated information to report counterfeits, please add comments.