How to Identify Challenger Residential Circuit Breakers with Pictures


September 17, 2019 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Uncategorized


The Truth about Challenger Residential Panels. Are Challenger Panels Safe?

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I have seen so many articles stating Challenger panels are not safe and you will be at risk of an electrical fire. These articles will usually focus on Zinsco and Federal Pacific Panels.  These articles that state the challenger panels should be replaced with a New Panel are not true in most cases.

The Most Common Challenger Plug-in Residential Circuit Breaker is Type C. Although the Challenger style is obsolete, Eaton has them Available with the Challenger Part Number with the UL tag so there will not be a problem with an inspector. Circuit Breakers in your panel should be manufactured by the same manufacture as the panel itself. If you have a Challenger panel, the Breakers are supposed to be Challenger.

All of the circuit breakers in the images are available New and are approved to install in the Challenger panels

What can be done if the Circuit Breakers are obsolete, can I use an interchangeable Circuit Breakers? Eaton Type BR is approved in Challenger Panels as long as the part number is on the breaker. Older versions of the BR do not.

If you look at the picture of the four different Circuit Breakers used in the Challenger Panels, you can see just offering the type C may be incorrect. This is why we ask for more information or pictures prior to taking orders. Most people do not have the expertise necessary to do this.

Challenger also used FPE and Zinsco Circuit Breakers in many Residential Panels and these are the ones that have had trouble according to many experts.  

The Zinsco Style may be labeled as Zinsco, Challenger or Sylvaina. The full size is type Q and the two ploes are type QC. The half Size is R38 for 1 poles and RC38 for 2 poles. The full part number is either Q for 1 Poles and QC for 2 Poles. For 1 Poles the part number is Q and then the amperage (Q20) and the two poles are QC and then the Amperage (QC20). For Half size 2- 1 poles is R38-20 for 2- 20 amps (R38-20) and RC38-20 for a 2 Pole 20 amp (rc38-20)

Click Here for full size Zinsco Style 1 and 2 Poles

The Challenger Style is Type C is the full size and the half size with the hook (left ot right side) is Type A. To order these, the full part number is either C or A, then the number of Poles and then the Amperage so for a full size 20 amp 1 pole, it is C120 or A120(R or L) add R or L suffix to identify what side you need the hook to be on. R for right side and L for left side.

Click here for Challenger C 1 Poles Click here for Challenger C 2 Poles

The Federal Pacific Style is type NA for full Size and NC for half size. to order these these full size 20 amp 1 pole is NA and then the amperage NA20 and the half size is NC20. 2 Poles are a little different, For full size it is NA then the number of poles and then the Amperage NA220 and half size is NC220

Click Here to Purchase FPE Style and see more images

At JRL Electric Supply Inc., We are happy to assist you or your customer and offer excellent Customer Service.