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Thread: common trip breakers

  1. #1

    Default common trip breakers

    Happy New Year!

    Question:

    I've seen breakers sold at the Big Boxes that have clips connecting two breakers to force a common trip but are there any aftermarket connectors or clips available that can make two standard 1-pole breakers into a common trip set? Would this be acceptable under the NEC?

    Gracias!

  2. #2
    In the Trades maintenanceguy's Avatar
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    Breaker ties do not make breakers common trip. They force the person turning off a breaker to turn off both (or all three) poles. With breaker ties installed between breakers, when out breaker trips, it will not open the other breaker.

    Only two pole (or on 3Φ service, 3 pole breakers) purchased as one assembly will open all phases when one phase trips.

  3. #3
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default ties

    The DO pull the second breaker open during a trip, otherwise the unsafe condition would still exist, and some manufacturers do make them.

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    Remodel Contractor GabeS's Avatar
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    Just a thought. Why not just remove the singles and put in a double. Do it right. Sleep at night.
    Gabe

    Don't follow my advice, I only know a thing or two about a thing or two.

  5. #5
    In the Trades maintenanceguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    The DO pull the second breaker open during a trip, otherwise the unsafe condition would still exist, and some manufacturers do make them.
    I disagree. Two pole breakers are common trip. Two single pole breakers with a handle tie are not common trip. Breakers are designed to trip even if the handles are restrained for some reason. They even make a clip to lock a breaker handle in the "on" position for critical equipment that can't be turned off. These breakers still trip properly even though the handles can't move.

    Here's one manufacturer's thoughts on the matter. Sorry for the poor quality. Tried to upload a PDF, file was too large for this site. So I converted to gif, uploaded, and this site converted again to JPG. so it's been tampered with and compressed 3 times. Hope it's readable.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  6. #6

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    A handle tie rated for the application and breakers can be used for a two pole application and be NEC compliant.
    http://www.inspectpa.com/forum/forum.php
    My answers are based mostly on the ICC codes. Advice given is my personal opinion and every person performing work should acquire a permit from his/her jurisdiction and get the work inspected. My opinions are not directions to follow for DIYs or professionals

  7. #7
    In the Trades maintenanceguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jar546 View Post
    A handle tie rated for the application and breakers can be used for a two pole application and be NEC compliant.
    Not always. Not for multiwire branch circuits serving other than line-to-neutral loads. I'm looking at the 2005 NEC. 210.4 (C) Exception No. 2. I don't know if this changed in the 2008 or what code the OP is under.

    "Where all ungrounded conductors of a multiwire branch circuit are opened simultaneously by the branch circuit overcurrent device."

    I don't believe that a handle tie meets the requirement of all circuits being opened simultaneously BY THE OVERCURRENT DEVICE.

  8. #8
    DIY Senior Member BrianJohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maintenanceguy View Post
    Breaker ties do not make breakers common trip. They force the person turning off a breaker to turn off both (or all three) poles. With breaker ties installed between breakers, when out breaker trips, it will not open the other breaker.

    Only two pole (or on 3Φ service, 3 pole breakers) purchased as one assembly will open all phases when one phase trips.


    Wrong.

    A handle tie when installed either a legal tie or a 1/8 toggle bolt through the handle (NOT APPROVED, though illegal handle ties are illegal because they are not tested to operate under any condition) will result in opening of both CBs with a trip (fault) on one of the conductors.

  9. #9
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianJohn View Post
    Wrong.

    A handle tie when installed either a legal tie or a 1/8 toggle bolt through the handle (NOT APPROVED, though illegal handle ties are illegal because they are not tested to operate under any condition) will result in opening of both CBs with a trip (fault) on one of the conductors.

    This is a false statement. Handle ties does not open both breakers in a fault in one breaker.

    Listen one more time handle ties does not open both breakers in a fault condition of only one ungrounded conductor.

    Handle ties does not operate both breakers in a fault condition

    Handle ties does not trun off both breakers in a fault condition..

    Only two pole breakers will open both circuits in a fault condition

  10. #10
    Homeowner Thatguy's Avatar
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    Personally, I spent an hour troubleshooting because a two-pole breaker with connecting pin only tripped on one side and I didn't notice that only one pole was tripped.

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