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Old 19-05-2017, 11:39   #1
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Replacing old/stock circuit breakers

Our '92 Catalina 30's AC panel has one 30A "main" breaker that is a toggle style, and 3 push-to-reset style breakers (20A I believe) for outlets, water heater, and "accessories" (haven't figured out what's in that category yet).

What struck me as strange is that there appears to be no way of turning off the water heater - short of the breaker popping.

We've been sorting out some issues with shore power and our A/C and wanted the WH out of the equation, but are unable to isolate it due to the style of breaker.

Is this pretty standard? That when you plug in shore power, water heater is ON?

I'd like to replace those push-to-reset breakers with toggle types that would allow selectively turing circuits on and off. Curious if anybody else has done that and if the different style breakers will fit in the same panel place/hole without too much surgery.

Thanks!
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Old 19-05-2017, 11:56   #2
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Re: Replacing old/stock circuit breakers

You use the push-to-break button to turn the WH on and off. That's what it is there for. They are NOT breakers, they are I/O switches ONLY.

Accessories is for anything that is added to the A.C. power downstream. Look behind the panel and see if anything is connected to it.
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Old 19-05-2017, 12:27   #3
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Re: Replacing old/stock circuit breakers

Pushing the breaker resets or turns it on. Pushing it when it's already on does nothing. Very similar to most of the breakers on a Cessna.

Then again, if pushing it is supposed to turn it off, it doesn't work properly - and neither do the other 2 breakers of this style.
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Old 19-05-2017, 12:33   #4
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Re: Replacing old/stock circuit breakers

I checked the manual. Though the information there is frightfully sketchy, it does say the WH and outlets are controlled by 20A BREAKERS. No switch shows in the circuit schematic.
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Old 19-05-2017, 23:13   #5
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Re: Replacing old/stock circuit breakers

I have seen ones that will turn off. Maybe push harder.
If not. Defiantly upgrade the breakers or panel.
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Old 20-05-2017, 02:56   #6
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Re: Replacing old/stock circuit breakers

Perhaps, pull to off?
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Old 20-05-2017, 03:30   #7
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Re: Replacing old/stock circuit breakers

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Originally Posted by ValiantV View Post
Pushing the breaker resets or turns it on. Pushing it when it's already on does nothing. Very similar to most of the breakers on a Cessna.

Then again, if pushing it is supposed to turn it off, it doesn't work properly - and neither do the other 2 breakers of this style.
They were bludi terrible breakers. If yours are anything like those, then I would replace them ASAP.
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Old 20-05-2017, 05:13   #8
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Re: Replacing old/stock circuit breakers

Yes, they are kinda cheesy. I suppose they went cheap on the breakers and they are very limited. Though they do seem to work, the WH one did pop on me right as the element was burning out due to low water in the heater- which is why I was curious if other's had this same setup.

I have seen pull-off ones, but they have an extended "knob" and a groove so you can grip it. Seen them on circuits that are frequently turned off intentionally. (Again, on aircraft, for landing gear pump and alternator field.)

The only other place I've seen a breaker that worked like this is on a power strip or electrical appliance. Then again, those really are cheap breakers. These at least have a full size body behind the panel.
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Old 20-05-2017, 09:38   #9
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Re: Replacing old/stock circuit breakers

first question is there room for the new style breaker. And do you have to cut a different kind of hole in the panel. I have added one breaker and it is tricky to cut the hole in the panel with all the wires behind waiting to be nicked. Just take slow and carefully.
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Old 20-05-2017, 09:54   #10
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Re: Replacing old/stock circuit breakers

You could add an appropriately rated on/off switch downstream of the breaker. Panel-mounted toggle or rocker switches don't take up much space. A rocker switch with a built-in pilot light could be ideal; you know at a glance if the WH is on and getting power.

Of course, please observe the usual caveats about the dangers of working with AC, knowing what you are doing, etc.
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Old 20-05-2017, 10:01   #11
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Re: Replacing old/stock circuit breakers

Sounds like it has potential.

I'll have to see what ac AC rated switch capable of handling 1500 watts or so looks like size-wise. All of the rockers on the panel are on the DC side and handle less than 10 amps at 12V, so a lot less wattage going through those. Still, would be a neat solution if I can find a switch with the ratings that halfway matched.

Cautions about AC noted!
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Old 20-05-2017, 10:02   #12
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Re: Replacing old/stock circuit breakers

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Originally Posted by foufou View Post
first question is there room for the new style breaker. And do you have to cut a different kind of hole in the panel. I have added one breaker and it is tricky to cut the hole in the panel with all the wires behind waiting to be nicked. Just take slow and carefully.
Yep, thought that might be the answer.

Trying to make this look as "stock" as possible and not a hodge-podge of mixed components.
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Old 20-05-2017, 10:29   #13
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Re: Replacing old/stock circuit breakers

Replace them, or not. However I am not one who believes in using a breaker as a switch. JMHO
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Old 20-05-2017, 10:48   #14
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Re: Replacing old/stock circuit breakers

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Replace them, or not. However I am not one who believes in using a breaker as a switch. JMHO
Agreed! I've never cared for that either. Dunno why Catalina (and I assume others) use the "main" breaker as a switch.
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Old 20-05-2017, 15:17   #15
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Re: Replacing old/stock circuit breakers

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Originally Posted by ValiantV View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cadence
Replace them, or not. However I am not one who believes in using a breaker as a switch. JMHO
Agreed! I've never cared for that either. Dunno why Catalina (and I assume others) use the "main" breaker as a switch.
I read a couple of datasheets for the circuitbreakers made by Carling Switch (the manufacturer of breakers sold by BlueSea). In their mechanical specs both types I looked at (M series and A series, stuff rated at up to 50A) had endurance of 10,000 ON-OFF operations at rated voltage and current.

That's pretty reasonable over the lifetime of a yacht, seems to me. So I don't think it's a terrible decision by the yacht-makers.
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