Stripped screw on breaker


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Old 10-08-16, 06:52 AM
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Stripped screw on breaker

I managed to strip one of the lug screws on an Eaton 125 amp breaker(br21125). I've been searching around on the internet and can't find replacement screws for breakers. Where can I get a replacement screw or do I need to get an entirely new breaker? Or can I just take the screw down to the local hardware store and match it up with something that'll work? I figure that isn't a good option probably.
 
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Old 10-08-16, 07:19 AM
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IIWM, I'd replace the breaker. If the screw is stripped, chances are the threads on the tab are mangled too. Last thing you want is a poor connection on a 125 amp line....
 
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Old 10-08-16, 10:34 AM
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I've tried to replace what looked like a stripped screw in the past but there is so little meat to the breaker tab as that is usually what causes the problem.

I agree with Paul.... a breaker replacement is in order.
 
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Old 10-08-16, 11:32 AM
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Sorry, the tab the screw goes into is actually fine. It's the fitting for the driver that stripped. I should have said rounded out. I couldn't get my normal allen head socket in there so I got one of those ball sockets. It rounded it out first thing. Sorry for the confusion!
 
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Old 10-08-16, 12:18 PM
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Take the breaker to the hardware store and get a stainless screw of the correct pitch and diameter for the threaded hole in the tab. Bring along the old screw so you can match the screw length. The stainless screw will minimize dielectric problems. Good luck.
 
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Old 10-09-16, 09:04 PM
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I would not use a stainless steel screw to replace the factory screw. The expansion rate will not be the same as the lug material.
 
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Old 10-10-16, 08:48 AM
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Agree with replacement of the breaker. Different thermal expansion rates at connections is what causes electrical fires over time. The manufacturer makes those screws out of specific materials for a reason -- the terminals and the screws are usually some type of alloy with tin plating for both corrosion resistance, thermal properties and conductive properties.

The one fix that would probably be ok would be if you could remove the screw and cut a slot in the head so you could use a flat head screwdriver. As long as you can get enough purchase on it to hit the required torque on reinstallation, it seems like that would be OK.
 
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Old 10-10-16, 08:14 PM
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After thinking it over for a few days, and based on what you guys have said , I'm going to just bite the bullet and replace the breaker. Better safe than sorry! I was hoping to get lucky that someone might know where to purchase replacement screws or a rebuild kit or the like. If it was a $10 breaker, I would've just gone and bought one. But this one is $60ish and they don't stock it in the box stores around here. I have to order it. Chalk this one up to a POS tool that I'll be returning and using the cash toward a new breaker.
 
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Old 10-10-16, 08:33 PM
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You did use a hand screwdriver not a powered screwdriver didn't you.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 10-12-16 at 09:20 PM.
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Old 10-10-16, 08:46 PM
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I was actually using a torque wrench set to the torque spec. Only got approx 80-90% of the way there before it rounded out the hex head. I was using one of those ball hex sockets to reach down in because my normal hex socket wouldn't reach all the way once it started tightening up.
 
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Old 10-11-16, 11:06 AM
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Yeah I've run into that too. I have a set of 1/2" drive hex head sockets and a 1/2" drive torque wrench with a 6" extension in my tool box just for that purpose.
 
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Old 10-12-16, 03:43 AM
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For pcboss and ibpooks. The linear thermal coefficients of expansion/contraction of stainless steel and copper are closer than steel and copper. Having said that, I consider this a non issue since the rates result in a dimension change of 1 part per thousand assuming a 100 degree F temperature change seen by the breaker. Also, the conductance of steel and stainless steel are similar. Therefor I stick by my choice of using a stainless screw.
If the bad screw is the only problem with the 125A breaker, buy a 20 amp breaker and use the screw from it unless you are not trying to save money.
Good luck.
 
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Old 10-12-16, 06:27 AM
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I have a 50 amp Eaton breaker laying around so I tried the screw from that, but it was too small diameter wise by just a smidgen. I do have some Eaton 20's laying around, didn't even think to try those. I guess I figured if the 50's were too small, those would be too. I'll check those when i get home from work today. I stopped into HD yesterday because I thought I might be able to save $20 by buying a 100 amp Eaton breaker and stealing the screw from it, but they're a completely different thread, much courser.
 
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Old 10-12-16, 08:22 PM
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The 20 and 50 have identical screws so that won't work. I'm just going to order a new 125 breaker and move on at this point. Sucks that a brand new $7 tool purchased specifically for this job because my other hex sockets didn't have a long enough hex shaft to reach down to torque the screws down properly cost me an extra $60-70. I guess it could have been worse! Could have been torquing down heads or something else much more expensive!
 
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Old 10-13-16, 04:38 AM
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If you have not purchased a new 125A breaker, here is another possibility. If you have a fastener supply house in the area, they usually carry all SAE and metric size fastners imaginable. Try them. Also you should use judgement when torquing a thread to manufacturer's specs. I know the lug wrench that came with my new car will not loosen the wheel nuts when torqued to factory specs. After the dealer rotates the tires and I get home, I loosen them with a cross wrench and re-tighten them with car's lug wrench. If I get a flat on the road, I will be able to put on the spare.
 
 

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