Requirements for Surge Protectors at the System Panel

Today I had a System Panel with Surge Protector attached to the System Panel. Both the Panel and the Surge Protector were Eaton devices, but the Surge Protector was connected to a 50 Amp Breaker with a 12 Gauge Braided Alum wire. I recommend evaluation by a licensed electrician, but I thought I’d post here in case there is something you folks know that I don’t. As Always, thanks for your help.

I assume you mean "service"panel.
And surge protectors for the most part are actually required to be on their own individual breaker.
Most of the time i find them double tapped.
50 amp is pretty common, but it depends on the manufacturer. But I wouldn’t be calling for evaluation, electrician will laugh at you.
There are typically two types, load side or line side, but none of them are allowed to be “double tapped” with a breaker or with the service lugs.

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What is braided aluminum wire? I suspect you mean the tinned copper leads that are part of the surge protection. The instructions would need to be checked to see if the breaker size was an issue.

You may want to use more standard terms like service panel or panel.

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I think his concern is the gauge of wire on the 50 and if it is too small.

Depending on the model numer then 50 amp OCPD is probably the correct size. The conductors on the device do not need to be rated for 50 amps.


The surge protector does not have a load on it like a typical breaker would.


Yes, and 50 amp is pretty typical. I will see if i can pull up an install manual.
Theres no draw on the surge protector, so it won’t be overheating the conductors

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Cool, I am curious If there is a surge, what will travel along those “little wires”?

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I’ve always wondered that too… Sure doesn’t seem like it would do much


Think about what the potential fault current is on a standard 20 amp circuit breaker. Could be up to it’s rating of 10,000 amps even with #12 AWG conductors in the branch circuit. Same principle applies here the conductors only carry the transient current for a very short period of time. From the instruction sheet in post #5:

4.Locate a dedicated unused,or install a new 2-pole circuit breaker
in an available space closest to the location where the CHSP is
to be installed. A dedicated 2-pole 15 ampere circuit breaker is
recommended for use with CHSP devices, but use a 2-pole 50
ampere circuit breaker to achieve the full published ratings of the
CHSPT2ULTRA device. (The connecting wires do not carry supply
current. Instead, they carry only short-duration currents that are
associated with a transient event.)


So basically the conductors can be “undersized” due to the short duration Robert?


Really Good info. Thank You!

The wires are part of a listed assembly. The unit is tested and approved with those conductors.

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In order to trip that 50 amp, those little wires would have to have a 50+amp load at some point.

I understand you are correct and not arguing. When I was in the air force taking my electronic courses, there were some formulas that were manipulated because… Well, electricity was going to do what it wants to do and defy your calculator.

This seems like one of those cases.

The duration of the surge is very short.

That’s correct. If you don’t think of it in terms of a constant 50 amp load running through those small condcutors it makes sense, this is only for short duration transients. In the example I mentioned above if you have a ground fault on a 20 amp circuit the amount of current that flows for just an instant is in the thousands of amps yet the components of that branch circuit (condcutors, circuit breaker, etc.) are not damaged due to the duration of the fault.


I’m not sure I see a flaw. Did those wires come with the surge breaker?

You can also get devices that install inside the panel, which gives them unlimited amps going into the busbar. Then the limiting factor is the pigtail, which again should be fine as the surges are just short pulses of excess voltage:


:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Here is the manual. It does need a dedicated breaker, normally a 2P50.

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