Experience With Cutler Hammer (Eaton) CH Series Panels

I am in the midst of new construction and am working with an electrician who is recommending a Cutler Hammer (Eaton) CH series 400 amp panel. He prefers these to Square D panels. The CH series panels have "one-piece silver flash plated copper bus provides superior conductivity throughout the entire product line". I will be running multiple dedicated circuits for audio rooms and am wondering if anyone has an opinion on these panels.


I have an Eaton sub panel for my system via a Square D main. As long as your not using an Fed Pacific you should be fine. Just insist on an EMP Shield while he's there.

I own Eaton (stock) and so I recommend it.

I replaced the FPE that was used in my neighborhood with Westinghouse long ago. Many neighbors still have FPE.  Surprised there aren't fires in my neighborhood.


CH panels are considered among the best in the industry, which is why electricians use them a lot.  I have a 200-amp CH panel that was part of the original house construction in 1992; I have 4 dedicated 20-amp circuits in that panel for my home theater/stereo, and it has worked perfectly for 32 years . . . 

John C.

Well, Federal Pacific were among the most notoriously bad panels ever made. Not only did the back planes make poor contact but the breakers often failed to trip on overload.

Square D, Siemens, Eaton CH are all really good. My preference is for in-panel surge protectors as opposed to bolt on units. I’d suggest go with whichever your electrician recommends that allows a surge protector to plug directly onto the back plane instead of being wired in. This minimizes inductance and puts the surge protector closest to the incoming power lines.

Another thing, if this is new construction, consider where your cable modem and wifi router will be. You might want to run fiber between them, and locate the wifi router in a more wifi optimal location than the cable modem. The main reason for the fiber is to prevent surges from outside the building from entering and frying everything connected to an Ethernet cable.

Also, if your wifi router will be 30' or more from your streamers, consider fiber there also, as it will reduce/eliminate chances of lightning induced surges from being picked up.

I also, lastly want to point out that I don’t know why audiophiles are obsessed with the best connection to the outdoor supply. A little resistance and inductance in the wiring and panels can be very beneficial to reducing noise and the effect of surges. There’s little guarantee that noise goes down as you get closer to the transformer outside. 

Some R and L at the panel, and wiring from the transformer can be quite beneficial.

Have two 200A CH panels; only downside I’ve seen is whole panel (house) surge protectors are external and still leverage two slot for a 50A breaker; i’ve seen other panels that offer the panel surge protector in the breaker, which is nice, as my panels are in the finished part of the basement.


Curious; why are folks needing multiple or more than one 20A circuit for Home Theater? I have one dedicated circuit; all equipment is plugged into nice power conditioner, and that conditioner is plugged in the single dedicated circuit.

Thanks all who chimed in much appreciated and have given the go ahead on the CH panel. Another question has popped up—we have a 400amp service and the electrician wants to use two 200amp panels—one for those circuits served by a 24k Generac propane generator and one for the other circuits in excess of what the Generac can handle. I would prefer using one panel as we have in our current home (200amps). Since we need more than a 200amp panel in the new home I am wondering if we could do a single 300amp panel rather than 2 x 200amps. If I need the full 400amps and two separate panels would you put the audio room circuits on the panel served by the generator or on the other panel? FWIW the generator is outside the audio room so the noise of it will make it unlikely I will listen to my system during power outages.

@n0m1n4l I prefer multiple dedicated lines so I can avoid using a power conditioner—better to draw straight from the wall if possible in my view.


It’s worth doing a serious survey about how much power you will actually use. I can’t imagine a family of 4 actually using 200A of service unless you have multiple kitchens and more than 3 heat pumps and/or a workshop, but doing separate panels to simplify the Generac install makes sense.