Retrofills and Retrofits - Save Money and Time

Retrofills and Retrofits - Save Money and Time

Do you want or need new breakers? Are you like the rest of us and need to live within your budget and get the most bang for your dollars? Maybe money isn’t an issue but you have limited space for a new switchboard. Or maybe your constraint is the time it would take to purchase, install and then move all your circuits to a new piece of switchgear.  PGTI and our merger with CEPS now has more resources and options than ever to provide retrofits and retrofills to help solve these, and other, issues. 

Retrofits andretrofills, what are they and what is the difference? For those who do not know, retrofits and retrofills replace only what needs replacing instead of the entire piece of electrical equipment.

Typically 480V switchboards (medium voltage gear as well), their enclosure and bus work, are very well made and are typically easy to maintain. This type of switchboard provides a solid foundation for a retrofill installation. Retrofills are designed to replace the breakers (and in some cases the breaker cubicle) while only needing minor modifications to the switchgear and current path. This solution is great if you need upgraded breakers in a well maintained switchboard that is just out of date. It is like putting a new engine and interior in your favorite ‘06 truck instead of buying a brand new one.

Before RetrofillEmpty CellsRetrofill

Reasons to Retrofill include:

  • Limited unit space to install a new switchboard.
  • Small access point – assemble the equipment at unit (e.g. no walls need to come down to get the gear in the room.)
  • Cost-savings
  • Installation ease – the existing conduit and wiring is not modified.
  • Breakers are beyond repair or need upgrading for reliability purposes.
  • Arc-flash and interrupting ratings
    • Stay compliant and safe for less

Retrofits replace only certain components of your breakers. Your breaker work well mechanically, but it uses an old direct acting trip unit or solid state trip unit from the 70’s. Whether it’s miss operation of a failing trip unit, failure to operate during a maintenance test (you are high current testing your breaker, right?) or you need to improve your arc flash energy levels; retrofits might be the best option. With a retrofit, you can upgrade whatever aspect of your breaker that you want without having to pay the high costs of a complete upgrade.

Reasons to Retrofit include:

  • Cost-savings
  • Fix only what is broken
  • Minimal equipment change
  • Greater coordination and arc flash s (e.g. maintenance modes)

Buying an entire new piece of switchgear may be the best solution in many situations, but considering a retrofit or retrofill is always worth the time. These two options touch less of the existing equipment, cost less, yet still get you what you need.

Contact us at 615.882.9455, or online at for answers to any questions or concerns you may have.