Adding circuit to FPE panel, are breakers still available?

I am renovating a kitchen in an apartment building in which all of the units have Federal Pacific panels ( I know, that's a whole different topic, the building owners are well aware of the issues with them) . I would like to add another circuit to the panel, there is room. The problem is do they still make replacement or aftermarket breakers for these panels? The other option I have is to use a 2 pole breaker that was for a 220V A/C that is not used anymore, but do I , or can I, physically cut the pin that joins the 2 breaklers so each can operate seperately?
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Yes, they are available, and U.L. approved. They're sold under a variety of names,like American circuit breaker, but just as for FP breakers at the supply house. I wouldn't recommend pulling apart the double
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Occasionally seen single pole breakers of variuos types at hardware stores. Whether these compatible with FP not sure but worth a try. As a temporary idea, until you round up the correct breaker while not correct to code, but using only one pole of a breaker should work OK? Thai si if amperage rating exceeded due to, say a fault, on the one leg in use the whole breaker should trip. Right.
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buy 2 replacement breakers, leave one as a spare if you cant find a cover plate
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If you remove the two pole breaker and install a single pole breaker you will need to install a panel seal to fill in the empty space on the panel cover. These may be more difficult to find than the single pole circuit breaker. If the two pole breaker is the correct amp rating, just use one side of that and don't worry about cutting the tie handle. Don't put a wire on the second pole. Just label it on the panel cover "120 volts" or something like that.
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just leave the existing 2 pole in place, and dont connect to the non used side. dual pole breakers are designed to trip if either side draws too much current, so the tie is meaningless
simple quick easy way to keep you FPE fire hazard breaker cabinet going:(
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Mikepier wrote:

Use the 220 volt breaker to feed an auxiliary panel with new breakers.
--
Blattus Slafaly ? 3 :) 7/8

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Mikepier wrote:

As several people have indicated, a 2 pole breaker has a common trip. Cutting the handle tie is not likely to change that. Modifying an FPE breaker is not a good idea.
One of the failures of FPE breakers is if there is overcurrent on a 2 pole breaker, but the current is not the same on both poles, the breaker can jam and never trip. Using poles of an FPE 2 pole breaker for other than a 240 V load is not a good idea.
Information on jamming comes from very limited testing done for the Consumer Product Safety Commission. I don't think breakers above 40A were tested. One wonders about service breakers with overload on one leg.
A couple of links for FPE info: http://www.inspect-ny.com/fpe/fpepanel.htm when I last looked a lot of the information was based on CPSC tests
<http://www.codecheck.com/pdf/electrical/240overcurrent/FPE%20Article%20from%20DH%20-%20Nov2003.pdf
--
bud--

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I see them at hardware stores and used ones are available on eBay all the time. However, if you get any of the used ones you want ones with white lettering (newer) ones, not the older red ones. I have a FPE panel and it works just fine, and yes I've tested all my breakers.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Your circuit breakers must have had no problem staying plugged in - one of the problems with some panels. It probably does not help that when you turn most breakers on they tend to unplug.
I know you must have operated the breakers many times before testing knowing that the failure rate is much higher after mechanical operation.
When testing trip under overload I wouldnt even test 2 pole breakers with equal current on both poles because the failure rate is much higher with overload on only one pole. In addition did you test with current on both poles also?
Im sure you tested at both 135% and 200% of rating. Surprising how many breakers didnt trip at all at 135% - over half in some tests. Where did you get the acceptable trip times at 135% and 200%. This doesnt seem to be real available information. Also what did you use for the current source. Im sure in addition to the tests on breakers up to 80A that was done for the CPSC you tested the service disconnect which is probably 100A. What did you use for the 200A current source?
Are the busses in your panel made of multiple parts screwed together? If they are you probably took the panel apart so you could determine if the bus connections were loose and arcing. It would be much easier if this damage could be seen without disassembly.
It could be your breakers and panel were not made during the period when FPE was fraudulently sending false information to UL and your equipment was not among that delisted by UL.
In short, I applaud our effort in making sure your panel is safe. It would be of great benefit to others if you could provide instructions on how you did your tests.
- bud--
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I personally watched a dead short not trip a FPE breaker, the wire turned cherry red and exploded, i was stunned.
one a FPE breaker trips once its much less likely to ever trip again
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bud-- wrote:

I've had those old Federal Push Pin breakers before. They do come loose easy. I was able to get new ones from an online source. I later replaced the boxes with Siemans boxes and breakers. What a relief.
--
Blattus Slafaly ? 3 :) 7/8

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Don't cut the pin. IIRC the main problems that US FPE breakers had were duals hanging up.
FPE (as "Federal Pioneer") "StabLok" is still being manufactured. Schneider Electric of Canada acquired the rights when Federal Pacific went under. You can even get arc fault versions, and are still common in new construction. FPE breakers are available in most hardware/DIY stores here, including Home Depot, at prices just like any other breaker.
Schneider's web site doesn't make it clear whether they distribute to the US or not, but they do list Ace Hardware as a retailer, and I don't think Ace is in Canada at all.
You might try:
1) Ace Hardware 2) If you live close to Canada, drop over the border to a Home Depot or Home Hardware etc. 3) Mailorder from Canada
With an older FPE system, it seems the best thing to do is to go thru the net and find out exactly what's problemmatic. I believe there's two issues: US FPE 20A duals of a wide vintage, and Schneider 15A singles of a later and very narrow vintage, and then see if your panels have the problemmatic units and get 'em replaced.
I believe Schneider will still replace free any of the 15As of the bad vintages.
My SIL's house recently had some major renovation work done (new circuits, rearranging feeds etc). 1900's home, incremental wiring replacements done over the past 50 years. FPE. Checked it out, had none of the problemmatic breakers. System is just fine.
Given that CSA is generally somewhat more aggressive in resolving issues like this than UL, I trust current generations of FPE. There's no reason to believe the problems with US FPE are still around. Besides, Schneider owns Square D too ;-)
--
Chris Lewis,

Age and Treachery will Triumph over Youth and Skill
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