I have a Federal Noark panel. I would like to add 2 circuits, but only
have one slot. I need to add a dedicated circuit for a dishwasher and
would like to put in a GFI circuit breaker for the kitchen and
I have been unable to find a Federal Pacific stab and lock tandem
I have also read Federal Pacific panels are a fire risk. Is this true
and should I switch panels?
Federal lost its UL listing years ago. Yes it was for fires. I remember
doing trouble calls in West Phoenix, when the full summer sun hit the
panels, the breakers would trip.
I can not tell you if you should change the service. That is going to cost
some big bucks.
This link will has 20-20 and 15-15 breakers listed.
Bring your banker for creative financing.
Forget the GFCI breaker idea, MUCH more expensive. Go to your electric
supply/box store and get GFCI outlets and install them. The kitchen and
bathrooms should not be on the same circuit. Kitchens need 2 free circuits
per code (at least) not counting installed equipment. Bathrooms as far as I
am concerned should be on their own circuit. My SO has enough electrical
stuff to make a small load bank. Thank god she can old plug in two items at
a time. I did find a outlet expander in the bathroom once, after destroying
it. I pleaded with her that I was not interested in dealing with a fire nor
her death. I do not think that she really bought it but I have not found any
more outlet expanders in the bathroom.
As SQLit said, put GFCI recepts in and forget about a GFCI breaker.
Are FPE Panels risky? You betchum! And this story goes way back to
For a really detailed history:
Then you be the judge...
You can get new circuit breakers made by the American Circuit Breaker Co.
which fit the FPE panel and are U.L. approved. To my knowledge they don't
make any half sized GFCI breakers, which like the others said, I wouldn't
use anyway. You are better off with receptacles. Over all, if it were my
house, I'd scrap the whole panel
Thanks for the advice. I think I will look into switching out the
panel. I worked as an electrical apprectice before graduating college.
It has been about 10 years and I don't feel comfortable disconnecting
a live panel. How do you get a panel turned off that does not have a
main switch? Will the city kill your power for a day?
Also when I was working I remember Square D panels being easier to work
on then other brands, so I am thinking getting Square D. Any opinions?
When I was doing residential change outs that were fed from over head I
would just cut the wires, hot, hot and then the messenger. I taped off the
hots and made sure that they were different lengths. I would tie off the
drop with an rope until I could get the new mast in place. Then using split
bolts I would re connect the drop to the new riser. Not exactly for the fait
of heart or to be done in a rain storm. Shingled roofs are not conductive.
You need to get a permit from the local folks. I was doing so many that I
was pulling 10 permits a week.
Do not know about your neck of the woods. But here if you ask for the power
to be shut off, there is no doubt that it will be off for at least 24 hours.
The utility will not restore power until the AHJ has signed off. Some times
48 hours for the clearance to get thought both parties. My customer were
not interested in that kind of service.
If your not comfortable with working live wires then get someone to do the
job. Panel up grades can have lots of "gotcha's" if your not aware of the
Biggest one I see around here is the 2 ground rods that are needed, unless
you have an ufer.
Your home your choice of panels. I would look about and see what I could
get the best deal on. Here in Phoenix the best place to buy residential
change outs used to be Evergreen hardware. They actually had a kit all set
up for a common installations.
ll when he disturbed a hive of Aficanized Honey Bees. He died of blood loss
due to all the bullet wounds from the tiny Glocks the bees shot him with.
He is survived by a remarried wife, 3 Gay children and 56 gerbils. The gerb
ils really miss him. 8-(
out of the question but I did have a cockroach hang out with me for a litt
le while. The poor little guy met a tragic death when he tried to befriend
one of the nurses. ^_^
If you decide to get rid of that FP panel, send me an email. I'll
give you a few bucks for the breakers, plus pay the shipping. I have
a FP panel in my garage, and need to add a few circuits in the future.
I have never had any problems with this panel, except the little tabs
between the dual (220V) breakers tend to break, so they dont trip
together. My main breaker just did that recently. I just drilled
thru the lever and put in a cotter pin. Otherwise the panel works
fine. I dont really see much difference in the panel itself, so
apparently it must be the breakers themselves that cause problems.
Email me here if you decide to do that. handyman AT centralpets DOT
The problem appears to be that <some> original FP breakers fail to open
when required on occasion, leading to fires. I also have FP in
everything here on the place--who know from 20 to 40 years ago it was
going to be an issue? So far every time they've tripped, but I continue
to worry some...
BTW, if you want used replacement FP breakers, they're "dime a dozen"
item on eBay...
Thanks for the info. I looked at that web link in one of the replies
on here. It appears I do not have the stab-lok type. I do recall
seeing them though, with their orange painted handles. The ones I
have in the garage are all the tan colored ones. That website did not
seem to show the ones I have, so I am assuming I am safe, or hope so.
I imagine ebay has them, but somehow I dont think I would get a
bargain on there. New ones are only around $5 each. While I might
find them on ebay for $2 each, I am sure the shipping would be $10 for
each breaker. That just seems to be the way ebay is lately, so I dont
even use it anymore unless I am looking for something that is obsolete
or antique, and then i prepare to get robbed on the shipping and
I just thought I could get a bunch of them for cheap and give the OP a
few bucks for what he would normally toss in the trash. I also like
the idea of recycling. However, it looks like mine are a different
type anyhow, and hopefully safer. I have seen plenty of these tan
colored ones in use around this area.
Don't recall the specifics of the model names at present...eBay's like
anywhere else, you simply have to be prudent. I bought a whole passel
(something like 40 total mixed 110/220 for about $15 plus <$10 shipping
that provided me enough spares for my lifetime...these happened to be
mostly NOS from a retiring electrician with a few pulls. I did have to
keep looking for a while, however. ymmv, obviously.
The only problem with Federal Pacific breakers is with the two ploe
breakers. I have a FPE panel installed in 1962 and all the original
single pole breakers work just fine (I load tested all of them). I
bought a ground fault breaker off eBay that was fairly new and from
Canada but I don't recommend them because they take up too much space
in your breaker panel. I had no trouble buying used FPE breakers off
eBay, but I got newer used ones with the white numbering, not the old
ones with the red numbers on them).
Now if your Federal Pacific panel has two pole breakers on it then loan
test them by overloading one phase of it and see if it trips both legs
properly. If it does than it's OK. The problem is that on a single
phase overload on a 2 pole breaker it wasn't tripping the other pole.
I would be interested in how you really do load test your breakers. I have
tested circuit breakers for a lot of years. We call it primary and secondary
injection. Secondary injection is through the ct's. Your using the original
breaker curve published by FPE?
Our current supplies start out at about $15k for an MS-2 and crank well over
$40k for a Doble unit.
How do you test for LD and Instantous?
Read all of the report:
One of the bigger problems with this design is the type of stab
into the bus. It often results in high-resistance contact and
In minor cases, that can mean inconvenience when lights on one
circuit flicker. In severe cases, it can end up with a melt-down
of the panel.
You have not truly lived until you've attempted to pry out an FPE
breaker and had it crumble into dust in your hand....
I used to think that testing of the breakers to ensure that they
tripped was adequate assurance of an FPE panel suitability.
I still like having fuses for mains. I have them on my farm, and was
going to eventually replace them until I ran into a burned up Square-D
panel in a building I was demolishing. When I acquired that building,
one of the first things I did was to get that panel before someone had
a chance to steal it. I was a 100A panel, completely filled,
including a few tandem breakers, and one 50A dual breaker to a sub
feed, which was an old fuse box with at least a dozen fuses. I
brought it home and what I found shocked me. The 100A main was siezed
in the ON position, and I finally busted off the handle trying to
force it to shut off. The 50A subfeed breaker worked, except it was
welded to the bus bar and so badly charred where it connects to the
bar that is fell apart. The two single breakers above and below that
50A were charred from being in the same location. The other single
breakers, and one 30A dual were all OK, That box was so overloaded, I
am surprised there was not a fire. All I saved were those good
singles and that one 30A dual. Everything else went in the trash.
There was even charring around some of the neutral screws.
I like single breakers, but for a main, I still think fuses are the
..all I know is that our FPE breaker panel is *expensive* to replace
breakers and the lighting store strongly recommended that we replace
the entire panel as soon as possible. It's the original panel that
came with the house when it was built in the early 70's.
We haven't experienced any problems with the panel but it's on our
"to do" list for this spring.
It's not a Federal Pacific box I have, its a Cutler Hammer. Guess my
Alzheimers is starting........
At least I dont have to worry about a dangerous box.
On Sat, 18 Dec 2004 21:46:36 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@UNLISTED.com wrote:
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