Electrical service panel door mismatch...how to fix?

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Hello all.
The past owners of the older home which I live in now had tried 'fixing' things throughout the house (most notoriously venting a bathroom exhaust directly into a sealed attic space...*sigh*). One of these problems which I am now trying to undo involves them mismatching the electrical breaker box and the panel that covers it.
The box itself takes some odd-looking, older toggle (push in, push out) breakers, square in shape. The panel cover has the knockouts knocked-out for the newer, wide rectangular breakers.
I was warned when I purchased the house that this would have to be fixed, because it is dangerous--there is a major gap between the actual little square breakers and the holes from the knockouts for the other type of breaker.
Basically, my question is this: can I get *just* the panel for the existing breaker box? I'd rather do that if at all possible, instead of incurring the additional expense of having to replace all of the breakers to put in a totally new system.
Can anyone point me to a place where I can get just the cover? BTW, I can take pix, if that would help. Thanks so much in advance!! :)
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Sounds like you have an old ITE/Bulldog/pushmatic box and breakers. Inside the panel it may have a model number, but the likelihood of getting a cover for an obsolete panel is pretty low. You'll probably wind up having to replace the entire panel with breakers

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On 3 Mar 2007 15:20:42 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

They make plastic spacers that just snap in empty breaker slots.
You might be able to find something like this at an electrical supply.
You might also be able to make some metal ones.
A picture always helps.
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I'll take a picture and post either tonight or tomorrow, thanks everyone.
How hard would it be for me to shut off the main breaker, have the power company pull the meter, and me swap meticulously from this old box to a new one, if I have to replace everything? Is it something that a somewhat-savvy individual can do and then get an electrician to inspect, or am I flirting with disaster?
Thanks again for the input!
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You may be flirting with disaster. Depending upon the size of the panel and the particulars of the rest of your service, it may be a three or four hour job, plus the materials. I'd call a few licensed electricians and get prices
wrote:

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For the first poster.
This sounds like an old push-matic breaker box. Maybe with or without the -
There should be an identifying number somewhere in the box. Search online for the cover.
The box is obsolete. The breakers were still available a few years ago.
If you can find a number, I will be happy to call the local distributor.
If you want me to do that, email is best. I bet you can figure it out. :)
Colbyt
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What kind of disaster? He probably won't even have to strip a wire. While I'm not a licensed electrician, I've done this a few times and they have all passed inspection. Takes a few hours. Saves a few hundred $$$
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He doesn't sound like someone with to much experience. My biggest concern would be his ability to properly connect any Edison circuits in the panel. In Pushmatic panels, the buss doesn't alternate vertically like it does in new panels, so unless he understands the principal of the Edison circuit, he could inadvertently connect one wrong and have a dangerous situation. There are other not so obvious things like bonding jumpers, that he probably has no idea what to do with. I'm not debating that this isn't rocket science, but unless he's competent, he's probably better off having it done professionally

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main grounding mmay be lacking too.
What size is the panel.
If its a 60 amp might as well upgrade the service and replace the meter can etc and grounds.
100 amp service is marginal decision if upgrade to 200 amps is necessary.
but with such a old panel I bet its a 60 and really should be replaced and upgraded
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In some areas, it is possible to get a permit and do the work yourself. Check with your inspector. It is really not all that difficult once the power has been cut. Before you start, take a look at a book on basic wiring. It is pretty much a matter of disconnecting all the wires, pulling them out, replacing the box and breakers and one by one, putting all the wires back. Before you buy anything, see if thee are breakers that are doubled up with two sires going to them. Now is the time to separate all that stuff.
Plan ahead, do it on a day with plenty of daylight and plenty of time.
--
Ed
http://pages.cthome.net/edhome/



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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

It's a three to five hour job for one or two inexperienced people. That includes trips back to the big-box store for stuff overlooked.
You can get a breaker-box "kit" containing the box, hardware, and an assortment of breakers for ~$250.00. You'll need all manner of other stuff like wire nuts, grounding wire and clamps, perhaps a hole cutter, beer for the celebration and passing of the smoke-test, etc.
I'd encourage you to give it a go.
As to whether the power company needs to get involved, whether you need a permit or an inspection, that's entirely up to your local jurisdiction and the union/communist influence over your local politicians.
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the last thing you should have to do is replace the panel just because you don't have a cover. make one of good stiff poster board, then take it to your local metal fab shop and have them make one if you can't order one.
jeeeeeze.... replace the panel...... <SIGH>
--
Steve Barker




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Replacing the panel will probably be cheaper than a "one off" of a panel cover with the proper knockouts.
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wrote:

I assume the new one won't have knockouts.
I have a short memory, so I don't know if the cover has to be inset or not from the level of the place where the cover screws on, to the level of the breakers, but assuming it doesn't, it would be just a sheet of metal with a number of holes for breakers and four little holes for screwing it on. If he ever wants to add breakers, he'll take off the cover and use tin snips or a sabre saw to cut a bigger hole.
If the breaker level is different from the level of the place where the cover screws on, I would go back to my other post and just patch it with sheet metal. To the OP, PC-70 is a very good kind of epoxy glue, but other glues might work well also.
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Covers for pushmatic panels would probably be the easiest to fabricate. It's just a flat sheet of steel with one or two large vertical rectangles in it, depending upon how many breakers it holds, and one small rectangle for the main, if it has one. They didn't use knock outs, the panel came with blanks for dead spaces.

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On 3 Mar 2007 15:20:42 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

I don't think there is A place, but maybe some electrical contractors will have old boxes they have removed when they put in bigger. IIUC other posts, yours is unusual, or takes unusual breakers, so that lowers the odds they will have taken one out and lowers the odds they will have kept it.
But in addition to buying per breaker inserts, how about taking some sheet metal and attaching that to the current cover to fill in all the empty spots. I get pieces of sheet metal from stereos and vcrs or toaster ovens that I can't repair, or other kinds of trash, but they also sell it in larger sizes. You can probably cut one or maybe two pieces that will cover every opening. I don't know code, including how thick it would have to be, or what is requires for attaching. Pop rivets might be fine. Or PC-70? Or by soldering? If you want to do it that way, ask some more questoins. For appearance's sake, I would put the patch inside the cover, so only the part filling holes shows, although from a safety pov, either it doesn't matter, or outside would be better if space is very limited inside.
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I have an old push button box that I am replacing and I have the cover still. If you are interested take a pic and I will take a pic and if it's the same I'll mail it this week and you just have to pay shipping. I doubt it will be the match, but if it is it's yours.
Shane
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Finally, here's a picture of the creature in question. I think the name of the installer, as written on the door, is not quite accurate...
http://www.idcts.com/images/_newsgroup/P3040104.jpg
I'd be interested for sure in getting ahold of an actual replacement cover if possible, but fabrication still sounds like a good option too. I'm wanting to address the overt safety issue now, and maybe upgrade the whole box to 200 amp service later down the road.
I guess am not savvy enough to handle this task on my own, as I don't know what an Edison circuit is, or how to bond a jumper.
Thanks again everyone!
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On Mar 4, 1:53�pm, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

fabricate just some metal plates to cover the exposed wiring, then upgrade service later.
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On 4 Mar 2007 10:53:28 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Cutler Hammer is still around. I don't have the slightest idea if you can get a cover, but you could email this picture to them, and they could tell you right away. If they can't get you a cover they might be able to suggest a replacement part.
BTW having your panel exposed like it is will make an upgrade much easier.
The installer was A. Genius. I thought that was a pretty good joke. Did you do that?
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