swapping out main electrical panel

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Before you bother with that you could try testing your existing FPE breakers. I have them, and I have load tested all of mine, and they work fine. The main problem with them is the double pole breakers. The only one of mine that didn't work right was a double pole that really two single brakers ganged with a crimped piece of metal on the breaker lever itself. I would not trust any brand or model that worked that way. My other observation was that the older red ended ones tripped slower than newer white ended levered breakers. Other than that they all worked just fine. I would have replace the panel myself by now if I could do it myself, but I'm not inclined to break the seal on the meter myself and I'm also not interested in paying someone dumber than me an extra $1000 for something that really isn't that hard.
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zzyzzx wrote:

I know you must have operated the breakers many times before testing knowing that the failure rate is much higher after mechanical operation.
I'm sure you tested at both 135% and 200% of rating. Surprising how many breakers didn't trip at all at 135% - over half in some tests. Where did you get the acceptable trip times at 135% and 200%; this doesn't seem to be easily available information. Also what did you use for the current source. I'm 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?
When testing trip under overload I wouldn't even bother to test 2 pole breakers with equal current on both poles because the failure rate is much higher with overload on only one pole. Far as I know, all 2 pole breakers have an internal common trip in addition to the handle tie, and the internal trip mechanism can jam under un-equal load so the breaker never trips In addition did you also test with equal current on both poles?.
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. How did you do this without pulling the meter?
But 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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testing would matter at home resale time FPE will discourage buyers and make obtaing homeowners insurace for the buyer near impoosible killing the sale....
no one will care squat about your testing and once a FPE breaker trips due to moverload its much less likely to EVER trip again........
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I have never heard of anyone having insurance problems because of a FPE panel.

I've had trips.
Also, I wouldn't trust anyone's breakers if they are old enough, unless I had a good reason. I.E. - even if I had an older GE or SD panel and I wanted to keep it I'd buy all new breakers.
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On 07/04/2010 12:23 PM, bud-- wrote:

We had a guy at work who arc-flashed a 440 volt panel. Arced his screwdriver while tightening lug screws. He was blind for a day and looked like he had a severe sunburn. They found him crawling around on the floor, didn't know where he was.
--
LSmFT

I'm trying to think but nothing happens............
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bud-- wrote:

I do a little work inside panels at times and although I wouldn't touch my mains, I never gave arc-flash a thought. I now have even more respect for the possibility of arc-flash and it's there on the buss bars waiting for my screwdriver to slip and short, creating something much worse than just a shock. Thanks for posting it, I'll be even more careful now.
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On Sun, 04 Jul 2010 13:34:21 GMT, Van Chocstraw

"low current", eh???
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On Jul 4, 7:02pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Yeah BRITE flash, I ran a borrowed tiller into my main sercvice cable once:( I hit it where it enters the home from the service drop right at ground level.
I nearly died that day...........
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

I think it's low voltage in a different way. I can't remember the last time I saw 110/220. It's been 115/130 at the lowest and normally 120/240. Is 220 common many places in the US anymore?
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