Electrical Panel Advice

I've had a GFIC breaker fail (a ground fault doesn't trip it). It's an old GTE/Sylvania (AKA Zinsco?) that apparnetly is obsolete.
I've chased it down to a few electrical surplus dealers here in town. I located 3 parts, two of witch tested bad. makes me wonder how long the third will last if I buy it....
My question is, should I buy a 20+ year old breaker to replace the one I have, or replace the whole panel with something that can be maintained (Square D etc)? One of the dealers I spoke with mentioned this old style being suceptable to causing fires.
Any experience out there?
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brian_j snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:
<snip> > My question is, should I buy a 20+ year old breaker to replace the one > I have, or replace the whole panel with something that can be > maintained (Square D etc)? One of the dealers I spoke with mentioned > this old style being suceptable to causing fires. > > > Any experience out there?
As someone who spent many years in the trenches designing/applying/selling electrical distribution equipment let me offer the following:
My employer considered the equipment you describe as something coming from the bottom feeder sector of the competition and refused to compete against them if they were specified on a job.
BTW, didn't lose a lot of jobs to them if a first line electrical contractor was involved.
If you want to try to maintain 20+ year old equipment as described above, you probably deserve whatever happens.
IMHO, a load center and some plug in c'bkrs are just not that expensive, especially when you factor in the risk factors.
At a minimum, you get an up to date installation in compliance with current code.
Lew
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Depends upon your budget and knowledge/comfort factor adding a new panel. It is a rather simple procedure, but not something your would want to tackle with limited experience.
The alternative seem to be to use a non GFCI breaker, and a new GFCI receptacle as the first in the run.
Certainly an effective, and much cheaper alternative.
Just my tuppence ...
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There is a good reason why; Zinsco and most of the names that followed are no longer known for circuit protection. I've seen entire circuits burn up with the breaker never tripping. Mike M
On 14 May 2007 18:16:39 -0700, brian_j snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

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(It shouldn't be too hard to figure out that google'semail.com is gmail.com)
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we don't have the same thing. In any event, I would try to avoid GFCI breakers and use a GFCI outlet instead.
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On 14 May 2007 18:16:39 -0700, brian_j snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

My experience with GFCI breakers of that era was not positive.
My previous house (1970 vintage) had the carport enclosed in 1980 and an outlet added to the outside of that space in 1980. The outside outlet was fed from a GFCI breaker - which tripped every time there was a thunderstorm in the area. The breaker failed (permanent trip) a few years later and I replaced it with another GFCI breaker - which also tripped with every passing thunderstorm.
Wiring was to the then-current NEC and was passed by the city inspector. I later replaced the GFCI breaker with a standard breaker and the outlet with a GFCI outlet - and no more problems.
John
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downright dangerous.
I finally replaced mine after I got tired of such minor things as sparks inside the box and breakers giving up the ghost after a year or so.
Eventually, it will be far cheaper to replace that stuff with safer equipment right now while your house is still standing.
Jim
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    brian_j snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com writes:

About 20 years ago, I was renting a house with a fuse box. One of the circuits was flaky. I forget exactly what was up, probably that it was blowing the fuse frequently. I called the landlord who set up a call with an electrician.
So the next day, I get an interesting call from my wife. The electrician showed up, opened up the fuse box, and found that it was on fire. We had a new breaker box by the time I got home.
If the funds are there, I'd certainly rather replace the box, especially if the circuit parts you need are no longer made.
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Real simple math
New service = much less than house burning down

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