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!! :)
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
On 3 Mar 2007 15:20:42 -0800, firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
I'll take a picture and post either tonight or tomorrow, thanks
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!
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
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The box is obsolete.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. :)
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 $$$
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
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
but with such a old panel I bet its a 60 and really should be replaced
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
Plan ahead, do it on a day with plenty of daylight and plenty of time.
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.
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>
< email@example.com> wrote in message
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
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.
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.
On 3 Mar 2007 15:20:42 -0800, firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
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
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!
On 4 Mar 2007 10:53:28 -0800, email@example.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
The installer was A. Genius. I thought that was a pretty good joke.
Did you do that?
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