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  1. #1
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    Default Another fuse question.

    The service has been increased to 200 Amp with a fused disconnect.
    The breaker panel rating is for 150 A max.
    The lugs on the bus bars appear to be adequately sized for the cables. Maybe larger clamps have been installed to accommodate the larger wires?

    Do we recommend a larger breaker panel simply because of the label?

    (There is a copper wire double-tapped with Al, so it was easy to call for a repair and a checkup by an electrician).
    The large breakers supply another panel and a hot tub.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Another fuse question.

    It's wrong. If the panel is 150 max, the main fuse should not be over 150. What size is the main cable?


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Another fuse question.

    From the pictures, the existing panel has more than six breakers in the 150 amp panel and no main breaker. The fused 200 amp service entrance does not have a disconnect handle so, if this is the case, then the installation is a National Electric Code violation.

    If a main service entrance panel has more that six circuits, then it must have a main breaker in the panel or a disconnect handle at the service entrance feed. (NEC 2002 code Article 230.71, (A))


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Another fuse question.

    Quote Originally Posted by ronambler View Post
    From the pictures, the existing panel has more than six breakers in the 150 amp panel and no main breaker.
    Which is okay, nothing wrong with that.

    The fused 200 amp service entrance does not have a disconnect handle so, if this is the case, then the installation is a National Electric Code violation.
    Looks to me as it has a handle, it is on that circular operation piece which opens the fused disconnect, and is currently 'Up' and in the 'On' position - as it should be.

    If a main service entrance panel has more that six circuits, then it must have a main breaker in the panel or a disconnect handle at the service entrance feed. (NEC 2002 code Article 230.71, (A))
    While a somewhat correct statement, it is not applicable to that setup in those photos.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Another fuse question.

    Hey Jerry, I was floundering around one of the big box stores while waiting for a tire repair the other day and found a new avatar for you!

    I didn't open the box as I was afraid of what might come out.

    Your friend,
    Vern

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Another fuse question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    I didn't open the box as I was afraid of what might come out.
    Vern,

    Yeah, kind of confusing isn't it?

    You know that if you cut that tape that you will flood the store with all the water in there for the sub, yet just below it the box says it is a "Convertible"?? Does that mean the top goes down too?



    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  7. #7
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    Post Re: Another fuse question.

    John, you might recommend panel replacement due to the brand, and the discoloration on the center bus.

    Randall Aldering GHI BAOM MSM
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Another fuse question.

    My main concern with this panel is that it looks like an old Federal Pacific panel that was notorious for defective tripping of the overcurrent devices and have been deemed unsafe. On that alone I would suggest having an licensed electrician check it out. The buss capacity for the panel should match the disconnect size and would warrent replacement or downsizing of the disconnect at the very minimal.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Another fuse question.

    Jerry,

    If the main service entrance has a disconnect, then you are correct. If it did not, the code section I mentioned would apply and it would be 100% correct, not mostly correct.

    Todd, I agree with you. If it is Federal Pacific, it definitely should be replaced.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Another fuse question.

    Quote Originally Posted by ronambler View Post
    If a main service entrance panel has more that six circuits, then it must have a main breaker in the panel or a disconnect handle at the service entrance feed. (NEC 2002 code Article 230.71, (A))
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    While a somewhat correct statement, it is not applicable to that setup in those photos.
    Quote Originally Posted by ronambler View Post
    If the main service entrance has a disconnect, then you are correct. If it did not, the code section I mentioned would apply and it would be 100% correct, not mostly correct.
    Not quite.

    You said (see quote above) "then it must have a main breaker in the panel or a disconnect handle at the service entrance feed".

    You would be correct if you had said 'then it must have a main breaker in the panel or at the service equipment' (the "panel" would become the "service equipment" if that was where the main service disconnect was located, negating the need for the rest of the sentence).

    See the difference?

    See why there is a difference?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Another fuse question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Johnson View Post
    My main concern with this panel is that it looks like an old Federal Pacific panel that was notorious for defective tripping of the overcurrent devices and have been deemed unsafe. On that alone I would suggest having an licensed electrician check it out. The buss capacity for the panel should match the disconnect size and would warrent replacement or downsizing of the disconnect at the very minimal.
    Todd don't get me wrong, I wince when I run into a Fed Pacific panel, but don't know who to quote as having deemed them unsafe. Do you have a name I can use?

    This is what I put in my reports, stolen from somewhere:

    "The main electrical panel and the sub panel were manufactured by Federal Pacific Electric Company and employ Stablok breakers and other components that have been alleged to be defective. However, the panel is old and the company is now out of business, and although field reports of defects and dangers were never apparently substantiated by laboratory tests they have been numerous and serious enough for us to recommend either upgrading the panel or seeking a second opinion."

    Vern


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Another fuse question.

    google federal pacific lots of info out there

    Just nothing "official" stating they are faulty

    Last edited by ken horak; 07-10-2009 at 06:07 PM.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Another fuse question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Aldering View Post
    John, you might recommend panel replacement due to the brand, and the discoloration on the center bus.
    I mentioned the low panel rating in my report and called for an electrician to make a couple of repairs, double tap, missing tie-bar, and check the older Federal Pacific panel. I mentioned the rust in the bottom of the fuse panel and apparent lack of a seal.
    If the panel is OK, the old breakers could be replaced with new "made in Canada (or China?)" Federal Pioneer breakers, which are popular here and available in every builder's supply store.

    Also interesting was the remote distribution (submarine) panel.
    Look at all the gray wire! How about that red wire nut?

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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Another fuse question.

    Looks like something burned and arced in that lower right hand corner?

    Yeah, finding "gray wire" ain't good, is it?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Another fuse question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    Todd don't get me wrong, I wince when I run into a Fed Pacific panel, but don't know who to quote as having deemed them unsafe. Do you have a name I can use?

    This is what I put in my reports, stolen from somewhere:

    "The main electrical panel and the sub panel were manufactured by Federal Pacific Electric Company and employ Stablok breakers and other components that have been alleged to be defective. However, the panel is old and the company is now out of business, and although field reports of defects and dangers were never apparently substantiated by laboratory tests they have been numerous and serious enough for us to recommend either upgrading the panel or seeking a second opinion."

    Vern
    Hi Vern,

    There are actually some pretty good references that you can use. In at least one round of laboratory testing the breakers were, indeed, found to be defective.

    You can start with the testing that was done by Wright Malta for the CPSC in 1982. I've attached a copy of a fairly damning section from their report.

    Another persuasive citation is from the Superior Court of New Jersey, who, in Docket #L-2904-97, concluded that "FPE cheated during its testing of circuit breakers in order to obtain Underwriters Laboratories (UL) approval."

    - Jim Katen, Oregon

    Attached Files Attached Files

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Another fuse question.

    John; I just want to clarify that I didnt say replace the panel, I said have and electrician check it. The reason is in my 37 yrs of electrical service I have tangled with FPE Stab-Loc many times. The Breakers do not always firmly Stab into the buss and are loose which creates a potential fire hazard. The breakers do not always trip at the specified amperage or during a short circuit within UL guidelines. As far as an official statement, I, like several others, can not find one. I do remember when all the concern arose from UL on some of the panelboard breakers and lack of compliance that sparked a deeper look into some of the residential line that had problems. In any case I would CYA and specify it to be checked out completly.
    Alluminum wire gives concern too. It depends though on when it was installed, CO/AL connections, the jurisdiction and their ordinances. Ours has banned alluminum inside homes altogether, even service entrance conductors. This is why its important to know the codes and ordinances of the jurisdiciton you are working in. Alluminum has come a long way since the 70's and is a lot safer now.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Another fuse question.

    Here is a link to info on Stab-Loc

    Federal Pacific Electric FPE Stab-Lok Panel Circuit Breaker Hazard, Repairs, Electrical Panel Replacement Electricians Directory for Stab-Lok Repairs

    Also, I attached another article in PDF below.

    I use these links in my reports sometimes.

    Attached Files Attached Files

  18. #18
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    Arrow Re: Another fuse question.

    Commission Closes Investigation Of FPE Circuit Breakers And Provides Safety Information For Consumers

    Jim- Your link only links to 2 pages of the 5 page CPSC report. One would need to know what is one the other 3 pages in order to draw an accurate, informed, and correct conclusion. Besides that report / investigation was closed with no positive or negative conclusion. Based on the link above dated in 1983 , 3 months after the 2 pages you linked to.

    There have been some court cases yes, does that conclude the entire line was faulty ? NO

    Just there is NO proof positive in writing from any authority backing up the claims on FPE, Just hype and talk.

    I am not defending those panels trust me. I don't like them as the breakers do not seat properly in my opinion.
    My point is one can not state they are faulty and provide postive proof in writing.
    if so Post it so I can read it. As I am always learning , as NO ONE knows it all


  19. #19
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    Cool Re: Another fuse question.

    If the breaker panel is rated for 150 amps, no matter what the size of the lugs or wire you can stuff into the lugs the panel is still only rated for 150 amps. You would have to install 150 amp fuses into the disconnect. What is the small black wire that runs into the disconnect supposed to be for and I can not tell is a small white wire that also enters the box, if they are hot the boy is that bad no questions asked and need to be removed at once. There is no plastic sleeve where the wire enters the box also. Double tapped wire copper and Aluminum, you are absolutely correct to call for repair. With that corrected and 150 amp fuses installed you should be ok to use this set up. The disconnect is within arms reach of the breaker box but should be marked main disconnect so when the fire company has to come because of the single stranded aluminum wire being used they will immediately know how to kill the power in the house.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Another fuse question.

    Quote Originally Posted by ken horak View Post
    Commission Closes Investigation Of FPE Circuit Breakers And Provides Safety Information For Consumers

    Just there is NO proof positive in writing from any authority backing up the claims on FPE, Just hype and talk.

    My point is one can not state they are faulty and provide postive proof in writing.
    if so Post it so I can read it. As I am always learning , as NO ONE knows it all
    Ken the CPSC link you posted says "Commission testing confirmed that these breakers fail certain UL calibration test requirements. The Commission investigation focused primarily on 2 pole residential circuit breakers manufactured before Reliance acquired FPE in 1979."

    The link also says that they closed the file because the CPSC did not have the funds to pursue it further due to lack of funds, not a lack of evidence.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Another fuse question.

    Quote Originally Posted by ken horak View Post
    Commission Closes Investigation Of FPE Circuit Breakers And Provides Safety Information For Consumers

    Jim- Your link only links to 2 pages of the 5 page CPSC report. One would need to know what is one the other 3 pages in order to draw an accurate, informed, and correct conclusion.
    That's a good point. I've searched for the entire document online with no success. I may try a FOIA request. That said, the parts that I posted were the summary. I suspect that the remainder of the document contained the testing parameters and the raw data.

    I find it unlikely that the entire report will paint a different picture, especially since Reliance has never tried to argue it. In fact, Reliance discovered the fraudulent testing and the faulty breakers shortly after they bought the company and voluntarily brought that information to the attention of the feds.

    Besides that report / investigation was closed with no positive or negative conclusion. Based on the link above dated in 1983 , 3 months after the 2 pages you linked to.
    Well, the document that you posted was very interesting. Paraphrased, it said that initial testing indicated that the breakers didn't trip when they were supposed to but, don't worry, a breaker that doesn't trip when it's supposed to isn't really a problem. Besides, we don't have enough money to pursue this. The testing document was written by a scientist. The document you posted was written by a bureaucrat. I'd tend to throw my chips in with the scientist.

    There have been some court cases yes, does that conclude the entire line was faulty ? NO
    I never said it did. However I find it quite compelling when a Superior Court concludes that a breaker manufacturer cheated in order to obtain a UL listing. It's all the more compelling when the manufacturer freely admits to the cheating.

    Just there is NO proof positive in writing from any authority backing up the claims on FPE, Just hype and talk.
    What would you accept as proof? If I were to obtain the entire CPSC testing report, and the remainder of that report were consistent with the summary results, would you consider that proof?

    - Jim Katen, Oregon


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Another fuse question.

    "The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced today that it is closing its two year investigation into Federal Pacific Electric Stab-lok type residential circuit breakers. This action was taken because the data currently available to the Commission does not establish that the circuit breakers pose a serious risk of injury to consumers."

    This is the very first sentence in the report I posted.

    I am in no way saying that FPE is good trust me.
    What I am saying is there is NO written documented evidence stating how bad they are.
    Good luck finding it.
    Even the CPSC can not agree on it's reports ! One says "this" and then a few months later another report say "that"





  23. #23
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    Default Re: Another fuse question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cobra Cook View Post
    If the breaker panel is rated for 150 amps, no matter what the size of the lugs or wire you can stuff into the lugs the panel is still only rated for 150 amps. You would have to install 150 amp fuses into the disconnect. What is the small black wire that runs into the disconnect supposed to be for and I can not tell is a small white wire that also enters the box, if they are hot the boy is that bad no questions asked and need to be removed at once. There is no plastic sleeve where the wire enters the box also. Double tapped wire copper and Aluminum, you are absolutely correct to call for repair. With that corrected and 150 amp fuses installed you should be ok to use this set up. The disconnect is within arms reach of the breaker box but should be marked main disconnect so when the fire company has to come because of the single stranded aluminum wire being used they will immediately know how to kill the power in the house.
    Thank you Cobra. Those are valid points. That black is actually a grounding conductor, bare copper wrapped with tape, no bushing needed, AFAIK. The white goes nowhere near the hot points.
    Most firemen can easily recognize this as a service disconnect. See pics.

    I call for a checkup of all fixtures and receptacles whenever I see Al in a 70's house. Larger stranded Al is common here for 30 and 40 A circuits. I describe it but have no concerns with the newer installations. Antioxidant paste is good to see.

    Yes, the bus bar looks a bit scorched, but in an area not in use anymore.
    My client appears to have walked away, so we can breath easier. Eventually there will be a buyer, and we hope they get an inspection.

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