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  1. #1
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    Default ZINSCO MAIN BREAKER TRIPPED

    HEY ALL

    did this 1964 house today--and when i went to electrical box, i found main 50 amp breaker in off position but all power to house was on. it was a ZINSCO BREAKER BOX. and yes there were double tapped neutral wires, even though there were many vacant tight down screws. wrote it up--REPLACE ASAP. i know i have come across many fpe panels with breakers tripped but current still flowing, is ZINSCO the same

    thanks
    charlie

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: ZINSCO MAIN BREAKER TRIPPED

    Quote Originally Posted by CHARLIE VAN FLEET View Post
    HEY ALL

    did this 1964 house today--and when i went to electrical box, i found main 50 amp breaker in off position but all power to house was on. it was a ZINSCO BREAKER BOX. and yes there were double tapped neutral wires, even though there were many vacant tight down screws. wrote it up--REPLACE ASAP. i know i have come across many fpe panels with breakers tripped but current still flowing, is ZINSCO the same thanks charlie
    Charlie,

    I believe that the breaker that you are looking at is not a main breaker. I believe that there is no main breaker for that panel. The feeder cables come in to the lugs at the top. The 50 amp breaker might be for an electric range or other appliance that has been removed.

    I have not seen any Zinsco breakers that will not interrupt power when clearly in the off position. However, I could well be wrong.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  3. #3
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: ZINSCO MAIN BREAKER TRIPPED

    I With Gunnar Charlie.

    Best

    Ron

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  4. #4
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    Default Re: ZINSCO MAIN BREAKER TRIPPED

    Agree with the others... that's not a main. Follow the path through panel and you'll see it can't be. Feeders come in the top and energize the bus bars. The top breaker goes to equipment, likely a range.

    That panel's got many problems.... my favorite is the ground passing through the mounting screw hole. Your recommendation to replace ASAP is a good one. I'd say little else.


  5. #5
    darryl washington's Avatar
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    Default Re: ZINSCO MAIN BREAKER TRIPPED

    Looks as if a sub panel...go to Zinsco Sylvania Kearney Electrical Panel and Circuit Breaker Hazards, Failures, Inspection, Detection, Repair, Replacement - Sylvania Zinsco circuit breakers and panel hazards for information on the Zinsco panel. These panels are dangerous and should be recommended to be replaced.


  6. #6
    Julie Weishaar's Avatar
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    Default Re: ZINSCO MAIN BREAKER TRIPPED

    It wouldnt matter if it were a 2009 GE manufactured panel, it required immediate evaluation and repair/replacement by a qualified and licensed electrical contractor. The issue is NOT the manufacturer in this case, but the apparent defect, fire hazard, and shock hazard at hand.

    Good call!


  7. #7
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    Default Re: ZINSCO MAIN BREAKER TRIPPED

    THANKS ALL

    i had the father of the bride riding shotgun on me the whole inspection--and told him it was a range breaker but he said nonono-so thanks for the answers. a perfect world AN INSPECTION WITH OUT THE CLIENTS THERE--OR AT LEAST NOT THE KNOW IT ALL DAD

    THANKS

    CHARLIE


  8. #8
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    Default Re: ZINSCO MAIN BREAKER TRIPPED

    Quote Originally Posted by CHARLIE VAN FLEET View Post
    THANKS ALL

    i had the father of the bride riding shotgun on me the whole inspection--and told him it was a range breaker but he said nonono-so thanks for the answers. a perfect world AN INSPECTION WITH OUT THE CLIENTS THERE--OR AT LEAST NOT THE KNOW IT ALL DAD

    THANKS

    CHARLIE
    Stick to your guns.

    Department of Redundancy Department
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: ZINSCO MAIN BREAKER TRIPPED

    CHARLIE VAN FLEET

    I always enjoy it, when a member take the time to post a picture or two. Thanks for doing so.

    Your problem, this house electrical panel.

    I have seen panels wired like this one, where you have a Main Service Disconnect, which is back fed. But the code requires all Service back fed
    breaker to be secure at the panel.

    If the 50 amp., when it's turn off, didn't shut off the power feeding the panel, it might be defected or had just gone bad.

    I would pull out the breaker out from the panel, and if the house goes
    dark, you have just found one of many problems.

    But is this not part of your job, and you have never been around electricians, that would teach you basic stuff. Then don't do this.

    My opinion, the 50 amp. double pole breaker is the Main and the wires
    at the top are what I call a unfuse tap. It's another way to splice power
    away from the electrical panel, without using another double pole breaker. And from what I could see, there is no room for one.

    Best of luck to you. /S/ Robert

    Last edited by Robert Mattison; 08-31-2009 at 03:43 PM. Reason: typo

  10. #10
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    Default Re: ZINSCO MAIN BREAKER TRIPPED

    Quote Originally Posted by CHARLIE VAN FLEET View Post
    i found main 50 amp breaker in off position but all power to house was on.

    Charlie,

    That's not the main.

    That is only for something else, a/c maybe?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  11. #11
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    Default Re: ZINSCO MAIN BREAKER TRIPPED

    Yes

    Listen to Jerry P.

    He really know his stuff when it comes to this old electrical stuff.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: ZINSCO MAIN BREAKER TRIPPED

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert S. Mattison View Post
    CHARLIE VAN FLEET

    I always enjoy it, when a member take the time to post a picture or two. Thanks for doing so.

    Your problem, this house electrical panel.

    I have seen panels wired like this one, where you have a Main Service Disconnect, which is back fed. But the code requires all Service back fed
    breaker to be secure at the panel.

    If the 50 amp., when it's turn off, didn't shut off the power feeding the panel, it might be defected or had just gone bad.

    I would pull out the breaker out from the panel, and if the house goes
    dark, you have just found one of many problems.

    But is this not part of your job, and you have never been around electricians, that would teach you basic stuff. Then don't do this.

    My opinion, the 50 amp. double pole breaker is the Main and the wires
    at the top are what I call a unfuse tap. It's another way to splice power
    away from the electrical panel, without using another double pole breaker. And from what I could see, there is no room for one.

    Best of luck to you. /S/ Robert

    The code rule requiring a hold down on a backfed breaker did not even exist when that panel was built, it did not exist when Zinsco panels were branded as "Sylvania"........

    384-16(f) first showed up in the 1990 NEC any backfed plug -in breaker installed prior to the adoption of that edition W/O a hold down is code compliant. THE NEC CODE IS NOT RETROACTIVE.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: ZINSCO MAIN BREAKER TRIPPED

    Quote Originally Posted by Rollie Meyers View Post
    THE NEC CODE IS NOT RETROACTIVE.
    No ... BUT SAFETY IS.

    Of course, with that being a Zinsco ... you will probably never get the breaker off the bus bars ... not even when you want to.

    Think of it this way: Zinsco was ahead of its time with retaining breakers on the bus bars.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  14. #14
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    Default Re: ZINSCO MAIN BREAKER TRIPPED

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Think of it this way: Zinsco was ahead of its time with retaining breakers on the bus bars.
    Well, it that is the case, then why even write them up?

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  15. #15
    Joe Driscoll's Avatar
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    Default Re: ZINSCO MAIN BREAKER TRIPPED

    To all the alleged experts out there, this is a "sub panel" Sorry to Jerry, but if he had a grasp as he claims to the trade, as he claims he does, he would agree. Although "sub" is not the correct terminology, it is the accepted. the 250 breaker is cleary not backfed, and albeit a poor wiring job without the fourth conductor, ( mentioned that this was 1964 home) Having been in the trade for over 35 years i see his on many a days visits, should i condemn a home, no why, was not code when it was installed nor if you looked at he "sub feeders" no work has been done in at least 25 years in this panel. I have laid low for many a year waching condemnation from you guys but also take note that in the states of PA, NJ, DE, MD, And Ny all states in which I am a licensed master electrician, none of you are authorized in these states to even remove the cover on a panel. As far as the other know it alls, Zinsco had neutral teminal blocks that allowed up to 3-# 12 wires in each terminal. Although I do not agree with that, they did get a UL label to agree. When Any of you get your Masters in EE( electrical engineering), you can scoff or disagree. Check the label, UL doesnt give those out with wild abandon, nor did(do) they. Stop being monday morning quarterbacks, do what you are permitted to do, and leave the real trobleshootng to the experts, None of which are here.
    Joe


  16. #16
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    Default Re: ZINSCO MAIN BREAKER TRIPPED

    Joe Driscoll

    New York State

    License New York State Master Electrician license. Do you carry that one.

    And if you do, please enlcose a link, as to how one you go about, to attain such a license.

    Many thanks. /S/ Robert


  17. #17
    John Steinke's Avatar
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    Default Re: ZINSCO MAIN BREAKER TRIPPED

    Welcome, Joe Driscoll .... I can think of at least one other Master here. Personally, I try to avoid the entire 'credential' game; an idea ought to be able to stand on it's own merits.

    Some time ago, I posted a ruling by the State of Kentucky where the State clearly ruled that evaluating electrical matters, and removing panel covers, was 'electrical work,' and outside the scope of the Home Inspector. You can be sure that many at this forum were very unhappy with that ruling.

    I get annoyed when folks get all upset over the simple existance of an FPE or Zinxco panel. These panels never had any problems with UL tests - claims of NY State and lawyers aside - and the listings don't have expiration dates.

    Sure, one can argue that another design might be better ..... but that's not the point. If you were a 'car inspector,' you'd be in a similar position if you automatically condemned all Ramblers, and extolled the virtues of the latest BMW. That's not your job .... you're being asked if the car is still roadworthy.

    Yet, the age of an installation can be a clue to look for certain things. For example, as Ottowa has detailed, old Knob & Tube homes often have dangers caused by poor attempts to expand / improve / repair the old electrical system.

    There is nothing, in and of itself, in a panel being made by Zinsco. A clue to perhaps check for signs of arcing at the contacts? Sure. Expensive and limited breaker replacements? Absolutely.

    As for vocabulary, we've been around that bush many times here. Some folks are, shall we say, pedantic to a fault. Heck, the NEC fails to have any mention of personal computers, but we all know one of those when we see one. All I can say is that it's far easier to be critical than correct.

    Now, I have to go troubleshoot something ...


  18. #18
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    Default Re: ZINSCO MAIN BREAKER TRIPPED

    Joe,

    Sorry to read of your lack of a thorough grasp on things electrical.

    Shame for an electrician to lack that grasp on electrical, all things considered, they might want to learn more or change their line of work.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  19. #19
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    Default Re: ZINSCO MAIN BREAKER TRIPPED

    John S.

    I want to thank you for taking the time to write your recent post. It
    was very thought provoking, to me especial.

    I would like to to see more of your thoughts, on the subject you just wrote about.




    "there are two side to an argument, so lets not silence the other side."


  20. #20
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    Default Re: ZINSCO MAIN BREAKER TRIPPED

    Zinsco Main Circuit Breaker Panels.

    The following is for all who read this thread.

    In this post, I do not take sides in this matter, but supply this link so
    all H.I. reading this thread can read the facts, from another outside source.


    InspectAPedia
    Three post down you will found Bruce Ramsey Post
    Which has the corrected link.

    Last edited by Robert Mattison; 09-02-2009 at 02:30 PM. Reason: Link not working from my computer,see Bruce Ramsey

  21. #21
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    Default Re: ZINSCO MAIN BREAKER TRIPPED

    Quote Originally Posted by ben jacks View Post
    Guess what....There is an easy way to remove breakers from Zinsco panels using new tools on the market that are comparable to the old antique Zinsco removal tool. The high impact plastic PEDRO's Racing offset tire-pry is a perfect fit for removing both types of Zinsco breakers. This tool is available at any bicycle shop for less than $3. rbj
    Ben,

    The point being made was ... ... that, yes, you could use a pry bar to remove those breakers, which were ... designed and intended to be removed by hand.

    They have a known tendency to weld themselves to the bus bars, ruining both the breakers AND the bus bars, resulting in the need to replace the panel.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  22. #22
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    Default Re: ZINSCO MAIN BREAKER TRIPPED

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  23. #23
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    Default Re: ZINSCO MAIN BREAKER TRIPPED

    Bruce Ramsey

    Thanks for putting up the link that works.

    /S/ Robert


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