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  1. #1
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    Default FPE Stab-Lok verification

    I saw my first Federal Pacific panel today and I confused Stab-Lok with Pushmatic. I didn't see any breakers with a Pushmatic type reset on them so I incorrected thought what I was looking at was a Federal Pacific panel that was not part of the fire hazard problem.

    Then I came home and realized my mistake and unfortunately none of my pics show the smoking gun words Stab-Lok on them. I've tried enhancing my pics in Infanview with no success. I spent time reading the Inspectapedia articles and comparing the pics and it looks like this is one of the offending panels. In the label section it lists the catalogue number L120-40 and of course my label has the 4 digit deteriorated.

    Can any of you veterans tell from my pics if this is defintely a Stab-Lok that needs to be replaced?

    Thanks.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok verification

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
    Can any of you veterans tell from my pics if this is defintely a Stab-Lok that needs to be replaced?

    FPE ... Stab-Lok ... Definitely ... Replace

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok verification

    Pushmatics - push buttons. I still recommend they be checked and replaced, antiques with old funky connections. This one had been recently refurbished by an electrician who obviously likes them.

    Stab-loks - the handles flip to the outside when they're on.
    Look for the distinctive E shaped holes if you can see any of the bus bars. This pic is of the newer Federal Pioneer series, the older ones all have black breakers, sometimes with red handles like yours.

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  4. #4
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok verification

    You can also Google the images and compare them against your photos.


  5. #5
    Ed Wood's Avatar
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok verification

    Here they refer to them as arc welders in a box.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok verification

    Yep you got em! There is a kit which a qualified electrician can install which doesn't require the replacement of the metal housing but the internal components; lots of information at American Society of Home Inspectors, ASHI


  7. #7
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok verification

    Thank you for the replies and the continued education I constantly receive on this forum.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok verification

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
    Thank you for the replies and the continued education I constantly receive on this forum.
    So, how many breakers did you turn off trying to get the cover off!

    I don't even remove the covers on FPE or Zinsco panels anymore. It's an automatic recommendation to call a qualified electrician and replace the panel!

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok verification

    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas McKay View Post
    Yep you got em! There is a kit which a qualified electrician can install which doesn't require the replacement of the metal housing but the internal components; lots of information at American Society of Home Inspectors, ASHI
    Do you have a link to this kit available? I'm not sure I have ever seen one and if I have I didn't realize what I was looking at.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok verification

    Just Google FPE replacement parts or EATON (Cutter/Hammer) engineering / replacement services. They mfg. the replacement guts eliminating the need in some cases to replace the exterior sheet metal.

    Thomas W. McKay
    ASHI Certified Inspector


  11. #11
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok verification

    Not an option for THIS panel! There is way too much obvious RUSTING in the cabinet body! Anyway if the panel is really up above the meter head at the top right there is no required working room, so don't know of a legal way to perform the work! Such is not "maintenance".


    P.S. About position 36/37 (lower right of panel, top right of pic below) I see what appears to be labeled as a 60 Amp Breaker. In another photo with the cover off I see this same breaker (red label), and another 60 amp one (black handle with white numbers) above it at about 32/33.

    Those panels L120-40s are labeled not to exceed 40 Amp breaker IIRC.

    Check your photos from before you removed the cover. You have the bottom half pictured in one of the photos you originally posted. Up at the top between the two rows in white it should be screened: STAB-LOK.

    Door label says breaker types NA, NC, and NAGF, yes?

    HTH.



    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 07-27-2010 at 04:17 PM.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok verification

    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas McKay View Post
    Just Google FPE replacement parts or EATON (Cutter/Hammer) engineering / replacement services. They mfg. the replacement guts eliminating the need in some cases to replace the exterior sheet metal.

    Thomas W. McKay
    ASHI Certified Inspector
    Good info....thanks!


  13. #13
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok verification

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    So, how many breakers did you turn off trying to get the cover off!
    Just the main...both taking it off and putting it back on....while the owner was upstairs trying to work on his computer.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok verification

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    Those panels L120-40s are labeled not to exceed 40 Amp breaker IIRC.
    You're saying this info would of been on the panel label ?

    What you're seeing at the bottom right of the panel is not the electric meter it's a water heater meter/controller...two 50 gallon electric water heaters in this house.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok verification

    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas McKay View Post
    There is a kit which a qualified electrician can install which doesn't require the replacement of the metal housing but the internal components;

    There is?

    I looked on that link and did not see it ... is it UL listed and labeled for that use?

    Once you alter (or change) the interior of the panel from what it was originally you have just screwed the entire panel as it is no longer listed and labeled and would need to be replaced - you just cannot go in there and replace the interior with another interior from another brand or another model (unless it is listed on the label in the enclosure - I seriously doubt you will find one which is so listed).

    Please lead us to that information which allows for a screwed up panel to be screwed with even more and then have it still be a listed and labeled panel suitable for use.

    Sorry, guess I should have read down to post #10 before replying ... still looking for something on that replacement kit, though.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok verification


    James,

    The problem with that is that the panelboard (the interior) and the cabinet (the enclosure) are listed together for use together and only for use together with cabinets and panelboards as listed on the labeling.

    When you read a label you will see (should see) that the cabinet (enclosure) is listed for use with specified panelboards (interiors) and that if the interior is different than as listed on the labeling then the panelboard is not allowed.

    This is a case of the cabinet (enclosure) not being installed and used in accordance with its listing, and that becomes a code violation: 110.3(B) of the NEC - Listing and labeling: (underlining and bold are mine)
    - 110.3 Examination, Identification, Installation, and Use of Equipment.
    - - (B) Installation and Use. Listed or labeled equipment shall be installed and used in accordance with any instructions included in the listing or labeling.

    There really is only one solution: replace the cabinet and the panelboard (enclosure and interior) with a new listed to match assembly.

    From the UL site: (bold red text is my highlighting)
    UL's second component mark is the Component Recognition Mark. The mark consists of a mirror image of "UR" - meaning UL Recognition. Components covered under this program are considered incomplete and are intended to be installed into another device, system or end-product. Components covered under UL's Recognition Service are only intended for factory installation, not field installation.
    When a complete product or system containing Recognized components is evaluated, the evaluation process is streamlined for the benefit of end-product customers. Components may have restricted performance capabilities that limit their application.
    UL's evaluation may include a constructional examination and testing of the component. Guidelines addressing the suitability of the component when used in the end product application are included in the UL Report as "conditions of acceptability." The ratings and conditions of acceptability for some components are additionally included in UL's Component On-line Databases. Learn more.
    All components which bear the UL Recognized Marking are under UL's Follow-Up Service (FUS) program. UL's FUS Program verifies that these components which bear the UL Recognized Marking continue to be manufactured in compliance with UL's safety requirements.


    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok verification

    This is pretty much an accurate status update on the FPE Stab-Lok issues. It includes information from the (finally) 2005 NJ court findings on the fraud and deception committed regarding Fed Pac Stab-Lok breakers.

    The CPSC Newsrelease from 83 was pretty wishy washy, but was quite strong (if you actually catch it) regards the failures of the 2-pole 120/240 breakers.

    UL having delisted them spoke volumes as well.

    The first link is a pdf file which is 59 pages long. Although 2nd (and 3rd IIRC) pages are off-topic, not really sure why was inserted, the opening memorandum and the following report is pretty good. It is a FOIA compiled response now hosted on the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) government web site. Since it too may "poof" soon, I suggest one download a copy.

    The second link is to the CPSC (gave up during Regan Sun-setting de-regulation era) actual press release on the subject, it is in html form and one page.

    http://www.cpsc.gov/library/foia/mee...umwire3_18.pdf

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

    HTH.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok verification

    Reading the article it seems like it is up to to the AHJ discretion so it is best to check before using the interior replacement. If I think about it I will check with our local chief electrical inspector to see what he says. It seems like a good idea to me since all electrical systems consist of individual component that are listed by UL and then connected together. Replacing a UL listed interior with another UL listed interior seems to be in line with that thinking....to me anyways.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok verification

    No, no, no!

    The product(s) was(/were) NOT "listed" legitimately, it is as though it/they never was(/were) listed.

    Stop the mindset that they are considered listed at the time, they aren't to be treated that way.

    Compare this if you will, with products made overseas that are later recalled, due to having "bootleg" marks; compare this with counterfit products.

    Not much different then counterfit square-D breakers - forget about any LISTING for FPE panels or breakers IN THE US.

    UL "delisted" the panels and breakers. The listings were withdrawn, and retroactive due to admittances by Reliant when they bought out FPE.

    They (FPE) were found to have defrauded (UL) manufacturing standards and testing results; and the labels (using words Listed, UL trademark, etc.) applied fraudulently. (Courts make "findings"; limited admissions were made as well to the CPSC).

    They falsified tests, records, etc. This was admitted way back in the early 80s. The only "dispute" was that the sucessor owner of FPE claimed that the few that would "fail" under "normal" non "abuse" situations wouldn't be a "significant" danger in "residential" settings. They did NOT claim that the breakers or panels met UL standards AT THE TIME THEY WERE MANUFACTURED, and they ADMITTED that their 2-pole breakers had failure rates that did NOT meet NEC (at that time) requirements. There were some quiet admissions regarding single pole breakers as well.

    The "cabinets" were never listed as stand-alone enclosures. The Load Centers were listed as a complete unit/assembly, those "listings" were later withdrawn, and prior was "delisted". It is the equal to NEVER HAVING BEEN LISTED.

    So, you cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. The load center is a pig. It cannot be redeemed, except to pull out the plastic and scrap it at your local metal scrapper.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 07-27-2010 at 08:04 PM.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok verification

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    It seems like a good idea to me since all electrical systems consist of individual component that are listed by UL and then connected together. Replacing a UL listed interior with another UL listed interior seems to be in line with that thinking....to me anyways.
    James,

    Read the UL quote I posted - the individual components, with the backward (mirror) UR, are not "listed" as in suitable for use on their own, they are "recognized" for use IN "listed" equipment as assembled by the manufacturer and are then tested, listed and labeled as part of the overall listed equipment.

    Installing a UR component in the field in equipment not originally listed with that component in it makes the equipment "not used in accordance with its listing and labeling", which then becomes a violation of 110.3(B).

    You cannot take out the radiator of a Studebaker and install a radiator from a Chevy and expect it to be recognized as if it were original (which is what you are saying). Sure, the Chevy radiator MIGHT "work well enough" in the Studebaker, but try to pass it off as proper and original (which is what the UL listing is all about) and you will be fraudulently doing so.

    I know, you are saying "But, it is JUST a Studebaker, so what?", but you must realize that it is an original 1963 Studebaker Avanti ...

    No, in no way am I trying to say that an FPE is worth saving in any way, shape or form, only using the mixing of parts as an analogy.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  22. #22
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok verification

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    James,

    Read the UL quote I posted - the individual components, with the backward (mirror) UR, are not "listed" as in suitable for use on their own, they are "recognized" for use IN "listed" equipment as assembled by the manufacturer and are then tested, listed and labeled as part of the overall listed equipment.

    Installing a UR component in the field in equipment not originally listed with that component in it makes the equipment "not used in accordance with its listing and labeling", which then becomes a violation of 110.3(B).

    You cannot take out the radiator of a Studebaker and install a radiator from a Chevy and expect it to be recognized as if it were original (which is what you are saying). Sure, the Chevy radiator MIGHT "work well enough" in the Studebaker, but try to pass it off as proper and original (which is what the UL listing is all about) and you will be fraudulently doing so.

    I know, you are saying "But, it is JUST a Studebaker, so what?", but you must realize that it is an original 1963 Studebaker Avanti ...

    No, in no way am I trying to say that an FPE is worth saving in any way, shape or form, only using the mixing of parts as an analogy.
    Bottom line is that if the AHJ says it's acceptable then all that don't matter.....it's a good thing you are not an AHJ or they would have to stop making the panels!


  23. #23
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok verification

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    Bottom line is that if the AHJ says it's acceptable then all that don't matter.....it's a good thing you are not an AHJ or they would have to stop making the panels!
    You can also buy flexible plastic drain line and traps for plumbing, but that does not make them acceptable.

    So how much money would a person save by piece milling or cobbling a panel together with replacement parts over putting in a new panel box and guts? Maybe $200 or less?

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  24. #24
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok verification

    How much you would save depends on the location of the panel and how it was mounted. I would guess you could save as much as half of the costy of a new panel....maybe a $700-800 plus less damage to the house. I will certainly try one of the interiors the next time I swap out a panel.


  25. #25
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok verification

    If FPE is so bad, how come the Canadians are still proudly putting them out, including loadcenters? They sure look the same.

    Electrical Distribution

    Electrical Distribution


  26. #26
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok verification

    I would like to ask why a manufacturer would go to the trouble and expense of having a retrofit part listed if it could not be used?


  27. #27
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok verification

    Quote Originally Posted by John Brown View Post
    If FPE is so bad, how come the Canadians are still proudly putting them out, including loadcenters? They sure look the same.
    They may look the same but they are a different product. The Canadian units have better mojo.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
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  28. #28
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok verification

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    I would like to ask why a manufacturer would go to the trouble and expense of having a retrofit part listed if it could not be used?
    Its not LISTED EQUIPMENT, it is a recognized PART if it has the "RU".

    Perhaps for the 140 million plus industrial, commercial equipment OEM configurations est. FPE panels and CBx in use.

    It is for supplies/componants to MANUFACTURE (, recondition, remanufacture). The equipment it is MANUFACTURED with is still subject to LISTING or FIELD LABELING/evaluation (requires NTL to test & inspect on-site).

    IIRC I read somewhere ICBM launch sites had FPE split bus panels. Interesting, if true, huh? (esp. considering the Regan era "no funds to persue" FPE/Reliant. Successor liability has already been significantly reduced (class pretty much eliminated) due to court "findings" 2005/06 in the court cases (state of NJ and US District D.C.).

    Goes back to can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, and those load centers/panels/circuit breakers are PIGS. There is no arm to reach to. The listings were fraudulently obtained (court FINDINGS). They (CBs and PANELS) did NOT MEET TESTING STANDARDS AT THE TIME THEY WERE LABELED (Fraudulently). Reliant ADMITTED THIS as successor owner of FPE. Reliant claimed it didn't "matter" regards to safety, CPSC disputed, but didn't persue. It was never rebutted that the panels and circuit breakers did NOT meet the testing or standards of the Listing Requirements. They were manufactured as an equipment. The "enclosures" were never separately listed. Without a field evaluation and labeling by an NTL it would be inopposite the code to allow such a kit to be allowed to be installed.


  29. #29
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok verification

    Just a FYI: It's not "Reliant", it's Reliance Electric.


  30. #30
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok verification

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    I would like to ask why a manufacturer would go to the trouble and expense of having a retrofit part listed if it could not be used?
    There is always going to be someone whining that one will not going to be able to use it, I would be the one to whinge about the price of the C-H retrofit interior, they are not cheap compared to replacing the whole panel.


  31. #31
    Elliot Franson's Avatar
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok verification

    I suppose that this is the document that all of the fuss is about?

    http://www.inspectapedia.com/fpe/CHRetrofitGuide.pdf

    I agree with Mr. Peck and Mr. Patterson, et al. that retrofitting one of these panels seems absurd, what with the minimal difference between retrofitting and replacement. What would one rather have: a rebuilt piece of junk from FPE or Zinsco, or a shiny new Square D? That, my friends is a true no-brainer.


  32. #32
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok verification


  33. #33
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok verification

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    So, how many breakers did you turn off trying to get the cover off!

    I don't even remove the covers on FPE or Zinsco panels anymore. It's an automatic recommendation to call a qualified electrician and replace the panel!
    Ditto!


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