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  1. #1
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    Default FPE panel in good shape

    I want to share. Here's a Federal Pacific panel built in Newark, New Jersey that I could find no problem with. Clean and reliable, in my mind at least.

    The Square D breaker panel on the other hand, has problems. I said these old QO breakers are not rated for double taps. I hope that's right. The grounding wires look like they were twisted with a drill. There's 18 circuits. Funky tiebars.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: FPE panel in good shape

    The FPE "Panel" is not a panel it's a fusible safety switch, while I personally do not care for FPE safety switches there are no issues with them unlike Stab-Lok loadcenters & circuit breakers. Too late in the evening to comment on the rest.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: FPE panel in good shape

    like rollie said that a fusible safety switch. The issues with FPE were the stab lock panels. The fuse panels and fusible safety switches were ok.

    Most likely those grounds were not twisted with a drill, but rather by hand. Old timers would take the grounds that were long and make a "crank" out of the ends of the bundle and "crank them up" thus twisting them all together. There's nothing illegal with it. It's just a hassle if some one has to undo one.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: FPE panel in good shape

    "FPE panel in good shape"

    My first thought when I saw the title was "Yeah, rectangular is a good shape."

    Ken and Rollie are correct on the FPE, and, yeah, that Square D panel needs some careful looking at the (from first glance) a fair amount of work.

    (Especially with it laying sideways as in your last photo of it ... )

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    www.AskCodeMan.com

  5. #5
    MARVIN TOWNSEN's Avatar
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    Default Re: FPE panel in good shape

    I never see any comments on the exposed wiring outside the boxes? Our state electrical inspector was death on this. wiring either had to be in conduit or covered, but it could not be left open to the public. And I actually agree with him for the sake of safety. Something as simple as a shovel falling over could pierce it.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: FPE panel in good shape

    Quote Originally Posted by MARVIN TOWNSEN View Post
    I never see any comments on the exposed wiring outside the boxes? Our state electrical inspector was death on this. wiring either had to be in conduit or covered, but it could not be left open to the public. And I actually agree with him for the sake of safety. Something as simple as a shovel falling over could pierce it.
    Old house, unfinished basement. For new construction, certainly, all wiring is expected to be concealed. but for these older basemanet installations, I'm happy to see some staples and the wiring flat on the wall. If no staples, I call that out for the reasons you gave, people tend use the wiring for hangers and such. But the understanding is that for the moment it's unfinished and someday, wallboard will be installed. At least that's my take on the subject.

    Quote Originally Posted by ken horak View Post
    like rollie said that a fusible safety switch. The issues with FPE were the stab lock panels. The fuse panels and fusible safety switches were ok.
    Shouldn't that be a 'Fused safety switch' or 'fused disconnect'? I'm not saying you're wrong. I just think the term should be 'fused' if it has fuses installed.

    Quote Originally Posted by ken horak View Post
    Most likely those grounds were not twisted with a drill, but rather by hand. Old timers would take the grounds that were long and make a "crank" out of the ends of the bundle and "crank them up" thus twisting them all together.
    Thanks, Ken.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  7. #7
    MARVIN TOWNSEN's Avatar
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    Default Re: FPE panel in good shape

    Do you make note of it, I sure do. And thank you for your answer


  8. #8
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    Default Re: FPE panel in good shape

    Service equipment and/or panel boards mounted on a sturdy piece of plywood
    securely affixed to the unfinished basement wall that is occupying that space in an obvious manner and not subject to any obvious damage from it's intended surroundings, is code compliant in this (my) AHJ's opinion.

    Remember, type NM cable can be installed exposed if the AHJ determines it to be free from expected physical damage.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: FPE panel in good shape

    I understand what your saying, but how many unfinished basements arent used for storage? I would dobt many, or how bout the kid practing his batting because its too cold outside. The area is accessible to the occupants of the home, Whether its code or not I mention It. If I save one persons life its worth it. You know there are so many scenarios that are odd ball and you think that could never happen, but then some idiot does it. For instance I gentleman sued a microwave oven manufacturer because he put his cat in it to dry the cat out. and there was no warning in the instruction manual. Odd ball stupid stuff like that is what I worry about. I think the ho should at least be alerted. But thats my opinion


  10. #10
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    Default Re: FPE panel in good shape

    Quote Originally Posted by MARVIN TOWNSEN View Post
    I understand what your saying, but how many unfinished basements arent used for storage? I would dobt many, or how bout the kid practing his batting because its too cold outside. The area is accessible to the occupants of the home, Whether its code or not I mention It. If I save one persons life its worth it. You know there are so many scenarios that are odd ball and you think that could never happen, but then some idiot does it. For instance I gentleman sued a microwave oven manufacturer because he put his cat in it to dry the cat out. and there was no warning in the instruction manual. Odd ball stupid stuff like that is what I worry about. I think the ho should at least be alerted. But thats my opinion
    Would you accept Schedule 40 PVC to be used to protect that NM cable from the physical damage you are referring to?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: FPE panel in good shape

    Last I heard it is against code to put nm wire in conduit. Though I am behind the times. Just simpel plywood cover would be acceptible.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: FPE panel in good shape

    I assume you did mean pvc conduit?


  13. #13
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    Default Re: FPE panel in good shape

    Quote Originally Posted by MARVIN TOWNSEN View Post
    Last I heard it is against code to put nm wire in conduit. Though I am behind the times. Just simpel plywood cover would be acceptible.
    NM is allowed in conduit. NM is not allowed in damp and wet locations.
    Conduit outside and undergound is considered a wet/damp location.
    So NM in conduit in a dry location ( basement) OK
    NM in conduit outdie NO GO


  14. #14
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    Default Re: FPE panel in good shape

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Would you accept Schedule 40 PVC to be used to protect that NM cable from the physical damage you are referring to?

    Tricky Tricy Tricky - Jerry - You are being TRICKY


    Hint to everyone == 80


  15. #15
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    Default Re: FPE panel in good shape

    Quote Originally Posted by MARVIN TOWNSEN View Post
    I assume you did mean pvc conduit?
    Yes, that is what I mean.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  16. #16
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    Default Re: FPE panel in good shape

    Quote Originally Posted by ken horak View Post
    Tricky Tricy Tricky - Jerry - You are being TRICKY


    Hint to everyone == 80
    Ken,

    When opportunity knocks, might as well open the door.

    We'll see if Marvin gets it and figures it out.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  17. #17
    MARVIN TOWNSEN's Avatar
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    Default Re: FPE panel in good shape

    He didnt specify water pipe or electrical conduit, I am going to have to research the nm situation, Our local electrical inspector would tag you if it was in conduit period, he wanted individual wires , with no coating, he cited overheating issues. I have seen the inspections where he wrote it up. I am wondering if it was him or if its a difference washington has. I will try to check into it. I didnt catch the schedule fourty thing. I wasnt worried because if it is not pvc conduit its not legal. At least by our state inspector was concerned. I know his name by heart My point is whether it is required or not I still think it is a good idea to recommend a cover.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: FPE panel in good shape

    ps I have never seen or heard of schedule fourty conduit. Please dont take me wrong I am here to learn thats why I asked.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: FPE panel in good shape

    Quote Originally Posted by MARVIN TOWNSEN View Post
    Our local electrical inspector would tag you if it was in conduit period, he wanted individual wires , with no coating, he cited overheating issues. I have seen the inspections where he wrote it up. I am wondering if it was him or if its a difference washington has.
    It is him, as long as there are not more than 3 current carrying conductors in the raceway or cable (or in this case cable in the raceway) than derating for multiple conductors is not the issue.

    I didnt catch the schedule fourty thing. I wasnt worried because if it is not pvc conduit its not legal. At least by our state inspector was concerned. I know his name by heart My point is whether it is required or not I still think it is a good idea to recommend a cover.
    Quote Originally Posted by MARVIN TOWNSEN View Post
    ps I have never seen or heard of schedule fourty conduit. Please dont take me wrong I am here to learn thats why I asked.
    Marvin,

    PVC conduit comes in two types for electrical use, the most common type you will see is schedule 40, that is your use-it-everywhere-everyday stuff ... only it is frequently used where it is not allowed to be used.

    If physical damage is the issue for protecting NM cable, then Schedule 40 is not allowed to be used there either.

    Only the thicker, heavier walled Schedule 80 PVC is allowed to be used where subject to physical damage.

    - 352.10 Uses Permitted.
    - - The use of PVC conduit shall be permitted in accordance with 352.10(A) through (H).
    - - - FPN: Extreme cold may cause some nonmetallic conduits to become brittle and, therefore, more susceptible to damage from physical contact.
    - - - (F) Exposed. PVC conduit shall be permitted for exposed work. PVC conduit used exposed in areas of physical damage shall be identified for the use.
    - - - - FPN: PVC Conduit, Type Schedule 80, is identified for areas of physical damage.

    If you were to further check out rigid nonmetallic conduit (the stuff referred to above) in the UL White book you will find that Schedule 40 is not listed for protection from physical damage, that in locations where protection from physical damage is needed, that Schedule 80 would be needed as only Schedule 80 is listed for protection from physical damage.

    I went through this same scenario earlier this week with an electrical contractor who used Schedule 40 where protection from physical damage was required, even he agreed that it was required, but he has always been allowed to use Schedule 40 in those places.

    I offered him several solutions, using Schedule 80 to sleeve the Schedule 40, replacing the Schedule 40 with Schedule 80, installing an aluminum protection box around the conduits (there were several conduits, and this would be an acceptable and equivalent alternate).

    He chose to ask an electrical engineer in our area about it, the electrical engineer said he had never heard of having to use Schedule 80 for protection from physical damage and demanded the code sections, I gave him the code sections.

    The contractor has decided to replace the Schedule 40 with Schedule 80, and the electrical engineer will now be advising all his contractors that they are not allowed to use Schedule 40 where protection from physical is needed.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: FPE panel in good shape

    Wow Jerry thanks for the education, I am going to check out the washington codes just to double check, The Inspector was a real hard ass. I still dont remember ever seeing schedule 40 conduit, but I will definately keep my eyes open. Thanks again this is why I come to this forum. I am still going to recommend it be covered for safety. What are your thoughts on the recommendation? What would you say about exposed nm wiring throughout a pole barn or similiar buildings , all wiring is exposed?

    Last edited by MARVIN TOWNSEN; 06-18-2011 at 10:36 AM.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: FPE panel in good shape

    Quote Originally Posted by MARVIN TOWNSEN View Post
    I am still going to recommend it be covered for safety. What are your thoughts on the recommendation?
    What is the safety issue you are protecting it from?

    Physical damage? See above posts.

    Something else? What else?

    What would you say about exposed nm wiring throughout a pole barn or similiar buildings , all wiring is exposed?
    I would say that NM is not allowed for that use as that use would be a damp location.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  22. #22
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    Default Re: FPE panel in good shape

    On a DIY forum they were some results posted of a maul dropped on Sch40, Sch 80 and EMT. The EMT dented as expected but was otherwise intact. The Sch 80 shattered with sharp schrapnel pieces. The Sch 40, no damage. The poster that was an engineer speculated that the more flexible Sch 40 allowed the conduit to flex and absorb the shock whereas the Sch 80 was too rigid.

    I know the code lists acceptable methods of materials for protection, but feel the options are overkill for some situations. I know we have had the discussion about wiring to a disposal and some said they would consider it subject to damage. To require Sch 80 in this case is way more than needed. A piece of Panduit would suffice, but is not a NEC recognized option without going to the "subject to approval by the AHJ".

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: FPE panel in good shape

    I dont know about your area but an unfinished basement screams storage or workshop. I could see not worrying about it in a Unused area, but a unfinished basement will be used. What I am worried about is an accident, like one of the earlier post where it was stated He has seen loose wires used for hangars. I can think of a million ways for the wire to be damaged in many different scenarios. I feel I should at least let them know of potential danger. As far as pole barns go, Most of them are used as shops and are heated, those are the ones you see with a large amt. of wiring exposed in them. People dont like moisture on there tools or hot rods. Most are not damp at all. Thank you for your response

    Last edited by MARVIN TOWNSEN; 06-18-2011 at 12:25 PM.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: FPE panel in good shape

    Quote Originally Posted by MARVIN TOWNSEN View Post
    I dont know about your area but an unfinished basement screams storage or workshop. I could see not worrying about it in a Unused area, but a unfinished basement will be used. What I am worried about is an accident, like one of the earlier post where it was stated He has seen loose wires used for hangars. I can think of a million ways for the wire to be damaged in many different scenarios. I feel I should at least let them know of potential danger. As far as pole barns go, Most of them are used as shops and are heated, those are the ones you see with a large amt. of wiring exposed in them. People dont like moisture on there tools or hot rods. Most are not damp at all. Thank you for your response
    Marvin Townsen,

    Just what IS your concern with the photographed exposed work wiring method, secured upon the plywood mounted to the wall along with the distribution panel?

    What is it you see that alarms you as to exposed work? Are you cognizant that the original poster is in B.C. Canada? That the Canadian Codes are distinctly different than those of the US, as are the Standards for Safety? That you are looking at extremely vintage equipment and vintage installation of obsolete equipment not manufactured for decades, some of which by a company found to have engaged in deceptive practices and fraud as to consumers and self-declared (legacy ownership of same company) declared fraud and deception of self-reporting to UL (at the time) verifications in what was then limited self testing and mathmatical calculations based upon same?

    Who do YOU "let them know of potential danger"? Where do YOU see a floor ceiling assembly or a structural ceiling, etc. What do you know of Canadian requirements for safety then and now?

    You have stated in your first post you are not a HI, and were apparently ill, when you joined at the end of last month, some 120 posts ago. Your profile indicates you are not engaged in the profession, and you related your experience on that early post and in your profile that you apparently were a "top technician" (automotive?) and were a service representative or something for a 'major home company'??? what WAS that? a manufactured home dealer? a warranty program repair subcontractor for a builder? a telephone customer service rep? Self-employed?!? sub-contractor? what?

    Apparently you haven't taken classes or have experience as a HI in the US, and worked previously in the automotive field, and did some sort of work for a "home company" (self-employed?), not sure what that is or was supposed to be about.

    Ag use is specific; as is what is and is not a garage, an accessory structure, or a literal "barn". Not sure why this was introduced in your last post, nor mention of hot rods.

    AFAIK your location has requirements for HI. IIRC you asked last week about a local HI training class; and here you phrase a post with opinion as a supposed past or present HI; yet it seems elsewhere you are presently without occupation and are considering training and becoming an HI. Which is it, or is it something else?

    Can you clear up the confusion? Are you now or have you ever been a "Home Inspector"? a RDP, a Code Inspector? etc.? Which SOP? When? Do you not have access to even on-line versions of the codes, or your local ammendments to same? Most of your questions/comments seem to be as from a non-HI/professional. IIRC you have made mention of having been some sort of a contractor, which type? where? when? Licensed?

    Your first post on this site (not in the introductions by new members area but on someone else's topic discussion):

    Quote Originally Posted by MARVIN TOWNSEN View Post
    Hello, I am new to this site, also I am not a inspector at this time, but I have been a licensed cotractor, and a top technician and service representative for a major home company. I am not familiar at all with your area or gas and steam systems, since they are rare in this area in residential construction. Here is my 2 cents...

    ... Hope this makes sense i am fighting the flue right now, so i am not thinking quite clearly. Anyway i am enjoying reading the posts on this website.
    From your profile:


    Biography:
    Self employed since the age of 21 20+ years in the construction and automotive industry

    Occupation:
    none at present, inspecting my options
    From your only self-started discussion:

    Quote Originally Posted by MARVIN TOWNSEN View Post
    Does anyone know anything about naries certification.
    I should clarify, National Association for Real estate Inspection and Evaluation Services
    So I'm wondering where all these questions, opinions regarding safety and reporting, etc. has been coming from what perspective. A handy-type? a Home Owner? a DIYer? an Auto Technician? a Builder's customer service agent? A Manufactured Home sales? Home Warranty service provider or claims rep, fee-for-service? a Student? a contemplating to-be student? A former professional HI? RDP? AHJ contract inspector? Insurance Risk Assessment profiler? Property management service provider? A General Contractor?

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 06-18-2011 at 05:32 PM.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: FPE panel in good shape

    Quote Originally Posted by MARVIN TOWNSEN View Post
    Most are not damp at all. Thank you for your response
    The area does not have to be "damp" to be a damp location, the area simply needs to meet the definition of a damp location.

    Here are the three definitions in the NEC:

    - Location, Damp. Locations protected from weather and not subject to saturation with water or other liquids but subject to moderate degrees of moisture. Examples of such locations include partially protected locations under canopies, marquees, roofed open porches, and like locations, and interior locations subject to moderate degrees of moisture, such as some basements, some barns, and some cold-storage warehouses.

    - Location, Dry. A location not normally subject to dampness or wetness. A location classified as dry may be temporarily subject to dampness or wetness, as in the case of a building under construction.

    - Location, Wet. Installations underground or in concrete slabs or masonry in direct contact with the earth; in locations subject to saturation with water or other liquids, such as vehicle washing areas; and in unprotected locations exposed to weather.

    A pole barn, regardless of what expensive car may be in it, is a damp location, regardless how "dry" it actually is. On the other hand, I can't see someone keeping their expensive hotrod out in the open in a pool barn either.

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

  26. #26
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    Default Re: FPE panel in good shape

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    I want to share. Here's a Federal Pacific panel built in Newark, New Jersey that I could find no problem with. Clean and reliable, in my mind at least.

    The Square D breaker panel on the other hand, has problems. I said these old QO breakers are not rated for double taps. I hope that's right. The grounding wires look like they were twisted with a drill. There's 18 circuits. Funky tiebars.
    I am curious as to the path of the entrance of the supposed service hots and neutral from the lower back and the indicated concutor out from the top of the fused switch and apparently landing to the top of the QO panel box.

    Although I seem to recall QO allowing two condutors limited amperage range breakers, I don't recall being acceptable or part of canadian standards. Standards for safety then and now are not harmonized; code wise/applications, nor acceptance/approval wise on equipment.

    Suggest your ESA might be your best resource for sourcing acceptable vs. unacceptable safety practices information, and regarding current standards, perhaps CSA.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 06-19-2011 at 01:31 AM.

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