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  1. #1
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    Post Zinsco-type service equipment

    I found a Zinsco-type panel (electrical service equipment) that was labeled made by a company named Kearney in Tucker, Georgia. The panel was installed around 1973.
    It looks just like any other Zinsco panel but is labeled differently.
    What do you think?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Zinsco-type service equipment

    I think those are some beensy pictures.

    Looks like Zinsco, but I have never seen anything other than Sylvania with the Zinsco breakers. Interesting.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Zinsco-type service equipment

    I think those are some beensy pictures.

    What is "beensy"?
    And thanks for responding.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Zinsco-type service equipment

    How's this?
    Better?

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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Zinsco-type service equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Edwards View Post

    What is "beensy"?

    Tom,

    Poor quality.

    You can upload up to 195k. per picture.

    Photo #1= 12k , #2= 10k, #3= 9k.

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Zinsco-type service equipment

    I suspected that was what he meant.
    That's why I uploaded the full size photos for review.

    I always downsize my photos for my reports so that they will email easier.
    I also keep the full size photos on file.

    Thanks.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Zinsco-type service equipment

    Tom,

    Eeensy-beensy, itsy-bitsy, teensy-weensy. also know as small.



    Department of Redundancy Department
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Zinsco-type service equipment

    News.
    I sent the photos to Daniel Friedman in NY.
    He promised an inquiry and a reply soon.
    I'll keep you posted.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Zinsco-type service equipment

    Tom,

    Try this

    badair http://www.adairinspection.com Garland, TX 75042 TREC # 4563
    Commercial-Residential-Construction-EIFS-Infrared Thermography
    life is the random lottery of events followed by numerous narrow escapes

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Zinsco-type service equipment

    I visited the link.
    Other than the companies info I did not find any info or a link to service equipment by Kearney.


  11. #11
    Randy Clayton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zinsco-type service equipment

    Tom
    Other than the type of system you obsevered what is the question here other tha type. Did you observe any hot spots or arching?? It is of my opinion if it aint broke don't fix it;you can inform your client but what is is is....


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Zinsco-type service equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Edwards View Post
    ..That's why I uploaded the full size photos for review.

    Thanks Tom,

    Now I can see the slide on style buss bar through the Open knock out.

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Zinsco-type service equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Clayton View Post
    Tom
    Other than the type of system you obsevered what is the question here other tha type. Did you observe any hot spots or arching?? It is of my opinion if it aint broke don't fix it;you can inform your client but what is is is....
    Since the equipment is not labeled as a Zinsco, Sylvania or ITE my question was "Is this the same equipment as a Zinsco?"
    I expect to be informed soon enough.

    It looks exactly like the same equipment but with a different label.
    As a HI, I do not remove breakers for inspection. I do remove dead front covers. I have long ago joined the many HI's that inform their clients of any risky or hazardous equipment in use.
    I keep council with many experienced electrical contractors who share my opinion regarding these hazardous electrical panels. Just like other ill-designed products you don't need to wait until you experience failure to remove the danger from your life.
    Thanks for the inquiry.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Zinsco-type service equipment

    Tom those look like Zinsco brand breakers. I would describe the concerns that are related to these breakers no matter what brand of panel that I found them in. However the only panels that I have found them in have been either Zinsco or Sylvania panels.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Zinsco-type service equipment

    Tom,

    From photos of the exterior front of the panel only, we are only guessing.

    Do you have any photos of the panel with the cover off?

    Did it have the "L" shaped bus bars and did the breakers have those long slots which fit over the "L" bus bars?

    If so, they will be the same as Zinsco, if not, then they are likely something else. Looking at the shape and color of the breakers ... like everyone else ... they sure look like Zinsco, but ... what did the inside look like?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Zinsco-type service equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Tom,

    From photos of the exterior front of the panel only, we are only guessing.

    Do you have any photos of the panel with the cover off?

    Did it have the "L" shaped bus bars and did the breakers have those long slots which fit over the "L" bus bars?

    If so, they will be the same as Zinsco, if not, then they are likely something else. Looking at the shape and color of the breakers ... like everyone else ... they sure look like Zinsco, but ... what did the inside look like?
    Oops!
    Here they are.

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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Zinsco-type service equipment

    Tom,

    Whether or not it has the Zinsco name on them or not ... it looks like a duck ... it walks like a duct ... and a quacks like a duck ... that there is a duck, sir.

    Zinsco/Sylvania/whatever.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Zinsco-type service equipment

    My thinking exactly.
    I have Daniel Friedman doing research on the Kearney brand now.
    Perhaps he should add this brand to the lable watch.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Zinsco-type service equipment

    Tom,and others responding,
    You didn't answer the basic question where there signs of arching or hot spots in the panel box or not??? Did you red flag this panel just because of past history? I do not disagree with informing clients but what is the real problem here...
    FPE type panels went through the same thing;got a very bad rep. deservible so but you can still purchase those breakers.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Zinsco-type service equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Clayton View Post
    Tom,and others responding,
    You didn't answer the basic question where there signs of arching or hot spots in the panel box or not???
    The very basic question is answered by the fact that it is a Zinsco/Zinsco knock-off.

    One of the two problems with those panels is those "L" shaped bus bars. They, and the large slots in the breakers, are designed to have the breakers installed 'straight in', however, to hook and lock the breakers in place, the back end must be hooked first, then the breaker rotated into place.

    This causes scraping and damage to the bus bar by the breaker contacts, this also stretches those breaker contacts causing poor connections to the bus bars, both of these, or either of these, cause arcing, pitting and welding of the breaker contacts to the bus bars.

    The only way to see that is by removal of the breakers, however, having had a Zinsco panel myself (which I replaced) I can tell you that none, nada, zip, -0-, of the breaker contacts with the bus bars were intact and undamaged. In fact, the only way I could remove some of the breakers from the bus bar was with a large crow bar (remember those things from times of old) - and one of the breakers I did remove that way came apart as the contacts were welded to the bus bar that well.

    Like FPE, Zinsco is junk, and any HI who is afraid to call them that and to call out for their replacement deserves to get that 'fat letter' from the clients attorney informing them (the HI) that the client is suing them (the HI) for the replacement cost of the panel they (the HI) failed to call out for replacement.

    Like it or not, that's the way it is, or should be for those who do not do so.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  21. #21
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    Default Re: Zinsco-type service equipment

    Jerry,Jerry;
    You must have gotten your ass sued off. I don't disagree with some of the problems with FPE & Zinsco panel boxes but if you maintan that phillosopy every panel box from Arizona to florida will have do be replaced,don't get caught up in the the hype; yes there is some problems with these systems other factors come into play to determine failures if the symptoms are not there report it and go on!!!!


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Zinsco-type service equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Clayton View Post
    Tom,and others responding,
    You didn't answer the basic question where there signs of arching or hot spots in the panel box or not??? Did you red flag this panel just because of past history? I do not disagree with informing clients but what is the real problem here...
    FPE type panels went through the same thing;got a very bad rep. deservible so but you can still purchase those breakers.
    I took copious photos of the visible areas of the breakers in the Zinsco knock off but I do not remove breakers for inspection.
    That, by NC HI statutes, is beyond the scope of the inspection.
    I do subscribe to Jerry's statement regarding "not recommending" replacement or, at the very least, reading the vast amount of material available on the web prior to purchase of the dwelling.
    Having been through this in the past with Zinsco-labeled equipment I can tell you that any intelligent client will seek replacement of the Z equipment prior to occupying the dwelling. Just went through this with two medical professionals buying their first home, a 1920's era bungalo in an established neighborhood with very old and outdated equipment.
    When they finally viewed the web info they were immediately convinced and my stock went up immediately. Of course, the "used house" agent will never call me but who cares.
    I have worked for the client for nearly 20 years and continue to do so.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Zinsco-type service equipment

    Tom
    This is true I still maintain though that you are not there to determine the the longevity of the system;but wheather it is preforming the function which is intended at the time you where there...
    How long it will last and the longevity of its lifes wirth is beyound our scope of the inspection!!


  24. #24
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    Default Re: Zinsco-type service equipment

    Tom, you just miss represented your self;you stated that your client purchased a 1920's style bungalo although I'm sure was not the original electrical system its still standing....


  25. #25
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    Default Re: Zinsco-type service equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Clayton View Post
    Tom
    This is true I still maintain though that you are not there to determine the the longevity of the system;but wheather it is preforming the function which is intended at the time you where there...
    How long it will last and the longevity of its lifes wirth is beyound our scope of the inspection!!
    You are correct about longevity, however, a client will expect me to inform them of any known failure history of which I be aware. My method is to inform them of what I am aware and give them the link to inform themselves. I don't make the call, I just give them information. I am not a licensed electrical contractor. I am a former code official for High Point (Structural).
    There is no difference between an HI providing info regarding a system's safety and a physician (lets pick an arthropod) providing info about a prosthetic and how has held up (as a product) over its service life.
    Prosthetics (knee joints, hip joints, etc.) have been installed in people for years only to be found to have some failures and "shortened" service life that the prospective patient should be made aware prior to installation as that information comes to those professionals.
    We must accept the concept that some products, more than others, have design limitations that result in a greater failure risk than others.
    All products are not created equally.

    If people who know didn't do that we would still be driving Ford Pintos with unsafely designed fuel tank placement, Dodge Caravans with rear doors that unlatch under impact, Corvairs that have no anti-roll, stabilizer bar on the rear wheels (loved my first car, a 1961 Corvair) and GM pick-up trucks with fuel tanks behind the seat that spill fuel around the driver on turn over, just to name a few. Clients expect to be informed of what is public information about such products. There is no contractual obligation of which I'm aware but one can make the point of "why didn't you" if you were aware.
    Salespeople may not have an obligation (think used car/house salesman) but an "inspecting" mechanic/HI has an obligation to inform the client of these issues as much as they are aware of them.
    Those who are more aware are probably worth more to the client/payee.
    If I were paying a mechanic for an inspection on a vehicle prior to purchase and he did not inform me of publicly known info regarding the car's safety and drive train issues I would feel I had picked the wrong inspector.
    I have had the experience of inspecting the same house with a Z-panel and not being aware of it on the first inspection and calling it out a year later when those buyers decide to sell. My answer: I was not aware at the time of the equipment's failure history. Now I am. The longer I work in this profession the more I am aware.
    New information regarding any product that has been on the market long enough is likely to be forthcoming. The FDA fully expects that approximately 20% of approved drugs will be removed due to additional "public" testing within the first 10 years due to additional information coming from their release to the public. Larger test sampling, more information will be forthcoming.
    You hear about it every day. If a physician didn't heed the new information on the drug's "service history" we would think ill of him.
    Why not HI's?


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Zinsco-type service equipment

    Apart from the big brands, UL certifies a very large number of "panel shops" and "sign shops." These firms make equipment - often on a custom order basis - and are supervised by UL for listing purposes. Typically, these shops will use components made elsewhere.

    There is nothing wrong with this.


  27. #27
    Michael Bogart's Avatar
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    Default Determining if panel is Zinsco

    Trying to determine if my panel is Zinsco.
    Do Zinsco panels all use the L shaped buss bar for connecting the breakers?

    Thanks

    Mike


  28. #28
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    Default Re: Determining if panel is Zinsco

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bogart View Post
    Trying to determine if my panel is Zinsco.
    Do Zinsco panels all use the L shaped buss bar for connecting the breakers?

    Thanks

    Mike
    Yes, along with breakers which span across the panel and both bus bars, and have colorful handles - red, green, blue, etc.

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

  29. #29
    Donald Merritt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zinsco-type service equipment

    Several utility companies bought electrical panels with the meter base as part of the electrical panel. This was common in some areas of the US (i.e. Northeast Mississippi Power & Light). The electrical panel is a Zinco that has been attached to a meter base by another elctrical component company. These panel/meter base units are common on trailers and so small houses. It is a Zinco panel and is still a big problem.

    Don Merritt
    Germantown, Tennessee


  30. #30
    Mitchell Toelle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zinsco-type service equipment

    To Randy C.- It's not a matter of if the "Zinsco" type panels will fail at the buss bar and breaker contact, but when will they fail. Every single one will fail eventually. And as Jerry said, you cannot always tell if there has been arching or welding unless you remove the breakers.

    To Michael B.- Not all Zinsco panels utilize the L-shaped bar. Some have a straight bar that is secured at each end in a bracket. I know this because mine is like that. Just as Jerry mentioned, several of my breakers were welded to the bar or had caused other damage. I replaced both aluminum bars with copper (from the manufacturer) that I purchased at the professional Electrical supply house locally.

    To all- If you see Zinsco type panels they should all be further reviewed by a licensed, certified Electrician....at a minimum... even if you don't recommend replacement.


  31. #31
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    Default Re: Zinsco-type service equipment

    "It is a matter of time before I get replaced also."
    That's true, Ben. Everyone and everything has a "service life"; however, if your "failure rate" were as bad as the equipment being discussed I would expect, being as you are an honest inspector, to remove your own self from service.
    It's the abnormally frequent and elevated risk of failure of the equipment that is of concern. I know that many HI's either are not aware or turn a blind eye to these issues. That has always troubled me. I see our professional as one of public safety; one house at a time.


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