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  1. #1
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    Oct 2012
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    Default 1960's main electrical box with circuit breaker and fuses

    I am looking at a house with the main electrical panel that has a GE 100 amp circuit breaker but everything else is cartridge fuses and Edison style screw in fuses. I am very confused by this configuration as I have never seen one nor can I find anything on line about them. What concerns me even more is the bus bars have a slate blue tint that appears to be due to overloading. In addition there is two more sub panels that come off of this which have a total of 28 additional breakers in addition to the 20 screw in fuses. I could not tell if this is some sort of split panel that is feeding the sub panels or if the main breaker is welded in the contact position. To me this appears that the main is overloaded , I also do not like the condition of the main wires feeding the meter as the insulation appears to be brittle.

    OK so I know this all needs to be replaced but has anyone seen this configuration with a circuit breaker and fuses in the same panel ? any thoughts on the color of the bus bars ?

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Southern Vancouver Island
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    Default Re: 1960's main electrical box with circuit breaker and fuses

    Did you take the cover off or was it already off?
    If it was already off, I'd say a previous owner has added a main breaker to an existing fuse panel.
    If you took it off, was there a factory opening for the breaker?

    Could the fuses have been abandoned in favor of the newer breakers in the subpanels?

    Even if there was no scorching evidence, the main breaker panel needs to be replaced with new equipment to prevent a fire or shock hazard. You will need an electrician to sort this mess out and make it safe. A new panel is cheap insurance and raises the value of the house.

    The electrician will find other problems you don't even know about yet.

    Around here, we rarely see fuses in a 60's house. That would be mid-50's or earlier.

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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: 1960's main electrical box with circuit breaker and fuses

    While I haven't seen a combination main breaker and fuses, I have see the reverse several times where the mains were cartridge fuses and below it was breakers. Thus I have no reason to doubt that someone would make a main breaker with fuses for everything else.

    Just because we have not seen it does not mean we should jump at it being a homemade combination.

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

  4. #4
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    Snowbird (this means I'm retired and migrate between locations), FL/MI
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    Default Re: 1960's main electrical box with circuit breaker and fuses

    It sounds as if an older-than-60s home has had a service upgrade to 100 A and had new service equipment installed ahead of an older fuse panel.

    Pictures would be nice, then we wouldn't have to imagine what the OP is describing. Perhaps an older mains disconnect that looks like a circuit breaker.

    Were in the USA? A rural area that didn't see "electrification" until the last half of the last century?

    How did you determine the "main electrical box" was from the 1960's?.

    Where is the service point? (It is not uncommon, in many parts of the country, to have a meter and service disconnect outdoors, a main power feeder entering structure and distribution equipment indoors).

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 10-17-2012 at 08:32 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Massacusetts
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    Wink Re: 1960's main electrical box with circuit breaker and fuses

    Let me respond to as many questions as possible

    responding to John Kogel - wise man , I totally agree with replacement, still, I am very curious about this main

    I took the cover off - the breaker appears to the same vintage

    I was guessing at it being 60's vintage due to the circuit breaker (my guess is one of two things either the CB was some sort of retrofit for the cartridge fuses that were there (anyone seen anything like this ?) or it was factory I could not really tell but the breaker appeared to be the same vintage.

    This unit does in fact have some other cartridge fuses for 220 unfortunately
    the wiring is a bit of a rats nest so I can not see the bus bars where the wires attach to the bus bars (given the state of the wires - I am not sure I would want to move them)

    Responding to Jerry Peck
    This was not home made this was factory or after market replacement breaker (that replaced the fuses)

    Responding to H.G. Watson
    look at it this was from the street you have the meter , then this box with the antique breaker (as part of the main panel with the fuses) then two sub panels (with new breakers) unlike the main 100A breaker in the main
    This is located in the Boston MA area {Lincoln}
    Location of Main box is in the basement (indoors)

    Personal Background :I do have quite a bit of electrical experience and studied electrical engineering (I need to go back and finish up - long story but that was 30 years ago) Most of my personal experience is industrial wiring and controls and high voltage wiring (up to 4 million volts (that's right sparky - don't touch that with out a 10' pole Spent my youth working with my grandfather [master electrician] - not too much experience with residential or antique residential mains - {this is why I really need an old fart to help me out with this mystery}


  6. #6
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    Default Re: 1960's main electrical box with circuit breaker and fuses

    Since you have YET to have posted a picture of your Lincoln, MA (Boston Area) "mystery" Service panel; cannot identify it for you!

    I can only suggest that you review patents issued for General Electric circa 1949-1955-ish panelboard design configurations, you'll find they usually reference earlier Trumbull designs.

    Google has a nice patent search feature - the OCR not always easy to decipher but the scanned drawing submissions are very good.



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