Federal Pacific electrical service panel

Discussion in 'Misc DIY' started by Lee M., Sep 1, 2003.

  1. Lee M.

    Lee M. Guest

    I recently had to have my central air unit replaced. The HVAC contractor
    said the Federal Pacific service entrance I have (house was built in 1970)
    is notorious for breakers not tripping on an overload condition and causing
    fires. He suggested I get it replaced. I'm inclined to think if the thing
    has failed in 33 years, it's probably OK but it got me wondering. Are these
    service entrances faulty by design? Should I play it safe and have it
    replaced? I have no idea what the cost would be but after shelling out
    $1900 for a new A/C unit, I'd hate to take another big hit on the home
    repair budget this soon.
    Lee M., Sep 1, 2003
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  2. Lee M.

    Speedy Jim Guest

    There is truth to it; he wasn't blowing smoke:


    You *can* replace individual 2-pole breakers with
    brand new units as one solution.

    Disclaimer: Check the UL-listing on any new brekaers to
    see if they are listed as suitable for your panel.

    Speedy Jim, Sep 1, 2003
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  3. Lee M.

    George Guest

    The guy is right on target. Federal Pacific was a cheap "contractor grade"
    breaker system. They have 2 failure modes. One is because of the method
    used to plug the breaker into the buss (stab-lok). Sometimes they don't make
    good contact and overheat. The other is that the breakers don't trip during
    a fault. If you compare their equipment with competitors you will see how
    mickey mouse they are.
    George, Sep 1, 2003
  4. Then why hasn't it been pulled from use via a mandatory recall?

    How can it stay out there in use if this is all known "fact"?

    What does UL have to say about the issue, I'm assuming their
    initials are on the load centers, no?

    Sorry, but this stinks of "urban legend" as told by contractors
    selling rival equipment.
    I-zheet M'drurz, Sep 1, 2003
  5. Here's the basic part of the "legend"
    http://www.prospec.net/federal_pacific.htm but I honestly think many
    electricians were doing us a favor by not having faith in Federal Pacific.

    berkshire bill, Sep 2, 2003
  6. Lee M.

    TURTLE Guest

    This is Turtle.

    Reply Below at the bull posted.

    If you knew anything about electrical work like you have claimed, you would
    know FPE went belly up 10 to15 years ago and told UL to cram it.
    All breaker companys will tell you that if your breaker are over 20 years
    old. Your suppose to change them out. Who are you going to call when your
    suppose have change them out for being old already. If you figure out what
    to do on this one you can work on Enron customers and solve their problems
    UL , did stop putting their stamp on them but UL have nothing to do with
    recalling a breaker for a bankrupt company. They just approve breaker as
    being good at the time of the sale but not for 40 years later.
    Yes , Tom their breaker stink but who are you going to call , Ghost Busters
    to revive the bankrupt company. The last time i checked on them. there was a
    1 in a 5,000 that will fail in the close possion.

    Yes, Tom You need to read up on them before you start judging dead horses.

    TURTLE, Sep 2, 2003
  7. Lee M.

    TURTLE Guest

    This is Turtle.

    You can test these breaker out by putting load on them to see them pop. A
    good electrician can do this very easily if he wants to and see them pop. If
    they pop one time they are alright. The bad ones will not pop at all and can
    be located very easily.

    When in dought. Whip out your bilfold and replace them. Now testing does
    pretty good.

    TURTLE, Sep 2, 2003
  8. Lee M.

    Gary Tait Guest

    FPE's Canadian division os going strong, yo can buy new panels and
    breakers today, although they are of a somewhat new design (still
    stab-lok though). Many Canadian electricians still use them, becuase
    they are the cheapest I guess.
    Gary Tait, Sep 2, 2003
  9. Lee M.

    volts500 Guest

    Sorry, but you are a dangerous moron, I-Shits-fer-brains, Tom "Firebug"
    Pendergast...........try doing some _real_ electrical work Mr. Wannabe
    Lesstrician,........you'd know that Federal Pacific is crap........along
    with Zinsco and Challenger. Doesn't surprise me that you're trying to
    defend one of the crappiest (and long since defunct) electrical
    manufacturers in recent history.
    volts500, Sep 3, 2003
  10. Lee M.


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    Likes Received:
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  11. Lee M.


    Oct 17, 2012
    Likes Received:
    The RGFT forums have covered a similar topic recently.
    RichJohnson, Oct 17, 2012
  12. Lee M.


    Apr 2, 2015
    Likes Received:
    It is no legend , FPE Stab-Lock Circuit Breakers are not good . As has been said , they have problems tripping when they should , problems burning up the bus where they plug in , and the company is no longer in business ( in the USA ) .

    You can fine replacements ( American Circuit Breaker , I think ) . They are expensive !

    Here is what I would do , if it were mine ( but , again , I have already upgraded my service ) . Source a 2 pole , 2" wide circuit breaker of the appropriate amperage . Run appropriate sized circuit to the new A/C unit .

    At the new A/C unit , install the appropriate amperage outdoor fused disconnect / safety switch , with the appropriate size fuses . Run the appropriate size Liquid-Tite flex & wire to the A/C unit , from the disconnect .

    If it goes into overload , the fuse or fuses will blow , even if the Circuit Breaker does not .

    I have over 35 years in electrical construction and several in maintenance . But believe what you wish .

    I replaced a 6 or 8 circuit FPR loadcenter in the house we inherited from Mom and Dad .

    God bless
    WyrTwister, Jun 5, 2018
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