Author Topic: Old Federal Pacific breaker panel  (Read 619 times)
Metal Halide Boy
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Old Federal Pacific breaker panel « on: March 04, 2021, 08:18:24 AM » Author: Metal Halide Boy
This ainchent breaker panel is only 30 amps. Maybe to replace fuse boxes? Also didn`t Federal Pacific have a reputation for catching fire? I`d like to find out more info about it.
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Desultory13
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Re: Old Federal Pacific breaker panel « Reply #1 on: March 08, 2021, 05:06:28 PM » Author: Desultory13
These small breaker panels can be used in several different ways.
The most common is if you need an extra 120v circuit or two and there is no additional space in the existing main panel.
The added on smaller panel is referred to as a subpanel.
Another use is to hold a single 240v breaker for a large added on load such as when a pool is built and you need 240v for the pump motor.
Federal Pacific panels were very popular in the 60s and the 70s as they were much cheaper than brands like Square D or GE.
Federal Pacific panels did have a reputation for being fire hazards and that's why the company eventually went out of business during the 80s.
You can still find breakers for these panels at Home Depot and electrical supply houses but they are very expensive but they are very reliable compared to the original ones.
Despite their known problems, as an electrician I have seen plenty from the 60s and 70s that keep on working without any problems whatsoever.
I do recommend that any still in service be checked by a licensed electrician to make there is no signs of overheating or loose connections, especially the breakers themselves where they snap onto the busbars.
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Metal Halide Boy
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Re: Old Federal Pacific breaker panel « Reply #2 on: March 08, 2021, 05:55:58 PM » Author: Metal Halide Boy
These small breaker panels can be used in several different ways.
The most common is if you need an extra 120v circuit or two and there is no additional space in the existing main panel.
The added on smaller panel is referred to as a subpanel.
Another use is to hold a single 240v breaker for a large added on load such as when a pool is built and you need 240v for the pump motor.
Federal Pacific panels were very popular in the 60s and the 70s as they were much cheaper than brands like Square D or GE.
Federal Pacific panels did have a reputation for being fire hazards and that's why the company eventually went out of business during the 80s.
You can still find breakers for these panels at Home Depot and electrical supply houses but they are very expensive but they are very reliable compared to the original ones.
Despite their known problems, as an electrician I have seen plenty from the 60s and 70s that keep on working without any problems whatsoever.
I do recommend that any still in service be checked by a licensed electrician to make there is no signs of overheating or loose connections, especially the breakers themselves where they snap onto the busbars.

I would like to get it a second breaker. Thank you for the info.
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joseph_125
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GoL
Re: Old Federal Pacific breaker panel « Reply #3 on: March 08, 2021, 06:49:26 PM » Author: joseph_125
Hmm looks almost exactly like the modern production one I have. Yeah the US Federal Pacific breakers were notorious for issues with making proper contact to the bus bar and sometimes failing to trip. Apparently the Canadian ones, sold under the Federal Pioneer name have somewhat fixed that issue. They stopped making the Canadian breakers around 2015 so you might still be able to find some.

Anyway I think these were used in places like sheds and garages when you might want more than one circuit but don't want to run multiple lengths of wire out. The panel also provided a convenient means to disconnect. 
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Walter Knox
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Re: Old Federal Pacific breaker panel « Reply #4 on: March 17, 2021, 08:34:00 AM » Author: Walter Knox
Our whole house is powered by a Federal Pacific Stab-Lok panel. if you are planning to use that panel i would definitely recommend that you replace the existing breaker as well as there is a strong chance that if there is a fault it will fail to trip. I am going to school to become an electrician and I have been messing around with lighting and fans and all sorts of electrical stuff since i was little. there have been several close calls related to that panel. including the back of an outlet melting because there was too much stuff on a circuit and the breaker did not trip. but the most notable thing that happened was about 2 years ago when the heat quit working and we had space heaters all around the house, one of the cords got slammed into the metal backdoor of the house and welded itself to the door, the plug welded itself inside the outlet and the breaker did not trip, it just kept melting the cord more until I manually went and turned it off. after that I replaced all the breakers with Connecticut electric breakers and we have not had an issue since with breakers not tripping when they should.
https://www.connecticut-electric.com/replacement-breakers
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Walter Knox
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Re: Old Federal Pacific breaker panel « Reply #5 on: March 17, 2021, 08:39:41 AM » Author: Walter Knox
It is hard to tell from the picture, but the breaker installed is a thick stab-lok breaker, you may be able to fit 4 thin stab-lok breakers in that panel if you wanted.
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