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  • Does this panel look unsafe?



    This 100amp panel is in my house. Based on the pic can you see any major problems with it? Is it up to code? I fear that the one black cable entering the panel from the bottom not being secured may be one potential problem. It feeds a box which powers the a/c condenser.

    Thanks for any info,

    -Maximo

  • #2
    Re: Does this panel look unsafe?

    Does not look very neat to me and that is the first thing that makes inspectors nervous. You need a box connector for every wire that comes into the panel to prevent it from chafing on the sharp steel where it enters, the connector also acts as a strain relief. It is not illegal to splice wires together in the main panel but it looks like there are two reds and two blacks that are just twisted and taped, they need to be connected with a wire nut and the combined load or number of allowed boxes for the circuit must not be exceeded. The upper red and black also feed from a 40A breaker, is the wire actually 8 AWG they look a bit thin for 8, hope someone did not combine two 20A (12 AWG) circuits and figure that would add to 40A
    The new circuit has not been stripped correctly as there is too much wire insulation inside the panel, this was more of a concern when the insulation was paper and tar but still not to code now. The new circuit is fed by a 20A breaker, is the wire 12 AWG? If not the breaker needs to be 15A for 14 AWG wire. Are the wires all secured to the panel within 12" of exiting the box? I don't like the short path that the neutral wires take under the breaker mounting plate on the bottom right. There may be other issues that would become evident with a proper inspection.

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    • #3
      Re: Does this panel look unsafe?

      Is that a Federal Pacific Stabloc? Old work isn't my thing, but that's what it looks like to me. If it is, you should consider replacing it, they have a bad reputation.

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      • #4
        Re: Does this panel look unsafe?

        Thanks for the input guys. The box makes me nervous looking at it too. I did add the new circuit. That is the only thing I have done. I have been considering having the panel upgraded just wanted to get some opinions.

        Yes it is a Federal Pacific Stabloc. What kind of bad rep? Just not quality or fire causing?

        Thanks,

        -M

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        • #5
          Re: Does this panel look unsafe?

          Federal Pacific "Stab-Lok" Panels
          http://www.inspect-ny.com/fpe/fpe.html

          http://accuspec.biz/Federal%20Pacific%20Stab-Lok.htm

          http://www.allabouthomes.com/FedPacPan.pdf
          Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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          attributed to Samuel Johnson
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          PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

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          • #6
            Re: Does this panel look unsafe?

            Yup, it's a STAB-LOC box, they don't make them anymore and it's hard to get breakers if you need them. Not impossible, just hard to get. You would be smart to upgrade that panel to something newer. I can't see in any great detail much so I can't see if there are any violations, but all wires coming in the box should have some sort of clamp holding it, or a bushing to prevent chaffing. Obviously the box is old but it has not been a problem in the past, so it's probably relatively safe. If you upgrade however, you would be doing a good thing. Lou

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            • #7
              Re: Does this panel look unsafe?

              Those panels are still built and sold in Canada.
              The new SP breakers have a blue handle and are said to be upgraded with the addition of a magnetic trip. The old breakers only tripped when they reached a high enough temp. They were junk and the breakers tend to fall out of the bus when you take the cover off. And in the old panels you could install a DP breaker in the wrong spot where you would pickup the same phase on both poles of the breaker.

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              • #8
                Re: Does this panel look unsafe?

                It looks to me like the line going into the 40A beaker is actually 2 seperate circuits tied together inside the box. I dont think thats code is it guys. I really am not qualified to answer since I am not an electrician but thats what jumps out to me first. Secondly its pretty ratty lookin in there.

                Josh

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                • #9
                  Re: Does this panel look unsafe?

                  That sure does look like the old Federal Pacific and they were both bad quality and in far too many cases their breakers simply would NOT trip on overload. Under a short circuit condition they would blow up or again not trip and thus were a major fire hazard. The company was shut down. I strongly recommend replacement and cleaning things up. Call in a good electrician as this is more work than most DIY people can really handle. More than likely some wire will have to be spliced in a work (aka pull) box because of length. It looks (hard to tell from pic) that there are many errors there. Please think safety and have a good electrician come out and look it over and then recommend what should be done. Yes, it costs some money but it's far less money than having a dangerous mess there.

                  I have taken apart Federal Pacific breakers only to find them totally lacking what's required to make a good circuit breaker. There's simply NO way they would/could pass UL inspection. They were hardly a switch

                  I should add that much of their other electrical equipment was KRAP at best. Their idea of a fused enclosed safety switch was a real sick joke. It's good that they are history, but it's bad that their junk is still around and in use.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Does this panel look unsafe?

                    I am having an electrician over (tomorrow in fact) to quote installing a new panel. I'm thinking of upgrading to a 200 amp panel. Guess I won't have to worry about accidentally having two hands working in the panel as I'm sure this is going to cost an arm and a leg.

                    Thanks for the advice and info guys. This house needs a lot of stinkin work. I think safety is a good place to start.

                    -Maximo

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