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Old 10-09-2017, 07:50 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Midnight View Post
That panel cover label says stablok, that's an old federal panel. They went out of business in the 80s. Strange thing, there's new plastic connectors on some of the old wire.
I'm not sure what the black cable that comes in on the bottom right this looks like a flexible corrugated plastic cable.
Those stablok breaker's have a history of not tripping on a short.
Those breakers worry me a lot more than the wire
The FPE panels were still available in Canada up until fairly recently, so that would explain the plastic NM connectors.
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Old 10-09-2017, 10:00 AM   #22
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I would think that panel was replaced in the 80s with old breakers as per my original post. Stab-Loc / FPE did not have (does not have) the same reputation or issues that it did in the USA. There are 10s of thousands of FPE panels installed and working fine today. I even have one in my house and it is perfectly safe. The only issue now is trying to find breakers for them. There is not an approved AFCI breaker for the FPE panel, so if you are installing a new circuit you have to go with the AFCI dead-front method.

I believe those plastic connectors are still available, I have not seem them used since the 90s or early 2000's. These plastic connectors came out just after the inspectors started enforcing the "in accordance with the manufacturer's specification" type stuff which started here in the late 80's. I used to use L-16s on all the panel changes, but then we were not allowed any longer and had to go with the two-screw romex connector or the plastic ones like in the picture; pretty sure that was in the late 80's also.

The cable in the bottom looks like a teck cable, but not sure what the connector is.

Cheers

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Old 10-09-2017, 10:07 AM   #23
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There are 10s of thousands of FPE panels installed and working fine today.
Here too. Hundreds of thousands of them.

But they are still something that we replace. Insurance companies demand it. They have a high failure rate.

Quote:
I even have one in my house and it is perfectly safe.
I am just curious how you know it's perfectly safe?

Every Federal Pacific panel has been perfectly safe, most of them have been perfectly safe for decades. Right up until they burned up, some taking the house with them. Or they didn't trip during an overcurrent event.

The Canadian versions may be known to be safe. All I am saying is that the amount of them out there and the fact that they haven't yet had a catastrophic failure doesn't mean that they are safe and won't burn the house down at some point in the future.
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Old 10-09-2017, 10:21 AM   #24
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Fair question and I admit a bit of supposition on my part with working with them for 30+ years.

Perfectly safe statistically I guess; although I have checked them on occasion with a thermograph and have never found an issue with any of them. The issue with us up here was the breakers, that is why I have mentioned it a couple of times now. The ones that I have changed out (that have failed) was due to the environment that they were installed in, usually a residential grade panel in an exterior or commercial environment where they got eaten by moisture.

But you are right, everything is perfectly safe until it is not... so that is true with just about anything.

Cheers

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Old 10-09-2017, 10:34 AM   #25
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That's a StabLok panel and is not safe at all. Come to think of it, I'm surprised the house is still standing.

The wiring looks like the same wiring I see in many old homes. It's fine


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Old 10-09-2017, 11:48 AM   #26
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Here is what I do not understand in 2017, the wiring is old just looking at the jacket you CANNOT make a determination if the conductors are good, bad or F'd. But with a simple insulation resistance test (Megger) you can ascertain the condition of the conductors. Why wouldn't that be suggestion NUMBER 1?

And YES I know that will not tell you about possible issues with splices but that is a risk with a new installation as well.
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Old 10-09-2017, 12:56 PM   #27
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Here is what I do not understand in 2017, the wiring is old just looking at the jacket you CANNOT make a determination if the conductors are good, bad or F'd. But with a simple insulation resistance test (Megger) you can ascertain the condition of the conductors. Why wouldn't that be suggestion NUMBER 1?
Because there is no reason to.

I bet if I meggered every house I went into with old wiring (pretty much all I work in), at least a quarter of them would show issues. Maybe even half.

So what now? Are people just going to replace wiring that has no other issue than not passing a megger test?

You have a completely different view because testing is your thing, and people pay you to come in and test to find something before it causes an issue.

From my standpoint, people only pay when there is an issue. It's just 2 different parts of the trade.
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Old 10-09-2017, 01:13 PM   #28
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Hack the OP asked the following

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My wife's friend is looking at buying an older house from the early 1960s. A new house isn't in the budget. She sent me some pictures to look at so I could give her my opinion, and it made me raise my eyebrows for sure. I'm used to heavy industry, Teck cable, Rigid conduit and whatnot. I've never looked at this old fabric covered stuff. Should I tell her to just run away and never look back, or is this worth looking further at? She would obviously go through a full home inspection if she decides to progress further, this is just a first glance thing.

Thoughts, opinions? For reference, this is a house in BC, Canada. However, at this point, I don't think specific code rules between the countries is too relevant, most of the code rules align.
Now as professionals we can guess, or complete a test that gives a pass or fail based un National Accepted Standards, then in our case, we submit a report with a bill. What they do after that is on them.

AS for pay when there is an issue, we do preventative maintenance regularly (not residential) prior to there being an issue. Predictive maintenance is a not only a large part of our business it is a money maker and hopefully all of us in business are looking to make money.
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Old 10-09-2017, 01:31 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by brian john View Post
Hack the OP asked the following
I read it...

I have that same cloth braided romex in my home, the type with the reduced sized EGC. Well, the 2-wire is that stuff, but all the 3-wire is normal romex sheath, not sure why.

Anyway, that's just the way it is. If I meggered every circuit in my home I would probably find issues with some.

In the end, what does it matter?

Is the customer going to pay for the time it takes to megger a whole house? Is it worth the risk to electrical equipment that you didn't see and destroyed with the megger? Even something simple, like a cable amplifier hidden in the attic that you have to spend 2 hours troubleshooting their cable not working after you worked there. When you give them the report, are they going to pay $7,000 to rewire those circuits that otherwise work fine?

If you could do that, I'm all for it. But I am just trying to be realistic here. You said that you don't understand why meggering isn't the first thing done, I'm just explaining why.

When a woman asks if something is safe, she is asking for reassurance. It's like her asking if her ass looks big. She doesn't want to pay someone money in order for them to test and tell her how much more she needs to pay.
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Old 10-09-2017, 02:18 PM   #30
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The problem I have seen with 60s vintage cloth covered wire is that it is virtually indistinguishable from ASBESTOS coated wire. Here is a decent write-up on what inspectors look for, scroll down to the part on cloth covered to see what I mean.
https://inspectapedia.com/electric/O...cal_Wiring.php

I have had 2 old houses with cloth covered wire, I had them tested because I had no way to tell. One was asbestos the other was cotton impregnated with varnish.
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Old 10-09-2017, 02:18 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Navyguy View Post
Stab-Loc / FPE did not have (does not have) the same reputation or issues that it did in the USA. There are 10s of thousands of FPE panels installed and working fine today. I even have one in my house and it is perfectly safe.
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Here too. Hundreds of thousands of them.

But they are still something that we replace. Insurance companies demand it. They have a high failure rate.

I am just curious how you know it's perfectly safe?
I'd worry about any panel older than 40 yrs old.

As far as the FPE, I have one at my cottage (Turn of the century home)
When all the kids are up, with xboxes, hairdryers, a few space heaters ... friggin breakers were popping on OL on a regular basis.

I'm in the process of replacing it ... Moving circuits to a new panel, and adding circuits .
Main reason I'm replacing it is it's age, and it's too small. Not worried about any OL's ...

Now that's just one panel, but there was no issues with Federal Pioneer, like you guys had with Federal Pacific up here 'that I know of'
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Old 10-09-2017, 02:38 PM   #32
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and been there long enough to be likely to have been modified by home owner or handyman
Absolutely. If the system is stock, it means fewer problems. You can walk into a house and tell a lot about the electrical system without taking anything apart.

It's been my experience that, the more "upgrades" you see, the better the chance that someone did someting terribly wrong.

I have done a LOT of service/remodel work on cloth Romex and I'm often surprised how clean the actual wres are under the sheath.

I've always wondered if there is some kind of nasty chemicals in it because it often still feeles slick/ oily aftet 60-70 years in the desert. It hasn't killed me yet
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Old 10-09-2017, 05:12 PM   #33
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The problem I have seen with 60s vintage cloth covered wire is that it is virtually indistinguishable from ASBESTOS coated wire. Here is a decent write-up on what inspectors look for, scroll down to the part on cloth covered to see what I mean.
https://inspectapedia.com/electric/O...cal_Wiring.php

I have had 2 old houses with cloth covered wire, I had them tested because I had no way to tell. One was asbestos the other was cotton impregnated with varnish.


Asbestos coated wire is usually an all white looking cloth with grease coated on it. Pretty easy to spot. If you look closely you can see the tiny white fibers of asbestos.


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Old 10-09-2017, 05:43 PM   #34
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I have had 2 old houses with cloth covered wire, I had them tested because I had no way to tell. One was asbestos the other was cotton impregnated with varnish.
It's very easy to tell, put a piece of the jacket up to a lighter.
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Old 10-09-2017, 05:54 PM   #35
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QUOTE - [Are people just going to replace wiring that has no other issue than not passing a megger test? ]

i would !
Megger test failure means insulation is breaking down,
Or there's a leakage path.
Either one spells problems !

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Old 10-09-2017, 06:18 PM   #36
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i would !
Yes, you would. But that's not a very good indicator of normal people
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Old 10-09-2017, 07:39 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by JRaef View Post
The problem I have seen with 60s vintage cloth covered wire is that it is virtually indistinguishable from ASBESTOS coated wire. Here is a decent write-up on what inspectors look for, scroll down to the part on cloth covered to see what I mean.
https://inspectapedia.com/electric/O...cal_Wiring.php

I have had 2 old houses with cloth covered wire, I had them tested because I had no way to tell. One was asbestos the other was cotton impregnated with varnish.
I'd be perfectly fine with asbestos jacketed cabling in the walls.
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Old 10-09-2017, 08:42 PM   #38
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I'd be perfectly fine with asbestos jacketed cabling in the walls.
Yeah, I left mine alone too, it's not like it's going to get disturbed a lot. It's just good to know when handling it.

But some people totally freak out about it and if you, as their electrician, don't tell them and they find out later, well, people do a lot of bat-shirt crazy things with lawyers...
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Old 10-09-2017, 08:53 PM   #39
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Case in point regarding idiots with lawyers...

http://www.jsonline.com/story/money/...ize/405300001/

Class action lawsuit because a 4 x 4 is 3-1/2 x 3-1/2...
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Old 10-10-2017, 03:35 AM   #40
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Case in point regarding idiots with lawyers...

http://www.jsonline.com/story/money/...ize/405300001/

Class action lawsuit because a 4 x 4 is 3-1/2 x 3-1/2...


Just.. wow!


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