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Old 06-30-2014, 12:34 PM   #1
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Default Guidelines for FPE Stablok Panels

Does anyone have any guidelines on what to do if a customer wants to add a branch circuit, or other panel work, to a Federal Pacific Stablok panel?
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Old 06-30-2014, 12:52 PM   #2
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Quote the work, do the job, take the money.
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Old 06-30-2014, 01:13 PM   #3
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Just make them aware of what happened to fpe. Might get a panel swap out of it.
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Old 06-30-2014, 01:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swimmer View Post
Does anyone have any guidelines on what to do if a customer wants to add a branch circuit, or other panel work, to a Federal Pacific Stablok panel?
I would have them read this
http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Newsroom/News...For-Consumers/

Then they have 3 options:
1. Inspect the panel as you would any panel of that age for any signs of overheating, check connections, IR scan, etc.. then add the breakers
2. Swap guts with Eaton retrofill kit
3. Replace the entire panel.
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Old 06-30-2014, 01:50 PM   #5
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Yeah, let me buy a 2500 dollar tool to inspect a 40 year old panel that can be replaced for a few hundred dollars in this parts.
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Old 06-30-2014, 02:36 PM   #6
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Yeah, let me buy a 2500 dollar tool to inspect a 40 year old panel that can be replaced for a few hundred dollars in this parts.
OK, call a different EC that has basic test equipment for doing inspections.
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Old 06-30-2014, 02:49 PM   #7
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Good luck with that one. I'll swap that panel out in a few hours while you're wasting time inspecting an ancient panel with a questionable track record with an expensive tool that no one carries with them.

That tool has to pay itself off you also have to charge for the wasted time "inspecting". How do you charge the customer for that one? Do you have them turn everything on in the house first? It's a house not a commercial or industrial site with predictable loads.
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Old 06-30-2014, 03:00 PM   #8
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I just swapped out an fpe panel today. Most of the breakers were in there loose and one fell out when I popped off the panel cover.

I wouldn't feel comfortable pulling out breakers to inspect either. That's just me
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Old 06-30-2014, 05:34 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by BababooeyHTJ View Post
Good luck with that one. I'll swap that panel out in a few hours while you're wasting time inspecting an ancient panel with a questionable track record with an expensive tool that no one carries with them.

That tool has to pay itself off you also have to charge for the wasted time "inspecting". How do you charge the customer for that one? Do you have them turn everything on in the house first? It's a house not a commercial or industrial site with predictable loads.
I make a very good living testing electrical distribution equipment. But the cost of a panel replacement would be cheaper than hiring me. Depending on how in-depth you want to go, $2500 won't touch the test equipment.
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Old 06-30-2014, 05:59 PM   #10
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I just throw a used breaker in. Haven't had one trip yet.
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Old 06-30-2014, 07:15 PM   #11
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I'd have to read up on the options as far as whether you can get away with an arc fault receptacle near the panel if you add a circuit. Arc faults are making adding anything to these panels hard to be compliant. Thats enough reason in itself to swap the whole thing or do the insert.
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Old 06-30-2014, 09:01 PM   #12
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Company policy. We do not add to any Federal Pacific Electric panels and highly encourage a full service upgrade. That's your choice if you want add a circuit to one of them though.
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Old 06-30-2014, 10:56 PM   #13
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I'd have to read up on the options as far as whether you can get away with an arc fault receptacle near the panel if you add a circuit. Arc faults are making adding anything to these panels hard to be compliant. Thats enough reason in itself to swap the whole thing or do the insert.
You can as long as the feed to the AFCI receptacle is in conduit.
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Old 06-30-2014, 11:06 PM   #14
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All you need to determine if an old, crappy panel needs replacement are two functioning eyeballs.

I don't like Stab-Lok but some are okay, some are horrible. Usually depends on age.
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Old 07-01-2014, 12:04 AM   #15
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My parents neighbors in their 90s have a c.1950 home with FPE Stab Loks. All of the wiring, fixtures, appliances, and even the desk/table lamps are original to the home. This couple hasnt changed more than a light bulb in the 60 years they've lived there. (carpet, furniture, wallpaper is mostly original also. It's a time capsule.)

One of them is now in a home, the other is living there alone. I havent had the heart to tell her to replace the panel. Eventually someone else will buy the house and hopefully the inspector will mandate replacement.
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Old 07-01-2014, 01:01 AM   #16
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FPE are pretty common where I am. I've got bins of breakers.

Most times ill just add to panel, especially if customer has no issues with panel.
And I've had to work on subs in commercial were the panels are ready to fall apart.

Didn't know eaton makes a retro fit kit? I just did a swap a couple months ago because the main kept tripping, they couldn't use oven or dryer or even turn on heat.
They requested a new panel with service upgrade as well. Especially after telling them how the panels are.

Had another house in same town that had there hit water tank pretty much catch fire and the breaker never tripped.
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Old 07-01-2014, 05:15 AM   #17
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Quote:
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All you need to determine if an old, crappy panel needs replacement are two functioning eyeballs.

I don't like Stab-Lok but some are okay, some are horrible. Usually depends on age.
In trouble shooting many electrical issues visual can be 80-100% of the job.
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Old 07-01-2014, 05:53 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zog View Post
I would have them read this
http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Newsroom/News...For-Consumers/

Then they have 3 options:
1. Inspect the panel as you would any panel of that age for any signs of overheating, check connections, IR scan, etc.. then add the breakers
2. Swap guts with Eaton retrofill kit
3. Replace the entire panel.
From that article, it appears that only the pre 1979 breakers are the problem?
We seem to get calls from panicked home owners stating that they cannot get home owners insurance unless the FPE or Sylvania load enters are replaced.

I found an entire high rise condo full of FPE load enters. I mentioned to the building engineer that these might be a problem. He insisted that the type in his building were safe and not on the "danger list"
Should I assume they were post 1979.
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Old 07-01-2014, 06:56 AM   #19
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In the amount of time it would take me to run conduit/emt to the first, I'd have the whole thing at least stripped out and the new going back in. I have plenty of the AFCI receptacles on hand, which cover the majority of the situations I face like this, ie receptacle replacement. I cover apartments with hundreds of FPE and Zinsco. Failure rate hasn't been rampant.
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Old 07-01-2014, 09:30 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nrp3 View Post
In the amount of time it would take me to run conduit/emt to the first, I'd have the whole thing at least stripped out and the new going back in. I have plenty of the AFCI receptacles on hand, which cover the majority of the situations I face like this, ie receptacle replacement. I cover apartments with hundreds of FPE and Zinsco. Failure rate hasn't been rampant.
I was thinking more along the lines of installing the AFCI receptacle right at the panel with a short bit of emt then Romex from there if I ever had that situation arise.
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