Breaker box/panel questions

Reply

  #1  
Old 02-25-19, 07:10 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: United States
Posts: 4
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Breaker box/panel questions

Hey everyone I have a 1958 home with what looks like the original breaker box. I am adding some more lighting to the home and would like to add a 15A breaker to the box. There is one more spot so I figured everything would be OK.

Opening the box and looking at it, I was a bit baffled. It looks like a split box but I have never seen one where the bottom contains the direct connections to main and the second section is switched with one breaker however that it was it appears to be. The yellow circles are shorted, the orange circled are shorted and the purple circle is where I would like to put the new single breaker. Before I muck around in there I would like any opinions on what I am missing. There are no labels but to me it seems that to follow the rule of 6 they used the bottom one, ran the incoming power to those rails and then up to the top through a breaker where by flipping the one with the yellow and orange circle would unpower the top section and I should be able to add a breaker there.

Let me know what you think.

https://imgur.com/a/CgKsVgM
Name:  pr2.jpg
Views: 182
Size:  145.0 KB
 

Last edited by PJmax; 02-25-19 at 08:32 PM. Reason: imported pic from link
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 02-25-19, 07:39 PM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 13,013
Received 66 Votes on 58 Posts
Yes, you have a split bus panel. In a split bus, there is always a breaker that protects the lower section. The picture is a bit fuzzy but it looks to me to be a Zinsco panel.
 
  #3  
Old 02-25-19, 07:45 PM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 14,975
Received 35 Votes on 30 Posts
You are limited to 6 throws of the hand in the top part of the panel. The one breaker feeds the bottom of the panel.
 
  #4  
Old 02-25-19, 07:45 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: United States
Posts: 4
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Ok thanks for the information. To clarify, I am safe to assume that throwing all the bottom breakers and the top main breaker should unpower everything and I can install my new one. The bottom bars are going to be powered unless I find the switch outside or contact the utility company. Is that correct?
I also uploaded a better quality picture.
 
  #5  
Old 02-25-19, 07:49 PM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 14,975
Received 35 Votes on 30 Posts
You need to turn off all the breakers at the top to kill the power. Instead of a.single.main.You have up to 6.
 
  #6  
Old 02-25-19, 08:02 PM
Member
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 1,423
Received 12 Votes on 11 Posts
Federal Pacific Electric panel. Someone actually made it worse and double tapped the mains.
Black cable exiting the top is unfused.

Recommend replace panel
 

Last edited by Astuff; 02-25-19 at 08:39 PM.
  #7  
Old 02-25-19, 08:14 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: United States
Posts: 4
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Yeah I need to rework the entire thing... pcboss I think that is incorrect. The bottom bars are getting directly fed from live lines coming from outside. Tripping the top breakers would mean the bottom ones are still powered. My plan is to install the 15A breaker after flipping the main breaker on the top and the 6 breakers on the bottom.
 
  #8  
Old 02-25-19, 08:30 PM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 14,975
Received 35 Votes on 30 Posts
You would be better off to replace the whole panel.
 
  #9  
Old 02-26-19, 06:12 AM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 3,676
Received 30 Votes on 29 Posts
Maybe this panel is upside down, with the "master" section with the terminals for the service conductors on the bottom.

But it still does not make sense to me. I don't see the terminals on the "slave" section (top) to receive the feed (fat pigtails?) from a breaker set in the "master" section.

Or maybe they should run (feed) wires from a breaker in the master section to a backfeeding breaker set (in side slots) in the slave section. This would be a waste of breaker slots in the panel.
 

Last edited by AllanJ; 02-26-19 at 06:36 AM.
  #10  
Old 02-26-19, 06:58 AM
Member
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 1,423
Received 12 Votes on 11 Posts
This looks like an early FPE stab-lok panel as breakers have black handles and there are only 4 double pole breaker slots (one dedicated to feed the lighting and appliance section?). The breakers also have quarter round cutouts at the center which newer breakers don't have. May be a Federal Noark brand.

I see "slave" terminals on the top section - screws at the top and bottom where the clips are.

It would be good to have a picture of the cover to see any other identification. Might be a 116-68C - wiring diagram is unique https://scontent-sea1-1.cdninstagram...MTg2MA%3D%3D.2 Main was bottom section with top section field wired. Looks like they were so cheap a breaker or wires to feed top section was not included.
 

Last edited by Astuff; 02-26-19 at 08:44 AM.
  #11  
Old 02-26-19, 08:22 AM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 10,215
Received 38 Votes on 30 Posts
Definitely a FPE split bus panel and it's a disaster. This is just a fire waiting to happen. Replacement is the only option I see.
 
  #12  
Old 02-26-19, 08:43 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: United States
Posts: 4
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
The front panel does say federal pacific and it looks exactly like what Astuff has linked. Mine has the paper removed and the metal plate is scuffed making it hard to read.

I am beginning to agree after reading more about FPE and talking to my neighbors who had something similar that it's a fire hazard and needs replacing.

Just for my closure. I think what is happening is the mains are going to the bottom section where it's directly attached to the rails. It is also double tapped there(see the yellow and orange circles on the bottom section) with those wires going to a breaker in the top section. This means throwing that breaker should unpower the top section however that is not how it should be done. Maybe it is like this so they could save a breaker on the bottom section.

https://imgur.com/a/6nWjnol

 
Attached Images  
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: