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Old 01-10-2012, 12:38 PM   #1
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Bull Dog Pushmatic Electrical panel and Circuit Breakers


My older home which I just bought has this setup, BullDog Pushmatic.

The panel does have "main", which is 100 amps.

The circuit breakers are very old. The "on" and "off" on some are no longer distinct, but they seem to still work.

First, is there a general agreement on whether to replace this type of old panel?

Second, I tend to think that a "sub-panel" type setup would help.

There is an unused 50 amp breaker (likely for an electric range or dryer that now uses gas). I can use this to add a sub-panel. The purpose of this is more to re-terminate existing 15 amp circuits than to add new ones.

My question on this is if there are no slack on any pair of wiring for any 15 amp curcuit, can I extend the hot of it using a terminal block so that the hot will reach the sub-panel? Such a block will have insulated terminations, of course.

Third, is it likely to have intermittent problem with an old circuit breaker that gives out irregular voltage? Do CB's either work or fail completely and obviously?

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Old 01-10-2012, 01:23 PM   #2
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Bull Dog Pushmatic Electrical panel and Circuit Breakers


Quote:
Originally Posted by highdeserthome
My older home which I just bought has this setup, BullDog Pushmatic.

The panel does have "main", which is 100 amps.

The circuit breakers are very old. The "on" and "off" on some are no longer distinct, but they seem to still work.

First, is there a general agreement on whether to replace this type of old panel?

Second, I tend to think that a "sub-panel" type setup would help.

There is an unused 50 amp breaker (likely for an electric range or dryer that now uses gas). I can use this to add a sub-panel. The purpose of this is more to re-terminate existing 15 amp circuits than to add new ones.

My question on this is if there are no slack on any pair of wiring for any 15 amp curcuit, can I extend the hot of it using a terminal block so that the hot will reach the sub-panel? Such a block will have insulated terminations, of course.

Third, is it likely to have intermittent problem with an old circuit breaker that gives out irregular voltage? Do CB's either work or fail completely and obviously?
If it's working leave it alone no need to replace it.

If there's not enough slack in the wires use a wire cap and extend it

About the voltage, I've had faulty breaker but the problem with them is usually that the don't trip.

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Old 01-10-2012, 01:34 PM   #3
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Bull Dog Pushmatic Electrical panel and Circuit Breakers


If it works its OK, Be careful as they bolt to the hot buss. you could add a sub panel but a new panel would clean everything up.
100 amp = 20 circuit panel
150 = 30
200 = 42
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Old 01-10-2012, 01:36 PM   #4
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Bull Dog Pushmatic Electrical panel and Circuit Breakers


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Originally Posted by Julius793 View Post
If it's working leave it alone no need to replace it.

If there's not enough slack in the wires use a wire cap and extend it

About the voltage, I've had faulty breaker but the problem with them is usually that the don't trip.
Is wire cap the same as wire nut? Is the use of a terminal block more professional neater looking than extending hot wires by randomly placing wire nuts? Does the NEC allow extended hot wires by wire nuts for this purpose?

As long as the 50 amp pushmatic CB does not open/trip (even when it should), it will function as the means to connect to a sub-panel. There is no situation when the load from the sub-panel will exceed 50 amps. The modern style of 15-amp CB's in the sub-panel will trip first.
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Old 01-10-2012, 01:45 PM   #5
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Bull Dog Pushmatic Electrical panel and Circuit Breakers


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Originally Posted by jerzeedivr View Post
If it works its OK, Be careful as they bolt to the hot buss. you could add a sub panel but a new panel would clean everything up.
100 amp = 20 circuit panel
150 = 30
200 = 42
I likely will never upgrade my service to 200 amps and will be happy with 100 amp service.

Can I do this in two stages?

Can I add a modern eletrical panel rate for 100-amp as the sub-panel for now, and later, if necessary, use the same electric panel for the only panel?

I can use the spare 50-amp CB to connect to the subpanel.
Later if I have to replace the whole panel can I use the same 100-amp electrical box for the only panel. The sub-panel will be as close to the Bulldog Pushmatic as possible.

My question is whether electrical panels are desire just for use as a sub-panel Or they can be used as either a sub-panel or the only panel.
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Old 01-10-2012, 01:47 PM   #6
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Bull Dog Pushmatic Electrical panel and Circuit Breakers


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Originally Posted by jerzeedivr View Post
If it works its OK, Be careful as they bolt to the hot buss. you could add a sub panel but a new panel would clean everything up.
100 amp = 20 circuit panel
150 = 30
200 = 42
Thanks, I likely will not need to remove any of the Pushmatic CB's from the buss.
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Old 01-10-2012, 01:50 PM   #7
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Bull Dog Pushmatic Electrical panel and Circuit Breakers


Quote:
Originally Posted by highdeserthome

Is wire cap the same as wire nut? Is the use of a terminal block more professional neater looking than extending hot wires by randomly placing wire nuts? Does the NEC allow extended hot wires by wire nuts for this purpose?

As long as the 50 amp pushmatic CB does not open/trip (even when it should), it will function as the means to connect to a sub-panel. There is no situation when the load from the sub-panel will exceed 50 amps. The modern style of 15-amp CB's in the sub-panel will trip first.
Wire nut and cap are the same I guess it would look a little nicer to use a terminal block but you don't have to because the nec allows wire nuts in the panel

The latter statement isn't true; let's say you have 10 15a circuits that are each drawing 9a, 10x9a=90a that will not cause any of the 15a breakers to trip but if the main isn't working it can cause a fire.
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Old 01-10-2012, 02:03 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Julius793 View Post
Wire nut and cap are the same I guess it would look a little nicer to use a terminal block but you don't have to because the nec allows wire nuts in the panel

The latter statement isn't true; let's say you have 10 15a circuits that are each drawing 9a, 10x9a=90a that will not cause any of the 15a breakers to trip but if the main isn't working it can cause a fire.
Thanks, I will only put in fewer than ten 15-amp circuits in the sub-panel. I think I will put in six. The chance that the six 15-amp together will draw more than 50-amp at any moment is extremely low, non-existent even. Do all the CB's in any box add up to more than the main? I think so.
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Old 01-10-2012, 02:06 PM   #9
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Bull Dog Pushmatic Electrical panel and Circuit Breakers


Quote:
Originally Posted by highdeserthome

Thanks, I will only put in fewer than ten 15-amp circuits in the sub-panel. I think I will put in six. The chance that the six 15-amp together will draw more than 50-amp at any moment is extremely low, non-existent even. Do all the CB's in any box add up to more than the main? I think so.
No that's still not ok. If you think the breaker is faulty get a new one. And yes the cb's can be more than the main.
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Old 01-10-2012, 02:38 PM   #10
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No that's still not ok. If you think the breaker is faulty get a new one. And yes the cb's can be more than the main.
Don't know if he 50 amp Pushmatic CB is faulty. As long as it states closed the sub-panel will function. Chance is zero if I just have two 15 amp and one 20 amp in the sub-panel, which add to just 50 amp. More than that is just a matter of chance, extremely slim chance.

Will the main CB of any house ever trip? Under what situation will a main CB trip?
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Old 01-10-2012, 02:46 PM   #11
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Bull Dog Pushmatic Electrical panel and Circuit Breakers


Quote:
Originally Posted by highdeserthome

Don't know if he 50 amp Pushmatic CB is faulty. As long as it states closed the sub-panel will function. Chance is zero if I just have two 15 amp and one 20 amp in the sub-panel, which add to just 50 amp. More than that is just a matter of chance, extremely slim chance.

Will the main CB of any house ever trip? Under what situation will a main CB trip?
It will trip if it's over loaded but sometimes it will trip in conjunction with a smaller cb. Such as I've had a 240v 15 which the wires crossed phases not only did the 15a breaker trip the 100a main also did.
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Old 01-10-2012, 11:31 PM   #12
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Bull Dog Pushmatic Electrical panel and Circuit Breakers


The other thing you will have to be aware the Pushmatic breakers are not cheap if they do go out espcally this is true with 100 amp two pole main breaker which I do get it from time to time.

To find the 100 amp replacement Pushmatic breaker is little tricky to get it very few electrical supply centre may have this on hand and some big box store will carry this ( that part you will have to be extra carefull due some are not really legit direct replacement breakers )

Cost of them are not cheap but for 50 amp and smaller they are not too bad but still cost more than conventail common breaker are costwise.

And if you are on latter part of state codes you will need a AFCI breaker unless it have unfinshed basement then the GFCI will suit it just fine.

Also the other thing you will have to be aware with Pushmatic they will have exposed bussbar once you take the cover off so you will have to be extra carefull with it.

When you want to turn the main breaker on or off just go easy on them some case they will not latch on postion which I have ran into few of them like that.

The 50 amp unused breaker is a good choice to use it for subpanel useage.

And make sure you keep the netural and ground seperated in subpanel this is important.

Merci,
Marc
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Old 01-11-2012, 07:40 AM   #13
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Bull Dog Pushmatic Electrical panel and Circuit Breakers


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... let's say you have 10 15a circuits that are each drawing 9a, 10x9a=90a that will not cause any of the 15a breakers to trip but if the main isn't working it can cause a fire.
Not likely.

If one were to install (10) 15 Amp circuits into a sub-panel, they would be equally divided among the 2 incoming legs.

Assuming the hypothetical situation that you postulated of a 9 Amp load on each circuit would result in a total load of 45 Amps PER LEG, below the 50 Amp threshold of the feeder breaker. No overload condition would exist, nor any danger of a fire ...
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Old 01-11-2012, 09:56 AM   #14
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Bull Dog Pushmatic Electrical panel and Circuit Breakers


Quote:
Originally Posted by Gbm

Wow. Lately many threads degenerate to unfounded name calling. KB was simply correcting your post 'cause it gave an erroneous example. This is a forum for inexperienced users to learn and someone reading your example might have been lead astray.

It's no wonder that some good people are becoming disgusted with the site. Too bad.
Maybe I should have been a little nicer but hey the the point of the example was that if you overload your sub there needs to be a main. Sparky thought he's real smart and commented in the example I gave it doesn't necessarily need to be an overload because they could be divided between phases. Is that the point???
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Old 01-11-2012, 11:40 AM   #15
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Please keep in mind our first forum posting rule;

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