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Old 07-07-2009, 11:22 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by rmorgan1016 View Post
When you say replace the breakers, are you saying that the ones made today are better than the ones made by FPE?
Yes, the new breakers of that type work as they are supposed to, whereas the original FPE breakers would often fail to trip on a short.

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What an electrician told me was that the breakers worked OK (and the ones here WILL flip) unless there is a dead short. I was skeptical of that, but after hearing your comments I'm concerned. I could wire in a new panel myself (what brand do you recommend) if the electrician wired up the main supply lines -- I ain't going anywhere near those.
My advice for an FPE panel of the generation (the red handled breakers) is to get rid of it before something bad happens. The longer it stays in service, the greater the chance of bad things. They were junk when they were brand new, and now 35 years later, they sure ain't getting better!

I believe that the breakers wouldn't trip during dead shorts, and if ever there is a time you want a breaker to trip, it is certainly then. An overload is nothing compared to that. Having 22 amps on a 20 A circuit is pure cake when compared to a short developing as many amps as can fit down the wire for as long as it stays intact, and generating copious amounts of heat and flame!

If you can change the panel, do it. Any brand out right now is good enough. GE is probably the most budget friendly. Siemens is better, and Square D QO is what I personally like best.
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Old 07-08-2009, 01:48 PM   #17
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I'm very surprised to hear I can't use NM outdoors in a conduit. I read somewhere (maybe even in this forum) that there is no prohibition on that as long as it's not not underground.

What would have been a better way to do it?
Don't think twice about it. It's a recently created technical foul.

You have bigger issues

If you replace the panel you can install GFCI breakers on ungrounded circuits which will allow the use of grounded receps throughout.
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Old 07-09-2009, 07:10 AM   #18
 
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Originally Posted by 220/221 View Post
You have bigger issues
Yes, I do have bigger issues. It turns out that the panel, which looked like it had room for three more breakers, only has room for one. The slots above and below the 40A breaker on the right side will not accept anything. I'd thought it looked odd all along, and now I guess I know why.
So, I have a shiny new 15A circuit all strung with nowhere to attach it.
It seems events are conspiring to force me into replacing the panel.

The 20A circuit is working fine, although the very first time I plugged something into it I heard a popping sound...not loud, and no smoke or sparks, but a definite popping sound. I'm going to pull the receptacle out and see if I can see anything amiss, but I know I wired it solidly.
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