FPE Stab-Lock, Add To Or Replace? - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 03-17-2010, 04:50 PM   #1
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FPE Stab-Lock, add to or replace?

I have a buddy who wants to add a spa on his screen porch (on concrete slab). He asked me to tell him what he needs for the electrical (I was there cutting a hole in the wall to get the unit onto the porch). The requirements were 240 VAC at 50 amps with GFCI. I looked at his panel to see if he had space and capacity. 200 amp FPE Stab-Lock (Danger Will Robinson!!). I advised him about the horror stories of this brand and advised he have the whole panel replaced even though he has capacity and space.

He called me today and said the electrician told him that the panel was fine and that he could add the 50 amp circuit to the existing panel for $250 vs $1250 to replace the existing and add the new circuit. He is leaning to the cheap side.

I advised him against going cheap! Is there anything else I can say (or show him) to dissuade him from using the FPE panel?
My electrical answers are based on 2014 NEC, you may have local amendments.

Location: Coastal South Carolina
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Old 03-17-2010, 05:23 PM   #2
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It's amazing where people will cut corners. Out of sight out of mind.
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Old 03-17-2010, 05:53 PM   #3
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He should make sure his home Insurance is always paid up

For the test at 135% of rated current, 51% of the breakers failed with individual poles tested,
and the failure rate was 25% with both poles tested simultaneously.
The failure rates increased to 65% and 36%, respectively,
after 500 operations of the on/off toggle handle.




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Old 03-17-2010, 06:57 PM   #4
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I'm not an expert of the whole FPE panels but they were not always a bad thing. To my understanding they made a good product back in the day. I beleive the red handle breakers were the ones known for there problems. If your panel is from the 60 or 70 you should be fine.
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