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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
we apparently have two electrical boxes in our home, one of which has screw-in (edison t type? ) fuses, and has been tripping about once a month.

we can see that the smart thing to do is eliminate this box altogether and upgrade the more modern main circuit breaker and electrical box to handle the circuits from both boxes. but that's not in the budget yet.

my husband, mr. frugal scientist, got out his scientific equipment and determined the resistance was too high, and the fuse in question is getting too hot. and to delay the repair he basically shut off the power and took this old electrical fuse socket apart and cleaned it very thoroughly, assuming the resistance problem was more likely to be in the fuse box than the wire. he triumphantly said resistance had dropped, and proclaimed himself right, but when he went to screw it all back together, he totally destroyed some kind of thermally insulating (asbestos?) washer behind the fuse.

we don't even know what this washer is called and I don't think they sell it anymore. i also don't know if they sell porcelain or polymer replacements or where to look. In the absence of an available commercial part, mr frugal scientist is looking up thermal ratings and insisting that he can use a printed circuit board or something, just cut it into shape and squish it in there and it would be safe. :eek: He's a smart guy but he's no electrician and I have the heebee jeebees about this.

I wanted your opinions: is there something commercially available as a washer we should be using? Is his proposed solution safe or should I insist we get rid of the whole box right now, even if paying it off takes a while?

Thanks
 

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please tell your husband to stop, a lot of people back in the day used to jam pennies in the holes of the fuse and screw it in. it was the cause of a lot of electrical fires. Of course without seeing it it's hard to say the state of it now, but judging on your description of your husbands work, I would deem it unsafe at this point and would replace it asap, and in my opinion this isn't a DIY job, you should hire a professional to come in and do it and to have them check the wires while hes at it.
 

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Show us a picture.

You can move the circuit fed by that fuse to a breaker in the other panel; you may need a junction box just outside the old panel to splice on an extra length of cable if the original cable doesn't reach the other panel.

You could double up the circuit fed by that fuse with a circuit fed by another fuse in which case both circuits will share the same 15 or 20 ampere allotment given by the other fuse. If two wires want to go under the same screw, cut a short lengh of wire of the same color, attach one end to the screw and wire nut the other end to the two wires in question.

Things in a fuse box are not suppoed to heat up, yours did because there was a loose connection. A piece of printed circuit board from which you tore off all of the foil parts can be fabricated into a washer or other part you need, so can a piece of polyethylene sheet about 1/16 inches thick. (Be careful you do not use printed circuit board with multiple layers and embedded foil.)

The fuse box may be connected to a pair of breakers in the other panel using a #8 or #6 cable. You can at your leisure move circuits from the fuse box to the breaker box one at a time.
 

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dumbblond...judging from your posts, you really should change your name. As far as your amateur scientist hubby goes....keep him away from the panels before he burn the house down. Have a licensed electrician look at the situation and help you get rid of the heebie jeebies.
 

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Here's what one of those looks like. The lower one is normal. The upper one had a loose fuse, sparked, overheated, and over the years destroyed the insulator. The screw has been removed and you can see what's back there:
 

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