Stab lok breakers & box

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Post by tuberadiogeek on Sat Nov 02, 2013 8:34 pm

I came across some stab lok breakers today. My buddy has an older mobile home that has a federal pacific electric breaker box in it that uses stab lok breakers. I originally thought it used the same type that GE and Square D Homeline use but boy was i ever so wrong. Out of curiosity i called the local Ace Hardware dealer since it was near-by to see if the carried a 30 amp double pole in that type. They did surprisingly but it was a 70.00 breaker!!! I then did a bit of research on that type of breaker and box. Apparently they were known to not always trip, but the article went on to say it couldnt be proven 100% but another stated that one out of four were known to fail but it usually wasnt under normal circumstances. Do any of you guys have any experience with that type of breaker or know of any actually causing problems? My buddy is going to just replace it with a GE box that costed about the same as the one stab lok breaker.
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Post by Dr. Radio on Sat Nov 02, 2013 10:21 pm

There's been plenty of arguments, but I'm on the side of getting rid of anything Pacific Electric. I found some good write ups on the web-- I did a bit of research when I was pre inspecting perspective homes for my sis and bro 'n law. There are quite a few Pacific panels in this area. They scare me personally. Seems I read that after extensive testing, if a breaker never tripped previously before in its life, it would probably trip when it should. If it had tripped even once, chances are it may not trip when it needed to.

You got to ask yourself, is it worth the chance? Also, why are GE, Square D, Cutler Hammer, etc etc still around after so many decades yet no one sees any Pacific stuff........

Another thing to watch for is aluminum wire in mobile homes and Viet Nam-era houses.
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Post by tuberadiogeek on Sat Nov 02, 2013 10:41 pm

I know its not worth the risk,that is why after reading what I did I told him we should just go price something new to replace it. Seeing as neither one of us does not know if any have been tripped in the past. Also there is no aluminum wire since it appears it was re wired sometime in the last 15-20 years since it had white 12/2 in there. However it was done very poorly with about half of the place on 1 breaker, by tieing most of the stuff in under the main bedroom light. So its getting another complete re wire again sometime soon. I know aluminum is prone to overheating moreso than copper. Then aluminum coated copper is also dangerous.
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Post by 75X11 on Sat Nov 02, 2013 11:14 pm

If you replace the breakers, you will have something to build on reliably. Those mobile homes can go up like the Hindenburg with an electrical fire. That should not have to be the case with a good system.
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Post by Wildcat445 on Sun Nov 03, 2013 11:31 am

I agree with the comment about Pacific Electric equipment. It was used primarily in mobile homes, and with aluminum wiring. I would personally can the Pacific Electric box in any form and replace with Square D Homeline. That is kinda the Chevrolet of breaker boxes, with breakers and other supplies for them widely available. And you are on base about the aluminum wiring. Oddly, those big entry cables that the electric company installs from the transformer to the meter, and from the meter to the breaker panel uses aluminum wiring. Mobile homes can be tricky to rewire properly, due to the way they are built. That may be why everything is wired from the one box. Dangerous, to be sure, but perhaps the only way to do it without tearing out part of the wall.

Regards

WC

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Post by tuberadiogeek on Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:51 pm

I know the entrance cable is aluminum,which is to be expected.  He purchased a GE box,which is very similar to the square d homeline. I trust GE since I had one for years with no problem. When comparing boxes at menards, the homeline,qo,ge and cutler hammer eaton were all about the same price as were the breakers. Its going to be done right this time since  he is removing the paneling walls and replacing them with drywall.


Last edited by tuberadiogeek on Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:53 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo)
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Post by Wildcat445 on Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:50 pm

Just in the way of conversation, I know of a guy who removed the paneling in his mobile home and replaced it with drywall. The additional weight of the drywall caused the mobile home to sag in the middle and actually buckled the roof. He had to have the thing jacked up and had additional piers installed under the floor to support it. Just a thought.

I love doing electrical wiring. Have you contacted the power company to advise them that you are changing the breaker box? Some localities require that. The power company comes out to check if the meter needs upgrading. Does the power company recommend bonding the box? Has the insurance company carrying the coverage on the property been contacted and approve the job? Are there local electrical codes you have to follow and is a permit required? You can't have too many electrical outlets.

Regards

WC









Regards

WC

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