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Thread: Breaker Box Help

  1. #1

    Default Breaker Box Help

    I have an old FPE breaker box, and yesterday while installing some new floro lights in my studio, i tripped a breaker. The problem is that the breaker didn't switch all the way off (to the best of my knowledge). I was hearing some *sizzle pop* going on inside of the box and ran down and threw the main off.

    When i went to reset the main switch, HALF of my breakers were functional, and half were dead. I turned off the main, and tried to reset all of the breakers by removing them and cleaning them off, but when i removed a set on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th plugs, i noticed that there was a log of carbon scoring. so i took out the main rail and cleaned off the scoring as best as possible.. After reseting everything again, i get the same effect. Half of my shop is dead, and so is my airconditioner, ( and its hot up here right now )

    My question is, what do you think is causing all of the fuss?
    Is the main rail (or at least half of it) dead?
    do i need a new box?

    any help is greatly appreciated

    Rian

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Default

    If I remember correctly, the concensus is that panel is a disaster waiting to happen...do a search and verify. Maybe time to replace the thing.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3

    Default

    Yea, i did find that out earlier today.. but i am renting right now, and i really don't feel like i should dump any money into this place right now. the wiring is a mix from the 20's 70's and just a few years ago from multiple rewires where they didn't gut the place, and just tied into the existing "stuff"...

    even if it is a peice, does anyone know what i should do??

  4. #4
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by the557ink
    When i went to reset the main switch, HALF of my breakers were functional, and half were dead ... on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th plugs, i noticed that there was a log of carbon scoring ... Half of my shop is dead ...

    My question is, what do you think is causing all of the fuss?
    An old breaker box in need of complete replacement.

    Are you obliged to take care of maintenance, or do you have a responsible landlord? Unless somebody pays now, everybody will pay later.

  5. #5
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Donít know where you live but you may have shot your self in the foot by working on equipment in rental property.

  6. #6

    Default

    ya i agree.. my landlord does have to cover all repairs, but getting money out of him is going to be a hassle. I was instructed by a friend to just do the repairs and hand him the bills.

    i guess it is what i will be stuck with then.

    can anyone give me a good breakerbox company to use instead of the one i have then?

  7. #7
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    This is way over the head of a do-it-yourself job.
    Hire an experienced electrician and let him deal with the owner.

  8. #8
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwelectric
    This is way over the head of a do-it-yourself job. [Let] an experienced electrician ... deal with the owner.
    Yes, absolutely. Service to the house will have to be temporarily disconnected, and no DIYer can do that without risking either death or a really big hassle with the power company.

  9. #9

    Exclamation

    Ahhh... the ole FPE sizzle... and yours were punctuated with little pops. The little pops are usually the final warning before before sirens from fire engines are heard.

    I can understand your not wanting to sink any money into a rental, but this is YOUR life we're talking about. Then again, the whole building likely has FPE so even if the panel in your unit is replaced, there's still the rest of the FPE's that could light the place up. You might want to considers renters insurance.

    Replacing a panel in most jurisdictions is usually a job for an EC and a permit must be pulled and the job inspected. The meter sometimes needs to be pulled, and that would usually require utility approval and inspection.

  10. #10
    Licensed Electrical Contractor Speedy Petey's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by the557ink
    ya i agree.. my landlord does have to cover all repairs, but getting money out of him is going to be a hassle. I was instructed by a friend to just do the repairs and hand him the bills.
    You're renting this place?!?!???
    Sorry to be so blunt, but your friend was an absolute FOOL by giving you advice like that.
    I am with JW, it is HIGHLY likely that it is illegal to do ANY electrical work in this rental, even with permission from the owner.

  11. #11
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Where I live, it is illegal to do any electrical or plumbing work on a multifamily dwelling (basically anything with more than a duplex) without a license and a permit. It sounds like your panel is dangerous. Get the landlord to fix it. If he won't, maybe talk to the inspector, but he might condemn the place until it is fixed. This could be good and bad...your landlord might be required to put you up while it is fixed, but it could be real dicey come lease renewal time.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  12. #12
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default breaker

    Half of your main breaker is not resetting, and whether you can get it to reset is debatable.

  13. #13
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    #1 The cost of replacing a panel will be quite high and the panel needs to be inspected.

    #2 A home owner can work on his own home but not a rental......Even if he is the owner..... only the home he lives in.

    #3 If you replace it and do not have it inspected and later after you have move out something happens and there is loss of life or injury you will be the one to do time in the big house. Even if the landlord gave you permission to do it.

    #4 If I were a renter I would not do any work that the landlord was going to reimburse me for unless he put it in writing.....it would be to easy for him to just say I never gave you permission to do the work.....he may look at the bill and choke.
    Last edited by Cass; 07-29-2007 at 05:20 AM.

  14. #14

    Default

    Get two separate electricians out there to check it out. On the internet we do not know if it is an easy fix or a new box situation. The landlord should fix it and should not be stupid enough to blame you for archaic equipment failing.

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