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Zinsco Breakers


mdramis
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Ok guys this is a zinsco panel in my own house. I'm new at this so tell me everyting I need to know about it and don't hold back. The other pic is the junction box to the condensing unit and the conduit, or should I say what's left of it going to the condensing unit.

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The 2 worse panels for an electrician or an inspector to see on a job is a Zinsco or a Federal Pacific. The problem is that the breaker become lose and begins arcing, building up heat and becoming even more lose. This one looks in pretty good condition. But my suggestion would be to replace it as soon as possible. If you have to replace one of those 50amp breakers, if you can find one, your probably going to pay close to a hundred dollars for it. As for the condensor wiring, I think it goes without saying, repair or replace. Looks like its been hit with the lawnmower or the weed eater a few too many times. Good luck.

T.

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In addition to what was said earlier, they haven't allowed breakers to trip up (Go up when tripped) for years. Think about it, when the breaker trips the handle gos up, then gravity pulls it back down, if the breaker is bad (and many Zinsco breakers are) then the connection is made again and arcing starts.

Replace it as soon as possible.

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Originally posted by mdramis

Ok guys this is a zinsco panel in my own house. I'm new at this so tell me everyting I need to know about it and don't hold back. The other pic is the junction box to the condensing unit and the conduit, or should I say what's left of it going to the condensing unit.

It's a nasty old panel. Replace it.

Of course you need to replace the compressor wiring as well.

If you want to know more about Zinsco panels, search past posts on this forum. There ought to be plenty to read.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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My default verbiage on Zinsco panels however, I can not take credit for it, I believe that I picked it up from the ASHI forum. Author not remembered.

The Zinsco brand panel box hasn't been manufactured for many years. There are documented problems with these panels that can, in some cases, be serious. Some Zinsco panels have aluminum bus bars (the bars that run down the middle of the panel to which the breakers connect). Over a period of years, oxide forms on the aluminum causing a poor connection with the breakers and leading to arcing, overheating, and eventually breaker failure. Other problems with Zinsco panels include circuit breakers (depending on the vintage) with a dismal performance record and the possibility of unbalanced multi-wire circuits. Zinsco was bought by GTE - Bryant - Sylvania and for a time true Zinsco breakers were unavailable. Though UL listed replacements are now on the market, they can be very expensive. Replacing the aluminum bus bars with copper ones may not be a cost-effective remedy, either: by the time the bus bars and breakers are replaced, it may be less expensive to replace the entire panel. These breakers should be removed for a thorough evaluation of the bus bars and breaker contacts by a qualified, licensed electrician knowledgeable with Zinsco panels and their issues to determine what action, if any, needs to be taken.

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Originally posted by Terence McCann

My default verbiage on Zinsco panels however, I can not take credit for it, I believe that I picked it up from the ASHI forum. Author not remembered. . .

I wrote most of it. (Stole some from Greg Devault in Seattle.)

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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zinco breakers are junk. they are guarentied not to trip even when the house is on fire and they where probably the cause. i have seen so many problems with the alum bus that i will not repair them any more !!!! the only thing to do with a zincvo box is to trash can it and start from new. ps save the breakers and sell them to the idiot that thinks that 1500$ dollars is to much to cave his house from burning down.

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the problem with FPE Stab-Lok panels is a bit more extensive than was mentioned in the response. They not only become loose at the buss bar attachment but often require 150% of rated load in order to trip. So a 20 amp breaker may need 30 amps to make it trip. Some of the breakers have, under laboratory conditions, failed to trip under loads that went to 300% or more above their rated capacity. The worst offenders were the FPE Stab-Lok mini-breakers and esp. the double pole minis. Dr. Jesse Aronstein of New York has done a lot of research on them. You can direct clients, realtors, or anyone else to http://www.inspect-ny.com/fpe/fpepanel.htm for more information and test data.

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