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Zinsco Panels

Tom Rollins

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Can anyone give me more information on the Zinsco breaker panels? I know they are no longer being made and should be replaced. I have searched here and googled it and I cannot find a write up like the FPE panels. I wrote it up in my report the same as I do for the FPE panel and told the buyer to have it replaced ASAP before moving in. Any additional information would be greatly appreciated.



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I've also looked for such an article and had no luck. I'd love to see someone do a comprehensive article on Zinzco like the one on FPE at Code Check. All I've ever found is a few paragraphs and photos in Electrical Inspection of Existing Dwellings (same author, Douglas Hansen), but that's copyrighted material so I can't post it. Best of luck Tom.

Brian G.

We're Dealing With Dinosaurs [:-banghea

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I too have searched in vain for authoritative documentation on Zinsco's. I ran across a thread on Mike Holt's forum a while back. I still have it bookmarked:


Wayne: All you need to know about Federal Pacific panels can be found on Dan Friedman's site. Amazing pictures too. When I run across a FP panel, I send the buyer there for an eye opening education.


Joe Hancaviz

Nazareth, PA

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Hi to all,

there have been multiple great discussions on the NACHI board on this topic, including:


Just last week (sorry to link out Mike)also here are 2 slides that I posted from a class I am presenting at the NACHI conference. Thanks to Jeff Pope for use of some images.

I hope these help



Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif zinscoslidecrop.jpg

68.26 KB

Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif FPESlidecrop.jpg

58.98 KB

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I've written about Zinsco panels till I'm blue in the face and tonight I just don't have enough energy to go through it again.

It's too bad my software won't let me search back for more than a year. If it did, I'd be able to pull up all of those old posts. Here's what I suggest. Go over to Brian's board at http://www.inspectionnews.com and do an advanced search by word and author, using Zinsco and O'Handley. Brian's board will search waaaaaaaay back and you'll be able to pull up one or two of my tomes about the Zinsco quest.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Zinsco breakers are still made and are U. L. or similary approved.

I agree that the old boxes are frequently a problem, but if I find nothing wrong ( usualy there is some do it your self work that you can use for a reason for an electrin to repair) I state:

"Older box of questional design. Should be inspected by licensed Elsctrion."

I let them be the heavy.

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Roy is right. Zinsco never did lose their U.L. status and Thomas & Betts bought the tooling and the rights to the Zinsco name about five years ago and began manufacturing breakers for these.

I find some of them that are pristine and look great but most are a mess - particularly the older MagnaTrip panels. The electrical contractor who's office is about 50 meters from where I'm sitting told me last year that they'd replaced every Zinsco panel in a large condominimum complex last year and had found 'significant' problems with the majority of them.

That's enough for me to red-flag them. Hell, if it had only been 5% - 1 out of every 20 - I would have still done it, but the majority?

Uh, uh, I've got nothing good to say about 'em.




Gee Roy, I was just asking someone yesterday if you were still around. What's it been? 3-4 years?

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