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FP, Zinsco Panel RFI


NewInspector
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I am aware of the issues over old FP Panels, but have read reports of faulty or recalled Zinsco panels, Wadsworth & Push-matic breakers. Any info. on any (except FP) is appreciated.

I'd also ask NE Inspector's if they'd ever come across Zinsco panels. It seems these are geographically limited to W & SW US.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to reply.

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Fair amount of Zinsco's in Chicago; problem is how the breakers attach (or don't attach) to the crappy aluminum bars.

Wadworth are kinda cheesey, but I've seen hundreds, maybe >1000, and haven't ever seen any problems. The breaker connection to the bar seems adequate, unlike FP.

Pushmatics are some of my favorite; I've "owned" a couple of them, and have seen hundreds of them. The breaker secures to the bar w/a screw. For reasons I've never understood, folks talk them down because they're old. I think they're excellent. Only problem is breakers are 2-3 times more expensive than new/conventional.

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Originally posted by NewInspector

I am aware of the issues over old FP Panels, but have read reports of faulty or recalled Zinsco panels, Wadsworth & Push-matic breakers. Any info. on any (except FP) is appreciated.

I'd also ask NE Inspector's if they'd ever come across Zinsco panels. It seems these are geographically limited to W & SW US.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to reply.

Zinsco equipment is terrible, but you're unlikely to find any damning documentation, as you will with FPE. Mike's looked, I've looked. . . it just ain't out there.

I rarely see Wadsworth equipment, but it seems decent enough. Its biggest problem is age. The Wadsworth panels I see are about 50 year old.

Like Kurt, I think Pushmatic panels are great. They make me wonder why modern manufacturers gave up on the concept of bolted-on breakers in residential panels.

If you ever run into any, the really, really old Square D panels are a disaster. I haven't seen one of those in many years though.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Yeah...basically in the 60's around the time the first series of AL wiring started to come out the makers of Zinsco swutched from CU buss to AL busses and they were awful in regards to pitting and causing arc's and overheating. They do make a copper retro-kit for the zinsco but you have to wonder....why even bother....Now the breakers ironically did not have a real problem with tripping....it was more to deal with the poor condition of the AL buss bars themselves.

I have also seen my fair share of pushmatics and to be honest with you the biggest issue was replacement cost and limited capacity so really I don't have any research on their problem issues and I have not really witnessed any...that are more so glaring than the issues I find daily with Cutler Hammer, Square D and GE........breakers over time simply wear out with age and with age comes loose connections to the buss and possibly arc and heat issues.....age ends up getting us all in the end.

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Same as all of the above. Zinsco was the preferred breaker for thousands of pre-cut and modular houses. Marketed by the old Wickes Lumber co, Miles homes, and many houses built under the FHA 230's program.

My additional concern with Zinsco, not as scientific, was physical configuration and sizes made them difficult to keep aligned.

Pushmatic from Bulldog Electric are great breakers, just costly.

not a favorite of skilled homeowners, as they require a little effort to install and they look scary! Sometimes difficult to "see" if they are tripped.

Recently "beat up" on an inspector that learned from a national school that Wadsworth panel were defective. Court ruled that inspector should have researched and had actual knowledge before writing it as defective. He paid - school got off hook!

A layperson could confuse Wadsworth with FedPac if no labels were present and that was what the "inspector" was - a lay person!

Good question - now you know.

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There was a wholesale electrical supply in my town who dealt Zinzco for decades. Lots of 'em still around, not getting any better. When I sold electrical stuff I used to see a few dozen Zinzco breakers per year with dime-sized holes burned in the sides or fried-black bus bar clips. I wish I had kept them now.

Les mentioned alignment problems. Those long, straight bus bars they used meant there were no "designated spaces" for the breakers. You could plug one on and slide it up or down if you wanted to, which they sometimes do on their own if the twist-outs in the cover are missing below the breakers.

Brian G.

Zinzco Sucks [:-yuck]

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Hi,

Lots of Zinscos out here in Seattle land. Got one in the back of my car right now that's got a fried bus. I use it for demonstration purposes.

For about 10 years it was pretty hard to get breakers for them. Then Thomas & Betts bought the tooling rights and the Zinsco name around 2000 and began making the breakers again. Now the prices are way down and they're pretty plentiful again. Still crap, but as long as they keep making parts for them people will continue to keep them.

OT - OF!!!

M.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi,

Yep, a Magnatrip is a Zinsco. See the photo below. It's a Magnatrip a client had yanked. I sent it to Douglas Hansen and he rewired it to use as a training aid. I carry around the guts of a Magnatrip in my truck, just to show folks the arcing on the bus bars behind those breakers. 2007324182715_20041130212035_ZinscoProp3.jpgThey're old, over 40 years. Most electricians and educators that I've asked, agree that electrical components have a service life of about 40 years. Besides its age, there's no bending room in the danged things and once you've got it fully wired you have to fight with the cover to get it on because the box will be so full. Besides, there's hardly enough room for an adequate number of breakers for a small apartment, let alone a house.

MOFWIW

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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