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I would rather be a fool here..so here goes


dtontarski
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Please tell me what I am looking at here. This is in a condo. It does not appear to be properly wired as either a main service panel, or as a distribution panel (sub-panel). I have no clue where a main disconnect might be if one exists. Did Cutler Hammer make a split-buss panel that would support this type of breaker arrangement? Ouch....my head hurts....I've been staring at this for an hour and just can't figure out how this could be right.

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The double poles running down the left side of the panel are sized as follows top to bottom: 60-30-50,30,30,50

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Around here, there would be a meter bank with service disconnects for larger condo units. Did you locate the meter? I usually find them in the lowest level of the complex or outside (basement, parking garage, etc.) The interior unit in this case would be non- service equipment.

That panel does not appear to be wired as service equipment (no main disconnect/ 6 throw disconnect), nor is it wired properly as non- service equipment. Problem is, I have no idea when they started requiring the separation of the neutral and equipment grounds.......

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It's not. You're right. But as a condo, it should probably be wired as a sub-panel with separated neutrals and grounds.

The main disconnect is someplace central, probably close to the meter bank. One I have a picture of looks like this:

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I'd just list a few of the problems like:

Doubled neutrals and grounds

Neutrals and grounds on the same bus bar in a sub panel

Overheated red wire at bottom right

White wires used as hot wires

Double tapped/lugged breaker at mid left

etc

and dump it off to a licensed electrician for repair of those issues and any others the electrician finds while conducting repairs.

-It's a great place to be smart and ask questions at, isn't it?

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Thanks guys...great we are seeing the same things and thinking the same thoughts. Yes it's a great place to run things by others. I've been doing 20 hour days and every once in a while my brain just goes numb....and I question what I think my eyes are seeing.....hell, I swore saw a sparkle in the pretty young client's eyes the other day when I recommended 3-ways on the top and the bottom of the stairs.....I'd better get some rest.

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What others have said...there's probably a service disconnect at a bank of panels hidden away in a room somewhere in the complex which, of course, would mean the neutrals and grounds should be separated. It's either wrong that way, or wrong because of the number of throws. It can not be right!

Did Cutler Hammer make a split-buss panel that would support this type of breaker arrangement?

Ummm, yes, most likely, but that isn't one of them. There are no feeders from one double-pole breaker returning to anything else in the panel so, unless they have somehow welded the upper and lower busses together behind the breakers, there would be no way for the bottom half to be energized.

One final thing...what the hell is going on with that top right (2-pole?) GFCI breaker. There's a short black wire that looks like it's looped from one pole to the other???

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Richard -

I've started to ask my clients for their old panels when I suggest updates. As I never remove breakers, I figured this would be a great way to get the look and feel of this equipment and how the breakers are secured. I've got an immaculate 150 amp FPE Stab-Lok and an equally fine Wadsworth coming my way. These things are immaculate - like new. I'm seeking a nice Bulldog now.....but with Chad in my area, I don't know if I will be able to get one of my own or not.....from his post, I see he's really into these.

(Hey Chad!)

Dave Tontarski

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I have two pristine Bull Dogs, fully populated. I dig 'em

What is Bull Dogs? Brand name? Issues?

Bulldog Pushmatic panels. See http://www.inspect-ny.com/electric/Pushmatic.htm . Read the whole page. It's probably best summed up in the paragraph...

On this basis and pending further research we consider these products questionable with conflicting opinions that currently deserve a warning but not a condemnation. Consumers should take advantage of evidence of any failures of the equipment, remodeling, or panel upgrade to meet growing usage requirements as opportunities to replace this obsolete equipment.
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Pushmatic/Bulldog panels are in tens of thousands of homes. Me, I have never known a "real" problem.

It is my opinion they are not even close to being as problematic as many Murray models, Zinzer or FPE. In the last thirty years I likely have looked at a few thousand. Dan has an opinion on this issue that I do not agree with/

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Me neither. I own one. I've seen hundreds or a thousand. The breaker connection to the bus is mechanical, not clip on, unlike Zinsco, FPE, and some of the nasty Murray panels.

And, what are the "conflicting opinions", and who made them? What credible study has been performed to arrive at these opinions?

I think Dan's off base. Wildly off base.

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feeling a little brash this morning and have reflected on this thread and my response.

How many inspectors even know squat about this type panel and where are they getting their info? I could teach my dog what is "wrong" with many other panels (or a third grader) but would have a little dificulty splaining why Bulldog should be evaluated by an electrician. They are different, just as Kurt and I are different.

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One final thing...what the hell is going on with that top right (2-pole?) GFCI breaker. There's a short black wire that looks like it's looped from one pole to the other???

The older CH GFI breakers were of a 2 pole design space-wise. The black jumper was part of the breaker.

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