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Federal Pacific Ground Bar - Need this info ASAP


sstaarzz
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Hello

I am new to this forum and have zero electrical knowledge. However, our condo association is having us install Alumi Conn connectors but we were also just advised that we must install a "federal pacific ground bar" in the panel box to accomodate 8 ground wires, as these wires now are all secured with one lug nut.

Someone told me that Federal Pacific is out of business so where can we buy a ground bar? We were told it MUST be a Federal Pacific ground bar. At this point we do not need to replace the panel box. The ground bar needs to be about 5" and about 1/4" wide?

Thanks for any information that anyone can throw our way.

Judy

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I can't tell you where you can find a ground bar to fit a Federal Pacific panel but I can tell you that you are likely throwing good money after bad.

Federal Pacific Stab-lok panels should be removed and replaced with a dependable modern panel due to the inherent safety concerns.

See http://www.inspect-ny.com/fpe/fpepanel.htm for information on Federal Pacific panels.

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I have read that suggestion but I feel that if the association felt that it was a necessary thing, they would have recommended replacing the panel box as we are doing the AlumiConn connections because of Condo safety issues and the condo insurance.

As far as the ground bar, I found a company called aplussupply that sells PK9GTA 9 TERM GRD BAR. It does not say it is Federal Pacific but does that really matter? Does this bar get screwed into the panel box then each of the 8 wires then get connected to the bar rather than being all tied into one nut as it presently is?

We also have to replace every switch and outlet in the apartment as well.

I wish I understood/knew more so that I could be more specific. The association has hired a company to do all the work but I have chosen to go with my own electrician who received a phone call from the township inspector because he reviewed the permit and he just wanted the electrician to know exactly what had to be done so that we would pass inspection, and one of the things was the ground bar, but I am almost positive that he said it MUST be a Federal Pacific Ground Bar. I just dont understand, why must it be FP? Arent all Ground Bars the same and don't they all do the same thing?

Thanks

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Hello

I am new to this forum and have zero electrical knowledge. However, our condo association is having us install Alumi Conn connectors but we were also just advised that we must install a "federal pacific ground bar" in the panel box to accomodate 8 ground wires, as these wires now are all secured with one lug nut.

Someone told me that Federal Pacific is out of business so where can we buy a ground bar? We were told it MUST be a Federal Pacific ground bar. At this point we do not need to replace the panel box. The ground bar needs to be about 5" and about 1/4" wide?

Thanks for any information that anyone can throw our way.

Judy

Let me guess. An electrician told your condo association that it really ought to replace the FPE panel. The cheapskates in the association said, "No way, that one's fine." So the electrician said, "Ok, be like that. And by the way, the only way we can finish this job is if you track down a new Federal Pacific Ground Bar."

Judy, your question makes no sense. Your very own Superior Court of New Jersey, in Docket #L-2904-97 determined that "FPE cheated during its testing of circuit breakers in order to obtain Underwriters Laboratories (UL) approval." That was when the nailed coffin lid shut on the FPE class action in your state.

FPE panels are dangerous and should be replaced.

And, no, I don't know where you can find a gas cap for a Ford Pinto, either.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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I have read that suggestion but I feel that if the association felt that it was a necessary thing, they would have recommended replacing the panel box as we are doing the AlumiConn connections because of Condo safety issues and the condo insurance.

I'll bet you a dollar that they're doing it soley because the insurance company is making them do it.

As far as the ground bar, I found a company called aplussupply that sells PK9GTA 9 TERM GRD BAR. It does not say it is Federal Pacific but does that really matter? Does this bar get screwed into the panel box then each of the 8 wires then get connected to the bar rather than being all tied into one nut as it presently is?

We also have to replace every switch and outlet in the apartment as well.

I wish I understood/knew more so that I could be more specific. The association has hired a company to do all the work but I have chosen to go with my own electrician who received a phone call from the township inspector because he reviewed the permit and he just wanted the electrician to know exactly what had to be done so that we would pass inspection, and one of the things was the ground bar, but I am almost positive that he said it MUST be a Federal Pacific Ground Bar. I just dont understand, why must it be FP? Arent all Ground Bars the same and don't they all do the same thing?

Thanks

All ground bars do the same thing. Practically speaking, you could install any ground bar in there and it would work as well as any other ground bar. However, every UL listed device has to be installed in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. FPE (and every other manufacturer out there) says that you have to use their ground bars. Now you can either rummage through a used electrical equipment dealer's stock, or you can try to find a new ground bar that includes a listing for use with an old FPE Panel (good luck with that).

The fact that you can't find parts for your obsolete panel ought to tell you something.

Visit http://www.inspect-ny.com/fpe/fpepanel.htm

Read everything.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Hi,

It sounds like you've got a double-whammy there; aluminum wiring plus FPE panels.

They are concerned with aluminum wiring reacting with incompatible switches and receptacles so they are adding short lengths of copper wiring to the ends of all of the aluminum conductors, using special connectors, and then the actual contact between the conductors and the switches, receptacles and fixtures will made with copper. It's cheaper than re-wiring the entire complex with copper wiring by a long shot.

Ground bars are nothing special. You're exactly right, it's nothing more than a metal bar that's screwed to the inside of the enclosure and the equipment grounding conductors are terminated on it. They are sold in longer lengths and when an electrician needs one that's shorter, he or she measures off what's needed and then uses a hacksaw to cut it to the correct length.

The code guy might be stuck on wording someplace that says one can't use something in a panel unless it's listed and labeled for that panel; however, I think that being that anal over a ground bar is taking it too far. Any muni guy being that obtuse must be either a rookie or soft in the head.

Your HOA is literally playing with fire by not replacing those Stab-Lok panels. It's time to fire that HOA board and elect a new one.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Not sure why my question makes no sense, but all of the expense for this job is falling on us, the condo owners and not the association. The condo association came to us and said that we need to install the Alumi Conn connectors because our apartments had aluminum wiring and the insurance company that insures the association claimed that aluminum wiring was a fire hazard so they said we needed to install the Alumi connectors. They hired this big electrical contracor to do the job which I felt to be kinda sneaky and I felt that the price of $700 was too high, so I bought the connectors myself and asked an electrician friend to help with the job. Ok, easy enough. Then we applied for the permit and the inspector called the electrician today to just let him know what was expected so that the job would pass. Thats when we were told about the ground bar because as I understood there are 8 wires in the box that are all connected together and I guess by having the ground bar, each of these wires would be separate. This is all new to me; I knew nothing about a class action suit. Basically I came across this website and hoped that someone could help me find what I was looking for. Its difficult to ask questions when you really don't have a good understanding as to the reasoning behind these questions, which I did make clear when I said that I had no electrical knowledge; I was just reaching out to someone who could share their knowledge with me.

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Not sure why my question makes no sense, but all of the expense for this job is falling on us, the condo owners and not the association. The condo association came to us and said that we need to install the Alumi Conn connectors because our apartments had aluminum wiring and the insurance company that insures the association claimed that aluminum wiring was a fire hazard so they said we needed to install the Alumi connectors.

That's all true. the aluminum wiring can be a hazard. Alumiconn connectors are an excellent and cost-effective solution.

They hired this big electrical contracor to do the job which I felt to be kinda sneaky and I felt that the price of $700 was too high, so I bought the connectors myself and asked an electrician friend to help with the job. Ok, easy enough. Then we applied for the permit and the inspector called the electrician today to just let him know what was expected so that the job would pass.

The inspector is referring to the National Electrical Code section 110.3(B). He's within his rights to ask for this, though it's a bit silly. Perhaps it's his way of prodding you to replace the panel? (Or maybe he just expects you to slip him a C-note -- this is Jersey after all.)

Thats when we were told about the ground bar because as I understood there are 8 wires in the box that are all connected together and I guess by having the ground bar, each of these wires would be separate. This is all new to me; I knew nothing about a class action suit. Basically I came across this website and hoped that someone could help me find what I was looking for. Its difficult to ask questions when you really don't have a good understanding as to the reasoning behind these questions, which I did make clear when I said that I had no electrical knowledge; I was just reaching out to someone who could share their knowledge with me.

We *are* sharing our knowledge with you. You just don't want to hear what we have to say.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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It's not that I don't want to hear what you have to say; otherwise I would not have asked for help. I guess I was just looking for a simple answer and never thought it would get so complicated. I plan on calling the Electrical Inspector tomorrow and ask whether we can use any brand of ground bar in the panel box. I don't see what the difference is, as long as it can be securely connected within the box and that there are enough connections on the bar to accomodate the 8 wires.

Thanks

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I guess I was just looking for a simple answer and never thought it would get so complicated.

The answer was simple. You should really replace the FPE's with new equipment.

I don't see what the difference is, as long as it can be securely connected within the box and that there are enough connections on the bar to accomodate the 8 wires.

Thanks

Practically speaking, there isn't a difference; properly done, most any ground bar would be fine.

The problem comes from the law, which is written the way it is to prevent really stupid things happening, which is more common than one might imagine.

The letter of the law casts a wide net, and sometimes unsuspecting and innocent folks get snagged in with the jerks. The municipal authority is bound to enforce the law, not make judgments.

You got snagged.

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Judy,

Essentially, what your being told here is, if you car is a defective type that you just found out could up and explode at any time, for no reason at all, you don't put new tires on it. You get rid of the dam thing.

I suggest you follow this link and do some reading. Maybe, pay specific attention to the news stories posted by me concerning fires in North Jersey caused by these electrical panels.

https://www.inspectorsjournal.com/forum ... IC_ID=6632

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Interesting story...

Did a home inspection last week and found FPB in the home. I informed the client to which he replied "Oh no." Seems his dryer shorted out, a fire started and the fire department was called. After the investigation it was traced back to the FP panel (220v breaker didn't trip). This was the first time I've had first hand confirmation on an actual problem arising from a FP panel. During the conversation with the fire department he got quite an education on FP.

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Like the vast majority of home inspectors and electricians, I always also recommend FPE panels be replaced. I see them fairly often in my travels. Why on earth try to repair something that has such a well documented history of being a hazard?? As noted above, NJ has officially put on record that they know of the issue. I still read stories of house fires being linked to the FPE panels, one as recently as a few months ago.

Most of the FPE panels I see have a hornets nest of wiring in them, so I don't think that, in most circumstances, one could even easily installed another terminal bar without removing a lot of the wiring first.

Judy, something just sounds strange with your post and the fact that the condo assn wants this 'repair' done. Something just doesn't sounds right. The panel should be REPLACED not amended.

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  • 5 months later...

I can supply you with copper ground bars that are UL certified.

(We currently supply for Verizon, etc...)

Also we have all the hardware and connectors, should you need them as well.

Everything is in stock so you can have it as fast as you would like.

Rick

Cobra Industries, LLC

1-607-639-1700

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If your footing the bill for the repairs in your condo, why just replace your panel ? I can't imagine the condo assoc. having a problem with it.

If they do just tell them to call your lawyer as you are replacing a PROVEN dangerous piece of equipment with a up to date safe on.ll

Aluminum wiring and keeping the FPE panels [:-bigeyes

I know you have an electrician as a friend , but how about a realtor ?

sell sell sell

The issue with just getting any old ground bar off the shelf is the mounting design. The bars have factory hole to bolt them to designated locations in a panel. That why you need a brand specific bar as not all panel manufactures have the same mounting hole locations.

Using a self tapping screw to mount them is illegal also, as Your not allowed to use self tapping screws for grounding.

So yes 110.3 does come into play

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Well, I'm a homeowner and actually love reading this site for the information you all provide. I figured I'd never post, but registered in order to view images. For this one I have to post.

I purchased a 30 year old home 1 year ago today. The inspector called out the FPE panel and explained I should replace it ASAP.

1 week after closing I came down the stairs to find smoke filling the kitchen to just above the tops of the doors (hadn't dropped low enough to roll into other rooms) and I could smell burning wires. This was the first time in my life I used a main electrical disconnect in a house.

After investigation I discovered an under counter light in the kitchen had shorted out. the wires inside were melting and the cabinet it was attached to was getting warm.

As I'm sure you can guess, the FPE breaker failed to trip!

The panel replacement was now at the top of my list and was replaced within another week.

All I can say to anyone is replace any FPE panels found.

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Thanks for posting Tim, good of you to share a real life story. Some inspectors are on the fence about recommending replacement of FPE, some just say have it check out by an electrician. Maybe your post will help change their minds.

Thanks I had already decided to replace the panel, but with a "new" house to order in which items are done are affected by many factors, not the least of which is what the dear wife wants.[^]

Tim,

Glad you had a fortunate outcome. However it cannot be ruled out that the breaker should have even tripped without knowing more details. Wires should not have overheated in the fixture. That does not necessarirly mean that there was enough current flow to trip the breaker.

I am the first to admit, I do not have all the answers as to what happened with my fixture and panel. When I was able to open the fixture (it was quite warm) I found the wire nuts had been hot enough to deform, the wires had the insulation melted off for a couple of inches and lots of charring.

I will say, at that point other items the inspector pointed out were looked at in a new light[;)]

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Glad you had a fortunate outcome. However it cannot be ruled out that the breaker should have even tripped without knowing more details. Wires should not have overheated in the fixture. That does not necessarirly mean that there was enough current flow to trip the breaker.

True, especially if this under-counter light fixture was connected to the outlet via some fixture wire. The rated current of most fixture wire found on residential electric light fixtures will not trip even a 15 amp breaker.

Almost 800 pages to the National Electrical Code and you can still have an electrical fire even if every rule is followed.

Marc

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Glad you had a fortunate outcome. However it cannot be ruled out that the breaker should have even tripped without knowing more details. Wires should not have overheated in the fixture. That does not necessarirly mean that there was enough current flow to trip the breaker.

True, especially if this under-counter light fixture was connected to the outlet via some fixture wire. The rated current of most fixture wire found on residential electric light fixtures will not trip even a 15 amp breaker.

Almost 800 pages to the National Electrical Code and you can still have an electrical fire even if every rule is followed.

Marc

All wiring was NM cable, not sure if it was #12 or #14, but it was on a 15a breaker.
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Thanks for posting Tim, good of you to share a real life story. Some inspectors are on the fence about recommending replacement of FPE, some just say have it check out by an electrician. Maybe your post will help change their minds.

Even worse, there are electricians on the fence.

Thread drift...Tim, are you the same Tim5055 I see on the popuptimes site? If so, small world (waygard33 here)

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Even worse, there are electricians on the fence.

Thread drift...Tim, are you the same Tim5055 I see on the popuptimes site? If so, small world (waygard33 here)

Yup, the one & only (I think) To be honest, I spend more time on the Tiffin RV Network Forums. I guess I'm dreaming about a coach for retirement[;)]

I like your E3 by the way, especially the photos with a few bottles of wine around[:-party]

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