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Thread: FIRE! Red FPE Breakers please help!

  1. #61
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    For what its worth Schneider Electric the parent company of Square D continues to make Federal Pioneer Stab-Lok breakers in Canada.
    The UL listing seems to have been performed in the US. The inspectapedia has a page about them having a small recall, however other brands have had this happen too.
    If you set aside concerns about flaws in the panel buss bar design and just need to add an AFCI or GFCI in an old house these breakers are a good option as the breakers basically are made by Square D.
    And as far as I know connecticut-electric / UBI is limited to making the breakers as they where in 1980 where as
    Square D is able to introduce newer technology like AFCI's.
    I imagine its only patent licensing reasons or even just wanting to avoid bad PR that Square D can not sell them in the US.
    I would ask an inspector before using them and give them a copy of the UL listing:
    Link to UL listing
    I am able to obtain these breakers from Canada (any HD) and never had a problem.

  2. #62
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    NE Nebraska
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    36,308
    Quote Originally Posted by tortuga View Post
    For what its worth Schneider Electric the parent company of Square D continues to make Federal Pioneer Stab-Lok breakers in Canada.
    The UL listing seems to have been performed in the US. The inspectapedia has a page about them having a small recall, however other brands have had this happen too.
    If you set aside concerns about flaws in the panel buss bar design and just need to add an AFCI or GFCI in an old house these breakers are a good option as the breakers basically are made by Square D.
    And as far as I know connecticut-electric / UBI is limited to making the breakers as they where in 1980 where as
    Square D is able to introduce newer technology like AFCI's.
    I imagine its only patent licensing reasons or even just wanting to avoid bad PR that Square D can not sell them in the US.
    I would ask an inspector before using them and give them a copy of the UL listing:
    Link to UL listing
    I am able to obtain these breakers from Canada (any HD) and never had a problem.
    Read the comments on the HD link you provided. Those are not combination type AFCI's (that detect both series and parallel arcing faults).

  3. #63
    Do type NBLP panels with Type NB breakers have an unusually high risk of failure as well? I'm trying to evaluate several 70's vintage FPE panels (through photos) and nowhere is "Stab-Lok" visible and none of the breakers have the red/orange color on the end of the handle. All the documentation I've been able to find regarding FPE panel failures seems to be specific to Stab-lok products.

    Moving up to larger equipment, does anyone know if 70's vintage FPE switchboards are problematic as well? This facility has a 1600A, 4 section type FDP-BDP switchboard.

    Thanks.

  4. #64
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    5,632
    Quote Originally Posted by SteamDonkey View Post
    Do type NBLP panels with Type NB breakers have an unusually high risk of failure as well? I'm trying to evaluate several 70's vintage FPE panels (through photos) and nowhere is "Stab-Lok" visible and none of the breakers have the red/orange color on the end of the handle. All the documentation I've been able to find regarding FPE panel failures seems to be specific to Stab-lok products.

    Moving up to larger equipment, does anyone know if 70's vintage FPE switchboards are problematic as well? This facility has a 1600A, 4 section type FDP-BDP switchboard.

    Thanks.
    IIRC, in another thread on FPE someone had dug around and there were no reports of their switchboards being an issue.

  5. #65
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    Oct 2015
    Location
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Posts
    4
    Quote Originally Posted by kwired View Post
    In a "good ole boy" town you would be accused of taking advantage of them when you sold them something unnecessary. Codes don't matter in those towns neither does your CYA approach for liability reasons, but they will sue you anyway if the house burns down and it can be determined it started because of the panel and you were the last professional in it.

    Ok, I don't post very often, but I will have to add in my 2 cents about liability in fire cases. All of the insurance companies will investigate fires, they will send out either a local investigator, or one of the four major investigation groups they have on contract for the area. In my profession as an Forensic Electrical Consultant, I defend a lot of electrical product manufacturers in fire cases. When we see a recent "Licensed Contractor or Contractor" perform electrical alterations, modifications, or repairs, we immediately ask what they were doing, why, and exactly what they did, what products were replaced (either new, surplus or used), and exactly what codes/laws comply to that said work. Then we immediately demand that the electrical contractor be brought into the investigation (as they may have culpability in the case), this has been known to cause fire investigations to be paused while the "Parties of interest" are brought in and allowed to have representation during an investigation. So that always brings up questions of code compliance in the local area, and if the repair was supposed to be brought up to code, or did it fall under grandfathering clauses? PLEASE, PLEASE remember why codes exist, and WHY they are changed, as they are put into place because it was proven that the old installation technique, or products caused either loss of LIFE or property. So always please make sure your repair, or replace meets with current local and state codes and compliance, because if your insurance company finds out you worked outside of the codes, they can (depending on your liability policy wording) make you or your company completely financially responsible for the loss that the plaintiffs have filed for. This is only my 2 cents, and does not constitute any legal advice, but trust me you don't won't to be on the wrong side of a wrongful death lawsuit. (sorry I had to add the disclaimer). This is never worth risking a customers life/property over for your financial gain or to "just get them by", plus you will sleep much better at night.

    This is just my friendly reminder as an investigator, to PLEASE always update to current code requirements when required. I've seen too many cases that could have been easily avoided.

  6. #66
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    Huntington Beach, CA (19 Hrs. 22 Min. from Winged Horses)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Khecksher View Post
    because if your insurance company finds out you worked outside of the codes, they can (depending on your liability policy wording) make you or your company completely financially responsible for the loss that the plaintiffs have filed for. This is only my 2 cents, and does not constitute any legal advice, but trust me you don't won't to be on the wrong side of a wrongful death lawsuit.
    back on page two or so, i mentioned walking away
    from something, from a self preservation point of view.

    the OP went on for several pages, finally posting his
    solution, and defending it. fine with me.

    i've been involved with one grand jury wrongful death
    investigation. that was sufficient.

    then i, and a dozen other folks got sued for $2.5 M each,
    in the civil portion of the process. subrogation sucks.

    and all i was, was the guy who walked away, refusing to
    touch the existing wiring of the house and pool. the property
    owner fixed it himself, and then when the college girl was
    electrocuted in the pool, he told the police i was his electrician,
    and i said everything was fine.

    i ended up giving expert testimony three separate occasions
    in front of the grand jury. they filed an indictment on the
    property owner. he went to prison.

    i hope that $100 repair job the OP did holds up well. it's his ass.
    ~New signature under construction.~
    ~~~~Please excuse the mess.~~~~

  7. #67
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    NE Nebraska
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    36,308
    Quote Originally Posted by Fulthrotl View Post
    back on page two or so, i mentioned walking away
    from something, from a self preservation point of view.

    the OP went on for several pages, finally posting his
    solution, and defending it. fine with me.

    i've been involved with one grand jury wrongful death
    investigation. that was sufficient.

    then i, and a dozen other folks got sued for $2.5 M each,
    in the civil portion of the process. subrogation sucks.

    and all i was, was the guy who walked away, refusing to
    touch the existing wiring of the house and pool. the property
    owner fixed it himself, and then when the college girl was
    electrocuted in the pool, he told the police i was his electrician,
    and i said everything was fine.

    i ended up giving expert testimony three separate occasions
    in front of the grand jury. they filed an indictment on the
    property owner. he went to prison.

    i hope that $100 repair job the OP did holds up well. it's his ass.
    That's just it in this age, you can try to do the right thing and still be target of a lawsuit. Every decision you make is a risk, all you can do is try to do what you believe is right, but be prepared to defend yourself at any time.

  8. #68
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    4,129
    Quote Originally Posted by Khecksher View Post
    Ok, I don't post very often, but I will have to add in my 2 cents about liability in fire cases. All of the insurance companies will investigate fires, they will send out either a local investigator, or one of the four major investigation groups they have on contract for the area. In my profession as an Forensic Electrical Consultant, I defend a lot of electrical product manufacturers in fire cases. When we see a recent "Licensed Contractor or Contractor" perform electrical alterations, modifications, or repairs, we immediately ask what they were doing, why, and exactly what they did, what products were replaced (either new, surplus or used), and exactly what codes/laws comply to that said work. Then we immediately demand that the electrical contractor be brought into the investigation (as they may have culpability in the case), this has been known to cause fire investigations to be paused while the "Parties of interest" are brought in and allowed to have representation during an investigation. So that always brings up questions of code compliance in the local area, and if the repair was supposed to be brought up to code, or did it fall under grandfathering clauses? PLEASE, PLEASE remember why codes exist, and WHY they are changed, as they are put into place because it was proven that the old installation technique, or products caused either loss of LIFE or property. So always please make sure your repair, or replace meets with current local and state codes and compliance, because if your insurance company finds out you worked outside of the codes, they can (depending on your liability policy wording) make you or your company completely financially responsible for the loss that the plaintiffs have filed for. This is only my 2 cents, and does not constitute any legal advice, but trust me you don't won't to be on the wrong side of a wrongful death lawsuit. (sorry I had to add the disclaimer). This is never worth risking a customers life/property over for your financial gain or to "just get them by", plus you will sleep much better at night.

    This is just my friendly reminder as an investigator, to PLEASE always update to current code requirements when required. I've seen too many cases that could have been easily avoided.
    So I highlighted all the times you said 'code', except that I'm not aware of any building code language that relates to either restrictions on the use of 'obsolete' equipment, or the grandfathering thereof. I don't think this is a matter of 'code compliance.' Code says zilch about it, as far as I know. Liability when dealing with FPE or Zinsco, such as it may be, would be a matter of 'not following trade standards' or 'negligence' or some other legal standard that someone could be accused under. I could be all kinds of code compliant but I'm sure if I was the last one there before something goes wrong then I could be accused of ... somehow being at fault. I use my judgement when dealing with this stuff. Can I do the work without disturbing existing obsolete equipment? If so, I may do it. I inform customers so that I can say later that they made the decision (not me) to leave something as is. I explain how my doing the work doesn't affect the existing hazard. I've seen other companies where the lawyers obviously set the policy and it was the most conservative 'we won't even look at it' kind of policy. I saw a lot of money wasted, in my opinion, replacing equipment that didn't need to be touched to be code compliant while completing the job. And yet, I know better than to think I'm covered by appealing to what the 'code' says. God help me if I would ever have to justify all my decisions in court.

  9. #69
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    1,313
    Quote Originally Posted by Fulthrotl View Post
    back on page two or so, i mentioned walking away
    from something, from a self preservation point of view.

    the OP went on for several pages, finally posting his
    solution, and defending it. fine with me.

    i've been involved with one grand jury wrongful death
    investigation. that was sufficient.

    then i, and a dozen other folks got sued for $2.5 M each,
    in the civil portion of the process. subrogation sucks.

    and all i was, was the guy who walked away, refusing to
    touch the existing wiring of the house and pool. the property
    owner fixed it himself, and then when the college girl was
    electrocuted in the pool, he told the police i was his electrician,
    and i said everything was fine.

    i ended up giving expert testimony three separate occasions
    in front of the grand jury. they filed an indictment on the
    property owner. he went to prison.

    i hope that $100 repair job the OP did holds up well. it's his ass.

    &%$#@ OUCH!

    Every EC out there should read this.....

    But it gets even better when you realize the cards are already stacked against you

    Fed Pacific has a history , not a very pretty one considering the CSPC should have imparted a a total recall , if not class action suit via some entity to inspire such action

    They didn't , and so now the world is proliferated with aging OCPD's of dubious efficacy

    That we can't walk by....

    Oddly enough, our lovely insurance cabal has taken the torch* up , having had one job in a multi-tenement insurance rep insisting 'all the red handled breaker must be replaced'

    On investigation, they were 20A Challengers.....I did have the thought of just coloring them in with my sharpie, but talked my self into some black handled universals instead

    Some days we eat the bear, some days.....


    ~RJ~

    *posted wearing my Freudian slippers

  10. #70
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    NE Nebraska
    Posts
    36,308
    Fuses very seldom fail to trip, yet are frowned upon by insurance companies.

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