Challenger panels?

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mopowr steve

Senior Member
Location
NW Ohio
Occupation
Electrical contractor
Just looked over a HI report for a home and it mentioned they have a Challenger panel and that “challenger panels are known to have buss-bars that damage due overheating”.
Is there something out there I don’t know about?
Heck I’ve seen damaged buss-bars in probably every brand when the conditions warranted it. If any brand, I would say GE probably makes me cringe the most with what appears to be a lesser contact area of the breaker stabs than most other brands. Not to mention ye’ ol’ Federal Pacifics and the reported problems with those.
 

suemarkp

Senior Member
Location
Kent, WA
Occupation
Retired Engineer
Which Challenger is it? That brand absorbed a lot of things. Does it look like a Zinsco type breaker? If not, does it use normal looking breakers with little bus clips on the right or left side? Or, does it look a lot like a Bryant or Westinghouse panel that can take BR type breakers?

The 1st is the worse (Zinsco rebadged). The 2'nd is better, but the breakers are a pain and they may have bus issues. The 3rd I don't believe is really a problem but they are a minimalist panel. I just replaced mine. The aluminum bus was rather thin, and breaker to bus connection is only fair in my opinion. But there were no burn or obvious issues with my Challenger panel I ripped out.
 
Just looked over a HI report for a home and it mentioned they have a Challenger panel and that “challenger panels are known to have buss-bars that damage due overheating”.
Is there something out there I don’t know about?
Heck I’ve seen damaged buss-bars in probably every brand when the conditions warranted it. If any brand, I would say GE probably makes me cringe the most with what appears to be a lesser contact area of the breaker stabs than most other brands. Not to mention ye’ ol’ Federal Pacifics and the reported problems with those.
 

norcal

Senior Member
Zinsco had 2 lines, the one that earned their bad reputation, and Zinsco American Switch, which used the common 1" wide circuit breakers, which also was rebranded as "Powr-Kraft" for Montgomery Ward, it is also the ancestor of Sylvania, & Challenger. Challenger was a crap panel, but any AL bussed plug-in panel can give problems.

A bit off topic but Westinghouse built safety switches for Zinsco, the 3R models even used the Zinsco 2 bolt hubs.
 
This office building i am working on that is the same job mentioned in that thread post #4, has 4 200A challenger panels. One on each of three floors then an HVAC panel. The HVAC panel was the one that has a bunch of the bussing all chowder now. That one I will be replacing the whole thing. The other three I haven't gotten into yet, but if the bussing looks okay, I'm just going to replace all the breakers.
 

Todd0x1

Senior Member
Location
CA
Isn't there a challenger panel that uses normal looking 1" plug on breakers, but the main is a zinsco?
 
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