Federal Pacific and UL listing.

Status
Not open for further replies.

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Hmmmm, old house burned down and it had an FPE panel...wonder what connection there is to that...:grin:

Even if the fire wasn't electrical in origin, I'd be willing to bet that the FPE breakers never tripped when the wiring got damaged by the fire.
They determined that the fire was started by a food dehydrator like you make your own jerky or dried fruits in.

Don't know if other than fpe breaker may have stopped it. Today with AFCI technology I would like to think an AFCI may have stopped it but they have not been around long enough to know that.

Was once told they only way we will ever know if AFCI actually works is if home insurance policies go down because you have AFCI's. That would mean there is enough statisics to show they do work.

I agree with this theory.
 

macmikeman

Senior Member
I've often wondered myself if there is any real substance to the almost universal condemnation of FPE circuit breakers circulated by electricians. Ok so they cheated on submitting when they changed components and then got caught and lost the UL listing. Did that really result in fires starting? Do the FPE breakers really fail to trip on short or overload? Is there real evidence published (not rumor?). Does Joey really have cooties just cause all the other kids in the kindergarten class always said he does? It was a very popular brand in the city I live in , I've come across many many of the panels in my work. By some trick of fate, somehow all those panels have not exploded yet. I am starting to doubt all the rousing of the peasants in order to kill Frankenstien.. If I am wrong, I am only happy to be properly straightened out about it, please reply.
 

mxslick

Senior Member
Location
SE Idaho
I've often wondered myself if there is any real substance to the almost universal condemnation of FPE circuit breakers circulated by electricians. Ok so they cheated on submitting when they changed components and then got caught and lost the UL listing. Did that really result in fires starting? Do the FPE breakers really fail to trip on short or overload? Is there real evidence published (not rumor?). Does Joey really have cooties just cause all the other kids in the kindergarten class always said he does? It was a very popular brand in the city I live in , I've come across many many of the panels in my work. By some trick of fate, somehow all those panels have not exploded yet. I am starting to doubt all the rousing of the peasants in order to kill Frankenstien.. If I am wrong, I am only happy to be properly straightened out about it, please reply.
Mac, how would you feel knowing that your doctor cheated on his medical exams? Do you think that's ok? :roll:

FPE tried to shortcut around a system put in place to ensure that their product (which is considered a safety-critical product BTW) meets the standards and performance it has to in order to do the job it was designed for. IMHO, that is 100% inexcusable and totally unethical. And as I linked to another thread, (see my post #7) it wasn't just Stab-locs they had quality problems with. (In that case it was larger molded case breakers and their "fix" for the problem was to send out warning labels.)

To answer your questions in order:

Yes it did result in fires, more so than other brands of breakers, even Zinsco.

Yes they do fail to trip on shorts or overloads, in a much higher failure rate than other brands (anywhere from 15-45% failure rate.)

Yes there is evidence published (with photos to prove it) all you need to do is Google FPE and you'll find several sites with that evidence, see Augie's link in Post #2 for one of the best sites on the subject.

And yes Joey DOES have cooties...I know his doctor. :grin:

Just because something is popular doesn't make it good (American Idol for example) but usually popularity just means it was the cheapest.

I have experienced several failures of FPE breakers firsthand and wouldn't trust them in my enemy's home.
 
Last edited:

mxslick

Senior Member
Location
SE Idaho
They determined that the fire was started by a food dehydrator like you make your own jerky or dried fruits in.

Don't know if other than fpe breaker may have stopped it. Today with AFCI technology I would like to think an AFCI may have stopped it but they have not been around long enough to know that.

Was once told they only way we will ever know if AFCI actually works is if home insurance policies go down because you have AFCI's. That would mean there is enough statisics to show they do work.

I agree with this theory.
Thanks for the info.

I honestly don't think ANY breaker, AFCI or not, would have stopped it at all. It would have to have suffered significant arcing prior to overheating or flaming for an AFCI to have done any good. And to generate that arcing it would have had to have overheated or been in flames already....

But I do know that most other brands of breakers would trip when the wiring got damaged by the fire whereas the FPE would not. :grin:
 
I've often wondered myself if there is any real substance to the almost universal condemnation of FPE circuit breakers circulated by electricians. Ok so they cheated on submitting when they changed components and then got caught and lost the UL listing. Did that really result in fires starting? Do the FPE breakers really fail to trip on short or overload? Is there real evidence published (not rumor?). Does Joey really have cooties just cause all the other kids in the kindergarten class always said he does? It was a very popular brand in the city I live in , I've come across many many of the panels in my work. By some trick of fate, somehow all those panels have not exploded yet. I am starting to doubt all the rousing of the peasants in order to kill Frankenstien.. If I am wrong, I am only happy to be properly straightened out about it, please reply.
I used to wonder the same thing.....
Talked the customer into changing out the panel. While doing this there were some of the wires that had some unknown bare spots on them and inadvertantly came into contact with the panel enclosure. The panel "blew up" twice on me and no breakers ever tripped. So I did something I had never done before while changing out a panel...... I tested the breakers as I tracked down what they went to, since the panel was not labeled. Found 1 - 2 pole 30, and 2 - SP20's that after opening the CB still had voltage to the circuits. Had to remove the wire from CB to trace those out. None of these were tied to the wires that "blew up" on me. All this was in 1 home, in 1 panel (100A 20 circuit, non split-bus). VERY glad I talked them into changing out panels. I have also made myself a disclaimer denoting known shock and fire hazards in case I ever run into this problem again. I will simply give them the disclaimer and if that doesn't change their mind, I will tell them to call someone else.
 

macmikeman

Senior Member
Mac, how would you feel knowing that your doctor cheated on his medical exams? Do you think that's ok? :roll:

FPE tried to shortcut around a system put in place to ensure that their product (which is considered a safety-critical product BTW) meets the standards and performance it has to in order to do the job it was designed for. IMHO, that is 100% inexcusable and totally unethical. And as I linked to another thread, (see my post #7) it wasn't just Stab-locs they had quality problems with. (In that case it was larger molded case breakers and their "fix" for the problem was to send out warning labels.)

To answer your questions in order:

Yes it did result in fires, more so than other brands of breakers, even Zinsco.

Yes they do fail to trip on shorts or overloads, in a much higher failure rate than other brands (anywhere from 15-45% failure rate.)

Yes there is evidence published (with photos to prove it) all you need to do is Google FPE and you'll find several sites with that evidence, see Augie's link in Post #2 for one of the best sites on the subject.

And yes Joey DOES have cooties...I know his doctor. :grin:

Just because something is popular doesn't make it good (American Idol for example) but usually popularity just means it was the cheapest.

I have experienced several failures of FPE breakers firsthand and wouldn't trust them in my enemy's home.
Ok you pretty much have me convinced. Here is the thing, I wasn't even aware until today the whole story about the cheating the UL part, I had only heard for years and years, and read on internet forums, how dangerous they are, and pretty much took that as factual and have gutted countless FPE panels, and then started to doubt the story eventually, because I myself have yet to witness any FPE failure or burnt FPE busbars. I've seen both those issues on other common brands. I do absolutely trust this Mike Holt website for the factual nature and highly valuable content found here. As far as Googling "FPE" - I've done it before, but who really knows what or who puts out some of the other "expert" sites that are out there. Thats why I asked about it here in the manner I did. I am not trying to kick up dust, I really want to know, that I know, that I know, before I continue to attempt to convince customer's that they have a ticking bomb in their house. A ground fault for instance, I can demonstrate the danger it poses to them using their cat..:D.
A breaker that might or might not function when it's supposed to I want to give them some more proof, than I saw it on a website, or I heard somebody else at the wholesale house or a former employer say so. Hope you can understand where I am coming from, and thanks for that good reply.
 

mtfallsmikey

Senior Member
Wadsworth was another famous brand...FPE's would self-disintegrate, Wadsworth breakers would never trip, even with a dead short, did they ever get their listing pulled as well?
 

Cold Fusion

Senior Member
Location
way north
I've often wondered myself if there is any real substance to the almost universal condemnation of FPE circuit breakers circulated by electricians. ....
I asked about the same question in post 6. Most all of the responses I got were of the, "Doesn't matter if the particular one I'm working is on the defective list or not. They have been accused enough that I change out any of that brand name- right up to and including any switchboards they made."
.
But hey, it must be true if it is on the internet - especially if it comes from Wackopedia.:roll:

cf
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top