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UNDERGROUND SERVICE LATERALS
VOLTS / AMPS MEASUREMENT EQUIP
VOLTAGE MEASUREMENT METHODS
ZINSCO SYLVANIA ELECTRICAL PANELS
This document describes how to identify Federal Pacific Stab-Lok® Electric Panels in buildings with special focus on the Federal NOARK Stab-Lok® Panelboard and the Federal NOARK Load Center. This is safety information for building inspectors, home buyers, home owners, electricians exploring the background of possible hazards associated with Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok® circuit breakers and service panels.
Replacement FPE Stab-Lok® circuit breakers are unlikely to reduce the failure risk of this equipment. We recommend that residential FPE Stab-Lok® electrical panels be replaced entirely or the entire panel bus assembly be replaced, regardless of FPE model number or FPE year of manufacture. We do not sell circuit breakers nor any other products.
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Photo Guide to Identification of Federal NOARK Electrical Panel Identification of Stab-Lok® Load Centers
FPE Noarc or FPE no-arc electrical panel label also indicates older versions of the Stab-Lok® circuit breaker design discussed beginning at FEDERAL PACIFIC FPE HAZARDS and summarized at FEDERAL PACIFIC FPE HAZARD SUMMARY.
Because the product design, materials, and history are all of a piece and share the same company and production, Federal noark Stab-Lok panelboards and circuit breakers are of the same design and have the same hazards as other Stab-Lok electrical panel buses and circuit breakers.
[Click to enlarge any image]
Therefore this article focuse on how to identify Federal Noark panelboards. At left we show a Federal Noark Stab-Lok® Panelboard Model NS412.
The Federal Pacific Panel interior label and model number are shown in this photograph. [Photograph courtesy of Arlene Puentes.]
Here is what another model of the Federal NOARK Electrical Load Center looks like. (Some inspectors misreport this product as "Federal NOARC".)
Even before inspecting this electrical panel closely you can see the characteristic FPE Stab-Lok® circuit breaker red-painted toggle faces.
The center black identification label in this Federal NOARC load center Catalog No. 116-68C is black painted.
Later FPE Stab-Lok® load centers painted white or other colored text directly onto the gray-painted electrical panel face.
Here is the unambiguous text which identifies this Federal NOARK load center as a Federal Pacific Stab-Lok® design and Federal NOARK Stab-Lok® LoadCenter Cat.No. 116-68C.
Note that in some literature the Federal Noark panelboard product may be referred to as "Federal Noarc" - typically a typographical error.
Here are two more photographs to assist in identification of Federal NOARK electrical panels showing a Federal NOARK Stab-Lok® panelboard Cat.No. NS412.
Green link shows where you are in this article series.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Federal No-Ark Stab-Lok FPE designs
Question: is the the history and hazard of Federal Noark panels related to Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok Panels?
My electrical panel does not say "Federal Pacific," though it looks like the Federal Pacific panels. It says "Federal NoArk Stab lok panel". Is it safe? Thank you for your help. Best wishes, M.H. 7/8/2013
Reply: Federal Noark electrical panel bus and breaker designs are Stab-Lok products and obtain the same hazard warnings.
[The Federal Noark electrical panel and circuit breaker product line] has the same design and same hazards. Search InspectAPedia for Federal Noark and you should find our article on that name brand.
Thank you, I searched InspectAPedia, but the only "article" I found was a series of pictures. It did not contain any information about the testing of Federal NoArk stab lok panels. It did not say what the years of manufacture were, nor did it say where these panels were made. Were the Federal Pacific panels made in New Jersey? It seems incongruous to name a company on the east coast "Pacific".
Thank you for this feedback. I will review that article with your comments in mind [and will make more clear that we are talking about the same product design, materials, producing company, and hazards as are discussed under related names for this product line such as Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok.
A look through FPE HISTORY for the list of company names, dates, locations and history helps clarify that Federal Noark and Federal Electric and Federal Pacific Electric are the same product line and company. Or if you prefer to go directly to an example source document that ties these company names together see U.S. Patent No. 3,093,773.
Lack of Testing of Federal Noark Equipment
The number of Federal Noark panels available for testing has been miniscule; but the history of their production, the company, the product, and its design are unambiguous. The variety of names on the product line reflects the history of names used by the company producing the product, not differences in product design nor performance. Because the breaker performance problems are traced to the circuit breaker design, bus design, and a history of dishonest test procedures, product labeling violations, as well as actual field failures, there should be no question remaining about the product.
Sources of Disinformation & Misinformation about FPE Stab-Lok & related product names
Unfortunately, and quite transparently, out of a wish to avoid liability, there has also been a long history of counter-PR released from the company, its successors, and even today, its remains. That misinformation has been the chief source of confusion among consumers about the hazards of the product.
While FPE and its interests made much of the CPSC's dropping of its original investigation of the Stab-Lok product failure history, the CPSC never said that it found the product to be safe. The US CPSC, in an effort to correct the record and to warn consumers, issued FPE INVESTIGATION CPSC Revised 2011.
Such advice is incorrect and can be dangerous. While we agree that it always makes sense to avoid overloading any electrical circuit, overcurrents and short circuits can still occur on any electrical circuit, even one into which nothing is plugged-in whatsoever! Should an overcurrent or short circuit occur on an electrical circuit, the consumer is relying on the circuit breaker to trip in time to prevent a fire.
Will avoiding an electrical circuit overload prevent an FPE Stab-Lok Failure and resulting fire?
No. Avoiding an overload may reduce but will not eliminate risk on an inadquately protected electrical circuit.
Avoiding an FPE-failure and its concomitant risks of a building fire by advising the consumer to "avoid overloading the circuit" is therefore as incoherent as telling occpuants in a car whose seat belts have been cut through to a mere single thread that the seatbelts are quite safe - as long as the vehicle avoids getting in an accident. Such misinformation, or in some cases deliberate disinformation, arise from a melange of conflicting interests (avoid liability, or in the case of some home inspectors, please real estate agents who are a source of referrals) or perhaps in a few cases out of simple ignorance.
We would much appreciate hearing any comments, critique, suggestions, or further questions that you may have after you've taken another look at this article as well as at the very long, documented, and well-tested information about the FP, FE, FPE, Federal Noark, product line.
Also, you are absolutely welcome to make PRINTED copies of any of our pages that you find useful, and to give them away to others where you find that useful. Our policy on use our website content, which does not permit people making online or electronic copies for the obvious reasons, can be read in more detail at COPYING
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