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This document describes how to identify Federal Electric Panels in buildings. An examination of this brand of electrical equipment shows that it is similar to but not identical to a version of what is better known as the FPE Stab-Lok® or Federal Pacific Stab-Lok® electrical panel which is a serious latent electrical safety hazard in buildings. We have no performance data on this product. Field reports of readers' experience with Federal Electric panels are invited.
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.
We also provide a MASTER INDEX to this topic, or you can try the page top or bottom SEARCH BOX as a quick way to find information you need.
Photographic Guide to Federal Electric Electrical Panels
In some cases of very early product such as the Federal Electric panels shown on this page, the words "Stab-Lok® " or "Federal Pacific Electric" may not be present on the panel labeling.
Fortunately it is still easy to identify this product series by the actual circuit breaker or bus connectors or by the bus sketch on the Federal Electric Panel label if that information is still on the panel cover.
Here we provide a photographic library of various types of Federal Electric, Federal Pacific Electric, FPE Stab-Lok® , and Federal Pioneer electrical panel covers and labels which permit a consumer to identify the equipment from its exterior as well as circuit breaker labels and other details.
Since there is risk of dangerous or even fatal electric shock, only an expert such as a licensed electrician, electrical engineer, or home inspector should physically remove the front cover to permit inspection of the panel bus and other interior features.
Here is the interior of a Federal Electric panel, Federal Electric Catalong No. 116, showing that this early model electrical panel used a copper bus (nice).
However the circuit breakers and bus design are early versions of the problematic FPE Stab-Lok® design and should be handled as with any other FPE Stab-Lok® equipment - replace the panel.
Photographs of the copper-bus Federal Electric (FPE Stab-Lok® ) electrical panel and Stab-Lok® circuit breaker closeups just below are courtesy of Michigan home inspector John Spencer.
Here is the interior label of a Federal Electric panel catalog No. 116 showing that this early model electrical panel used the "Stab-Lok® " "E" bus and "F" bus designs in this product.
Look at the bottom of the label just above our red (C) notice and you will see that the "F" and "E" Stab-Lok® bus layout was used.
This is a definitive identification of this electrical panel as a "Stab-Lok® " design even without having to physically remove the circuit breaker to inspect the panel bus directly.
Until the electrical panel is replace we recommend that you do not disturb its circuit breakers as doing so might increase the risk of a future failure to trip.
Here is John Spencer's photo of the FPE Stab-Lok® circuit breaker labels for the breakers used in this Federal Electric panel.
Betwen the breakers at lower center in the photo you can see a glint of the copper bus to which these circuit breakers are attached.
The following additional photographs depict a different bus design found in other Federal Electric electrical panels.
This is the interior of the Federal Electric panel shown at the top of this page. Note the bus design.
This is a close up of the Federal Electric triple pole circuit breaker used as the mains in this Federal Electric panel.
You can see that the bus design is similar but not identical to the classic FPE Stab-Lok® panels discussed elsewhere at this website.
We have no field data nor independent test data on the performance of this particular design.
However it is similar in appearance to the Stab-Lok® equipment which we have discussed; caution would be appropriate.
Our Photo Guides to Identification of Federal Pioneer and Federal Pacific Stab-Lok® Electrical Panels and Circuit Breakers Are Presented in the Topics Listed Below
Continue reading at FEDERAL PIONEER ELECTRIC PANELS or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.
Thanks to home inspector John Spencer,
Sherlock Home Inspectors, Inc. in Millington, MI, for photos and discussion of Federal Electric panel identification and hazards 04/2009. Mr. Spencer can also be reached at Saginaw (989) 777-0235, Millington (989) 871-5458, and by email to
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